[UPR Trax] No38: Giving voice to 213 NGOs

From 13th to 15th March, the Human Rights Council (the Council) adopted the Working Group Reports of States reviewed during the 14th UPR session held in October 2012. Those countries included Argentina, Benin, Czech Republic, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, the Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Zambia. All countries, except Benin, Gabon and Ghana, submitted an addendum containing their responses to recommendations. Despite its addendum, the delegation of Zambia was asked by the President of the Council to clarify which recommendations it had rejected, which it then did from the floor very thoroughly.

The recent absence of Israel to its own UPR was a recurrent issue at the general debate on the UPR held on 15 March. The Egyptian delegate was of the opinion that the letter sent by Israel to the HRC President on 1st March was not a sign of cooperation while Tunisia considered that this absence, following the decision to suspend cooperation in May 2004, was indeed a case of persistent non-cooperation. The issue of non-cooperation was also addressed in broader terms by several speakers. In a joint statement, UPR Info and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) firmly called on the Council to develop a robust mechanism to deal with persistent non-cooperation. We explained that participation in the UPR included many different steps such as submitting a national report; selecting its own troika; participating in the interactive dialogue; submitting an addendum; and presenting updates at mid-term on implementation and that failing to engage in three or more of those steps should be considered as a persistent case of non-cooperation. We also encouraged broadening the definition of non-cooperation to include cases of non implementation and non acceptance of recommendations.

During this general debate, a group of 89 States, led by Morocco, Brazil and the United Kingdom committed to submit a mid-term report during the second cycle of the UPR. This pledge was following the one made a year ago by 39 States committing to make a maximum of two recommendations to each SuR and to always give “high quality recommendations”. This year’s statement added the pledge to write and publish a mid-term report two years after the review with updates on progressed achieved on the implementation of recommendations. We are looking forward to seeing whether half of the planet will actually provide a mid-term report as they voluntary committed.

At UPR Info, we have now uploaded session 13 of UPR recommendations and pledges in the database. A total of 2126 recommendations were made by 119 States in this session. This figure is in line with the average number of recommendations received by States during session 12 (143). However, a worrying trend has emerged during session 13 in terms of the specificity of the action contained in recommendations. From session 12 to 13, the number of recommendations containing a specific action decreased by 7 points (37.2% to 30.9%) while recommendations asking the States under Review to continue their work increased by 7 points (14% to 21.1%).

From 25 to 28 March, we held our fourth round of “Pre-sessions” meetings between Permanent Missions and NGOs to prepare the upcoming UPR sessions. 12 pre-sessions were held on countries to be reviewed at session 16 (22 April – 1 May 2013), namely: Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Germany, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, and Uzbekistan. Over 70 statements were delivered by NGOs coming, for 75% of them, from the country under review. 43 different Permanent Missions attended the Pre-session.

This new programme has now been running for a year, providing a platform to 213 NGOs, including 130 national NGOs, on 47 countries. A total of 75 different Missions have attended at least once, thus representing the participation of half of the Permanent Missions active in Geneva. In this regard, we are pleased to announce that we recently recruited a new Programme Manager, who will be notably in charge of those Pre-sessions.

Finally, our Follow-up Programme has now covered half of the countries of the world. We have been able to look into the implementation at mid-term of 98 countries, covering 5800 recommendations with comments by the four stakeholders: Government, national institution, civil society organisation and UN agencies. Recently published documents include Armenia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey. Next countries to be assessed are Andorra, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Jamaica, Liberia, Libya, Maldives, Malawi, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama, and the United States. In case you would like to provide us with updates on the implementation of recommendations concerning those countries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Quote of the month

“Not acceptance of a particular recommendation does not in any way minimize the value of relevant human rights. […] By not accepting some recommendation, we do not close the door for its implementation.”

H.E. Mr.Nazar Kulchytskyy, Agent before the European Court of Human Rights, Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, Adoption of Ukraine’s UPR report, Human Rights Council 22nd session, 14 March 2013.

Video of the month

Mr. Phil Lynch, Director of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), talks to us about his new appointment at ISHR and his vision for the organisation:


Deadlines for participation in the UPR

- Now: Book a room to organise side events during the 16th Working Group session of the UPR (21 January – 1 February 2013);

- 29 April 2013: Deadline to book a room to organise side events during the Human Rights Council 23rd session (27 May – 14 June), including on the countries reviewed during the 15th UPR session (January 2013);

- 10 May 2013: Deadline to submit NGO written statements at the Human Rights Council 23rd session (27 May – 14 June), including on the adoptions of UPR reports for countries reviewed during the 15th UPR session (January 2013) and on the General debate on the UPR process;

- 24 May 2013 – 2pm: Opening of the NGO list of speakers for oral statements at the Human Rights Council 23rd session (27 May – 14 June), including on the adoptions of UPR reports for countries reviewed during 15th UPR session (January 2013) and on the General debate on the UPR process;

- 17 June 2013: Deadline for submission of information by civil society on New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Viet Nam, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu;

- 24 June 2013: Deadline for submission of information by civil society on The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Comoros, Slovakia, Eritrea, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Cambodia.

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, Annual Report 2012, April 2013.

Latest Mid-term Implementation Assessments

- Armenia (contribution of the State, the NHRI, and 6 CSOs)

- Kenya (contribution of the State, the NHRI, 9 CSOs and one UN agency)

- Kyrgyzstan (contribution of 7 CSOs and one UN agency)

- Turkey (contribution of the State under item 6 and 11 CSOs)

News about the UPR

  • The Human Rights Council discusses cases of non-cooperation - 22 March 2013

On 15th March, the Human Rights Council (the Council) held a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review process in the framework of its 22nd session. States, national human rights institutions and NGOs seized this opportunity to discuss the absence of Israel to its own UPR, the consequences of a persistent non-cooperation, the number and quality of recommendations, and conditions for meaningful implementation. More…

  • 89 States commit to submitting a mid-term report - 21 March 2013

On March 15, during Human Rights Council’s general debate on the UPR, 89 States committed to submit a mid-term report during the second cycle of the UPR. More…

  • Human Rights Council President met with Ambassador of Israel - 21 March 2013

The President of the Human Rights Council (the Council) presented to States on 15 March his oral report on the progress made to urge Israel to resume its cooperation with the Council. H.E. Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, Ambassador of Poland, announced that he addressed a letter to the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Eviatar Manor, on 15 February and then met with him on 1st March. On the same day, the Ambassador of Israel responded in writing to the President’s letter expressing its "appreciation of the President’s efforts to secure the deferral of Israel’s UPR" and concluding by "looking forward to continuing" the "dialogue on this and other matters". More…

  • Israel resumes dialogue with HRC and UPR - 8 March 2013

The Permanent Mission of Israel in Geneva resumed dialogue with the Human Rights Council (HRC) in a letter addressed to the HRC President on 1st March. More…

News about UPR Info

  • Annual Report 2012 - 4 April 2013

It is with deep enthusiasm and earnestness that I introduce UPR Info’s 2012 Annual Report. This year has marked the beginning of the UPR’s second cycle and in this respect bore great importance for the functioning of the mechanism in the five next years. We currently encounter a decisive turning point, facing both abundant opportunities to maximize the UPR’s potential and consolidate and build upon its achievements, as well as significant challenges which, without diligent attention and concerted action, could reduce the force of the UPR to effect substantial and sustainable change on the ground.

  • Non-cooperation with the UPR: Paving the way - 18 March 2013

UPR Info is concerned by the many challenges raised by the second UPR cycle. Among them, cases of "non-cooperation" and "persistent non-cooperation" have to be addressed as soon as possible by the Human Rights Council (the Council), as presented by UPR Info in a joint statement with the International Service for Human Rights at the Council on 15 March 2013. More…

  • New database available! - 28 February 2013

Today we made available a brand new database (with its statistics), meant to address a brand new cycle of recommendations. The database contains many new tools (one can select recommendations by session or by cycle), and issues can be selected with further precision ("or" and "and" options). More…

  • Recommendations from session 13 available in our database - 13 February 2013

We are pleased to inform you that the recommendations made during UPR session 13 (21 May - 4 June 2012) are available in our database! A total of 2126 recommendations were made by 119 States to Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia and the United Kingdom. More…