The Universal Periodic Review Working Group held its 15th session from 21 January to 1 February at the Palais des Nations. The following 13 States were reviewed: Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Burundi, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tonga and the United Arab Emirates. Scheduled on Tuesday 29 January, Israel was not present for its own review. It is the first time in the history of the UPR process that a country fails to appear before the Working Group, thus creating a dangerous precedent for the mechanism, and for the respect for human rights worldwide.
Israel had suspended its relations with the Human Rights Council (HRC) in a letter published on 14 May 2012. As a consequence, it did not submit a national report due in October 2012, was not present for the selection of its troika on 14 January 2013 and it was therefore expected that it would not participate in its own UPR.
In reaction, the Human Rights Council decided to reschedule its UPR in 2013, at the 17th Working Group session (21 October - 1 November 2013) at the latest, and called upon Israel to resume its cooperation with the UPR mechanism. The HRC President was also requested to report at the 22nd or 23rd session of the HRC on his efforts to bring Israel back to the UPR. The decision A/HRC/OM/7/L.1 adopted by the HRC containing those steps will constitute a precedent to be applied to future cases of non-cooperation.
UPR Info strongly regrets the absence of Israel to its own UPR and calls on Israel to resume its cooperation with the UPR to ensure its review at the next session from 22 April to 3 May. UPR Info believes that the steps developed in the decision adopted by consensus by the HRC deciding to postpone the review are not satisfactory and should not be the basis for the next countries failing to participate. UPR Info calls on the HRC to develop stronger modalities that will prevent other States to avoid or postpone so easily their UPR. In order to avoid further cases, the HRC has the responsibility to define the concept of “persistent non-cooperation” and the actions to take when facing such situation.
On a more positive note, Canada decided to launch publicly during a side event its national report for its UPR scheduled next April. It is the first time a delegation presents its report in advance at the UN and we welcome such good practice.
Deadlines for the submission of reports by NGOs and NHRIs for the entire second cycle of the UPR have changed once again.
A coalition of NGOs working on the rights of people with disabilities has recently published a very thorough and comprehensive description of how to participate in the UPR process. Based in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, the organisations provide insights and advices on how to successfully submit reports and lobby. This document is a must-read (only in French) for any activist considering engaging in the UPR.
We are pleased to announce you that UPR Info is growing. Firstly, we will be moving in a couple of weeks into a new office closer to the United Nations in 3 rue de Varembé, 1202 Geneva. Secondly, we are hiring a Programme Manager. Please check our offer for more information.
By the end of February, both recommendations and pledges from session 13 will be available in our database. We are taking this opportunity to improve the capacities of the database and make the search more efficient and quicker.
Finally, our Follow-up Programme will soon publish the Mid-term Implementation Assessments for the 21st session of the UPR (January 2015): Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Laos, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana and Kuwait. The MIA on Laos is already available.
Please find more detailed information on these issues in the news below.