UPR Info statement at the HRC Annual High-Level Panel Discussion on Human Rights Mainstreaming
On the 28th of February 2022, the Human Rights Council held the annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund, the theme this year was the contribution of universal participation to the mainstreaming of human rights throughout the United Nations system.
The Trust Fund supports the participation of least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDSs) in the work of the Human Rights Council (HRC) and so far, has enabled 172 government officials from the 72 eligible countries to attend the regular sessions of the Council. It has also helped make strides in gender equality, with 104 beneficiaries out of 172 being women. Many of these officials have attended as part of their delegations participating the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The procedures governing the UPR process ensure that all States are treated on an equal footing. Since 2008, LDCs and SIDSs have increasingly demonstrated strong commitment to and acceptance of the mechanism as a critical tool of the HRC. Their commitment has been reiterated during the reviews and interactive dialogues of the Working Group on the UPR and at the adoption of the UPR outcomes and general debates under agenda item 6 of the Council’s regular sessions on different critical issues affecting them, such as the effects of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights.
UPR Info encourages and supports the engagement of civil society in the UPR. While recognizing the importance of in-person meetings, Mona M’Bikay, executive director of UPR Info, emphasized in her statement the importance of facilitating the accessibility in the UPR for CSOs in LDCs and SIDSs. The new modalities put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic making use of pre-recorded statements allowed for example a wider participation of not only the State delegation but also of local civil society organization.