The Universal Periodic Review (UPR)was established with the main aim of improving the human rights situation of allUN member states. Each year, 42 countries are subject to review during one ofthe three sessions-January/February, May/June, and October/November. Upon thecompletion of the review, the State under Review (SuR) is presented with a listof recommendations to be implemented prior to the subsequent review. The reviewis conducted in several stages. Firstly, the SuR prepares a nationalreport that should take into account civil society contributions. Afterwards,UN entities, coordinated by the office of OHCHR, supplement the report withrelevant comments and recommendations regarding SuR’s implementation of humanrights treaties. In parallel, NGOs submit inputs to the official process thatare compiled into a “Summary of stakeholders’ information” document made publicand presented to the HRC. However, NGOs are not allowed to take the floorduring the public presentation by the SuR or the interactive dialogue that isstreamed live for general public access.
An outcome report with recommendationsis compiled by a troika of countries representing different regional groups andselected by drawing lots. All UN member states should bereviewed every 4.5 years, and at the subsequent review, member states should reporton the implementation of recommendations that were previously accepted by theState under Review and human rights situation in the country since the previousreview. Additionally, states can provide mid-term updates to HRC on a voluntarybasis. The Universal Periodic Review showsthe importance of ensuring a platform for formal and meaningful participation ofNGOs and other stakeholders. The mechanism has been successful in encouragingdialogues between SuRs, recommending states and international institutions. TheUPR has also been successful in ensuring high-level political participation inthe review process.
However, it is to be noted that while the acceptance rateof recommendations has remained high throughout subsequent review rounds, themore politically-charged issues often suffer from low acceptance. Also, thereis limited evidence that the reviews have driven change in countries that weresubject to review. Therefore, the process of country reporting on therecommendations stemming from the review needs to be formalized andstrengthened.