The Universal Periodic Review: Tracking Progress on Human Rights

Last week, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group concluded their 20th session after reviewing the human rights records of 14 countries. Italy, El Salvador, The Gambia, Bolivia, Fiji, San Marino, Kazakhstan, Angola, Iran, Madagascar, Iraq, Slovenia, Egypt and Bosnia and Herzegovina were all examined through the lens of human rights issues including gender-based violence, child protection, migrants’ rights, and hate crimes and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. Strategic recommendations were also developed to improve the lives of all people in these countries, especially marginalized populations.

This marks the seventh year of the UPR process, and 112 countries have been reviewed to-date. The UPR system is developed as a collaborative process in which NGOs, human rights defenders, academic institutions and others have the opportunity to submit materials and participate in national consultations. All 193 member states of the UN are regularly reviewed on a 4 and a half year cycle, and 42 states are reviewed each year. 

Some areas of considerable progress made this session include the following:

  • improved efforts to protect the rights of migrants;
  • enhanced child protection measures;
  • campaigns against discrimination and intolerance;
  • programmes to combat illiteracy;
  • the creation of government bodies to fight corruption;
  • reducing the gender pay gap;
  • and steps to address conditions of detention and to prevent torture

Full country reports are available here. The next session of the UPR Working Group will be held from 19 to 30 January 2015 and will review the human rights situations in Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana and Kuwait.

To learn more about the process and how to participate, click here.

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