​New Guidance Note for States’ national reports for the third UPR cycle

A New Guidance Note for States' national reports for the third cycle of the UPR has been published by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR). During the first and second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), national reports submitted by the States under Review provided key updates on their human rights situation. As the third cycle of the UPR approaches, and with the aim to encourage States to focus on the level on implementation and report on the accepted and noted recommendations, the OHCHR has developed a new Guidance Note for States and has devised 'Matrices of recommendations of countries to be reviewed during the 3rd cycle of the UPR'. The purpose of the matrices is to collect precise and specific information on the level of implementation, in the State under review, of both the accepted and noted recommendations from their previous reviews.

Technical Guidelines

This updated Guidance Note provides very clear instructions on how to successfully engage with the UPR mechanism. It reiterates formatting constraints, such as: word limits, 10700 words; format, Word; the report has to be in one of the 6 United Nations languages; further information, such as clustered recommendations (matrix) can be annexed and endnotes can be used to for references; neither are included in the word count. The document also offers practical suggestions in regards to appropriate content, for example: the need to focus on measures and steps taken to implement previous recommendation, to clearly identify the recommendations being referred to (recommendation number, document number etc), to clearly identify Voluntary pledges and commitments and to use a format with 5 sections (A/,B/,C...). In addition, in Annex I and II of the document, a Guideline for the National Report (Decision 17/119) and a Guidance on Thematic Clustering is provided. The aim of the second is to offer “examples to States in the way in which the information provided in the national report may be thematically organized”.

The guidance note, which offers essential support to States, explains that they have to submit their national report to the OHCHR by the deadline. The tentative deadline is included in the calendar of the cycle and the final one will be communicated approximately 13 to 12 weeks prior to the session. The next deadlines for national report submissions are 3 February 2017 (for the 27th session of the UPR Working Group) and 7 August 2017 (for the 28th session). 

Third Cycle Matrices

States are encouraged to annex a matrix: “a table of the recommendations, ideally thematically clustered to their national report, including a column providing a self-assessment of the status of implementation of each recommendation”. With the third cycle (27th UPR session) of the UPR due to begin in April 2017 the OHCHR has released a country specific matrix for each of the 14 States under  review: BahrainEcuadorTunisiaMoroccoIndonesiaFinlandUnited KingdomIndiaBrazilPhilippinesAlgeriaPolandNetherlands, and South Africa.

For further information the Guidance Note can be found here and the matrices are made available on our website.