The Human Rights Council (HRC) held on Friday 19 March a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review. Member-States, observers and NGOs took the floor to discuss the mechanism and raised several issues among which: the speaker’s list, reporting under item 6, the responses to recommendations, the reasons for rejecting them and the second cycle.
The main issue discussed was again the list of speakers. India called on UPR actors to take a decision rather than waiting for an ideal proposal and, followed by Norway and Ukraine, supported the last proposal of the Secretariat. For Japan, as many countries as possible should be able to take the floor. Algeria asked for the list to be open to everyone while Azerbaijan suggested dividing the time by the number of speakers. For Amnesty International, the incapacity of States to solve this issue was symptomatic of the HRC problems. Finally, Japan proposed that recommendations not read out during the interactive dialogue be included in the Report.
Reporting under item 6
China insisted on the fact that reporting under item 6 about the implementation of recommendations should be made on voluntary basis only. On the contrary, Morocco saluted this practice and suggested to make it part of the HRC 2011 review. On the same line, Nigeria, on behalf of the African Union, called on all stakeholders to periodically provide updates on the level of implementation of recommendations. Similarly, Azerbaijan underlined that reporting on the follow-up was a good practice which should be encouraged.
Responses to recommendations
Norway, the Canadian Legal Resource Center and FIACAT underlined the importance to provide clear responses to recommendations in writing and in advance of plenary sessions.
Reasons for rejecting recommendations
Canada, Israel and the International Service for Human Rights criticized certain reasons given by States to reject recommendations, such as not being part of the basis of the review, being factually wrong, being inconsistent with resolution 5/1, not being pertaining to internationally recognized human rights or contrary to national legislations.
India questioned whether the second cycle should look at the recommendations accepted but not implemented, at the implemented ones or at both. Morocco stated the reports of the second cycle should not be a repetition of the first reports but an update of the information and a follow-up of the first cycle.
Nigeria, on behalf of the African group, suggested that the Trust fund be used not only for the participation of the developing States to the UPR but also to help them implementing recommendations. India proposed to uniform terminology in order to "limit the number" of recommendations.
Finally, China, the United Kingdom, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates presented information on the implementation of recommendations in their country.