Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
This instrument did not exist during the time of the Commission for Human Rights. It aims at securing a regular review of how states abide by human rights obligations. The point is not to control the states but rather to offer assisance in dealing with found shortcomings. In such cases, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or other UN agencies may offer their support. The procedure is one of the most important innovations of the Human Rights Council. The procedure is based on international cooperation and dialogue.
Content of the UPR
A UPR is conducted in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the UN. These intruments are complemented by the respective states' obligations and voluntary concessions dealing with human rights. Three documents are used for a review: a report drafted by the state in question and two compilations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, one of which contains all information pertaining to the state in form of final remarks of UN agencies, reports of Special Rapporteurs and other UN documents. The other is comprised of data and statements of other governments, NGOs and national human rights institutions that are deemed credible and reliable.
It is noteworthy that reports of independent civil society organizations are integrated into the compilations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The review takes three hours and consists of an interactive dialogue between the state in question and a working group of the Human Rights Council. The dialogue is moderated by the president of the Council and involves 47 member states. The «Troika» supports the working group. These three Rapporteurs are required to draft a report proposal that is used as a basis for the dialogue and later in formulating the final report of the Council. A list of recommendations on how to improve the human rights situation in the state is at the core of the report. The state then has the option to either accept or dismiss each one of these recommendations. After four years, the follow-up mechanism calls for a check of the implementation level of the recommendations.
- A Practical Guide to the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
Human Rights Project at the Urban Justice Center, New York 2010