Latest News

Israel's Universal Periodic Review Still Pending

15 January 2013

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a United Nations human rights mechanism, which ensures a comprehensive review of each and every UN Member State’s human rights situation every four years.

So far, having just finished its first global cycle, the UPR has proved itself to be a valuable awareness-raising and advocacy mechanism, as well an effective tool for improving human rights situations on the ground.

However, now this mechanism is in danger of being seriously undermined, as Israel has made its intentions public not to participate in its own upcoming review.

On 14 January, the Human Rights Council (HRC) proceeded to the drawing of lots to select the troikas of countries to be reviewed at the 15th Working Group session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from 21 January to 1 February.

What were the stakes of this meeting?

Since Israel had announced its intention not to take part in the process, the attitude of the HRC in this organizational meeting (business as usual or exceptions allowed) was crucial for the future and the integrity of the UPR mechanism.

Following up on our UPR campaign, we would like to inform you that the Human Rights Council has decided not to conclude its Organizational Meeting but to suspend it until 29 January, date on which the Israel review is still scheduled.

Israel's troikaEven though we regret that no Israeli representative attended this meeting, we praise the decision of the HRC to draw the troikas for Israel in the same neutral conditions as any other country. Thus the three countries that will be assisting the UPR process for Israel are the following: Sierra Leone, Maldives and Venezuela.

What is going to happen now?

Israel has orally requested the President of the Council to postpone the UPR process of Israel given their difficult relation with the HRC. Therefore considering the uncertainty surrounding the participation of the Israeli delegation to the UPR Working Group session, the HRC member States agreed to postpone the decision making until 29 January, in order to give themselves more time to reach a solution to this unusual issue, as it is the very first example of non-cooperation with the UPR mechanism since it has been implemented.

Should Israel not be represented by a delegation on 29 January, the Organizational Meeting will be resumed with a view to assess the situation and come up with a common decision on how to proceed.

By then, the Human Rights Council Chair will try to intensify its contacts with Israel to get them involved and to cooperate for their own review.

Representatives of Canada, Costa Rica, the EU and others strongly insisted on the UPR guiding principles such as non-discrimination, impartiality, equality of treatment and universality but also cooperation and full involvement of the country under review.

But while these States seem to think that postponing the decision making was the only way to avoid a conflict and to go forward, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has expressed its fear that this postponement might set a precedent that could be used in the future by Member States to avoid human rights accountability. The delegate reminded the room that if they were to postpone the decision until the 29th of January, no more delays should be allowed then with the aim of protecting the periodicity, credibility and integrity of the UPR mechanism.

All member States called upon Israel to accept and resume the UPR procedure as soon as possible.

Picture of Madeleine Rees posting her letterAt this point, WILPF would like to remind of our statement (find it in French, Arabic and Spanish) and urge Israel to return to the UPR process and the HRC. However, should Israel not attend on the 29th, we urge all members of the HRC to take immediate action and decide that the review of the Member State will have to be carried out with or without their attendance to preserve the principles of non-discrimination, impartiality, equality, universality and the accountability of States forwards their obligations to Human Rights.

This means we have two more weeks ahead of us to pursue our UPR campaign and to do our best so that the review of Israel can be upheld at the earliest opportunity.


Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

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

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


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.

Skip to content