These Reports’ adoptions will be marked by new modalities for the list of speakers for both States and NGOs. Whenever more than 13 States are inscribed on the list, 13 will be drawn by lot by the Council’s President and each country will have 1.5 minute to speak. As for NGOs, the time when they had to run at 8 o’clock from Pregny Gate to Room XX to be among the ten first to inscribe is over. They now have to register online one week before the Council. In a move to enhance the participation of CSOs from the field, there is now the possibility to send a video statement instead of traveling to Geneva. Priority will be given to organisations involved in the national process or having sent contributions for the summary of stakeholder information prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner.
At this 21st HRC session, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will present his annual report "Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights" which highlights threats and intimidations that some human rights defenders are facing when working on the UPR. He cites examples in Bahrain and Rwanda where human rights defenders have been victims of smear campaigns and forced to flee their country. Bringing his support to "the stance taken by the President of the Human Rights Council in condemning acts of intimidation and harassment”, he urges “the Bureau and members of the Council to continue to address allegations of reprisals in a robust and consistent manner". He believes that "the universal periodic review mechanism [could] provide a useful avenue in this regard” and concludes that "tailored responses to reprisals, including public statements [...] could be further developed in order to create a coherent and unified response to combat reprisals."
On 13 September from 12 to 3pm, the Council will hold a "Panel on Cooperation with UN HR mechanisms: issues of intimidation or reprisals".
At UPR Info, we organised from 27 to 31August our second round of “pre-sessions” on the countries to be reviewed at the UPR in October. The pre-sessions were an opportunity for NGOs and State delegations to meet and discuss the human rights situations of Argentina, Benin, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine and Zambia. With a total of 80 NGO contributions, of which half were from national organisations and half were from international organisations, the pre-sessions provided Permanent Missions in Geneva with invaluable information on the implementation of recommendations from 2008 and developments which took place in the country since the previous review. Pre-sessions save time to delegations and give them an overview of the human rights situation in the country to be reviewed as well as provide them with suggested recommendations. 15 to 20 state delegations were present at each briefing and a total of 41 different Permanent Missions from all regional groups came, demonstrating the interest by States for such meetings. The next round of the pre-session will be held at the end of November and discuss the situation of the countries to be reviewed in January: Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Burundi, France, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tonga, and the United Arab Emirates.
We are pleased to announce you that UPR Info has been attributed the Special Consultative status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) during its 2012 substantive session on 23 July.
The Follow-up Programme is now a little over one year and a total of 68 Mid-term Implementation Assessments have been published. To take stock of the implementation process for those 68 States, we are working on a report, called “On the road to implementation”, looking into the comments received by States, NGOs and national institutions on more than 3'000 recommendations. It will identify lessons learned and best practices on implementing recommendations, look into the shortcomings and challenges, present case studies and suggest recommendations to improve the implementation of recommendations. The report will also assess the 13th UPR session.
Finally, Advisory Board member and long time collaborator Prof. Edward McMahon is publishing a paper on the first cycle of the UPR, “The Universal Periodic Review: A Work in Progress”. The paper analyses the first UPR cycle, evaluates the recommendations, highlights regional characteristics and provides a range of recommendations to further strengthen the UPR mechanism. The publication will be launched at a side event on Thursday 13 from 2 to 4pm, room 27, Palais des Nations, and its findings will be discussed with representatives of governments, NGOs and NHRIs. UPR Info is co-organising the side event and will participate in the discussion.
Please find more detailed information on these issues in the news below.