New article on the added value of UPR as a Human Rights Mechanism

new study/article

The three cycles of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) have seen continuous increase in participation from all stakeholders. There is 100% participation by member states, increased interest from Recommending States and increased engagement from diverse actors like NGOs, NHRIs, parliamentarians, media, and youth. In addition to participation, the number of recommendations has also grown over the three cycles.

An article analysing the added value of UPR written by PhD candidate Kazuo Fukuda, was published in the Northwestern Journal of Human Rights on the 30th of March, under the title “Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review as a Forum of Fighting for Borderline Recommendations? Lessons Learned from the Ground”.

Below you may find the link to the full article and the abstract:

Kazuo Fukuda, Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review as a Forum of Fighting for Borderline Recommendations? Lessons Learned from the Ground, 20 NW. J. HUM. RTS. 63 (2022). https://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/njihr/vol20/iss2/1

ABSTRACT—Highly acclaimed as a key innovation of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was created in 2006 as a cooperative, peer-review mechanism to shift away from the highly politicized Commission on Human Rights. Despite the significance and hope attached to the UPR, it has been conspicuously under-examined in the U.S. legal scholarship. And most relevant literature elsewhere has avoided directly addressing the fundamental question of exactly what the UPR’s added value is to the global human rights regime in terms of its direct contribution to improving human rights situations on the ground. This is mainly due to methodological and analytical challenges to measure the impact of the UPR in isolation from other existing human rights mechanisms. While acknowledging such challenges, this article attempts to provide one such answer to the question from a normative perspective: it argues that the UPR’s added value lies in providing a forum to incrementally and constantly challenge the threshold of states under review for accepting their commitment to addressing controversial human rights issues. Drawing from the experiences of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and other countries as well as the literature on peer pressure and acculturation, this article articulates the current issues of the UPR mechanism in terms of recommendations given to states under review by their peers and suggests the way forward for the UPR mechanism by reframing it as a forum of fighting for borderline recommendations.


*The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of UPR Info