- On February 4th, the Working Group of the UPR concluded its 10th session after reviewing the following sixteen States: Nauru, Rwanda, Nepal, Saint Lucia, Oman, Austria, Myanmar, Australia, Georgia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Sao Tome and Principe, Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia and Paraguay.
From 8 to 10 December was held the Bangkok Retreat, a meeting organized in the framework of the Human Rights Council (HRC) review under the initiative of H.E. Mr. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Ambassador of Thailand and President of the Human Rights Council. Its aim was to gather Ambassadors to brainstorm, without making any decision, with the hope that delegations would be able to go behind their talking points. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and accredited-ECOSOC NGOs were invited to participate for part of the Retreat and eight of them were given the floor. Overall, the discussion was of general nature and rarely touched upon concrete issues of the review. Most speakers stressed the importance of the UPR as a new human rights mechanism and country situations were intensively debated.
On November the 12th, the Working Group of the UPR concluded its 9th session after reviewing the following sixteen States: Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, United States, Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, Libya, Micronesia, Lebanon and Mauritania. One of the highlights of the session was the review of the United States which attracted wide interest from States, civil society and the media. An additional room broadcasting the review was used to fit the numerous interested representatives. The “Town Hall meeting” or mock UPR held in the afternoon following the review was a unique occasion for civil society to directly address their concerns to the US government. Another highlight was the review of Lebanon which was the subject of many points of order by both Lebanon itself and Israel. The former made points of order when Israel called Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and the latter when Lebanon and Syria talked about the impact of Israel on the human rights situation in Lebanon.
Despite no reviews nor adoptions taking place, October was an eventful month for the Universal Periodic Review. The Human Rights Council review Working Group held its first session from 25th to 29th October.
The 15th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) witnessed eventful UPR adoptions. For the first time in the history of the UPR, a State, Kiribati, failed to present itself before the HRC for the adoption of its Working Group report. The Report was nonetheless adopted on the last day of the HRC without the delegation which sent a written statement providing their responses to recommendations. On another innovative note, Guinea-Bissau sent a representative a week after the scheduled adoption and its Report was thus also adopted on October 1st.