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Universal Periodic Review: What Happens after the Review?

22 September 2014

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.

Human Rights Council Opens 27th Session in Geneva
UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

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

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.


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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

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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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