UPR Info and States discuss follow-up and mid-term reporting

On Thursday, September 18th 2014, UPR Info participated in a side event hosted by the Governments of the Kingdom of Morocco and the United Kingdom. It also included the participation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Universal Rights Group and the Permanent Missions of México, Finland, Mauritius and Thailand. 

This side event was a success in matters of assistance and participation and proved to be a good way to exchange, in a interregional setting, good experiences and practices on midterm progress reports and national mechanisms for the follow-up of the recommendations made in the UPR.

Follow-up to recommendations

In regards of this matter, Mr. Bacre Ndiaye - the Representative of the OHCHR - pointed out the relevance of the creation of a national plan of action with clear responsibilities and timelines. National plans were considered one of the most useful tools in the implementation process, specially emphasized by Thailand that has developed its new in 2013 and Mexico that currently is on their fourth. Mexico's representative underlined the interesting opportunity they had when the drafting of their last national plan concurred with their UPR session on the second cycle, which allowed his government to include the UPR recommendations in it.

Along with the nation plans, the creation of inter-ministerial mechanisms on human rights was given a lot of importance by countries such as Thailand, Mexico and Mauritius. Mexico's inter-ministerial coalition, 10 years after its establishment, already includes 53 areas of the government and Mauritius has managed to develop two of these mechanisms, a human rights unit within the Prime Minister’s office and a human rights monitoring committee which include ministries, the national institution, the ombudsman, NGOs and trade unions.

Mr. Ndiaye stated that countries have also found useful to create national databases with the recommendations received as a good way to monitor their implementation. This argument was supported by Mexico that already has a database and Morocco, whose Representative also highlighted the technical assistance provided by the OHCHR on this matter.

Almost all panelists highlighted the relevance of the input of all stakeholders, especially Civil Society Organizations, which is considered a key factor to succeed in all stages of the UPR process. Mr. Roland Chauville, from UPR Info, pointed out that this was not always the case, since NGOs sometimes face problems coordinating with each other at a national level and reaching out to the government as well as lack financial support to engage in the follow-up. Morocco's representative, Mr. Mahjoub El Haiba, included universities and the academia in general among these stakeholders.

Mid-term progress report

Mid-term reports were valued as a very interesting tool by the panelists as all participating countries planned on or had already submitted one. Mid-term reports are considered to be a good way to evaluate the work that has been done so far, learn from it and allow the process to move forward.

The importance of mid-term reporting by all stakeholders was highlighted by Mr. Chauville, as it helps taking stock of the level of implementation of recommendations. A new study made by UPR Info shows that, after three years, 48% of all recommendations have triggered action; 18% have been fully implemented and 30% partially.

General comments to the UPR process

Aside from the main points of debate, other relevant issues were raised related to the UPR process. Special importance was given to the specificity of the recommendations: according to Mr. Chauville only a 30% of the total are considered specific. This presented a challenged to reporting  since vague recommendations are harder to implement and evaluate.

The panelists' presentation was followed by a wide range of comments and questions made by the audience.