[UPR Trax] No31: UPR second cycle starts with vigor
NEWSLETTER 31 – May-June 2012
The second cycle of the UPR kicked off with the 13th session of the UPR Working Group at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 21 May 2012 – 4 June 2012. The human rights records of the following 14 States were reviewed: Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom. It was a promising 13th session with the participation of high level delegations headed notably by one Vice-President and ten Ministers. Three key elements were at stake at this session in the perspective of the second cycle: the list of speakers, the number of recommendations made and the assessment of the implementation of first cycle recommendations.
An average of 68.1 statements were made per Review at the 13th session. When these same 14 States were reviewed in 2008, the average was 46.4 statements, denoting an increase of nearly 20 statements per Review. Most States under Review took advantage of the ten minute increased allocation of time, with exceptions including South Africa and India which had about 20 minutes left over. The new modalities for the list of speakers were a success. The President of the Human Rights Council (HRC) enforced the time limit very strictly and cut off microphones at the said time. Some recommendations were not included because the delegations did not have the time to read them out, but everything was handled smoothly. Additionally, swapping places was not used very often. Only eight countries in total swapped places on Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, the Netherlands, South Africa, Philippines and Poland.
In total, about 2000 recommendations were made during the 13th session, a figure along the same lines as the last sessions of the first cycle. Half of States (Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, India, Netherlands, Poland, South Africa and the United Kingdom) chose to postpone their responses to recommendations to the Human Rights Council adoption in September. Attempts to cluster recommendations in the Reports of the Working Group have also been undertaken. In addition, Ecuador, Finland and Morocco made voluntary pledges.
According to Resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21, the second cycle should look into developments since the first review and assessments of the implementation of 2008 recommendations. The majority of States under Review took this opportunity in both their National Reports and during their opening statements. However, overall, few “reviewing States” made reference to the recommendations they had made or others had made at the first cycle. It is worth noting that most of the States which fought during the 2011 HRC Review to have the second cycle concentrating mostly on the implementation of 2008 recommendations did not make reference to them.
Lastly, the HRC President made a notable statement during the adoption of Bahrain’s Working Group draft report. She took the floor to deplore a press campaign in Bahrain against the human rights defenders who travelled to Geneva to participate in the UPR and asked the delegation to protect them upon their return home.
On 3 May, the Permanent Missions of Morocco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom organised an informal discussion among States on the second cycle of the UPR that triggered fruitful exchanges with the intention of sparking further discussion and reflection upon ways to strengthen the UPR mechanism.
The HRC also selected the troika members for States to be reviewed at the 14th session (22 October - 5 November 2012) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights changed the deadlines for the submission of information from civil society at 16th session of the UPR Working Group to be held in May/June 2013. The new deadlines are now 2 October 2012 (instead of 5 November) and 9 October 2012 (instead of 12 November).
At UPR Info, between the months of January and March, we teamed up with Mandat International to conduct a survey to make the process through which States draft their interventions for the UPR working group publicly available. 31 States provided insights into their drafting processes, and we hope that this information helps facilitate NGO’s interaction and advocacy efforts with States.
We held our General Assembly on 27 April 2012 during which time the 2011 Annual Report was approved.
Finally, the Follow-up Programme is now working on session 6 and the first report to be published will be on Cambodia.
Please find more detailed information on these issues in the news below.
Quote of the month
“Iran recommends to fully implement all recommendations made to it by the UN mandate holders including the immediate end of violence and release of all political prisoners and ending impunity thus bringing perpetrators to justice”
H.E. Mr. Mohammad Reza Sajjadi, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Iran, Universal Periodic Review of Bahrain, 25 May 2012.
Interview of the month
Our interviewee of the month is Mr. Christophe Peschoux, Chief of the UPR section at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He explains to us the work of his team in preparing the compilation, the summary and the report of the Working Group for each review as well as its engagement in the field:
Deadlines for NGO participation in the UPR
- 4 June 2012: Deadline for the submission of NGO written statements for HRC 20th session (18 June – 6 July 2012)
- 4 June 2012: Deadline for requests for NGO parallel-event rooms for HRC 20th session
- 15 June 2012: Opening of the speaker’s list of the HRC 20th session and notably the general debate under item 6. Form to be filled in available here.
- 9 July 2012: Deadline for the submission of information on States reviewed during the 15th UPR session (Jan/Feb 2013): France, Tonga, Romania, Mali, Botswana, Bahamas, and Burundi.
- 16 July 2012: Deadline for the submission of information on States reviewed during the 15th UPR session (Jan/Feb 2013): Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Liechtenstein and Serbia.
- New! 2 October 2012 (instead of 5 November): Deadline for the submission of information on States reviewed during the 16th UPR session (May/June 2013): Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Colombia, Germany, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, and Uzbekistan.
- New! 9 October 2012 (instead of 12 November): Deadline for the submission of information on States reviewed during the 16th UPR session (May/June 2013): Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Canada, Cuba, Djibouti, and Russian Federation.
Deadlines for the entire the second cycle (sessions 13 to 26) are available by country and by session.
Latest documents on UPR Info
- The Cambodian League for the Promotion & Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Two Years After UN Human Rights Review,Cambodia Continues to Ignore Key Recommendations, March 2012.
- UPR Info's Financial Report 2011.
- UPR Info's Annual Report 2011.
- List of troikas for session 14 (22 October - 5 November 2012).
- List of troikas for session 13 (21 May - 4 June 2012).
News on the UPR
- Change of the deadlines for submission of information at the 16th UPR session - 4 June 2012
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) just changed the deadlines for the submission of information from civil society at 16th session of the UPR Working Group to be held in May/June 2013. More…
- HRC President calls on Bahrain to protect defenders threatened for participating in the UPR - 29 May 2012
On May 25th, the President of the Human Rights Council (the Council), H.E. Ambassador Laura Dupuy Lasserre, made a statement during the adoption of the Working Group report of Bahrain to ask the delegation to protect upon their return Bahraini human rights defenders threatened in the press for participating in the UPR process. More…
- Informal discussion on second cycle of the UPR - 23 May 2012
The Permanent Missions of the Kingdom of Morocco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom organised informal discussion on the second cycle of the UPR on 3 May, with the intention of generating further discussions within States. More…
- List of Troika members for session 13 and 14 - 7 May 2012
On May the 3rd, the Human Rights Council selected the troika members for States to be reviewed at session 13 (21 May - 4 June 2012) and 14 (22 October - 5 November 2012). More…
- Lists of speakers for UPR 13th session will open on Thursday the 10th - 4 May 2012
The lists of speakers for the 13th session of the UPR Working Group will open on Thursday the 10th at 10am in room E3058 of the Palais des Nations. More…
News at UPR Info
- 31 States provide insights on their drafting process for UPR statements - 3 June 2012
Mandat International and UPR Info have been requested by a number of NGOs to conduct a survey seeking out the process through which States draft their interventions for the UPR working group. The aim of this survey is to improve NGOs understanding of these processes, in a view to facilitate their interaction and advocacy efforts with States. More…
- UPR Info’s Annual Report 2011 - 8 May 2012
2011 marked the end of the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). UPR Info concluded this first cycle by closely following the completion of the Human Rights Council review in March 2011 and its follow-up decision in June, by organising a highly attended celebration of the first cycle in October and by launching ground-breaking tutorials on the UPR process. Finally, in order to prepare for the second cycle, we started a new project on the Follow-up to the UPR recommendations. The project has produced and published assessments of the implementation of recommendations in 36 countries at mid-term. More…