States are the most important actors of the Universal Periodic Review and participate in the process both as States under Review and as "reviewing States" at the Working Group.
The participation of the State under Review (SuR) in the UPR process is explained in the video:
In order to write a National Report to be submitted to the Human Rights Council (HRC) for the review, the SuR is “encouraged” to hold a “broad consultation process at the national level with all relevant stakeholders" (Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1). These consultations should take place at least a year before the review in different cities and regions of the country and include a broad range of civil society organisations such as the national institution, NGOs, human rights defenders, local associations, grass root organisations, trade unions, indigenous peoples, etc.
The SuR must present a report on its human rights situation to be used as a basis for the review. This report should be limited to 20 pages and should follow specific guidelines. These guidelines were adopted at the 6th HRC session in September 2007 (decision A/HRC/DEC/6/102) and then modified for the second and subsequent UPR cycles by decision A/HRC/DEC/17/119 - A, C, E, R, S of June 2011.
The deadline for the submission of the National Report is generally 12 weeks before the review.
Before the review, the SuR can receive written questions from States. It should address these questions during the review.
As part of the UPR, the SuR has to travel to Geneva, Switzerland to engage in a dialogue with other States on the human rights situation in the country. The SuR can send a delegation of Governmental officials from different ministries to respond to the questions.
The review takes place in a Working Group and lasts 3,5 hours. The Working Group is composed of all UN Member States and chaired by the HRC President. Other relevant stakeholders, such as NGOs, national institutions and UN agencies, can attend the Working Group but not take the floor.
The review starts with the presentation by the SuR of its National Report and of its responses to the advance questions. Then, an interactive dialogue takes place during which States take the floor to ask questions and make recommendations on the human rights situation in the country. During this interactive dialogue, the SuR takes the floor regularly to answer those questions and comment those recommendations. At the end, the SuR presents its concluding remarks. The SuR’s overall speaking time throughout the review is 70 minutes. Other States have a total of 140 minutes.
The OHCHR has set up a Voluntary Fund for participation for SuR with limited budget to help its delegation come to Geneva. To read more, see here.
After the review, a report is prepared by the troika with the involvement of the SuR and the assistance of the Secretariat. The report contains the summary of the interactive dialogue, the responses by the SuR to the questions and recommendations and the full list of recommendations made by States. This report is adopted twice, at the Working Group session stage and at a HRC session. During the second adoption, the SuR has 20 minutes to present its final comments and responses to questions and recommendations received during the review.
During the interactive dialogue of the review, States make recommendations to the SuR which are measures to take to improve the human rights situation in the country.
The SuR has the possibility to accept or not recommendations. Its response to each recommendation must be clearly explained in writing in a specific document of up to 2,675 words called "addendum". This addendum should be submitted to the Human Rights Council in advance of the adoption of the report at the HRC session.
After the adoption of the report at the HRC which concludes the "Geneva stage", begins the follow-up. This is the stage where the SuR has to “implement” the recommendations and improve the human rights situation in the country before the next review. If it does not do so, the HRC “will address […] cases of persistent non-cooperation with the mechanism” (Resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1).
The OHCHR has set up a Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance to help it implement the recommendations. Read more here.
The UPR is based on the participation of States. A full and active participation of the highest number of States is crucial to the effectiveness of the mechanism. The shape this participation can take is described in our timeline (E, F, S) and below:
In order to prepare the statement on a country under review, States can meet with national and international civil society organisations to collect information about the human rights situation in the country and the implementation of recommendations.
States can also attend UPR Info’s "Pre-sessions" in Geneva, Switzerland. Two months before the review, we organise a one-hour meeting on the State under Review and give the floor to national and international NGOs to brief Permanent Missions about the human rights situation in the country. This allows States to receive first-hand and comprehensive information on countries and meet several NGOs at once. For more information about the pre-sessions, see here.
States can, before the review, submit questions to the State under Review (SuR). These written questions have to be transmitted to the SuR through the troika ten working days before the day of the review.
The troika consists of three countries’ delegates assisting the review. Only HRC members can be selected. The troika has two roles: transmit written questions submitted by other States to the SuR and help draft the report of the working group.
The review in the Working Group consists of a 3,5h interactive dialogue between the SuR and United Nations Member States. In total, 140 minutes are given to the latter. Every State willing to speak on a specific review is able to do so. The 140 minutes are divided by the number of States interested in taking the floor. The lists of speakers for the 14 reviews of a given Working Group session open the week before the beginning of the session and States have four days to register. Then, each list is arranged in English alphabetical order and a letter is drawn by lot by the President of the Human Rights Council to decide where the list will begin. States are able to swap place on the list. Those wishing to withdraw from a list have to inform the Secretariat at least 30 minutes before the beginning of the review to allow the latter to recalculate the speaking time provided to each delegation.
At the second cycle, delegations’ statements should look into the development in the human rights situation since the last review and to which extent the recommendations were implemented. Additional recommendations should be made and recommendations which were rejected at the first cycle can be made again.
During the adoption of the report at the Working Group session stage, States must check if the summary of their statement contained in the report is accurately reflected and if the recommendations they made have been included in the correct wording:
. Editorial changes to summaries of statements can be brought only by States that made them and within two weeks after the adoption by writing to the Secretariat (uprstates [at] ohchr.org).
. Changes to recommendations can be brought only by States that submitted them and solely orally during the adoption of the Report in the Working Group.
During the adoption of the report at the HRC session stage, States can use this opportunity to ask for responses to recommendations or clarifications on them.
Through their embassies, development agencies and local partners, States should monitor the implementation of the recommendations they made. When needed and possible, they should provide support, financial or technical, to the Government and other actors such as civil society in this regard.
All the documents on the UPR here.
To reach States’ individual pages, use the country search located on the right hand side
|Deadlines for the submission of the National report to the OHCHR:|
. Session 17 (21 October - 1 November 2013): 22 July 2013
. Session 18 (January/February 2014): 28 October 2013 (tentative)
. Session 19 (April/May 2014): 20 January 2014 (tentative)
. Session 20 (October/November 2014): 21 July 2014 (tentative)
. Session 21 (January/February 2015): 27 October 2014 (tentative)
. Session 22 (April/May 2015): 19 January 2015 (tentative)
. Session 23 (October/November 2015): 20 July 2015 (tentative)
. Session 24 (January/February 2016): 26 October 2015 (tentative)
. Session 25 (April/May 2016): 25 January 2016 (tentative)
. Session 26 (October/November 2016): 25 July 2016 (tentative)