General debate on UPR turns into mid-term reporting exercice
On June 9, the Human Rights Council (HRC) held a general debate under item 6 on the Universal Periodic Review. Half of the States and NGOs taking the floor shared the progress made by their country on implementing UPR recommendations. Switzerland submitted a mid-term report while Azerbaijan, China, Colombia, Spain, the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development and the Colombian Commission of Jurist provided oral updates. Another raised issue was the follow up to the HRC Review on the UPR on which the HRC had to take a decision.
On the issue of the follow up to the HRC Review on the UPR, Hungary, on behalf of the European Union (EU), and the Republic of Moldova expressed their support to the draft decision presented by the HRC President. They both welcomed the fact that the second cycle would focus inter alia on the implementation of accepted recommendations and the new developments as well as the importance of the role of civil society in the process and the increased role of National human rights institutions. The Republic of Moldova also supported the extension of the duration of the Working Group.
Concerning mid-term reports, the Republic of Moldova stated that their submission will give transparency to the process, while Hungary, on behalf the EU, said that they can contribute significantly to the process. In this sense, Azerbaijan announced its decision to submit a mid-term report to the HRC in the coming months.
Regarding the second cycle of the UPR, Norway expressed that at the end of each review States should present a consolidated list white the final status of all recommendations.
Canada took the floor to present a side event they organised the day before on the follow-up during which delegations of Mauritius, Mexico, Senegal, Jordan and Canada presented their progress made in implementing the recommendations received during the fourth session of the UPR in February 2009. The delegate thanked delegations and NGOs for their participation in the event and stated having benefited from such dialogue.
The National Association of Community Legal Centres and the Human Rights Law Centre made recommendations concerning actions to undertake to ensure effective implementation and monitoring on the ground: first, investing effective resources; second, engaging into ongoing dialogue and coordination with the civil society; third, disseminating recommendations, notably by tabling the Report of the Working Group to the Parliament and creating a website containing information on the implementation; fourth, providing clear responses to recommendations and presenting a mid-term report; and fifth, establishing an implementation plan.
Moreover, the speaker emphasized the crucial role played by NGOs such as the International Service of Human Rights and UPR Info in assisting national NGOs engaging in the process.