UN review examines 16 more countries' human rights records
The human rights records of 16 countries are up for review at the fifth session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council, which started in Geneva on Monday. The UPR is the first-ever UN mechanism to look systematically at the human rights records of all 192 UN member states. From 2008-2011, 48 countries will be reviewed each year, 16 in each of the UPR Working Group's three annual sessions. Governments scheduled for examination by the Human Rights Council this month include Afghanistan, Chile, FYR Macedonia, Slovakia, Vanuatu, Vietnam, and Yemen. The current UPR session is scheduled to run until 15 May. Amnesty International has contributed a series of reports to the current round of reviews detailing key human rights concerns in 7 of the 16 countries that are up for review. "We expect member states to use this unique opportunity to focus on the key human rights challenges in each country under review and make concrete recommendations for how they can improve the fulfillment of their human rights obligations," said Peter Splinter, Amnesty International's UN Representative in Geneva.