Parliament’s engagement in the UPR: How? The case of Georgia
Parliaments play a crucial role in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), especially in implementing and monitoring the UPR recommendations. On average, more than half of UPR recommendations received by a country require parliamentary action to be implemented. Throughout the full UPR cycle, the United Nations (UN) and its Human Rights Council (HRC) have widely recognized this role through its enshrining in reports and resolutions. We have also seen a growing number of documents, guidelines, and good practices on Parliaments in the UPR and UN mechanisms.
At the 3rd UPR of Georgia in January 2021, as many as 39 recommendations received require explicit legislative action, notably on guaranteeing the funding of the National Human Rights Institution (the Public Defender Office).
Art.173 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia is on supervision over the implementation of the recommendations of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review. This article describes how the Parliament should use its oversight role in the UPR and sets a collaboration framework between the executive and legislative branches in the UPR of Georgia. This is quite unique for a Parliament’s Rules of Procedure to establish an institutionalized procedure for engagement in the UPR and specific collaboration duties between the Government and the Parliament.
“The Committee works primarily on legislation, amendments and new initiatives on human rights issues and civil integration issues, national and international reports and takes oversight measures” explains Ms. Miranda Tskhadadze, head specialist at the Committee.
This oversight role on international commitments embedded in the Rules of Procedure is not new but some functions were added in 2016, a year after Georgia’s second review. As per the Rules of Procedure, the Parliament has reviewed the State mid-term report for the 2nd cycle in 2019 as well as the State national report ahead of the 3rd cycle in 2020, two months before their official submissions to the OHCHR in Geneva. Interestingly, the Parliament can review the information provided by the executive on all UPR recommendations, not only those relevant to parliamentary action.
We want to thank Ms. Miranda Tskhadadze and M. Kakhaber Goshadze, Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, Parliament of Georgia, for having taken the time to share their insights and experience about the Committee’s work and engagement in the UPR process.