The Universal Periodic Review "has great potential to promote and protect human rights in the darkest corners of the world.”
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed. Created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, It is a cooperative process because no other universal mechanism of this kind exists.
Global South Watch activities in this area includes:
Participate in the national consultation held by the State under Review
We seek to accomplish this by facilitating the participation and involvement of local groups and organizations to take an active role in the consultation process, by sponsoring local trainings and workshops, seminars and events around core issues under review. We strives to particularly educate civil society leaders about commitments their respective States have made to address core human rights issue, progress reported by the State, and whether or not such progress reflects the reality within local communities.
Send submissions to the Office of the High Commissioner before the Review
In collaboration with local groups and organizations in countries under review, our goal is to facilitate and assist in the compilation of comprehensive reports reflecting local realities on topics under review. We seek to achieve this by providing targeted information that will assist these community organizations in carrying out meaningful and targeted research, evidence gathering and documentation, and moreover provide them with technical assistance in formulating submissions that confirms with the requisite guidelines stipulated by the Commission (including due dates for submission).
Lobby members of the Working Group
Because many local groups and organizations are plaque by limited financial and human resource, lack of exposure and relevant contacts, many of them cannot afford a trip to New York or Geneva. Also, because of logistical constraints such as access to post offices (including delay and security concerns) and Internet, communication between The Working groups and local groups becomes an obstacle. Hence, GSW serves as an indispensable linkage between these local organizations and the Human Right Council.
Furthermore, in consultation with local groups and organizations, we help facilitate the drafting of pertinent resolutions given our expertise on key issues aim at addressing the concerns of various stakeholders. Furthermore, because of our strategic location, we on behalf of local groups, assist in identifying key working group members based on their previous patterns and positions on key issues under review to submit targeted and tailored made resolutions for their considerations.
Take the floor during the plenary before the adoption of the outcome
Where applicable, GSW participate in the NGO Plenary Statement i.e. before the adoption of the Working Group Report, to serve as the voice of thousands of local groups and organizations that cannot afford their presence.
Monitor the implementation by the State under Review of UPR recommendations.
Given the critical nature of this phase of the UPR process, GSW ensures that adopted reports and resolutions are made available to local groups and organizations in a language they can understand and interpret; organize conferences and seminars on adopted resolutions by the respective States; provide resources and training to local organizations on how to track progress; and conduct field and focus group follow-up expeditions to ensure progress is being made with reports forwarded to stakeholders.