26 April 2017
The twenty-seventh session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 1 to 12 May marking the beginning of the third UPR cycle during which all 193 UN member States will undergo successive reviews spelling out steps they have taken to advance human rights while highlighting latest developments. With all 193 UN member States having been reviewed during the second cycle, the UPR process resulted in 100 per cent participation for the second time.
The group of States to be reviewed by the Universal Periodic Review Working Group during this session are (in order of scheduled review): Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, the Philippines, Algeria, Poland, the Netherlands and South Africa. The meeting will take place in Room 20 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Representatives of the 14 countries are scheduled to come before the Working Group, which comprises the entire membership of the 47-member Human Rights Council, to present efforts they have made in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, in particular since their last UPR review, assessing both positive developments and identifying challenges. The timetable of State reviews and adoption and distribution of reports can be found below, as well as at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/UPR/UPR_27_Timetable.docx
The twenty-seventh session of the UPR Working Group marks the first session of the third UPR cycle. During the third UPR cycle, States are again expected to spell out steps they have taken to implement recommendations posed during their previous reviews, in particular those which enjoyed their support , as well as present developments that occurred since the previous review and share challenges in their follow-up action. The reports serving as the basis for these reviews can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx
"The UPR has incredible potential to improve the lives of rights holders everywhere," stated Human Rights Council President Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli. "We have seen over and over again how decisions taken here in Geneva at UPR sessions have led to real change on the ground with new human rights laws and practices, better protection for victims, improved access to social services, among other crucial steps", he added.
During the session, an interactive dialogue between the country under review and the Working Group takes place. Each country review lasts three and one-half hours and an additional half hour for each country will be devoted to the adoption of the recommendations put forward by their peers. The review for each State is facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, or troikas, who act as rapporteurs. The troikas for States to be reviewed throughout the three UPR working group sessions in 2017 were selected through a drawing of lots on Tuesday, 13 February during an organizational meeting of the Council. The troikas for the 27th session can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/UPR/UPR_27_Troikas.doc
The final outcome of the 27th session will be adopted by the plenary of the Human Rights Council at its thirty-sixth regular session taking place in September 2017.
About the Universal Periodic Review
General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, which created the Human Rights Council, 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 review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies."
Subsequently, the Universal Periodic Review mechanism was established through the adoption by the Council of its “institution-building package” - HRC resolution 5/1 - on 18 June 2007, one year after its first meeting. Among the elements of this package was the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which aims to ensure that all United Nations Member States, starting with the members of the Council, have their records examined in order to improve human rights conditions worldwide. Furthermore, the Council decided that these reviews would be conducted on one working group composed of the 47 members of the Council.
The UPR Working Group consequently held its inaugural session in April 2008 for the first group of States, the order for which was decided through the drawing of lots. With the holding of this first session the first cycle took off through which all 193 United Nations Member States have had their human rights records reviewed (April 2008 to October 2011). Subsequently, all 193 States underwent a follow-up review during the second UPR cycle (January 2012 to November 2016).
Per Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 adopted on 25 March 2011 and decision 17/119 pertaining to the review of the Council, the second and subsequent cycles of the UPR should focus on, inter alia, the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the State under review. This resolution and decision also established that the periodicity of the review for the second and subsequent cycles will be four and a half years, instead of four, and thus 42 States would be reviewed per year during three sessions of the UPR Working Group. Moreover, the order of reviews established for the first cycle was to be maintained. The calendar of State reviews for the third cycle can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/UPR/Calendar3rdCycle.doc
UPR Reporting and Objectives
In accordance with the Council’s “institution-building package”, and as reinforced by the outcome of the Council’s review adopted in March 2011, the three documents on which State reviews should be based are information prepared by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing; information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and Special Procedures, to be compiled in a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and information provided by other relevant stakeholders to the UPR including non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic institutions and research institutes, regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives, also to be summarized by OHCHR in a separate document.
Per the adopted institution-building package, the objectives of the Universal Periodic Review are: the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground; fulfilment of the State's human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of positive developments and challenges faced by the State; the enhancement of the State's capacity and of technical assistance, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the State concerned; the sharing of best practice among States and other stakeholders; support for cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights; and, the encouragement of full cooperation and engagement with the Council, other human rights bodies and OHCHR.
Timetable for the Universal Periodic Review Working Group 27th Session: (Contains links to documentation page for each State)
Monday, 1 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Bahrain
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Ecuador
Tuesday, 2 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Tunisia
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Morocco
Wednesday, 3 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Indonesia
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Finland
Thursday, 4 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of the United Kingdom
14h30 – 18h00 Review of India
Friday, 5 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Brazil
15h00 – 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Finland
Monday, 8 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of the Philippines
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Algeria
Tuesday, 9 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Poland
16h30 – 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on United Kingdom, India and Brazil
Wednesday, 10 May
09h00-12h30 Review of the Netherlands
14h30 – 18h00 Review of South Africa
Thursday, 11 May
16h30 - 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on Philippines, Algeria and Poland
Friday, 12 May
17h00 to 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on the Netherlands and South Africa
Additional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism can be located at the Universal Periodic Review webpage on the OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
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