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South Africa’s human rights record to be reviewed by Universal Periodic Review

05 May 2017

GENEVA (5 May 2017) – South Africa’s human rights record will be examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 in a meeting that will be webcast live.

South Africa is one of the 14 States to be reviewed by the UPR Working Group during its upcoming session taking place from 1 to 12 May, which also marks the commencement of the third UPR cycle.  South Africa’s first and second UPR reviews took place in April 2008 and May 2012, respectively.

The documents on which the reviews are based are: 1) national report - information provided by the State under review; 2) information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, known as the Special Procedures, human rights treaty bodies, and other UN entities; 3) information provided by other stakeholders including national human rights institutions, regional organizations and civil society groups.

Among the issues raised in the above-mentioned documents are: issues of privacy and transparency related to state surveillance practices; excessive use of force applied by law enforcement officials; xenophobia and instances of violence against non-nationals; overcrowding and poor conditions of places of detention; ill-treatment and torture in detention; tackling poverty and granting equal access to justice, employment, education, housing, food, water, sanitation and health care, including combating HIV/AIDs and ensuring equal access to antiretroviral drugs, particularly in rural areas; reducing maternal and infant mortality; combatting gender-based and sexual violence; discrimination based on disability, gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, particularly of migrants and indigenous communities; issues of statelessness; and enforcing social, labour and environmental responsibilities of extractive companies.
The three reports serving as the basis for the review of South Africa on 10 May can be found here:

Location: Room 20, Palais des Nations, Geneva
Time and date: 14.30 – 18.00, Wednesday, 10 May (Geneva time, GMT +1 hour)

The UPR is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States.  Since its first meeting was held in April 2008, all 193 UN member States have been reviewed twice within the first and second UPR cycles.  During the third UPR cycle, States are again expected to spell out steps they have taken to implement recommendations posed during their previous reviews which they committed to follow-up on, as well as to highlight recent human rights developments in the country.

The three country representatives serving as rapporteurs (“troika”) for the review of South Africa are: Iraq, Burundi and Germany.

The webcast of the session will be at

The list of speakers and all available statements to be delivered during the review of South Africa will be posted on the UPR Extranet at the following link:

The UPR Working Group is scheduled to adopt the recommendations made to South Africa at 17.30 on 12 May.  The State under review may wish to express its positions on recommendations posed to it during their review.  The recommendations will be shared with the media on this day in advance.


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