Achievements and lessons learned at 50th session of the Human Rights Council

Mona M'Bikay

On the 15th of June 2022, the Human Rights Council held a high-level commemorative event on the occasion of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the achievement and lessons learned since its 1st session.

Mona M’Bikay, Executive Director of UPR Info, was invited to reflect and share highlights on the impact of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). After three cycles, more than 90’000 recommendations were made covering a broad range of human rights issues from civil and political rights to economic, social, and cultural rights from the protection of the rights of specific groups to international humanitarian law related issues.

The UPR is a successful mechanism: all 193 UN members participated in the process, which ensures the participation of States on an equal footing. Another element that contributes to make this human rights mechanism successful is the periodicity of the reviews. This element “fosters accountability and transparency not only to States’ peer but also towards their constituents at the national level”, stated Ms M’Bikay in her intervention. In addition, the UPR can be defined as a dynamic and responsive mechanism which can deal with emerging issues. This was clear by observing the number of recommendations that addressed the human rights consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic. 

In her statement, UPR Info’s Executive Director highlighted the importance of the role of civil society in the UPR process.  A greater participation of civil society organisations (CSOs) can be observed by the increased number of reports submitted over the three cycles; NHRIs reports have doubled. "The recommendations issues at the interactive dialogue reflect indeed national concerns, are gaining “energy” in the room XX, and are returning to the country under review for implementation”. As an example, Ms M’Bikay referred to the crucial role that CSOs played during the UPR process of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Following the advocacy efforts by CSOs working on the rights of people with disabilities, in 2019 the first-ever minister for disabled people was appointed in DRC. After two years, a bill was presented to recommend the introduction of quotas in the public and private sectors. The bill passed the National Assembly and is currently under consideration by the Senate. This initiative could improve the lives of millions in the country.

To read the full statement, please click here.