02/04/2024

UPR Outcomes at the 55th Session of HRC: Highlights

At the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council, the outcome reports from the 44th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), referred to as Item 6, were adopted. 

The reports for Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan, Tuvalu, Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, and Cuba were examined and adopted. During the 44th Session, 3,814 recommendations were made by UN Member States and 2,797 recommendations enjoyed the support from States under Review (73%).

Item 6 serves as a platform in which States share their commitment to the UPR process, and represents an opportunity to provide an update on their progress in the implementation of the recommendations that they have supported in their examination under the UPR.  The reviewed States shared their progress in human rights issues such as; women’s rights, combating discrimination, freedom of expression and children’s rights. 

Furthermore, states took the opportunity to share their good practices: Bangladesh's National Human Rights Commission established thematic committees, Uzbekistan pledged to the submission of a Midterm report and Colombia committed to the creation of a mechanism to monitor the implementation of received recommendations. 

 "The Universal Periodic Review is one of the biggest achievements of the United Nations. Everyone commits to facing scrutiny. Everybody has the opportunity to make recommendations," said Ambassador Dr. Katharina Stasch of Germany.

General Debate 

On March 26th, at the General Debate for Item 6, UPR Info highlighted the critical role of including mechanisms like the UPR within the framework of the Pact for the Future. 

“Pact for the Future" is a document expected to be agreed upon among the member states in September 2024 during the Summit for the Future. The aim of the Summit is twofold: to accelerate efforts to meet our existing international commitments and to take concrete steps to respond to emerging challenges and opportunities. The Pact is expected to be an action-oriented political declaration that would acknowledge the commitments made by member states. The release of the Zero Draft in January 2024 and the forthcoming civil society conference in May mark critical milestones towards finalising the Pact for the Future. 

 

In its statement at Item 6, UPR Info highlighted  the crucial role of the UPR  in enhancing collaboration among states, their governmental branches, and civil society. This collaborative effort is fundamental for pushing forward the 2030 Agenda alongside human rights and development agendas. "The UPR stands as a pivotal mechanism for fulfilling the objectives outlined in the Pact, steering us towards a future rooted in equity, solidarity, and universality," noted Mona M’Bikay, Executive Director of UPR Info.

Image:
Flag of Germany
Germany

Germany accepted 283 recommendations out of the 346 received. Many of the accepted recommendations focused on combating discrimination, advancing gender equality and women’s rights, and enhancing the rights of youth, children, and migrants. Germany has detailed the measures taken in relation to each of these themes. For example, to combat violence against women, the German government launched an independent monitoring body on gender-based violence in 2022 and established a task force for a coordination body in line with the Istanbul Convention in 2023. Overall, the German government’s approach to reviewing the recommendations involved collaboration with various federal ministries and consultations with the German Institute for Human Rights, as well as engagement with civil society stakeholders.

Image:
Flag of Djibouti
Djibouti

Djibouti accepted 228 out of the 259 recommendations from its review. The accepted recommendations addressed themes such as enhancements to the human rights framework, cooperation with special mandate holders, strengthening the capacity of the National Human Rights Commission, and initiating legal and policy reforms to combat human trafficking. The Djiboutian delegation highlighted its focus on implementing recommendations regarding social sector projects, notably in health and education, aiming at significantly improving service coverage for its population. This effort is exemplified by the construction of two major hospitals and the promotion of universal education up to the age of 16.

Image:
Flag of Canada
Canada

Canada accepted 222 recommendations unreservedly and took note of 78, with an additional 32 accepted in part. Key themes addressed include Indigenous Peoples' rights, with commitments to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and combat anti-Indigenous racism; hate and racism, with proposed legislation to safeguard against online hatred; and the protection of refugees and migrants, with plans to resettle over 136,000 refugees in the next three years. Canada also expressed its dedication to considering ratification of international treaties and has pledged $50,000 to the UPR Voluntary Fund, reaffirming its commitment to bolstering technical assistance and capacity building to states. 

Image:
Flag of Bangladesh
Bangladesh

Bangladesh accepted 211 of the 301 recommendations, which were examined through inter-ministerial consultations. The delegation highlighted the fact that the country is a party to eight core human rights instruments. It is working on reinforcing national mechanisms before ratifying optional protocols that allow individuals to lodge complaints directly with the respective treaty bodies. Bangladesh has established various mechanisms, including thematic committees by the National Human Rights Commission, and is focusing on the development and strengthening of national institutions to ensure effective fulfilment. The government remains committed to further empowering the National Human Rights Commission in line with international standards.

Image:
Flag of Russia
Russia

Out of 360 recommendations, the Russian Federation has accepted 167, 35 were accepted in part. The delegation highlighted that many not accepted recommendations contradict provisions of the current Russian legislation, law enforcement practice, and the main directions of state policy in the relevant areas. The Russian delegation emphasised that, in light of the recommendations received, it is actively working to enhance social protection for the unemployed, especially those nearing retirement age, to increase pension levels for the elderly, to reduce poverty levels, to strengthen legal guarantees for large families, and to develop labour legislation.

Image:
Flag of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, involving relevant representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial authorities and the Ombudsman have considered 319 recommendations, out of which 185 were supported, 88 were noted and 46 were not supported. Azerbaijan stated that it has aligned its national human rights protection agenda to the Sustainable Development Goals, acknowledging the complementary and mutually reinforcing nature of human rights and sustainable development. Internationally, the country has submitted three voluntary national reports on the SDGs at the High-Level Political Forums.

Image:
Flag of Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan has accepted 146 out of 228 recommendations. The delegation reported that most of the accepted recommendations address the issues of gender equality, protection of vulnerable groups, and ensuring fundamental rights like health, education, and freedom of expression. The recommendations were categorised into accepted without conditions, taken note and rejected due to cultural considerations. In their final remarks, the delegation of Turkmenistan reassured its commitment to the international cooperation mechanisms for the implementation of the recommendations and stated the preparations of proposals for the harmonisation of international law.

Image:
Flag of Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

Out of 265 recommendations, Burkina Faso accepted 206 and 59 were noted. The accepted recommendations relate to the issues of supporting victims of terrorism, enhancing gender equality, strengthening human rights frameworks and institutions and the improvement of the rights of health and education. Positive developments were shared including the reduction of healthcare services costs and training courses on human rights issues. Burkina Faso stated that despite their security and humanitarian challenges reaffirmed its commitment to the implementation of the recommendations with the support of States and relevant stakeholders.

Image:
Flag of Cabo Verde
Cabo Verde

The delegation of Cabo Verde received 121 recommendations, of which it accepted 115 in full, partially accepted 6 and noted 84 recommendations. Cabo Verde reported the ratification of several international instruments such as: the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforcement Disappearance and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Furthermore, the delegation shared progress in the protection of women, children, human trafficking victims and concrete measures for the prevention of torture and the implementation of the Mandela Rules. In their final remarks, the delegation of Cabo Verde reassured that in spite of the challenges faced by their country, they remain committed to the strengthening of the human rights framework.

Image:
Flag of Colombia
Colombia

Colombia received a total of 231 recommendations of which accepted 231 and noted 97 recommendations. The Colombian delegation emphasised its commitment to the international community and has accepted recommendations related to The Peace Agreements, Truth Commission, Gender Equality, minority populations and migrants. The delegation reassured its compromise with the United Nations mechanisms, issuing a permanent standing invitation to the Special Procedures. Positive developments were shared in the terms of ratification of international instruments, such as the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Colombia also committed to the creation of a mechanism for the follow-up and implementation of the UPR recommendations.

Image:
Flag of Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan

Out of 234, Uzbekistan accepted 219 recommendations and noted 15. The delegation outlined their compromise to the promotion and protection of human rights, democracy, and rule of law. Uzbekistan also reported positive developments since their last review, these include the establishment of the Law on Children’s Ombudsman, the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Mandela Rules. Finally, Uzbekistan committed to the submission of a mid-Term report in 2026.

Image:
Flag of Tuvalu
Tuvalu

Tuvalu has accepted 80 recommendations and taken note of 87. The delegation stated that noted recommendations do not align to the sensitivities and accessibility of their context. Tuvalu has accepted recommendations related to the strengthening of human rights institutions and the abolishment of discriminative laws and practices against women and girls. In their final remarks, the delegation of Tuvalu acknowledged the important role of the UPR in the promotion and protection of human rights and reaffirmed its compromise in the implementation of the recommendations.

Image:
Flag of Cameroon
Cameroon

The delegation of Cameroon received 291 recommendations, of which accepted 220 and noted 71, representing a 75.6% acceptance rate. The recommendations accepted relate to the issues of ratification of international instruments, institutional promotion of human rights, rights to health, environment, education, protection of vulnerable groups and freedom of expression. Cameroon stated reservations on 71 recommendations, citing cultural and political realities. With regards to the protection of vulnerable populations Cameroon is drafting a law on gender-based violence and the Family Code, as well as reporting an improvement of working conditions. The delegation of Cameroon finally pledged to implement the accepted recommendations and welcomed ongoing dialogues on human rights.

Image:
Flag of Cuba
Cuba

Cuba has accepted 292 recommendations, which constitutes an 81% acceptance rate. The delegation reported that noted recommendations are those that are considered politically biassed. The delegation highlighted the participation of civil society organisations in the review. Furthermore, positive developments were shared such as the institution of independent courts systems, the visitation of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, as well as the several cooperation activities with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.