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Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group to hold twenty-first session in Geneva from 19 to 30 January

Human Rights Council Universal 
Periodic Review Working Group 

14 January 2015

The twenty-first session of the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will be held in Geneva from 19 to 30 January during which the next group of 14 States are scheduled to have their human rights records examined under this mechanism.

The group of States to be reviewed by the Universal Periodic Review Working Group during this session are (in order of scheduled review):  Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana and Kuwait.  The meeting will take place in Room 20 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Representatives of the 14 countries are scheduled to come before the Working Group, which comprises the entire membership of the 47-member Human Rights Council, to present efforts they have made in fulfilling their human rights obligations and commitments, in particular since their last UPR review, assessing both positive developments and identifying challenges. The timetable of State reviews and adoption and distribution of reports can be found below, as well as at the following link:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

The twenty-first session is the ninth of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group to be held during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review process.  As an integral part of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, States under Review are expected to spell out the steps they have taken to implement recommendations posed to them during their first review, in particular those which enjoyed the support of the State, as well as present developments that occurred since the previous review and share challenges in their follow-up action.  The reports serving as the basis for these reviews can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx

Speaking ahead of next week's session, Ambassador Joachim Ruecker of Germany, President of the Human Rights Council, stressed  that the UPR has become a “robust mechanism to promote and protect human rights” since the Working Group began meeting in April 2008.  He added:  "I am confident that by working closely with all relevant stakeholders, we can make this process even more successful and achieve further concrete results and tangible progress on human rights for everyone around the globe.”

During the session, an interactive dialogue between the country under review and the Council takes place.  Each country review lasts three and one-half hours and an additional half hour will be devoted to the adoption of the Working Group's recommendations for each country.  The review for each State is facilitated by groups of three Council members from different regional groups, or troikas, who act as rapporteurs.  The troikas for States to be reviewed throughout the three UPR working group sessions in 2015 were selected through a drawing of lots on Monday, 13 January during an organizational meeting of the Council.  The troikas for the 21st session can be found at the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
The final outcome of the session will be adopted by the plenary of the Council at its twenty-ninth regular session taking place from 15 June to 3 July 2015.

About the Universal Periodic Review

General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006, which created the Human Rights Council, mandated the Council to "undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies."

Subsequently, the Universal Periodic Review mechanism was established through the adoption by the Council of its “institution-building package” - HRC resolution 5/1 - on 18 June 2007, one year after its first meeting.  Among the elements of this package was the new Universal Periodic Review mechanism, which aims to ensure that all United Nations Member States, starting with the members of the Council, have their records examined in order to improve human rights conditions worldwide.  Furthermore, the Council decided that these reviews would be conducted on one working group composed of the 47 members of the Council.

The UPR Working Group consequently held its inaugural session in April 2008 for the first group of States, the order for which was decided through the drawing of lots. With the holding of this first session the first cycle took off through which all 193 United Nations Member States have had their human rights records reviewed over a four-year period (April 2008 to October 2011); this included South Sudan which became a Member State during the course of the first cycle.  Thus far, all States scheduled to participate in their second cycle UPR have done so.  The second cycle is scheduled to conclude in November 2016

Per Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 adopted on 25 March 2011 and decision 17/119 pertaining to the review of the Council, the second and subsequent cycles of the UPR should focus on, inter alia, the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the State under review.  This resolution and decision also established that the periodicity of the review for the second and subsequent cycles will be four and a half years, instead of four, and thus 42 States would be reviewed per year during three sessions of the UPR Working Group.  Moreover, the order of reviews established for the first cycle was to be maintained.  The calendar of State reviews for the second cycle can be found at the following link: http://www2.ohchr.org/SPdocs/UPR/UPR-FullCycleCalendar_2nd.doc

UPR Reporting and Objectives

In accordance with the Council’s “institution-building package”, and as reinforced by the outcome of the Council’s review adopted in March 2011, the three documents on which State reviews should be based are information prepared by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing; information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and Special Procedures, to be compiled in a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and information provided by other relevant stakeholders to the UPR including non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic institutions and research institutes, regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives, also to be summarized by OHCHR in a separate document.

Per the adopted institution-building package, the objectives of the Universal Periodic Review are: the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground; fulfilment of the State's human rights obligations and commitments and assessment of positive developments and challenges faced by the State; the enhancement of the State's capacity and of technical assistance, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the State concerned; the sharing of best practice among States and other stakeholders; support for cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights; and, the encouragement of full cooperation and engagement with the Council, other human rights bodies and OHCHR.

Timetable for the Universal Periodic Review Working Group 21st Session:  (Contains links to documentation page for each State)

Monday, 19 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Kyrgyzstan
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Kiribati

Tuesday, 20 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Guinea
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Lao People’s Democratic Republic

Wednesday, 21 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Spain
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Lesotho

Thursday, 22 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Kenya
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Armenia

Friday, 23 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Guinea-Bissau
15h00 – 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain and Lesotho

Monday, 26 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Sweden
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Grenada

Tuesday, 27 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Turkey
16h30 – 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on Kenya, Armenia and Guinea-Bissau

Wednesday, 28 January

09h00 – 12h30 Review of Guyana
14h30 – 18h00 Review of Kuwait

Thursday, 29 January

16h30 – 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on Sweden, Grenada and Turkey

Friday, 30 January

17h00 – 18h00 Adoption of recommendations on Guyana and Kuwait

Additional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism can be located at the Universal Periodic Review webpage on the OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx

Media contact:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org


For use of the information media; not an official record