UPR: Council holds general debate during 19th session

Summary: On 16 March, the Human Rights Council held a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), focusing on the upcoming second cycle of reviews.

Implementation the focus now

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review, in which speakers agreed that the focus now was on the implementation of the accepted commitments and in making the process less burdensome through reducing the number of recommendations and by ensuring they were precise, practical and implementable.

Platform for dialogue

Delegations further noted that this mechanism had encouraged States to improve their human rights records in line with their national and international commitments. It had created a desired environment of openness and a platform for constructive dialogue and allowed for frank, open and inclusive discussion.

The success of the Universal Periodic Review could be attributed to the equal treatment of all States which had been measured with the same yardstick. Now was the time to strengthen this mechanism by focusing on follow-up measures which had real impact on the ground. The second cycle would really test the value and credibility of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, speakers said, agreeing that it should be guided in a transparent, cooperative and non politicized manner. The second cycle should also consider the effectiveness of the implementation of accepted recommendations and focus on sharing best practices so that all States could benefit and improve.

Speakers views

The exercise of naming and shaming should be purged as it represented a barrier in addressing real challenges in the realization of all human rights, a speaker noted.

Several countries encouraged more meaningful participation of national human rights institutions and civil society organizations in the Universal Periodic Review process.

Technical assistance by the international community would be of great importance to States that participated in the process in a sincere manner despite human rights challenges they faced.

States need to stop all acts of reprisals on individuals and civil society actors that cooperated with the Human Rights Council and United Nations human rights mechanisms. This was an absolute prerequisite for the effective functioning of the Council, its mechanisms and the United Nations system as a whole.

List of speakers

Speaking in the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review were Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Denmark on behalf of the European Union, Algeria on behalf of 40 countries, the Russian Federation, United States, Spain, Republic of Moldova, Cuba, Hungary, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Bangladesh, Uruguay, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Slovenia, Sudan, Bahrain, Portugal, and the Republic of Korea. Council of Europe and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie took the floor, as did the following non-governmental organizations: International Service for Human Rights, Action Canada for Population and Development, United Nations Watch and Sudwind.

To read more about the discussions and see what indivdiual States and NGOs said, click here.

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