Universal Periodic Review - Second Cycle (2012-2016)
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism established by the Human Rights Council, which aims to improve the human rights situation on the ground in each of the UN Member States and address human rights violations wherever they occur.
According to the Human Rights Council resolution 16/21, the 2nd cycle of the UPR starts in 2012 and will be completed by 2016.
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) are encouraged to actively participate in all phases of the UPR process. To learn more about the interaction of NHRIs with the UPR 2nd cycle, please refer to the following material:Info note NHRI and UPR.pdf
18th session of the Universal Periodic Review – NHRIs maximise impact in major UN human rights hearing
Geneva, 7 February 2014 – Paris Principles accredited national human rights institutions (NHRIs) participated in a major UN meeting to assess the human rights record of 14 countries worldwide.
The meeting of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council took place from 27 January to 7 February at the UN Headquarter in Geneva. UN member states reviewed achievements and challenges of their peers and issued critical recommendations to improve human rights on the ground.
A status accredited NHRIs from New Zealand, Chile and Afghanistan as well as from the newly established NHRI of Uruguay actively contributed to the review of their respective states.
The aftermath of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung-hosted side event. Representatives from the NHRI of Uruguay continue discussions with government delegation (left).
“It is important for us to be represented in today's review of New Zealand” said Chief Commissioner David Rutherford of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.
“Our strategic engagement throughout the UPR process has yielded concrete results as we are pleased to note that many of our recommendations have found their way into today's discussions.”
In the lead up to the UPR review in Geneva, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission hosted a series of consultation meetings with government and civil society and has submitted its own independent report to inform the UPR process. The Commission also directly engaged with Embassies, to raise awareness of issues and to share recommendations for member states' consideration. The Commission and civil society recommendations were strongly reflected in New Zealand’s review. (Due in part to strong advocacy efforts particularly the Commission and 5 civil society organisations presenting at the UPR-info pre sessional)
“Follow up and implementation will be our next focus. The outcome recommendations of the UPR will now inform the development of the Commission's next National Action Plan for Human Rights”, Mr Rutherford stressed.
The Commission is now working with government officials to encourage the acceptance of the recommendations and to explore ways to translate these recommendations into actions that can improve the realisation of rights and freedoms in New Zealand. The actions to be taken as a result of the UPR recommendations will be set out in New Zealand’s second National Plan of Action for Human Rights. Member States consistently commended the Commission on adopting this approach.
The Commission is co-hosting de briefing meetings with stakeholders in March 2014 to follow up on the UPR recommendations.
The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) was at the core of discussions during Afghanistan's review.
Whilst states commended the “effective and valuable work of the AIHRC”, they stressed that the government must protect the Commission's independence, including by “employing a transparent and participatory election process for Commission members”, by allocating “adequate budgetary resources to the Commission”, and by “immediately releasing the conflict mapping report” in which the AIHRC has recorded past human rights violations.
These recommendations were in line with the recommendations made by the ICC Sub Committee on Accreditation following the AIHRC's re-accreditation review, which had been made available to the public immediately prior to Afghanistan's UPR review.
The ICC Sub Committee on Accreditation has stressed for the need to ensure a clear, transparent and participatory selection process for the Commission's leadership and to ensure adequate funding for the Commission.
Chile and Uruguay
NHRIs from Chile and Uruguay participated on the panel of a side event, to discuss the UPR session of their respective countries.
On the panel spoke representatives of the board of the NHRI in Uruguay, Mr. Juan Raúl Ferreira and Ms. Mirtha Guianze, as well as Director Lorena Fries Monleón of Chile, next to representatives of government and civil society.
The panel debate was an important forum to review the recommendations made to Chile and Uruguay and to identify the respective roles of government, civil society and of the NHRIs in the implementation phase of the UPR.
The NHRIs of Chile and Uruguay have entered into a bilateral partnership cooperation, to exchange experiences and best practices.
The event was hosted by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and was held on the 30st of January. It was webcast live: http://new.livestream.com/Geneva-live/events/2713900.
ICC Geneva Representative Katharina Rose participated in the discussions.
Project Manager Ashraf Mikhail and Julie Crawford from the Danish Institute for Human Rights attended Yemen's UPR, as part of their program in support of Yemeni human rights organisations.
The 14 states under review were: New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Viet Nam, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Comoros, Slovakia, Eritrea, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic and Cambodia.
The UPR session has been be webcast: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/ (”Meetings & Events” ”Human Rights Council” ”Universal Periodic Review” ”18th UPR ”).
The final outcome of the 18th session will be adopted by the plenary of the Council at its twenty-sixth regular session from 10 to 27 June 2014.
The State report, stakeholder reports and OHCHR summaries can be found here : http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx
17th session of the Universal Periodic Reivew - NHRIs weigh in as UN assesses human rights record of 15 member states
High level representatives from the A status accredited national human rights institutions (NHRIs) from Jordan, Malaysia (SUHAKAM), Mauritius, Mexico, and Nigeria convened in Geneva as their states' human rights record was reviewed at the United Nations Human Rights Council during the session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The 17th meeting of the UPR Working Group, took place from 21 October to 1 November 2013 in Geneva. 15 UN Member states were reviewed by their peers during an interactive dialogue featuring comments and recommendations. The review was based on the national report provided by the State under review, the compilation of UN informationand the OHCHR summary of contributions from NHRIs and NGOs.
While in Geneva, the NHRI representatives participated in the Working Group session of their respective states, and met with State representatives, OHCHR officials and civil society representatives, to discuss the UPR process.
Commenting on the UPR of Malaysia, Suhakam Chairperson Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said ‘the UPR session was a great success on the part of the Government, which we commend, but a more focused and in-depth deliberation of the human rights situation in the country would have been more beneficial to Malaysia as it undertakes measures to fulfill its commitments to further improve the human rights situation in the country
Chairperson Mr. Agam was supported by SUHAKAM officer Kasim Wan during the UPR of Malaysia.
‘SUHAKAM has developed an action plan in follow-up to the UPR process which it hopes to implement throughout the second cycle of Malaysia’s second UPR. The plan includes timetables for regular consultations and workshops between relevant stakeholders including Government agencies, civil society organisations and the media; publication of an awareness-raising document on Malaysia’s second UPR; and a strategy for developing a mid-term report on the implementation of Malaysia’s UPR recommendations. In addition, SUHAKAM plans to intensify its engagement with the media to encourage wider media coverage on the UPR process as a means to promote greater awareness and understanding of the UPR mechanism especially among the general public’, said SUHAKAM’s Chairperson Mr. Agam, speaking at a panel in the Palais des Nations, organised by Malaysian civil society.
In an interview with UPR Info Executive Director Roland Chauville, Suhakam’s Chairperson reflected on Suhakam’s expectations for following cycles of the UPR. A video recording of the interview is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWNAVNacL14
Following Malaysa's review, Suhakam issued a press release, which is attached for ease of reference.
ICC Geneva Representative Katharina Rose assisted in the organisation of meetings between NHRI representatives and State, OHCHR and civil society representatives. She also facilitated the participation of NHRIs in high level side events.
NHRIs have an important role to play in relation to all stages of the Universal Periodic Review. While they can bring authoritative and independent information on national situations to the UPR, in turn they can monitor and promote implementation of UPR recommendations in-country.
Information submitted by states and relevant stakeholders, including concerned A status NHRIs, as well the timetable of State reviews are available on the OHCHR’s webpage:
ICC Geneva Representative
UPR Mid-Term Report EHRC.pdf
UPR Annual progress report.pdf
UPR Good Practice Compilation
The submission of written contributions is an important aspect of the NHRIs' engagement with the UPR. To learn more about NHRI's written submissions to the UPR, please refer to the Guidelines for relevant stakeholders' written submissions.
Deadlines for stakeholders' submissions will be posted on the OHCHR UPR webpage, indicatively ten to eight months before the review. NHRIs should note that written submissions to OHCHR should be sent indicatively at least five months before the relevant session of the Working Group on UPR.