UPR Working Group to Review Human Rights Records of 14 States
15 May 2012The thirteenth session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 21 May to 4 June during which the next group of 14 States will have their human rights records examined under this mechanism. With the convening of this session, the UPR will have begun its second cycle of reviews.
The group of States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during this session are (in order of review): Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Philippines, Algeria, Poland, the Netherlands, and South Africa. The meeting will take place in Room XX at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Representatives of the 14 countries will come before the Working Group, which comprises the entire membership of the 47-member Human Rights Council, to present efforts they have made in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, assessing both positive developments and identifying challenges. As an integral part of the second cycle of the UPR, States under Review will also spell out the steps they have taken to implement accepted recommendations posed to them during their first review. The reports serving as the basis for these reviews can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx
Speaking on the occasion of the conclusion of the first cycle of the UPR during the last session of the Working Group in October 2011, the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, described the UPR as "unique process”, which provided “a comprehensive map on human rights situations around the globe.” She added that the second cycle would prove to be a “moment of truth” for many.
For her part, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, speaking at the Council's last session in March this year, said the second cycle “will test the mechanism’s value and credibility.” She called on States “to be impartial, objective and realistic in assessing the human rights situation and putting forward new recommendations".
During the session, an interactive dialogue between the country under review and the Council will take place in the Working Group. Each country review will last three and one-half hours and an additional half hour will be devoted to the adoption of the Working Group's report for each country. The review for each State will be facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, or troikas, who will act as rapporteurs. The troikas for the upcoming 13th session were selected through a drawing of lots on 3 May. The list of troikas for the 13th session can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
The final outcome of the session will be adopted by the plenary of the Council at its twenty-first regular session taking place in September 2012.
About the Universal Periodic Review
General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, which created the Human Rights Council, mandated the Council to "undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies."
Subsequently, the Universal Periodic Review mechanism was established through the adoption by the Council of its “institution-building package” - HRC resolution 5/1 - on 18 June 2007, one year after its first meeting. Among the elements of this package was the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which aims to ensure that all United Nations Member States, starting with the members of the Council, have their records examined in order to improve human rights conditions worldwide. Furthermore, the Council decided that these reviews would be conducted on one working group composed of the 47 members of the Council.
The UPR Working Group consequently held its inaugural session in April 2008 for the first group of States, the order for which was decided through the drawing of lots. With the holding of this first session the first cycle took off through which all 193 United Nations Member States have had their human rights records reviewed over a four-year period; this includes South Sudan which became a Member State during the course of the first cycle.
Per Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 adopted on 25 March 2011 and decision 17/119 pertaining to the review of the Council, the second and subsequent cycles of the UPR should focus on, inter alia, the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the State under review. This resolution and decision also established that the periodicity of the review for the second and subsequent cycles will be four and a half years, instead of four, and thus 42 States would be reviewed per year during three sessions of the UPR Working Group. Moreover, the order of reviews established for the first cycle was to be maintained. The calendar of State reviews for the second cycle can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
UPR Reporting and Objectives
In accordance with the Council’s “institution-building package”, and as reinforced by the outcome of the Council’s review adopted last March, the three documents on which State reviews should be based are information prepared by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing; information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and Special Procedures, to be compiled in a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and information provided by other relevant stakeholders to the UPR including non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic institutions and research institutes, regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives, also to be summarized by OHCHR in a separate document.
Per the adopted institution-building package, the objectives of the Universal Periodic Review are: the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground; fulfilment of the State's human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of positive developments and challenges faced by the State; the enhancement of the State's capacity and of technical assistance, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the State concerned; the sharing of best practice among States and other stakeholders; support for cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights; and, the encouragement of full cooperation and engagement with the Council, other human rights bodies and OHCHR.
Provisional Timetable for the Universal Periodic Review Working Group 13th Session:
Monday, 21 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Bahrain
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Ecuador
Tuesday, 22 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Tunisia
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Morocco
Wednesday, 23 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Indonesia
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Finland
Thursday, 24 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of United Kingdom
14h30 – 18h00 Review of India
Friday, 25 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Brazil
15h00 – 18h00 Adoption of reports on Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Finland
Tuesday, 29 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Philippines
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Algeria
Wednesday, 30 May
10h00 – 11h30 Adoption of reports on United Kingdom, India and Brazil
14h00 – 18h00 Review of Poland
Thursday, 31 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of the Netherlands
14h30 – 18h00 Review of South Africa
Friday, 1 June
15h00 – 16h30 Adoption of reports on Philippines, Algeria and Poland
Monday, 4 June
15h00 – 16h00 Adoption of reports on the Netherlands and South Africa
Additional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, including the reports for each country review can be located at the Universal Periodic Review webpage on the OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
Media contact: Rolando Gomez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, firstname.lastname@example.org