[UPR Trax] No46: UPR second cycle at mid-term

The UPR Working Group completed its 19th session on 9 May after having reviewed 14 countries: Albania, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Côte d’Ivoire, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Norway, Portugal, and Qatar. A total of 2,814 recommendations were made. This 19th session marked the mid-term of the second cycle: 98 States have now been reviewed, and 95 remain to go.
 
Over the last month, UPR Info has trained journalists from DRC, partners of Edmund Rice International and United Nations Associations, as well as gave a presentation in Venice to students. We have also sent, to Permanent Missions in Geneva, an update on the implementation of recommendations they made during session 24. Finally, in early April, we held our 7th series of pre-sessions.
 
Recommending States put emphasis on recommendations not implemented
 
Greater emphasis was put during the 19th session of the UPR Working Group on first cycle recommendations that were not implemented during the first cycle. Numerous "Recommending States" used this second review to repeat those recommendations in order to ensure their implementation in the second cycle. They developed the good practice of using the specific wording, "as previously recommended", to highlight the recommendations that are being repeated and, therefore, bring accountability to the commitments taken by States under Review during their first UPR.

UPR Info welcomes this practice, already used by Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Maldives, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey and encourages other States to continue on this path. This practice ensures that each review builds up from the previous one and puts specific focus on the gaps in the implementation of the previous cycle recommendations.
 
North Korea provides responses to... first cycle recommendations
 
At the end of April, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) published its responses to recommendations received... during their first UPR in December 2009. Following its first review in 2009, DPRK had failed to identify accepted recommendations. It had rejected 50 recommendations at the Working Group stage but did not provide clarity during the Human Rights Council adoption on the 117 other recommendations.

However, days before its second UPR scheduled for 1st of May, in an annex to its second cycle national report, the delegation decided to publish its responses to first cycle recommendations. Out of the 117 recommendations that had previously been noted, 81 are now fully accepted ("recommendations that are implemented or currently under implementation"), 6 are partially accepted ("recommendations some parts of which are accepted and currently under implementation"), 15 do not enjoy the State’s support and 15 are further noted ("recommendations that are difficult to accept under present circumstances, however, are reserved for consideration in the future").
 
UPR reports for session 18 to be adopted 19 and 20 June 2014
 
A draft Programme of work (EN) for the 26th session of the Human Rights Council (9-27 June 2014) has been released. The Working Group Reports of States reviewed during the 18th UPR session (January-February 2014) will be adopted on the 19th and 20th of June 2014. A general debate on the process will then follow.
 
UPR Info participates in training of journalists from the Democratic Republic of Congo and of students in Venice
 
UPR Info’s Executive director, Roland Chauville, was invited on 30 April to take part in a workshop for journalists organised by Gmedia in the framework of the UPR 19th session. The workshop “Media Empowerment on Human Rights” took place in Geneva from 28 April to 2 May 2014 with six journalists selected from the DRC. The participants attended and reported on the UPR session of the DRC and met with Geneva-based NGOs, embassies and experts that provided training workshops on the tools and networks available to enhance the journalists’ human rights reporting. Mr. Chauville was invited to present the UPR process, its origins, and functioning. The presentation described the added value of the UPR and the role of journalists in making the UPR an effective mechanism to promote and protect human rights.
 
Then, on 12 May, UPR Info's Programmes director Jean-Claude Vignoli went to Venice, Italy to attend the "Global Classroom 2014" to give a conference on "the UPR, a unique mechanism with unique outcomes and challenges". The one-week seminar was organised by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) in the Human Rights Village. Mr. Vignoli had the opportunity to encourage students for around the world to dedicate their time and talents to the UPR, as very little academic research has been carried out so far.
 
The Follow-up programme: A new initiative is born
 
The role of the UN Working Group members (“Recommending States” - RS) is essential to the UPR process. RS consider the human rights situations in the States under Review, prepare recommendations and follow up on the recommendations throughout the mid-term, as well as in the next review.  In order to make the Follow-up easier at the mid-term for the RS, a new initiative, the MIA Summary, was created. This document is based on the Mid-term Implementation Assessments (MIAs), it includes a list of recommendations made by the RS and all of the comments received by various UPR stakeholders on the implementation of the recommendations. 
 
Earlier this month, personalised MIA Summaries were sent to 111 diplomatic missions to help them monitor their recommendations made to session 24 countries (January 2016): Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Palau, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands and Somalia.
 
In addition to the new initiative, UPR Info continued to engage with partners to share best practices and ideas on the Follow-up phase of the UPR. On 2 May, UPR Info was invited to give a presentation on the UPR follow-up to activists of ten different countries. The workshop was organised by Edmund Rice International in Geneva.
 
Throughout the months of May and June, new Mid-term Implementation Assessments will be published on Antigua and Barbuda, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand and Trinidad and Tobago.
 
A successful new round of pre-sessions
 
More than 40 NGOs presented the human rights situation in nine countries before the diplomatic community during the UPR pre-session held in Geneva from the 8th to the 10th of April 2014. The meetings were organised in the lead up to the review of these countries under the 19th UPR Working Group session.

The April pre-sessions were a success, with an average of 32 diplomats over a period of three days. The high number of attendees from permanent missions shows that the UPR Info pre-sessions are becoming more and more important in the framework of the UPR process. The pre-session ensured that key concerns of civil society actors were discussed in preparation of the UPR. Grassroots national organisations and human rights defenders as well as international NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch, Save the Children, and Reporters without Borders, provided diplomats with an assessment of the current human rights situation in the States under Review, highlighting key developments and remaining challenges faced by those States. Mr HIEN Sansan Claude, working at Action pour la Protection des droits de l’homme in Côte d’Ivoire, commented on this opportunity to meet with diplomats: “…We think that the pre-sessions will really help us make a positive change in our country...”
 
This was the seventh round of pre-session meetings that UPR Info has organised since 2012. More than 360 organisations have already taken part in the pre-sessions, 220 of which came directly from the countries and shared key information from the ground with the diplomats.

VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Why is the UPR important to me? Renee Xia, from the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, tells us why she is engaging in the UPR process:
 
http://youtu.be/B7DWvUr_asQ

UPR INFO WEBSITE

UPR PROCESS

  • Timetable (EN) for Human Rights Council (HRC) 26th session (10-27 June)
  • Mid-term report of Tajikistan (EN, RU) and Mongolia

UPCOMING DEADLINES

  • 26 May 2014: Deadline to submit NGO written statements for the HRC 26th session, including on the adoptions of UPR reports for countries reviewed during the 18th UPR session (January 2014) and on the General debate on the UPR process
  • 6 June 2014 – 2pm: Opening of the NGO list of speakers for oral statements at the HRC 26th session, including on the adoptions of UPR reports for countries reviewed during UPR 18 and on the General debate on the UPR process
  • 15 June 2014: Deadline to submit stakeholder reports for UPR 21st session (to be held in January 2015)
  • 21 July 2014: Deadline to submit national reports by States to be reviewed at UPR 20th session (27 October – 7 November 2014)
  • 15 September 2014: Deadline to submit stakeholder reports for UPR 22nd session (to be held in April 2015)

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