[UPR Trax] No 60: 2016: The evolving landscape of human rights

2016 will be an important year for international human rights. At the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG), this year marks both the 10-year anniversary of the Human Rights Council (HRC), as well as the end of the second cyle of the UPR (2012-2016). Both occasions provide timely opportunities to reflect upon the challenges faced, and achievements made in the advancemnet of human rights over the last decade. The New Year commenced with the 24th Session of the UPR Working Group, presided over by H.E. Choi Kyong-lim, the new President of the HRC. Session 25 (May 2016) and Session 26 (November 2016) will bring the Second Cycle of the UPR to an close.

Discussions have now turned to the third cycle, providing an opportunity to look back at the many achievements of the UPR - a discussion to be continued at the 31st Session of the HRC in February/March of this year. Finally, 2016 will be a seminal year for human rights in the context of development, as the 2030 Agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has been largely finalised. The SDGs so far exhibit valuable political commitment and momentum to advance the common good and take collective responsibility for an extensive range of pressing global issues including the eradication of extreme poverty, promoting sustainability and combatting all forms of inequality. Without doubt, human rights issues feature strongly throughout the goals and targets, and provide important impetus for increased accountability. Though the review framework for the SDGs has not yet been finalised, it is likely that the UPR will be an important meterstick from which to model the new international peer-review processus. With a remarkable 100% participation rate of all UN Member States, many lessons can be learned from the success of the UPR, especially given the significant compatibility of the SDGs and the UPR. Stay tuned!  

24th Session of the UPR
The refugee crisis and climate change amongst key human rights concerns raised during the inter-active dialogues
The 24th Session of the UPR Working Group took place on the 18-29 January 2016 at Palais des Nations, Geneva. During the session, the following 14 States underwent their second-cycle UPR: Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia, Paraguay, Belgium, Denmark, Palau, Somalia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Latvia, Sierra Leone, and Singapore. During the 14 inter-active dialogues, a total of 2662 recommendations were made and 901 statements were delivered by the UN Member States and observers. In addition, the 24th Session provided some food for thought regarding the upcoming Third Cycle. Read more here.
UPR Info's Pre-sessions 25
Save the date: 30 March - 1 April 2016 
UPR Info is organising its thirteenth round of Pre-sessions to discuss the human rights situation of the States to be reviewed at the 25th Session of the UPR Working Group (May 2016): Antigua and Barbuda; Greece; Hungary; Ireland; Papua New Guinea; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Tajikistan; Tanzania (United Republic of); Thailand; and Trinidad and Tobago. The Pre-sessions will take place on 30 March to 1 April 2016 at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève (CICG), 17 rue de Varembé, Geneva. The Pre-sessions are open to the public. Read more here.

Debating UPR experience to date in Dublin conference

Ireland commemorated the ten-year anniversary of the Human Rights Council
UPR Info was invited to speak at a panel on "The Universal Periodic Review: Experience to date", within the conference on the ten-year anniversary of the Human Rights Council organised on 19 February by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland. Starting off with the achievements of the process so far, Roland Chauville, Executive director of UPR Info, explained that the UPR had ensured that all countries accounted for their human rights records in front of the international community. Read more here.

UPR 22
Recommendations now available
The 2,749 recommendations made during the 22th session of the UPR Working Group (May 2015) are now available in our database. The recommendations were directed to the following 14 States under Review: Andorra, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Jamaica, Libya, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama, and the United States. Overall, the 14 States under Review accepted 73,3% of the recommendations. Read more here.
UPR Session 23 
reports to be adopted 16-18 March
The adoption will take place during the 31st Session of the Human Rights Council
The Working Group (WG) Reports of States reviewed during the 23rd Session of the UPR (November 2015) will be adopted from 16 to 18 March 2016. A general debate on the process will then follow. The WG Reports will be adopted on the following States:  Australia, Austria, Georgia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Micronesia (Federated States of), Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, Oman, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Sao Tome and Principe. Read more here.

List of Troika members for UPR sessions 24, 25 & 26 now available
The list was released in January 2016
On 12 January 2016, the Human Rights Council (HRC) selected the Troika members for the States to be reviewed at sessions 24 (18 – 29 January 2016), 25 (2 – 13 May 2016) and 26 (31 October – 11 December 2016) of the UPR Working Group. Read more here

Quiz: how much do you know about the UPR?

Test your knowledge and learn new facts with our interactive UPR Quiz


Participation of Thai CSOs in UPR National Consultation
UPR Info Asia supported multistakeholder dialogue for the UPR of Thailand
On 11 May 2016, Thailand will undergo its second review. In this context, the Royal Thai Government, in cooperation with UPR Info Asia, held a National Consultation in December 2015 to ensure local voices could be heard by the Government prior to the State Report (to be submitted in early 2016). Prior to the Dialogue-day, UPR Info Asia co-organised, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, a one-day preparatory meeting for Thai civil society organisations to support interventions by local groups with the Government. Read more here.

UPR Info Asia to collaborate with the National Human Rights Coalition of Thailand
On 1 February 2016, UPR Info Asia officially launched its cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT), which will pursue to ensure the effective engagement of the Commissioners and NHRCT staff in Thailand's 2nd UPR. In addition, the partnership will seek to facilitate the dialogue between Thai Civil Society and the Government during the implementation phase. UPR Info Asia Regional Representative, Ms. Emilie Pradichit, met with the Chairperson of the NHRCT, Mr. What Tingsamitr, together with 3 Commissioners. Read more here

Thai Civil Society to take centre stage at Diplomatic Dialogue
On 16 March 2016, a UPR Inclusive Diplomatic Dialogue between Thai local groups and diplomats on the human rights situation in Thailand, will take place in Bangkok, organized by UPR Info Asia, the Thai CSOs Coalition for the UPR and the Embassy of Switzerland, with support from the EU Delegation in Thailand. The objective on the inclusive dialogue is to give the opportunity to local human rights defenders to present the human rights situation in Thailand. Read more here

Thai CSOs come together in UPR Coalition
The workshop brought together 138 participants
On 8-9 February 2016, UPR Info Asia and Chulanongkorn University organized a two-day CSO Coalition Building Workshop entitled "Working Together to Foster Solidarity", to ensure Thai Civil Society can effectively engage in Thailand's 2nd UPR cycle by following a coordinated approach. The purpose of the workshop was for Thai local groups to come together as "one strong and powerful voice" by forming the "Thai CSO Coalition for the UPR", comprising human rights organisations across sectors. Read more here.


I would like to draw attention to the interest generated in the international community by the UPR as well as the importance of this mechanism at the national level [...] it enhances the credibility of the UPR process and ensures the success of the second cycle. We should be mindful of what and how we should prepare for the third cycle: I invite all delegations to take the opportunity of reflecting on the coming month how to improve the mechanism

President of UN Human Rights Council, Choi Kyong-lim, Closing remarks, 24th Session of the UPR Working Group

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