[UPR Trax] No35: The UPR has emerged from its chrysalis

The Universal Periodic Review Working Group held its 14th session from 22 October to 5 November at the Palais des Nations, Geneva. The following 14 States were reviewed: Argentina, Benin, Czech Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine and Zambia. The peak of participation from recommending States was reached on Sri Lanka with 98 speakers and 1 minute and 12 seconds for each. Overall, the President of the Human Rights Council (HRC) handled once again the list of speakers with command and not too many statements were cut. However, time management proved to be challenging for some States under Review. Argentina had used 1h03 minutes after only half of the speakers had spoken, and was therefore left with only 7 minutes to respond to comments from over 30 delegations. Guatemala used 55 minutes for its introduction, did not intervene during the interactive dialogue and concluded in 5 minutes, thus leaving out 10 minutes unused.

 

During the adoption of Sri Lanka’s Working Group report, several delegations took the floor to ask the delegation why it had negotiated the wording of some recommendations received. France, Belgium and the United Kingdom wondered why so many recommendations were modified and the reasons for these numerous changes. However, Sri Lanka was not the first State negotiating the recommendations received. In total, 12 States under Review from session 13 and 14 have engaged in such negotiations (Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Poland and Sri Lanka). While some changes are related to the syntax of the recommendations, most are aimed at watering down their strength. Changes are reflected in footnotes in Working Group reports to show the recommendations as made orally during the review before the State under Review (SuR) and the recommending States agreed to modify them to facilitate their acceptance by the SuR. This practice started during session five (May 2009) with the report on Afghanistan and has been used largely ever since by many delegations.

Early October, the Office of the High Commissioner for human rights changed the deadlines for submission of information by NGOs and National human rights institutions for UPR Working Group sessions 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25. Dates have been brought forward for a few days.

Finally, the timetables for UPR session 15 (January 2013) and 16 (April-May 2013) as well as the 2013 HRC meetings calendar are available.


At UPR Info, we launched on 24 October a new publication on the implementation at mid-term of 3’000 recommendations. "On the road to implementation" presents the results of the Follow-up Programme, which since 2011 compiles data from every stakeholder from countries that are going to be reviewed for a second time from January 2013 to May 2014 (UPR sessions 15 to 19), amounting to 66 States. The results of this research are encouraging: 40 percent of recommendations have triggered actions from States. Similarly interesting, 15 percent of rejected recommendations had also triggered actions at mid-term, thus demonstrating the importance to continue considering them at the UPR.

 

We organised a side event to present the publication and engage in a discussion on the follow-up. Our panelists from the Permanent Mission of Norway, Romania and the NGO Franciscans International shared their experiences in working on the implementation of recommendations, and answered to over 100 representatives from Governments, NGOs and universities which attended the event.

 

UPR Info is pleased to present a new tool developed on its database to facilitate NGO lobbying at the UPR. Available from the statistics page, the tool allows Civil society organisations (CSOs) to select any of the 54 human rights issues available in the database and find out which countries made most recommendations on those issues during the first cycle of the UPR. The statistic tool lists the countries in decreasing order and provides the user with the number of recommendations that each made on the selected issue.

 

From 28 to 30 November, UPR Info will be organising its third pre-session on countries to be reviewed at the 15th session of the UPR Working Group from 21st January to 1st February 2013. All Permanent Missions are welcome to attend and meet NGOs. Several National institutions as well as numerous national NGOs will be sharing progress made by their Government in implementing 2008 recommendations and developments in their countries.

 

The ink of our publication “On the road to implementation” is still not dry, that we already began a new session of “Mid-term Implementation Assessment” (MIA). UPR Info is working on the countries to be reviewed at the 20th UPR Session (October 2014). So far, nine MIAs have been published: Angola, Egypt, El Salvador, Gambia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Qatar, San Marino and Slovenia. The upcoming MIAs are the following: Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Fiji and Kazakhstan.

 

The need for such a monitoring programme was demonstrated at our side-event by the attendance and the discussion it triggered among stakeholders. Such need has also been emphasised by the new participation in the Follow-up Programme of UN agencies: UNICEF, UNHCR, UNESCO and UNCT accepted to take part in the mid-term assessments. In total, five UN agencies helped the international community to follow up recommendations made at the UPR during this session.

 

This session of assessments has been the most promising since the beginning of the project: States, NHRIs, UN Agencies and over 90 NGOs are providing us with their comments on the implementation. The quality and the quantity are steadily improving and the understanding of the impact of the UPR on the ground as well. We would like here to thank all of the participants, as without their work, the Follow-up Programme would never have been so successful. This success belongs to civil society, which stays committed to the UPR process, and is taking advantage of the new way human rights are discussed worldwide. This certainly explains the encouraging 40 percent of implementation.

 

Please find more detailed information on these issues in the news below.

 

Best regards,

UPR Info

Quote of the month

With regard to our previous recommendation on norms of citizenship for foreign spouses and the request by Ghana for further clarification, we recommend […]. We would also like to reiterate our previous recommendation […]. Additionally, we recommend that […].

Mr. Matjaz Kovacic, Permanent Mission of Slovenia, UPR of Ghana, 23 October 2012, setting a good example on how to follow up on recommendations made during the first cycle.

Video of the month

Presentation by UPR Info’s Executive Director, Roland Chauville, of our new publication on the implementation of 3’000 recommendations:

http://youtu.be/Ir2c45Om9E8

Deadlines for NGO participation in the UPR

- 4 March 2013: Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China, Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan

- 11 March 2013: Malaysia, Central African Republic, Monaco, Belize, Chad, Congo, Malta

Deadlines for the entire second cycle (sessions 13 to 26) are available by country and by session.

Latest documents on www.upr-info.org

- UPR Info, On the road to implementation.

- Calendar of Human Rights Council meetings for 2013.

- Timetable for UPR Working Group Session 16 (22 April - 3 May 2013).

- Timetable for UPR Working Group Session 15 (21 January - 1 February 2013).

Latest Mid-term Implementation Assessments

- Angola

- Egypt

- Madagascar

- Nicaragua

- Slovenia

News on the UPR 

  • 12 States under Review from 2nd cycle negotiated wording of recommendations - 9 November 2012

12 States from session 13 and 14 have engaged in negotiations to change the wording of recommendations received during their review. While some changes are related to the syntax of the recommendations, most are aimed at watering down their strength. More…

  • Change of deadlines for submission of NGO information on UPR 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 - 8 November 2012

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recently changed the deadlines for the submission of information from civil society on session 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 of the UPR Working Group. More…

  • Calendar of HRC meetings for 2013 - 7 November 2012

The Calendar for all Human Rights Council meetings to be held in 2013 is now available.

  • Timetables for UPR Working Group session 15 and 16 available - 7 November 2012

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights just issued the timetables for UPR Working Group 15th and 16th sessions.

  • States question Sri Lanka’s reason to change wording of recommendations - 7 November 2012

Several delegations took the floor during the adoption of Sri Lanka’s Working Group report on Monday 5 November to ask the delegation why it had changed the wording of some recommendations received. More…

  • States oppose the use of endnotes by Sri Lanka to comment recommendations - 6 November 2012

The adoption of the Working Group report on Sri Lanka was delayed due to discussions among States about the use by the delegation of endnotes to comment recommendations. More…

  • Calendar of NGO side events to be held during UPR 14th session - 22 October 2012

The calendar of side events to be held by NGOs during the UPR 14th Working Group session was distributed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

  • Lists of speakers for Session 14 available - 22 October 2012

The lists of speakers for countries to be reviewed at the 14th session of the UPR Working Group (22 October - 5 November) are available.

  • Uruguay publishes mid-term report on implementation of recommendations - 17 October 2012

On 21 September, the Government of Uruguay presented to the Human Rights Council its mid-term report on the progress made to implement recommendations from its first UPR in May 2009.

  • Sweden publishes mid-term report on implementation of recommendations - 11 October 2012

On 21 September, the Government of Sweden presented to the Human Rights Council its mid-term report on the progress made to implement recommendations from its first UPR in May 2010.

News about UPR Info

  • Summary of our side event on implementation of recommendations - 7 November 2012

UPR Info held a side event on Wednesday 24th of October to introduce their latest publication, “On the Road to Implementation”, and to facilitate a discussion on the successes and challenges that states face in the implementation of UPR recommendations. More…

  • Publication of a study on the implementation of 3’000 recommendations - 24 October 2012

UPR Info is releasing today an overall assessment on the implementation of 3’000 UPR recommendations at mid-term. The publication "On the road to implementation" presents the results of the Follow-up Programme, which since 2011 compiles data from every stakeholder from countries that are going to be reviewed for a second time from January 2013 to May 2014 (UPR sessions 15 to 19), amounting to 66 States. More…

  • UPR Info organises side event on implementation of recommendations - 22 October 2012
  • New tool available for NGO lobbying at UPR - 11 October 2012

UPR Info is pleased to present a new tool developed on its database to facilitate NGO lobbying at the UPR.

  • CSO registration to UPR Info’s pre-session on UPR 15 open until 19 October - 9 October 2012