Following the adoption of the 2011 Human Rights Council (HRC) Review Outcome last March and in preparation of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review to be started next year, several issues related to the UPR will need to be addressed at the forthcoming HRC 17th session to be held from 30 May to 17 June.
1. Periodicity and order of review
According to paragraph 4 of the Outcome of the HRC Review, the "order of review established for the first cycle of the review shall be maintained for the second and subsequent cycles."
As there will be only 14 States reviewed per session instead of 16, it was suggested to move the two last States of session 1, Czech Republic and Argentina, to the beginning of session 2, then the last four of session 2, France, Tonga, Romania and Mali, to the beginning of session 3, and so on.
However, this suggestion was rejected by certain States and therefore further consultations between the President, the Permanent Representative of Morocco, States and stakeholders will be conducted to reach an agreement.
2. Modalities for the UPR WG (time for the review and list of speakers)
Paragraph 11 of the Outcome states that "following the extension of the review cycle to four years and a half and within existing resources and workload, the duration of the working group for the review will be extended from the present three hours and the modalities will be agreed upon at the 17th session of the Council, including the list of speakers".
According to the proposal for the list of speakers contained in the Outcome, the three hours of the Working Group will be divided by the number of States in order to enable all of them to take the floor. The list will open on the Monday of the week preceding the beginning of the Working Group session. States will have four days to register online or at the desk. All States inscribed will be then arranged in alphabetical order and the HRC President will draw by lot the first speaker on the list. The list of speakers will continue from the State drawn onward. It will be possible for States to swap with other States.
3. General Guidelines for UPR documentation
Paragraph 7 of the Outcome states that "the General Guidelines for the UPR reports adopted by Council decision 6/102 shall be adjusted to the focus of the second and subsequent cycles before the 18th session of the Council".
The expected changes to decision 6/102 are the following:
- greater emphasis should be put on the information about the implementation of recommendations (currently only mentioned in paragraph G of the General guidelines);
- the information on the background of the country under review and its normative and institutional framework should only be provided if new developments took place since the last review (paragraph B of the General guidelines).
4. UPR Trust Funds (for participation and implementation).
There are two trust funds. Trust Fund 1, called the Trust Fund for Participation, aims at providing trainings to States under Review and facilitating their travel to Geneva. Trust Fund 2, or Voluntary Fund for financial and technical assistance, aims at helping States implement recommendations.
Paragraph 14 of the Outcome states that Trust Fund 1 "should be strengthened and operationalized in order to encourage a significant participation of developing countries, particularly least developing countries and small island developing states, in their review".
Paragraph 19 of the Outcome states that Trust Fund 2 "should be strengthened and operationalized, in order to provide a source of financial and technical assistance to help countries, in particular Least Developed Countries and Small Islands Developing States to implement the recommendations emanating from their review. A Board of Trustees should be established in accordance with United Nations rules".
To this end, the Secretariat has recently proposed revised Terms of Reference for both Funds.