Special Rapporteur devotes its first report to the Universal Periodic Review!

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (SR), Margaret Sekaggya, devoted her first report to the Human Rights Council (HRC) on the issue of human rights defenders at the UPR and how this new mechanism could enhance their situation on the ground.

Considering the UPR of "strategic value in reviewing and hopefully improving the situation of human rights defenders", the SR offers an assessment of the three first sessions by analysing the treatment of this issue in the national reports, the compilations and summaries of the OHCHR. The report also looks at how the issue was raised during each review and provides a summary of the situation of human rights defenders in the States under Review. Finally, the report gives a great importance to the national consultations and to the follow-up as opportunities for States to work and engage in a constructive dialogue with the civil society in general and human rights defenders in particular.

The SR concludes her report by making 18 recommendations on how to improve the mechanism, how States should act at the UPR and what human rights defenders can make of it.

This report A/HRC/10/12 was presented to the HRC on Thursday 12 March and followed by an interactive dialogue with States. While some, such as Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and Uzbekistan criticized the SR for falling outside her mandate, many delegations such as the Czech Republic on behalf of the European Union, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, Djibouti, Ireland, Uganda and the United Kingdom welcomed this innovative step, supported the work of the SR as a whole and encouraged her to continue.