GANHRI, UPR info, the Geneva Human Rights Platform and OHCHR share good practices for an effective UPR mechanism during an online event



In the context of the upcoming 4th cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), GANHRI, UPR info, the Geneva Human Rights Platform and OHCHR hosted an online event to present the study commissioned by OHCHR (UPR Branch) which highlights emerging Good Practices from seven countries drawn from the first three cycles of the UPR. 

The seven countries covered by the study are: Denmark, Georgia, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand and Peru. 

The opening remarks saw the participation of Nazhat Shameen Khan, President of UN Human Rights Council who highlighted the “widespread recognition of the Universal Periodic Review as a particularly effective human rights mechanism” and that we “must protect the system from any attempt of politicisation or confrontation”.  

Gianni Magazzeni, Chief of the UPR Branch, OHCHR gave an overview of how the study has been conceived and its scope of opening “the way for more in-depth analysis both in country as well as in specific areas where the UPR has made a difference when it comes to the promotion and protection of human rights”. 

The overall lesson drawn from the study is that the “UPR has spurred a collaborative spirit between the various actors at the national levels, some of which we have not seen before such as governments and NHRIs” said Miloon Kothari, Independent Expert on Human Rights and Social Policy. “This collaboration has increased human rights accountability and monitoring capabilities while raising awareness of the UPR mechanism.” 

The example of collaboration between various stakeholders has been presented by Commissioner Jerald Joseph of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia who showcased SUHAKAM’s UPR experiences from raising awareness, promoting engagement of national actors, monitoring implementation and holding to account. Following Malaysa’s 3rd UPR, SUHAKAM held consultations with government agencies, CSO, media, embassies, parliamentarians and general public providing its feedback and recommendations. This engagement happened also at the international level involving bilateral dialogues with Malaysian’s international stakeholders such as the permanent representatives in Geneva. At the end of its presentation, Commissioner Joseph summarised the key reflections and recommendations highlighting how a multi-stakeholder engagement is crucial in order to achieve the objectives of the UPR. 

As a final intervention, Akiyo Afouda, Human Rights Programme of Inter-Parliamentary Union, focused on the key role that parliament can have in reviewing the draft report that the executive has prepared for submission to the Human Rights Council. “Recommendations received by the Human Rights Council are useful tools as they give parliaments concrete tools to hold governments accountable”. 

The Good Practices showcased in the study include the development of national coordination mechanisms for reporting and follow up, action plans for human rights, development of tracking methodologies and tools, the benefits of preparing mid-term reports, the positive impact of technical cooperation and development assistance, and the integration of UPR recommendations in the context of the sustainable development goals.