Specific action is the order of the day at Session 20
The 20th Session of the UPR Working Group, held in October/November 2014, was marked by notable engagement on reviewing the human rights situation in the 14 States under Review (SuR): Angola, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, El Salvador, Fiji, Gambia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, San Marino, and Slovenia.
2,768 recommendations were made in total, putting Session 20 amongst the top three of the second cycle that have generated the most recommendations. Significantly, the quality of the recommendations from Session 20 sees it leading the second-cycle ranks for the level of "specific action" called on by the recommending States (RS). Put simply, more than one in three of all recommendations made - 1,004 in total - were of a level of precision to allow for easier monitoring - a formulation strongly encouraged by UPR Info.
The average number of recommendations received by each SuR was 198, where Egypt and Iran drew the most attention, warranting 321 and 299 recommendations respectively. Session 20 also saw the highest number of recommendations made by individual States in the second cycle, with each intervention resulting in 2.7 recommendations on average.
Encouragingly, numerous States, spear-headed by Italy, structured their language to include "as previously recommended" (or similar) in order to reiterate and reemphasise continued implementation for recommendations made during the first cycle. This is a notable development of Session 20 as one of the prime objectives of the second cycle is to look into the level of implementation of first cycle recommendations, as clearly laid out in Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21. In that sense, Recommending States play a great role at the second UPR in questioning the country under review in relation to the steps taken and efforts made to advance human rights between the two reviews. Read more here.
No surprises arose in terms of the the most prevalent issues raised in the recommendations. The top-three concerns of international instruments, women's rights, and the rights of the child were championed at Session 20, repeating a well-established and systematic thematic pattern .