Parlamentarians - Take Action
Key moments for parliamentarians to engage in the UPR
As described in the section "What is the UPR?", this mechanism is a full-circle process comprised of three key stages:
Preparation for the review
Between the review and adoption
Implementation of the recommendations
It is a cyclical process because each review process is based on the implementation of previously received recommendations.
All the Stakeholders can get involved in each phase in a different way. The following section will show how parliamentarians can get involved at each stage.
1. Preparation for the review
Parliaments and parliamentarians can contribute significantly to international human rights protection and promotion efforts. They have an active role regarding human rights mechanisms, and in this case, in the UPR.
Before the review, Parliaments can also actively participate in the UPR process by coordinating with the Government or informing themselves about this mechanism, participate in consultations as part of the drafting process of the State’s national report for the UPR, among other actions. Let us see how.
Inform human rights sensitive parliamentarians and relevant parliamentary committee(s) about the UPR and the important role of parliamentarians in this mechanism;
Participate in consultations during the national report drafting process;
Request to be part of the national delegation to the UPR Working Group (the review in Geneva) and report back to your colleagues.
2. Between the review and adoption
Parliamentarians are the channel through which the human rights (regional and international) mechanism’s recommendations reach the national level, in particular in their legislative, budgetary, and oversight roles. That is why their role is more likely to focus on the implementation phase, but during the review and before the adoption, they could also play an important role, let us see.
Provide consultancy support and engage in decision-making processes on the status of recommendations (decision on whether to support/note a recommendation) requiring legislative action;
Discuss UPR recommendations prior to the submission of the “addendum” to the final UPR report, request the government to report to Parliament on UPR recommendations.
3. Implementation of the recommendations
Parliaments are key in calling for the establishment of national mechanisms for reporting and follow-up.
They may play an active role in the work of such mechanisms, and in ensuring an integrated approach to the reporting on and implementation of recommendations of human rights mechanisms.
Investigate and seek information on the level of implementation of UPR recommendations in parliamentary debates (using NHRI and CSOs reports, submit oral/written questions to the government on the matter);
Monitor State compliance with UN human rights treaties and UPR recommendations;
Cooperate with CSOs and NHRIs in particular to assess the implementation of UPR recommendations;
Monitor the adequacy of the existing national human rights protection system, proactively review existing legislation to ensure its harmonization with international human rights norms and standards;
Facilitate legislative changes necessary to the implementation of accepted recommendations;
Review State budget fund allocations and expenditures to support measures included in UPR recommendations.
For more information on how parliamentarians can engage in the UPR and other international human rights mechanisms you can consult the following links:
- Human Rights Handbook for Parliamentarians: old version, and updated version. (IPU/OHCHR)
- Human Rights Council Resolution 35/29
- HRC Panel discussion on the contribution of parliaments to the work of the HRC and its universal periodic review
- Contribution of parliaments to the work of the HRC and its universal periodic review (A/HRC/38/25)
- The role of national Parliaments (the Commonwealth Secretariat, Universal Rights Group)
- The Role of the Parliamentarians in the UPR (FES)
- Universal Periodic Review: Opportunities for Parliamentary Involvement
- Belgrade Principles on the relationship between national human rights institutions and parliaments
- Paris Principles (relating to the Status of National Institutions)
- Abuja Guidelines on the relationship between parliaments, parliamentarians and commonwealth national human rights institutions
- Draft Principles on Parliaments and human rights (HRC, OHCHR)