States under review - Take Action

Key moments for the State under review 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:

  1. Preparation for the Review

  2. Between the Review and Adoption

  3. 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 States under review (SuR) can get involved at each stage. You can also refer to the "Documentation for States" section, for complementary documentation that could be useful.

1. Preparation for the Review

Preparing for the Review is not limited to the drafting of a UPR National Report. There are several steps encouraged by the OHCHR Secretariat, mainly focused on the engagement of the whole national spectrum of stakeholders in the preparation of the Report and Review to ensure a holistic approach.

National report ref

Prepare the National Report

The SuR must submit a report on its national human rights situation in advance of its UPR. This report provides an update on the progress made on human rights as well as the challenges faced in the implementation of recommendations since the previous UPR and serves as the basis for the review. It is critical that the SuR provides information on all recommendations received, including those that have been noted. The report should not exceed 10'700 words and should follow specific guidelines. The deadline for submission of the national report is generally twelve  weeks before the review - calendar for the 4th cycle.


National consultations

During the preparation of the national report, the SuR is “encouraged to undertake a broad consultation process at the national level with all relevant stakeholders to gather this information" (resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1). These consultations are important because they provide an objective and accurate picture of the situation on the ground and reflect the experiences and concerns of a variety of rights-holders. National consultations should take place at least one year before the review in different cities and regions of the country, and include a broad range of civil society including national human rights institutions (NHRIs), civil society organisations (CSOs), academics, trade unions, etc.


Advance written questions

Before the review, the SuR may receive written questions from Recommending States. These written questions are submitted in advance and offer the SuR the opportunity to prepare comprehensive and thorough responses in consultation with government departments prior to the Working Group. Advance written questions should be submitted by email ([email protected]) no later than ten days before the review.


2. Between the Review and Adoption

UPR examinations, and adoptions of subsequent reports, take place over a period of approximately four to six months. During this time there are multiple opportunities for UN Member States to interact and discuss how to further progress human rights through the UPR.

During the Review

The State review takes place during a 3.5-hour interactive dialogue at the UPR Working Group session in room XX of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The SuR is represented by a delegation that may include representatives from its Permanent Mission and officials from different government ministries. 

The Working Group is composed of all UN Member and Observer States and is chaired by the President of the Council. The review begins with a presentation by the SuR of its national report and responses to advanced written questions. This is followed by an interactive dialogue, during which Recommending States take the floor to ask questions and make recommendations on the human rights situation in the SuR. During this period, the SuR may take the floor to answer questions and comment on the recommendations. At the end, it presents its concluding observations. The total speaking time for the SuR during the review is 70 minutes. Recommending States have a total of 140 minutes.

The OHCHR has set up a Voluntary Fund for Participation in the UPR to help SuR with limited resources to bring their delegations to Geneva. 

Adoption of the report

After the review, a report is prepared by the troika with the support of the OHCHR Secretariat and in cooperation with the SuR. This report contains the summary of the interactive dialogue, the responses of the SuR to the different questions received, and the full list of recommendations issued by the recommending States. 

A draft version of the report is adopted two days after the Working Group session. The final version is then adopted at the regular session of the HRC under agenda item 6. During final adoption, the SuR has 20 minutes to deliver a final statement and present its comments on the questions and recommendations received during the review.

Response to recommendations

During the interactive dialogue, States recommend to the SuR measures to be taken to improve the human rights situation in the country. According to resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1, States may accept or take note of recommendations but not reject them. 

Even if a State decides to note a recommendation, it will appear in the final report and the recommending States will have the opportunity to reiterate their concerns in this regard during the cycle. 

Responses to each recommendation must be clearly explained in writing in a document of no more than 2,675 words called an “addendum.” This document must be submitted to the HRC prior to the session at which the report will be considered.

Adoption at the Working Group Session
  • Takes place 2 days after the review.
  • The recommendations' section is adopted.
  • Recommending States cannot change the wording of their recommendations.
  • Other sections of the UPR report still need to be completed.
Adoption at the Regular Session of the Human Rights Council
  • Takes place approx. 5 months after the review
  • The fully completed report is adopted
  • The Addendum containing the State under Review's responses to all recommendations (supported/noted) is adopted.

3. Implementation of the recommendations

The adoption of the report at the regular session of the HRC marks the end of the Geneva phase of the review. After this period, implementation and follow-up begin. At this stage, the SuR is expected to implement accepted recommendations in order to improve the human rights situation in the country before the next review. 

The OHCHR has established the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance to help States in the implementation of UPR recommendations.


Mid Term Reports

The phase between reviews represents a significant period during which the human rights situation in a country is likely to change considerably. Moreover, the momentum generated by the UPR during and immediately after the review phase may diminish between reviews, and thus undermine progress in the implementation of recommendations.

Mid Term Reports

The submission of a consolidated mid-term report is an effective way to present information on the status of implementation of UPR recommendations, including both the progress and challenges encountered by the SuR. It allows all stakeholders, including the SuR to contribute to a transparent and cooperative process.  

Stakeholders are given a wide flexibility in drafting mid-term reports, which have no submission deadline and few formal requirements for the structure and content in order to encourage their use. In addition to its mid-term report, the SuR may also provide an oral update on UPR implementation under agenda item 6 at HRC. More information on mid-term reporting is available here.