WILPF Advocacy Documents

Promoting and Strengthening the Universal Periodic Review

Human Rights
20 March 2015
Document type:
Body submitted to:
Human Rights Council

United Nations Human Rights Council: 28th Session

Oral statement Item 6 – General Debate

Thank you. This statement is made on behalf of 47 NGOs.

Mr President,

By the end of the second cycle, over 50’000 recommendations will have been made at the UPR. This figure is impressive. However, according to some actors, this figure is too high: since the beginning of the second cycle, we have heard repeated calls to decrease the number of recommendations made by each Recommending State.

As discussions are emerging on what the third cycle of the UPR should look like, we believe it is misguided to focus on the quantity of recommendations. Indeed, limiting the number of recommendations could be detrimental to the UPR process for mainly two reasons:

– Firstly, if fewer recommendations were made, important issues would be left aside. Only mainstream issues would be raised at the UPR, thus narrowing the scope of the review on a given country;

– Secondly, having many similar or identical recommendations on a given issue demonstrates how important that issue is. Repetition does not overload the State under Review as it calls for similar action but, rather, it shows the concerns of the international community on a specific issue.

Mr. President,

UPR recommendations are the main added value and outcome of the review. Reducing their number voluntarily could, in fact, weaken the whole mechanism. While the number of recommendations has increased, unfortunately, the number of quality recommendations has decreased. The proportion of weak, unspecific recommendations is the main problem we see in the UPR — not the overall number itself. States should make an effort to improve the quality, measurability, and specificity of recommendations, which would better guide implementation.

Thank you.

List of co-signatories:

 AFD international

 Alkarama

 Article 19

 Association pour l’Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi-AIDB

 Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII

 Cairo Institue for Human Rights Studies

 Canada for Population and Development

 Casa Alianza Switzerland

 Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights

 Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales


 Civilis Human Rights and Acción Solidaria on HIV/Aids


 Colombian Commission of Jurists

 Congregation Of Our Lady of Charity Of The Good Shepherd


 Defence for Children International (DCI)

 Dominicans for Justice and Peace

 East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

 Edmund Rice International


 Franciscans International

 Freedom House

 Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR)

 Human Rights Watch

 IIMA – Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice

 International Disability Alliance

 International Lesbian and Gay Association

 International Partnership for Human Rights

 International Platform against Impunity

 International Service for Human Rights

 Irish Council for Civil Liberties

 London Legal Group

 Marist International Solidarity Foundation – FMSI

 Minority Rights Group International (MRG)

 Norwegian Helsinki Committee

 Pax Romana

 Plan International

 Save the Children

 Sinergia, Venezuelan Association of Civil Society Organizations

 Stefanus Alliance International

 The Bahá’í International Community

 Together – Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights

 UPR Info

 VIDES International – International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education, Development

 Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

 World Vision International

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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