Mmegi Online :: NGOs, govt, UN smoke peace
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Last Updated
Monday 11 December 2017, 21:38 pm.
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NGOs, govt, UN smoke peace

Local NGOs have made peace with the United Nations and the government after previously publicly attacking them for sidelining them over the establishment of a National Human Rights Institute (NHRI) in Botswana.
By Tefo Pheage Tue 26 Apr 2016, 15:05 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: NGOs, govt, UN smoke peace








The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) NGOs Group’s main contention was that the government and UN had sidelined them at a critical stage after a collaborative effort at the initial steps. The group comprises the Botswana Council of Non–Governmental organisations (BOCONGO), Ditshwanelo, Kuru Family of Organisations, LeGaBiBo, MISA Botswana and Rainbow Identity Association.

The NGOs said they were critical stakeholders and contributed to international, regional and national setting of standards.

“They contribute to the promotion, implementation and enforcement of human rights norms, so if you leave them out, who are you representing,” the NGOs said through their representative Ditshwanelo office, in a press statement.

Mmegi has established that after the airing of these grievances, a meeting was held between the parties where NGOs expressed their displeasure at the development. The meeting was called by the United Nations to hear the displeasure expressed by the NGOs and sources say the meeting ended amicably.

“The issue was clarified to NGOs and they as well submitted their grievances and in the end all agreed to improve their working relations for the establishment of the

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National Human Rights Institute,” an insider said.

It is understood that the United Nations, who are supporting the government to establish the institute, also promised to make sure that due process is followed henceforth.

“The rules of engagement were also re-emphasised and the expectation is that we will go on as agreed,” the source said.

Ditshwanelo was not available to comment on the matter as their officers were reported to be out of the office and unreachable. An officer there, Irene Mamvula previously confirmed the pending meeting with the UN and government, saying the United Nations had requested it. She however declined to share details of the meetings’ agenda.

NGOs had complained that three NHRI benchmarking missions had been undertaken in  Ghana, Namibia and Tanzania without the inclusion of local civil society as stakeholders during the preparatory processes or as members of the delegations on the missions.

The purpose of their visits, they said, was to share lessons learned in the area of human rights, which would facilitate the establishment of a National Human Rights Institution in Botswana.

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