Starting all over again? An analysis of the links between the 1st and 2nd UPR cycles

One of the prime objectives of the 2nd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is to look into the level of implementation of 1st cycle recommendations. In that sense, Recommending States play a great role at the 2nd UPR in questioning the country under review in relation to the steps taken and efforts made to advance human rights between the two reviews. However, in an analysis of the 70 first reviews of the second UPR cycle, UPR Info shows that Recommending States are not performing well in making recommendations related to the first cycle recommendations. This study, Starting all over again ?, finds that only 18.8% of 1st cycle recommendations were linked to recommendations made at the 2nd cycle (930 out of 4935). While recognising the existence of several factors explaining the low percentage, the study aims to share best practices on how to ensure that Recommending States become better at creating links between first and subsequent reviews.

Main outcomes:

  • Recommending States bear great responsibility in ensuring that States under Review provide information about the progress made to implement recommendations;
  • Recommending States underperform in ensuring that 2nd UPR cycle recommendations have a link with their 1st cycle recommendations;
  • According to our data, only 1 first cycle recommendation out of 5 is linked to the 2nd cycle;
  • Some factors can explain this low percentage: lack of comprehension of the cyclic nature of the UPR and the importance to refer back to previous recommendations; lack of knowledge of the previous recommendations made; lack of political will to confront the state under review for a second time on the same issue; commitment to only make two recommendations to each State under Review; the emergence of new priorities in the country under review or in the foreign policy of the Recommending State;
  • Recommending States need to do more: maintain a list of all recommendations made previously and verify if they have been implemented according to the UPR basic documents (the national report, the compilation of UN information, and the summary of stakeholders’ information); consult the UPR Info database; attend UPR Info’s Pre-sessions; and meet individually with civil society organisations.

Download the study here.