The Universal Periodic Review
About every four years, there is a review of the human rights issues in each country that is a member of the UN. This review is known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
NGOs can provide reports on human rights issues to this review. It is a good idea for NGOs to form coalitions to make any reports or recommendations more credible and consistent. Recommendations should also be well drafted, specific and practical.
A proposed recommendation is more likely to be adopted if another UN mechanism has already supported it. You can also submit reports may also be submitted to UPR Investigators and to human rights bodies and mechanisms in their own right.
Reports and submissions are more likely to have influence if they are backed by an NGO. The UPR reports cannot conclude without consulting NGOs. This gives NGOs an opportunity to engage with all relevant parts of the government. They can also be directly involved in the stakeholder summary which is included in the report.
In each session, there are ‘interactive dialogues’ when states make recommendations to the country under review. These recommendations are based on the information provided by the Working Group. If the state under review is not Australia, an Australian NGO can ask the Australian government to make a recommendation.
Only states may make recommendations at this stage. The country under review does not have to follow these recommendations, but they must at least explain why they are not doing so. This can bring media and diplomatic attention to the issue.