The Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) and the World Council of Churches (WCC) jointly organized a training workshop on the U.N. Human Rights Protection Mechanisms.
The workshop, held at the CCA headquarters from 23 to 25 May 2019, was attended by 20 participants selected from CCA and WCC member churches in Asia.
The main purpose of the training was aimed at empowering member churches and national councils of churches in Asia with knowledge and skills needed to advocate for human rights through established intergovernmental systems and mechanisms especially through the United Nations (U.N.) system, said Dr. Mathews George Chunakara.
With expertise on working with the United Nations system, as well as experiences with international NGOs advocating for human rights, WCC’s programme executives Jennifer Philpot-Nielsen and Segma Asfaw facilitated the workshop sessions.
Hanae Hanzawa of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Regional Office for Southeast Asia gave an interactive presentation on “The United Nations Human Rights System” Through a live video conference. Ms. Hanzawa’s presentation was interspersed with videos that explained the U.N. human rights system. Various interactive sessions of the three-day workshop provided opportunities for participants to scrutinize case studies of human rights situations involving their own countries, as well as to delve on actual reports of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of different countries.
Other topics covered during the training included UPR procedures, analyzing specific issues and contexts related to rights of women and children. Participants were given opportunities to explore the options of churches and national ecumenical councils in different parts of Asia to use the U.N. human rights mechanisms as avenues to work for improving the human rights protection practices in their respective places.
The World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia have special consultative status with the U.N. ECOSOC which accredits representatives to various U.N. events and regular sessions of the U.N. Human Rights Council, as well as UPR Review sessions.