Despite no reviews nor adoptions taking place, October was an eventful month for the Universal Periodic Review. The Human Rights Council review Working Group held its first session from 25th to 29th October.
After adopting the programme of work and holding a general discussion on the Work and Functioning of the Council in accordance with the General Assembly mandate on Monday, the Working Group moved on Tuesday to discuss the Universal Periodic Review. Giuliano Comba, head of UPR Unit at the OHCHR, presented the proposals of the Office to improve the UPR. Following, States, National human rights institutions and NGOs took the floor to provide their inputs. The main issues debated were: the length of the cycle, the gap between the first and second cycle, the organisation of the calendar of the UPR, the length of the review / speakers’ list, recommendations, mid-term reports, the second cycle, the role for NHRIs, NGO participation and technical assistance.
On Friday, States, NHRIs and NGOs restated their position and reacted to other actors’ proposals. At the end of the day, the HRC President presented a “Compilation of States proposals” and a “List of stakeholders contributions” listing inputs on all issues made orally during the week. He also appointed His Excellency Mr. Omar Hilale, Ambassador of Morocco as facilitator on the UPR. Negotiations will continue over the coming weeks. The next stage of the review is the retreat in Bangkok in December organised by the President before the second session of the Working Group from 17th to 21st January 2011.
Today started the 9th session of the UPR. The 16 States to be reviewed are, in order: Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, United States, Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, Libya, Micronesia, Lebanon and Mauritania. Among the numerous events which will take place during this session, worth of noting is the mock UPR the United States delegation will hold with the civil society on Friday the 5th after the official review.
UPR Info engaged fully in the review of the HRC. We released at the beginning of the month an analytical assessment on the two first years of the UPR. On October the 7th, we held, with the support of the Open Society Institute, a one-day workshop with 30 NGOs from Geneva and abroad. Participants shared their assessment of the mechanism and proposals to strengthen it. Following this, we drafted a contribution to the HRC review containing seven key issues which needed to be addressed: national consultations, introduction of the OHCHR compilation and summary during the interactive dialogue, recommendations, responses to recommendations, follow-up assessment, second cycle and the participation of non-accredited ECOSOC NGOs. This contribution was signed on by 37 NGOs and presented by statement to the HRC on Wednesday morning as well as posted on the OHCHR extranet. Finally, we prepared two documents in regards to the review: a compilation of all written proposals on the UPR available on the extranet and a compilation of proposals on the UPR made orally on Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27.