Greater links between the UPR and SDGs needed in the 3rd cycle

The 36th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) saw the adoptions of the Final Working Group Reports of the first 14 States reviewed in the third cycle of the UPR. During the 27th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group, 14 States underwent their third UPR Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia, and United Kingdom and at Item 6 of the HRC had their reports adopted.
Following the adoptions Item 6: General Debate took place, giving States the chance to comment on the UPR mechanism and its modalities. This debate is also an opportunity for States to present an update on implementation since their review, ideally one year after and at mid-term, which Georgia, Iran, and Malawi did. Georgia explained that the government is working to amend the child code, based on UPR recommendations, whilst Malawi detailed several developments since thier review, namely; the introduction of the access to information law, and measures taken to end child marriage. Paraguay used their time to reiterate the need for States to develop national mechanisms for follow up and reporting and called on all States to submit an assessment of implementation at mid-term. This sentiment was echoed by Armenia who committed to submiting their report in November 2017. Haiti took the floor to share its practice of refering to previous UPR recommendations during the review, as a tool to ensure follow-up on previously received recommendations, and also invited all States to the Seminar for Recommending States Thursday 5 October.

Importantly the General Debate also gives space to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to take the floor and speak within the context of the UPR. This session of the HRC again saw numerous organisations commenting on instances of intimidation, harrasment, and reprisals against civil sociecty and human rights defenders who engage in the UPR. Many CSOs focused on the States reviewed in May 2017, with attention being drawn to the treatment of human rights defenders in Bahrain, freedom of the press in India, and more broadly the need for States to ensure an end to the use of the death penalty, an end to the maltreatment of LGBTI persons, and an end to discriminatory practices against women, refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants.

UPR Info also took the floor during this debate. The statement commented on some of the successes the UPR has seen to date but that more needs to be done throughout the third cycle of the UPR to ensure effective implementation of recommendations. UPR Info believes that, through improved synergies between the UPR and the Sustainable Development Goals, States can better incorporate human rights into their development programmes thus engaging in a more holistic, and therefore effective, approach to the protection and promotion of human rights. You can download the statement here

United Nations Human Rights Council: 36th Session
Oral statement Item 6 – General Debate
UPR Info – 25 September 2017

Mr President,

Since the inception of the UPR, action-oriented, specific recommendations have resulted in positive human rights change across the globe, including Australia adopting OPCAT, and Namibia rolling out free primary education. However, progress around the world has been uneven. Building on these positive results, it is important now to assess the impact of the UPR, to identify in each country the obstacles to implement the recommendations and define strategies to address them and improve the human rights situation for all groups of society. Such exercises must include time bound progress targets and have an inclusive approach that encourages partnerships with all national stakeholders. 

Mr. President,

With the adoption of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, UPR Info sees a prime opportunity for States to utilise the SDGs as a driver for accelerating their human rights performance. Many SDG targets directly reflect elements of international human rights and labour standards. UPR Info increasingly draws on this link when supporting civil society, national human rights institutions and governments in the implementation phase.
States can synergise their efforts for the SDGs and UPR recommendations to include a holistic approach in their implementation, harnessing the scope of both mechanisms to catalyse the promotion of human rights in the 2030 Agenda. In integrating human rights and gender equality in the planning, implementation and follow-up of national action plans, States ensure that economic development is accompanied in equal measure by social progress and human development. 

In the third cycle, we hope that increased attention to multi-stakeholder partnership, as well as the benefits of an integrated approach to the UPR and SDGs, will further bolster the positive impact of the UPR. 

I thank you.