Posted by: lauraannwilson | January 31, 2015

Demystified Universal Periodic Review

outside UN 2

‘What’s the Universal Periodic Review?’ – If you have asked yourself this question, don’t worry, you are not alone! In this post I aim to demystify and simplify the UPR process.

What is the Universal Periodic Review?

The Human Rights Council has a process called the UPR. The UPR is a process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR Working Group consists of 47 member States of the Human Rights Council (the intergovernmental body within the UN structure).

The UPR Working Group meets in the UN Geneva Office. The UPR is a four and a half year cycle process. The UPR Working Group has three sessions per year, that last for two weeks per session. At each session, 14 States are reviewed (42 States per year).

The review of the State is based on three documents:

1. National report prepared by the State under review

2. A report on the State, prepared by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

3. A summary, prepared by the OHCHR, based on stakeholder submissions.

The UPR Working Group Sessions include a process of ‘interactive review’. Basically, the State under Review delivers an opening Statement on it human rights status since its last review (4 years earlier). Then each State has the opportunity to deliver a Statement on the State under review. The Statements generally consist of: praise of what the State has done well, followed by ‘concerns’ and ‘recommendations’. A delegate from each country delivers the Statement, which is timed (generally 1-2minutes per speaker). The State under review then provides interim statements and a final statement, interacting with the States who have provided comment. These sessions last for about 3.5 hours.

Following this, the report on the country under review is adopted. The meeting where the report is adopted are quite short. The country under review provides a statement, thanking the other countries for its comments and recommendations. The country under review then provides an undertaking to report back at the next session (that it is under review) on its progress.

Dear reader, I hope that this demystified the UPR process a little. If you are still confused, no shame! I have sat through a week of the 21st Session of the UPR, and admittedly I am a little overwhelmed!

For more information, please see:



  1. Great summary, really quite helpful! Of course, I did learn about this in Human Rights Advocacy, but this was a concise reminder!

    • Thanks for your feedback MRogers! I will write a similar summary on the Human Rights Council. Thanks for reading and your feedback is warmly welcomed!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: