Universal Periodic Review – UN Human Rights Council

Via UN News Centre.

Under General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (Which also established the Human Rights Counicl), the General Assembly mandated the Council to

undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies.

This Universal Periodic Review got underway yesterday in Geneva with Bahrain and Ecuador. The other states in this 1st Session Review are

* Tunisia
* Morocco
* Indonesia
* Finland
* United Kingdom
* India
* Brazil
* Philippines
* Algeria
* Poland
* Netherlands
* South Africa
* Czech Republic
* Argentina

These will all be examined during the First Session which lasts till the 18th of April.

The Second Session will consider

1. Gabon
2. Ghana
3. Peru
4. Guatemala
5. Benin
6. Republic of Korea
7. Switzerland
8. Pakistan
9. Zambia
10. Japan
11. Ukraine
12. Sri Lanka
13. France
14. Tonga
15. Romania
16. Mali

This session will take place between 5-16 May.

The third and Final Session this year will see the following states examined,

1. Botswana
2. Bahamas
3. Burundi
4. Luxembourg
5. Barbados
6. Montenegro
7. United Arab Emirates
8. Israel
9. Liechtenstein
10. Serbia
11. Turkmenistan
12. Burkina Faso
13. Cape verde
14. Colombia
15. Uzbekistan
16. Tuvalu

That session will take place between the 1-12 December.

What do these reviews entail?

The reviews entail each country giving its own information, limited to a 20 page report, but also shadow reports can be submitted by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), limited to 10 pages. NGOs, NHRIs (National Human Rights Institution’s), Human rights defenders, Academic institutions and Research institutes, Regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives may also submit observations as stakedholders but there submissions summarized by the OHCHR in a 10 page report.

Example: Bahrain

Bahrain’s Report(PDF) contains information on reforms it pledged to make on election to the Human Rights Council. It details constitutional protections, legal protections, treaties signed and/or ratified, as well as the State’s view of whats happening on the ground. State’s may also give additional Documentation, Bahrain has taken the opportunity and submitted 6. They havent been translated from Arabic so I cant read them.

The OHCHR Report (PDF) is a summary of the Treaties signed and ratified by Bahrain. It gives a summary of the views of the bodies set up by the treaties on work done and any issues.

12 stakeholders (PDF) made submissions to the OHCHR giving there view on whats happening on the ground.

Hopefully these UPR’s will make a difference around the world and put more pressure on states to respect Human Rights and their treaty obligations.

Ireland will be reviewed in 2011 in the 12th (and last) Session of the UPR.


Sources:
UN human rights body begins first-ever examination of all countries’ recordsUN News Centre
Universal Periodic ReviewOHCHR
General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (PDF) – UN
Universal Periodic Review: BahrainOHCHR
Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Calender (PDF)OHCHR

Author: Stephen

Cork born and bred, proud European and Irishman. Involved in many organisations and politics. Also writes for SpirtualityIreland.org and UCC Express.

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