[UPR Trax] :No21: HRC Review Outcome provides for little change on the UPR

On Thursday, February 24, the Open-ended Working Group on the Review of the Human Rights Council (HRC) concluded its second session with the adoption of an "Outcome of the Review of the Work and Functioning of the United Nations Human Rights Council". This outcome contains modifications to resolution 5/1, as well as new modalities for the work and functioning of the HRC. The outcome was adopted by consensus in the late hours of Thursday, February 24, the last day of the Working Group after several months of negotiations and meetings. However, many States and NGOs expressed their disappointment in regards to the content of the document. Their main critique was the failure of the Working Group to create trigger mechanisms that enable the HRC to react to urgent country situations and allowing for other stakeholders such as the United Nations Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the HRC President to bring particular country situations to the HRC’s attention. This outcome will be adopted by the HRC at its 16th session, which will be held until March 25, and then sent to the General Assembly in New York.

The changes brought by this outcome on the UPR modalities are few. Here are the main ones:

  • The length of the cycle will be 4,5 years instead of 4.
  • The first session of the second cycle will start in June 2012.
  • The list of speakers will now open on the Monday of the week preceding the beginning of the Working Group session and States will be arranged in alphabetical order. The beginning of the list will be drawn by lot.
  • The general guidelines (HRC Decision 6/102) for the drafting of the three reports that form the basis of the review will be modified for the second cycle by the HRC 18th session to be held in September 2011.
  • National Human Rights Institutions with A status will have a dedicated section in the summary of other stakeholders’ information and will be given the floor directly after the State under Review during the adoption at the HRC plenary session.
  • States should submit its responses in a written format to all recommendations received during their review.
  • States are encouraged to conduct national consultations with civil society on the follow-up.
  • States are encouraged to provide mid-term updates on the implementation of their recommendations between two reviews.

From March 16th to 18th, the HRC will adopt the Reports of the Working Group of States reviewed during session 9 last November. Those countries include (in order of adoption): Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, United States, Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, Libya, Micronesia, Lebanon and Mauritania. The 16 adoptions will be followed, as usual, by a two-hour general debate on the UPR.


On UPR-info.org, we have co-developed with the Irish Council for Civil Liberties a Plain English Guide on the Universal Periodic Review. This guide is based on the information available in the Q&A section of our website and is simplified to meet Plain English criteria. Plain English is a writing style that makes knowledge understandable to readers in the first reading. The Guide was certified by the National Literacy Agency. It is tailored to the review of Ireland but can be used as a general resource for information on the UPR.

Recommendations from session 8 are finally in our database. The percentage of recommendations with unclear positions has reduced again to reach 1.8 % of recommendations (4.2 % for session 7 and 13.9 % for sessions 1 through 6). The percentage of recommendations not answered has increased from 2.3 % in session 7 to 6.1 % in session 8. However, this is still lower than the average of 8.5 % from sessions 1 through 6. Also, the percentage of recommendations that call for a specific action has increased by three percentage points from the previous session (30.7 % for session 7, and 33.7 % for session 8).

Quote of the month

“The review could have provided the second cycle of the UPR with the modalities needed to seriously and effectively work towards the ‘improvement of the human rights situation on the ground’ by ensuring that all States actually work in good faith towards the implementation of UPR recommendations. It has failed.”

Statement by Amnesty International, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the International Commission of Jurists and the International Service for Human Rights, delivered after the adoption of the Outcome on the HRC review, 24 February 2011.

Interview of the month

Our interviewee of the month is Bertrand G. Ramcharan, former Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights and President of UPR Info:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SY4jMcaF44

News on the UPR

  • Working Group on the Review of the HRC adopts outcome by consensus - 2 March 2011

On Thursday, February 24, the Open-ended Working Group on the Review of the Human Rights Council (HRC) concluded its second session with the adoption of an Outcome of the Review of the Work and Functioning of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Read more here…

  • Working Group on the HRC review holds the second part of its second session - 21 February 2011

On February 17 and 18, the Open-ended Working Group on the Human Rights Council (HRC) review held the second part of its second session. States and other stakeholders were given the opportunity to react to the HRC President’s Negotiating text circulated on Monday 14. Read more here…

  • HRC President releases his "Negotiating text" on the HRC review- 16 February 2011

On February 14, the President of the Human Rights Council (HRC), H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, released his "Negotiating text" which was drafted after the discussions held on the first day of the Second session of the HRC Review Working Group, February 7th. Read more here…

  • HRC begins the second session of the Working Group on its review - 12 February 2011

On February 7, the Human Rights Council (HRC) began the second session of the Open-ended Working Group on the HRC review. This second session will be divided into three mini sessions which will be held on February 7, 17-18, and 23-24. Read more here…

News on UPR-info.org

  • Recommendations from Session 8 available in our Database - 2 March 2011

Recommendations made during Session 8 of the UPR Working Group (May 2010) are finally available in our Database. A total of 2107 recommendations were made by 116 States.

  • Plain English Guide on the UPR - 18 February 2011

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties with UPR Info developed a Plain English Guide on the Universal Periodic Review. Read more here…