Skip to main content

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the main human rights body of the United Nations (UN), the Human Rights Council (HRC). What it does is implied in its name:

It is universal: It reviews the human rights record of each state according to the same parameters and procedures, whatever the human rights situation and the state’s ratification or compliance with international human rights treaties. This interactive dialogue, where all UN member states have the opportunity to question and make recommendations to other UN member states, is an approach that is unique to the UPR process.

It is periodic: The human rights situation of all states is reviewed every four to five years. These reviews take place every year during UPR Working Group sessions (usually held in January/February, May/June and October/November). The first UPR cycle ran from 2008-2011 and the second from 2012 to 2016. The third will run from 2017-2021. Although voluntary, so far every country has participated in their review during the first cycle, and every country is on track for completing their review for the second cycle too.

It is a review: It is a comprehensive review which is based on three main inputs:

  • A national report prepared by the state under review (SuR) on the human rights situation in the country.

  • A compilation of ten pages prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), containing information from UN treaty bodies, Special Procedures of the HRC and UN agencies on the country’s compliance with the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, human rights instruments ratified by the SuR, voluntary pledges and commitments, and applicable human rights law.

  • A summary prepared by the OHCHR containing information from reports submitted by ‘other stakeholders’, including civil society and national human rights institutions (NHRIs).