The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is the main mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council to assess on a regular basis the human rights situation of each state. A few months after the reviews, the Human Rights Council (HRC) adopts the final Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reports.
During its 27th session, the HRC adopted the UPR reports of Norway, Albania, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Costa Rica, which had all been reviewed in April 2014.
Over the course of its UPR, Norway received 203 recommendations, of which 150 have been accepted, and 53 noted. States encouraged once again Norway to efficiently tackle issues such as domestic violence and discrimination against migrants. Further recommendations were made by NGOs to call on Norway to address the continuing challenges faced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people, and ratify the third optional protocol on the rights of the child.
Have a look at the UPR recommendations made to Norway and the responses of the Norwegian government.
Over the course of its UPR, Albania received 168 recommendations, of which 164 were accepted by the Albanian government, 3 partially accepted and 1 noted. The HRC encouraged Albania to take all the necessary measures to tackle the rampant corruption, combat trafficking and organised crime, and improve detention conditions in Albanian prisons, among others. Additionally, NGOs reminded Albania to efficiently combat discrimination against LGBTI people, Roma and Egyptian communities, and tackle the high level of domestic violence.
Have a look at the UPR recommendations made to Albania and the responses of the Albanian government.
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
DRC accepted 190 out of 200 recommendations received. However, many NGOs pointed out the widespread sexual and gender-based violence and the impunity that remains, and regretted the absence of a national commission of human rights and the existence of the death penalty. WILPF delivered an oral statement to remind the Congolese authorities to demonstrate their support for the Security Council resolution 1325, ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and take measures to protect the population from the negative impact of mining on human rights.
Have a look at the UPR recommendations made to DRC and the responses of the Congolese government.
Costa Rica received 193 recommendations, of which 178 have been accepted by the Costa Rican authorities, and 15 noted. NGOs continue to be concerned by the criminalisation of abortion even in case of rape, and by gender-based discrimination against women and LGBTI people.
Have a look at the UPR recommendations made to Costa Rica and the responses of the Costa Rican government.
What happens now?
The non-implementation of UPR recommendations will put at risk this mechanism. It is therefore of the utmost importance to monitor and assess their implementation by each state. Indeed, the UPR process does not end at the review itself: it’s an ongoing process in which civil society and WILPF’s National Sections have to be involved.
In terms of follow up, WILPF’s Human Rights Programme work with our Sections in order to take the floor at the Human Rights Council to provide update on the implementation, to help them submit their own mid-term assessment reports, and also more generally raise awareness about the UPR process in their respective countries. It is also essential that WILPF’s Sections participate in monitoring committees to provide their input, and encourage states to submit mid-term evaluations given that these are not mandatory.