The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council under which the situation of human rights in all 193 UN Member States is regularly reviewed. Some of the key features of the review is that it applies equally to all States, covers all human rights, and is carried out by governments.
The overall objectives of the UPR are:
- Improvement of the human rights situation on the ground in the country reviewed;
- Fulfilment of the State’s human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of developments and challenges;
- Enhancement of the capacity of the State to protect human rights;
- Sharing of best practice among States;
- Cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights;
- Encouragement of full cooperation with the Council, its mechanisms and other UN human rights bodies.
HOW IT WORKS
The review takes place in the UPR Working Group, composed of the 47 members of the Council. The frequency of review is four years, which means that 48 countries are reviewed each year; 16 in each of the three annual sessions of the UPR Working Group.
Each review is based on three key documents:
- A national report prepared by the state under review.
- A compilation, prepared by the OHCHR, of information contained in reports of the UN human rights machinery, including the Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and other relevant UN bodies.
- A summary, also prepared by the OHCHR, of information submitted by other stakeholders e.g. NGOs, national human rights institutions, women’s groups, labour unions, church groups.
A key part of the review is the three-hour interactive dialogue in the UPR Working Group between the State under review and other UN Member States. During the dialogue, Member States are able to raise questions and make recommendations to the State under review to strengthen the respect for human rights and address specific human rights challenges. Following the dialogue, a report is compiled by the Troika Rapporteurs (three Council members selected to facilitate the review), the UPR Secretariat, and the State under review. This includes a record of issues raised during the dialogue and lists the recommendations made by other States with an indication of which of these enjoy the support of the State under review. The UPR Working Group then adopts the report of the review and submits it to the Council. At a subsequent regular session, the Council then adopts the final outcome of the review, including further responses from the State under review. It is then up to the State under review, and others as relevant, to act on the recommendations.
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