These adoptions also saw the implementation of the new modalities for the list of speakers for both States and NGOs. For Bahrain and South Africa, where more than 13 States registered, the lists of speakers were drawn by lots. NGOs had to register online one week before the beginning of the HRC. There was still a lack of awareness among national NGOs and engagement with these actors will be necessary to ensure their inclusion in the UPR process. The option of video statements for NGOs was also introduced. The South African Human Rights Commission and the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development were the two first stakeholders to make use of this new modality.
After the adoption of the reports, the HRC held its usual general debate under item 6. Both member and observer States, as well as NGOs, discussed the publication of media highlights of the UPR by the OHCHR, the importance of the implementation of recommendations and follow-up, the involvement of civil society, and the new UPR modalities.
At UPR Info, the newly acquired Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC has already been put to good use. On 21st September, together with Conectas Direitos Humanos and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, UPR Info made a joint statement to denounce the practice of States negotiating the wording of recommendations made during the UPR.
The statement criticised both States under Review and Recommending States which engage in trade-off concerning the wording of recommendations after they have been made during the review. The argument was made that though it has been used since the Working Group reports of Afghanistan and Yemen in 2009, this practice lacks transparency and accountability. Moreover, it undermines the participation of stakeholders within the UPR process by erasing their effort to ensure that specific recommendations are made.
Other issues of concern raised in the statement were the possibility for States under Review to draft the summary section of their own statement within the report of the UPR Working Group, and the requirement that when factual mistakes and mistranslation of language occur within that report, only the delegation which made the statement may request that corrections be made to that text. The three NGOs argued that this practice is unnecessary and could potentially increase the chance of inaccuracies being included in the final outcome document.
On Wednesday 24th October, during the UPR 14th Working Group session, UPR Info will organise a side event entitled “Implementing UPR recommendations: an assessment at mid-term”. This event will be held for the launch of our new publication “On the road to the implementation”, based on our “Follow-up Programme” which analyses the practice of implementation for 64 States. The side event will present the findings of the publication and facilitate a discussion on the successes and challenges that States face in implementing UPR recommendations.
On the same subject, we started receiving and collecting stakeholders comments for the Follow-up regarding Angola, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Gambia, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Qatar, San Marino, and Slovenia. The number of participating stakeholders is very high, and UN Agencies have now begun providing their own comments as well. The quality of the mid-term reports is improving, as is the mobilisation of the civil-society. These encouraging developments demonstrate how eager stakeholders are to avoid a passive role within the UPR, and how much they want to have their say in the process.