The Universal Periodic Review
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique mechanism established by the UN General Assembly in 2006. Conducted through the Human Rights Council, the review aims to prompt, support, and expand the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The human rights obligations assessed in the process are the extents to which States Under Review are adhering to: the UN charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights instruments, voluntary pledges and commitments, and applicable international humanitarian law. The review is based on the following reports: a national report provided by the State Under Review, a compilation of UN information composed by the Office of High Commissioners for Human Rights (OHCHR), and stakeholder summaries from related human rights organizations. During the review, the State has the opportunity to declare what actions they have made to improve and overcome their human rights situations, and the recommending states have the opportunity to question, comment, and recommend upon actions taken by the State Under Review. The UPR’s Third Cycle officially started in 2017.
How is the UPR conducted?
The UPR can be divided into three parts: pre-review, review, and post-review.
Before the review is held, recommending states can submit advance written questions to the Human Rights Council that ask about the level of implementation of the recommendations made at the previous review, or ask for clarification about a specific human rights problem. The State Under Review must prepare and submit a national reports on its human rights situations, which is used as the basis of the review. During the review process, each State undergoes a three and a half hour Q&A session. The State Under Review first presents its national reports, and its responses to the advance written questions. Then, an interactive dialogue takes place. Recommending states question, comment or make recommendations to the State Under Review. Based on the points made by the recommending states, the State Under Review answers questions and comments on those recommendations.