With the opening of the thirteenth session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 21 May 2012, FIACAT welcomes the start of the second cycle of reviews, which will lead to an assessment of the recommendations accepted by the Member States of the United Nations (UN) at the time of their first review.
The Universal Periodic Review is an innovative, unique mechanism introduced by the United Nations in April 2008 by which the Human Rights Council assesses the Human Rights performance of all the UN Member States.
FIACAT has supported this process from the outset and trains its member associations to play a full part. On the basis of its experience, FIACAT published a report in 2010  which included an initial mid-term assessment and drew particular attention to recommendations for improving the mechanism.
The UPR is a step forward, for several reasons. It stipulates a deadline for assessing the progress of all States in implementing human rights. Since it is an inter-State exercise, countries cannot ignore it. It encourages them to state their position on each recommendation made during the interactive dialogue. It may enliven the debate on human rights at national level and make for greater cooperation within civil society, especially as regards monitoring implementation of the recommendations. Finally, the UPR covers all human rights, so a State can no longer escape a review of the rights protected by a treaty simply by failing to ratify it.
Today sees the start of the follow-up to the UPR recommendations, the most critical and most important phase of the whole UPR process, the one which will lead to the States meeting – or missing - the target of improving the human rights situations in their countries. The success of this phase will also be crucial for the effectiveness and credibility of the mechanism and will demonstrate the States’ commitment to promoting and strengthening human rights.
FIACAT encourages the States to set out clearly in writing to the Council, preferably before their review meeting, their position on all the recommendations they have received, the means used to implement the recommendations, the results achieved, the difficulties encountered and solutions developed to put into practice, fully and effectively, the recommendations accepted at the time of the first review cycle. FIACAT encourages the States to study those recommendations rejected at the time of the first review and to open and maintain a quality dialogue with civil society on all the recommendations made during the first cycle.
Press contact: Nathalie Jeannin – firstname.lastname@example.org – tel. +41 7874 99 328