1 About the UPR
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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council through which the human rights situation of each UN Member State is periodically reviewed. It is the first and only international mechanism to review all human rights issues in all countries.
UNIVERSAL: All UN Member States & all human rights
PERIODIC: Cyclical, every 4 - 5 years
REVIEW: Peer-to-peer, recommendations by states
The UPR is cyclical, with each country coming up for review every 4-5 years. During each UPR “Session”, 14 countries are reviewed. Since the first Session in April 2008, the UPR has completed two full “Cycles”, so all states have been revewed twice. The Third Cycle of the UPR started in 2017.
The UPR is a peer-to-peer review, under which states receive recommendations from – and make recommendations to – other states. This is distinct from the UN human rights treaty body frameworks, such as the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which oversee the treaties they are mandated to, where the review is conducted by a committee of international experts. The UPR can therefore be a more political process, where states’ foreign policy interests may influence which issues are raised or what recommendations are issued.
|After its review, the State under Review (SuR) can decide whether to “accept” or “note” the received recommendations. If the SuR accepts a recommendation, it makes a strong political commitment to implement it before the next Cycle. While UPR recommendations are not legally binding, they can be highly influential because they are made by states and create a public record of a human rights problem. Furthermore, UPR recommendations can complement and reinforce treaty body recommendations, thereby further strengthening the human rights framework. States usually send high-level delegations to their review, demonstrating their commitment to the UPR process. In fact, the political nature of the UPR can be an advantage, as States may feel a strong incentive to follow through and make changes to domestic law, policy or practice.|