HRC holds general debate on UPR

On the 25th of September, the Human Rights Council (HRC) held a general debate on the UPR under item 6 of its 12th session where speakers stated their belief in the relevance of the UPR as well as their support.

States

Sweden on behalf of European Union (EU) urged States to give clear responses to recommendations in advance as they regretted that responses of 12 states had not been circulated in writing before the adoption. Sweden also stressed that States should clearly declare which recommendations they accept, give reasons whenever possible and refrain from making recommendations that might undermine the protection of human rights. Bangladesh stated that countries should refrain from making politicized or out of context recommendations. On the same line the Republic of Korea urged States to be sincere when making recommendations, not over-critical or over-laudable; and reminded the State under Review (SuR) not to get defensive when replying.

Uruguay on behalf MERCOSUR highlighted the importance of effective follow-up on the review as well as the complementarity of UPR to other approaches while Sweden, still on behalf of the EU, USA and France underlined the importance of civil society.

France, Nigeria and Japan, among others, voiced a general concern on the translation of Working Group reports into all UN official languages. Russia stressed this concern by stating that this was the real problem as it is vital to keep to agreed rules of procedure.

On the speakers list Japan's concern was its restrictiveness as many States as possible should be allowed to speak and, in their view, the speaking time should not be divided by regional groups. The Republic of Korea thought that all states should be allowed to make statements while the United States of America voiced its concern about the lack of full participation of all states as it impairs the true universality and equal opportunity of the mechanism and suggested, as did the Republic of Korean last June, that allotted time should be divided by the number of states wanting to speak. On this same issue Russia commented that it viewed the queues to speakers lists as a shortcoming and a technicality that did not require urgent action from the council. Bangladesh followed this view by stating that the list of speakers is an issue, but it is simply a procedural one. Turkey stressed that the position in the non-paper by the secretariat issued on the 26th of august is not a final solution, as it leaves the responsibility in the hands of the regional groups and suggested the division of the total time by number of states wanting to speak provided that the time never be less than 1 minute per state.

Civil society

The International Service of Human Rights (ISHR) commented that a number of States are making recommendations contrary to treary bodies or not complying with international human rights law. It called on the HRC President to make a statement calling on States to make recommendations in accordance with the basis of the review. SuR should provide clear response to recommendations and the follow-up should no be left to NGO but is the responsibility of the HRC.

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network welcomed the format of Vanuatu's addendum and urged all states to circulate positions in writing in advance. And on NGOs statements they clarified that according to resolution 5/1 they are not required to refer to specific recommendations and would thus ask that the HRC and its member States would safeguard the participation of the civil society by refraining from enthusiastic use of points of order during their statements.