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16th HRC: Review of its Work and Functioning

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FORUM-ASIA and the partner NGOs worry that HRC's Review of its Work and Functioning was diluted to a mere
We therefore call on all States and the Council to continue working on strengthening the Universal Periodic Review


16th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 6: Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – General Debate


Joint Oral Statement by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development
(FORUM-ASIA), Baha'i International Community, Centro Regional de Derechos
Humanos y Justicia de Genero (Corporación Humanas), Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Geneva for Human Rights, and International Save the Children Alliance


Friday, 18 March 2011


Thank you, Mr President. On 24 February, the
Human Rights Council completed the Review of its Work and Functioning and we
welcome your efforts to lead this process. All stakeholders invested a
significant amount of energy and resources towards a review that suggested
promising results and created high expectations from civil society around the
world. Unfortunately, closer to its end, the process was diluted to a mere
“fine-tuning” exercise as opposed to a thorough review. The Outcome Document
did not introduce major improvements in any area, including the UPR. Many
proposals made by various stakeholders that were specifically aimed at
strengthening the UPR were dropped over the course of the Review.

Mr. President, 37 NGOs
from Geneva and around the world came together last October to put forward
proposals to improve the UPR process. This Joint NGO Contribution was submitted
to the first session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group in October
2010 and contained seven key issues upon which actions needed to be taken to
strengthen the UPR. Although some proposals contained in this NGO Contribution
were supported, others were disregarded. Hence, no guarantee was developed in
the Outcome to ensure well-prepared, inclusive and meaningful national
consultations. UN Compilation and Stakeholders’ Summary will not be introduced
during the UPR Working Group, and will consequently not be given the same
importance as the National Report. Moreover, the Outcome fails in requiring
recommendations to be specific and action-oriented in order to guarantee a
meaningful implementation. In regards to the follow-up, although the Outcome
makes provisions for consultations with stakeholders, it does not contain any mechanism
or modality to assess such a follow-up. Finally, non-ECOSOC NGOs will continue
to be excluded from the adoption process despite their full participation in
submitting information.

Mr. President, we
believe that the UPR process has a much greater potential than reflected in the
present Outcome Document of the Review. It is now the role of the Human Rights
Council and States to make best use of the Outcome and improve the mechanism by
doing. We therefore call on all States and the Council to continue, through the
second cycle, working on strengthening the UPR in order to ensure transparent
and meaningful national consultations, improved opportunities for civil society
and thorough assessments of implementation of UPR recommendations. Thank you, Mr.




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16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council: FORUM-ASIA interventions, statements and events