During the general debate under item 6 held on June 9, most States and NGOs took the floor to share the progress made (or not) by their country on implementing recommendations. Switzerland submitted a mid-term report while Azerbaijan, China, Colombia, Spain, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and the Colombian Commission of Jurist provided oral updates.
During these three day adoptions, Canada organised the first side event on the follow-up. Delegations reviewed during the fourth session of the UPR were invited to present their progress made in implementing the recommendations received in February 2009. Delegates from Mauritius, Mexico, Senegal, Canada and Jordan took part in the event but only one national NGO (from Canada) was present. We hope that other States will follow this initiative in the future and that numerous NGOs will participate.
Last February, the Bahá’í International Community published the first ever NGO follow-up report on the implementation of recommendations. Their very detailed analysis of the implementation by the Government of Iran of eight recommendations pertaining to the Bahá’í Community is a model for NGO reporting.
On June 17, the HRC adopted decision A/HRC/17/L.29 on the "Follow up to the Human Rights Council Resolution 16/21 with regard to the Universal Periodic Review". The adoption on 25 March by the HRC of resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21 on the 2011 HRC Review had left several issues pending in relation to the second cycle of the UPR which were then discussed in three informal consultations in May and June. We now know the exact modalities for the second cycle of the UPR:
- The second and subsequent cycles will last 4.5 years.
- There will be 14 sessions per cycle.
- Only 14 States will be reviewed per session.
- Each review will last 3.5 hours. The State under Review will be given 70 minutes and other States 140 minutes.
- The order of review will be exactly the same. As there will be only by 14 States reviewed per session, the two last States of session 1, Czech Republic and Argentina, will be moved to the beginning of session 2, the last four of session 2, France, Tonga, Romania and Mali, will be moved to the beginning of session 3, etc.
- The first session of the second cycle will be held in June 2012. Session 2 will be held in October. There will be only two sessions in 2012. As of 2013, sessions will be held in January, May and October.
- The second and subsequent cycles of the review should focus on, inter alia, the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the State under review.
- The list of speakers will open on the Monday of the week preceding the beginning of the Working Group session. For each review, States will be arranged in English alphabetical order and the beginning of the list will be drawn by lot. States will be able to swap place. All States will be given the floor. If needed be, time per speaker will be reduced to two minutes each and the 140 minutes will be divided by the number of speakers.
- The General Guidelines (HRC Decision 6/102) for the drafting of the three reports that form the basis of the review were slightly modified to give greater emphasis on the need for States to report on the implementation of recommendations.
On June 20, the HRC selected the troika members for the twelfth session of the UPR to be held from 3 to 14 October.
At UPR Info, we produced summaries of each informal consultation and prepared a document explaining all the new modalities for the second UPR cycle.
We also have started our follow-up project. We have already written to several States reviewed in 2008 as well as to the NGOs which had submitted information to the Office of the High Commissioner and to National human rights institutions. Depending on the State under Review and the number of recommendations received, the workload of this project is very heavy for all actors. However, we believe this mid-term picture is of great value to the process: States under Review have the possibility to easily communicate their progress made; the civil society is able to share its perspective from the field. We therefore strongly hope at UPR Info that thanks to this project and the participation of all UPR actors, the mechanism will be strengthened!