On March 15, 2006, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council established a Universal Periodic Review  (UPR) process which 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 UPR involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States. Under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, the State-driven process  enables each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their country and to fulfill their human rights obligations.  The objective is to improve the  3rd cycleaddress human rights violations and improve human rights throughout the world.  This is the only process of its kind in the world today.

The third cycle of the UPR runs from 2017 to 2021 (see the UN’s graphic at right).

Documentation of each State is gathered in an “institution-building package”,  and include:

  • Information prepared by the State concerned, which can take the form of a national report, and any other information considered relevant by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing.
  • Information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, special procedures, including observations and comments by the State concerned, and other relevant official United Nations documents, compiled in a report prepared by the OHCHR.
  • Information provided by “other relevant stakeholders” to the universal periodic review, which will be summarized by the OHCHR in a document. Stakeholders include, inter alia, NGOs, NHRIs, Human rights defenders, Academic institutions and Research institutes, Regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives.

The UPR process allows relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and regional mechanisms to submit written information for the report to be considered during the review. mAccredited stakeholders may attend and observe the session of the UPR Working Group and make oral statements during the regular sessions of the Human Rights Council when the outcomes of the State reviews are considered. Visit the HRC’s website for further details.

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