New modalities for the UPR following the HRC Review

On 17 June 2011, the Human Rights Council (HRC) completed the review of its work and functioning by adopting decision A/HRC/17/L.29 on the Follow up to the Human Rights Council Resolution 16/21 with regard to the Universal Periodic Review. Resolution 16/21, adopted on 25 March 2011, contained the new modalities for the functioning of the HRC but left some issues pending in relation to the UPR.

This news presents the changes that the HRC Review brought to the UPR modalities for the second cycle:

Length of the next cycles

The second and subsequent cycles will last 4.5 years (para. 3, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Number of sessions per cycle

There will be 14 sessions per cycle (para. 3, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Number of States per session

Only 14 States will be reviewed per session (part I, decision A/HRC/17/L.29).

Duration of the review

Each review will last 3.5 hours. The State under Review will be given 70 minutes and other States 140 minutes (part III, decision A/HRC/17/L.29).

Order of review

The order of review will be exactly the same. As there will be only by 14 States reviewed per session, the two last States of session 1, Czech Republic and Argentina, will be moved to the beginning of session 2, the last four of session 2, France, Tonga, Romania and Mali, will be moved to the beginning of session 3, etc. (part I, decision A/HRC/17/L.29).

Focus of the next cycles

The second and subsequent cycles of the review should focus on, inter alia, the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the State under review (para. 6, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Beginning of the second cycle

The first session of the second cycle will be held in June 2012. Session 2 will be held in October. There will be only two sessions in 2012. As of 2013, sessions will be held in January, May and October (para. 2, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Timetable for each Working Group session

Nine States will be reviewed during the first week and five during the second. The adoptions within the Working Group will no longer be held at the end of each half day but clustered together at three different moments: Friday morning of the first week and Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon of the second week. See an example here (Annex 2, decision A/HRC/17/L.29).

List of speakers

The list of speakers will open on the Monday of the week preceding the beginning of the Working Group session. For each review, States will be arranged in English alphabetical order and the beginning of the list will be drawn by lot. States will be able to swap place (part IV, decision A/HRC/17/L.29). All States will be given the floor. If needed be, time per speakers will be reduced to two minutes each or the 140 minutes will be divided by the number of speakers.

General guidlines

The General Guidelines (HRC Decision 6/102) for the drafting of the three reports that form the basis of the review were slightly modified to give greater emphasis on the need for States to report on the implementation of recommendations. See the new guidelines here (part II, decision A/HRC/17/L.29).

Responses to recommendations

States should clearly communicate to the Council, in a written format preferably prior to the Council plenary, its positions on all received recommendations (para. 16, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Mid-term reports

States are encouraged to provide the Council, on a voluntary basis, with a midterm update on follow-up to accepted recommendations (para. 18, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Role of National human rights institutions 

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) with A status will have a dedicated section in the summary of other stakeholders' information (para. 9, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

NHRIs will be given the floor directly after the State under Review during the adoption at the HRC plenary session (para. 13, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Role of NGOs 

States are encouraged to conduct broad consultations with all relevant stakeholders on the follow-up (para. 17, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).

Other relevant stakeholders are encouraged to include in their contributions information on the follow-up to the preceding review (para. 8, resolution A/HRC/RES/16/21).