Monday 9 July 2012
The follow-up of the UPR recommendations is an important part of the UPR process. It is at this phase that States, both those making recommendations and those under review, demonstrate their engagement and commitment not only to the protection and promotion of human rights but also to improving the human rights situation on the ground; the core objective of the UPR process. The second cycle of the UPR, according to Human Rights Council Resolutions 5/1 and 16/21, should focus inter alia on implementation. Consequently, the success of the second cycle of the UPR is based on the assessment of the implementation of recommendations made to States in the previous cycle. As such “reviewing” States have a vital role to play during this cycle, through monitoring the outcome of their particular recommendations made during the previous cycle of the UPR to specific States reviewed and subsequently by formulating their second cycle recommendations accordingly.
In comparing the recommendations that the 14 States under Review received during the first cycle with those put forth in the recent thirteenth session, it appears that few States followed up their 1st cycle recommendations in the 13th session of the UPR. Indeed, only 16% (57 out of 343) of recommendations made in 2008 have been followed up by similar or additional recommendations at the 13th session. This would imply that 84% of the 2008 recommendations have been fully implemented. This seems doubtful knowing that the average percentage of recommendations fully implemented at the mid-term is usually around 10%.
Furthermore, less than half of recommending states, who participated both in the first and second cycle, made similar or follow-up recommendations to the same States under Review, thus missing the opportunity to comment on implementation and recommend further measures.
Recommending States which follow-up first cycle recommendations have made recommendations in two main ways. In some cases States chose to reiterate their previous recommendations, resulting in new recommendations very similar to their past recommendations, while other States made recommendations which called on the State under Review (SuR) to take further steps in the same direction as previously recommended, recognizing in some cases the outcome of their previously made recommendations. Ecuador and Egypt, for example, repeated their previous cycle recommendations to both Finland and the United Kingdom to sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICRMW). Mexico recommended Finland to continue to take effective measures to prevent violence against women in 2008 and to give special attention to the prevention of domestic violence against women and children while Slovenia recommended India in 2008 to follow up on CEDAW recommendations to amend the Special Marriage Act in the light of article 16 and the Committee’s general recommendation 21 and in 2012 to amend the Special Marriage Act before its next review (2012) In addition, the Russian Federation recommended that Poland and the United Kingdom take measures to reduce prison overcrowding at both cycles of the UPR.
On the other hand, Slovenia seized the opportunity at the second cycle review of the Philippines to follow up its previous cycle recommendation, which called on the Philippines to consider the ratification of the Optional Protocol to CAT (OPCAT), by calling on the Philippines through its 2012 recommendation to withdraw its reservations to OPCAT.