Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights

Towards Best Practice

image of Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights
The Universal Periodic Review mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which came into effect in 2008, has established itself as a mechanism with huge potential and which promotes dialogue and a level playing field for all countries undergoing the review of their human rights record.

Building on the Commonwealth Secretariat’s observations and analysis of the process, and the seminars it has conducted with member states, Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights consolidates the lessons learned so far, speaking equally to the three major stakeholders in the process – to states, to national human rights institutions, and to civil society organisations.

An effective UPR mechanism will enhance the promotion of human rights across the world. It is therefore essential for the key players to understand and advance the UPR process including at the implementation phase.

This publication describes UPR, shares experiences and provides analysis of the Commonwealth countries that reported in the first year of the UPR process.



How the UPR Works for National Human Rights Institutions

In 2008, the UPR process was new and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) felt that there was a lack of clarity and understanding on how to approach this unfamiliar mechanism. On receiving the UPR guidelines and documents from the Human Rights Council, the CHRAJ approached the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department for joint collaboration in the UPR process. The call (from the CHRAJ and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI),3 a civil society organisation) for state departments to afford broad consultation with NHRIs and CSOs received no response, as there was ambiguity about the deadlines for submission of the UPR reports.


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