First informal consultation held on the UPR for the HRC review

On November 11 was held the first of the three informal consultations organised by H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Ambassador of Morocco and facilitator on the UPR. Following the 1st session of the Working Group on the review held from 25 to 29 October, the President of the Human Rights Council (HRC) nominated five facilitators to lead negotiations on: the UPR, Special Procedures, Advisory Committee and Complaint Procedure, Methods of Work and Rules of Procedures and Agenda and Programme of Work. Each facilitator organised informals in November to further discuss their issue and try to identify convergences.

Prior to the first informal consultation, the facilitator circulated a list of "Issues to be discussed" to guide the discussions. During the informal, he presented issue by issue the main proposals made at the 1st session of the Working Group contained in the Compilation of States proposals and then asked delegations to react to each other's proposals and not restate their positions.

Eight points were discussed during this first informal consultation:

- Basis, principles and objectives of the UPR

It was commonly shared that the basis, principles and objectives of the UPR should remain the same as contained in resolution 5/1

- When to apply changes to the UPR

Everyone agreed to apply the changes to the UPR after the first cycle but some States did not want to close the door to the possibility that some changes could take effect before the second cycle. The main example given was the list of speakers and if a solution could be found before the second cycle, it should be possible to implement it.

- Order of review

It was commonly shared that that the order of review from the first cycle should be maintained.

- Periodicity

The two main proposals were to keep the review at four years or to extend it to five. Belgium on behalf of the EU, Argentina, Liechtenstein, France, Japan, the United States, Norway, Austria, Canada, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, Ireland and the European Disability Forum supported the four year cycle. Egypt on behalf of NAM, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, South Africa, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Iran, Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Singapore, Nepal and Pakistan supported the extension to five years. Brazil said it was flexible.

- Gap between first and second cycles

The two mains proposals were to have no gap and to have a gap of several months up to a year. The main rationale given to have a gap was to draft guidelines for the content of the reports of the second cycle. However, other States argued that, if guidelines were to be drafted, this could start before the end of the review process. Egypt on behalf of NAM, India, the Philippines, Cuba, Thailand, the Russian Federation and South Africa supported the gap. Mexico, Argentina, the United States, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium on behalf of the European Union and Japan were against it.

- Other proposals

The "other proposals" included:
. Consider whether the footnote in 5/1 about the review post 1st cycle should be maintained or whether this present review should be the only one
. Give equal time to each country
. Give particular attention to least developed country, landlocked countries, small islands countries and take into account specific consideration:
. Ensuring that the UPR is not only used as a tool to identify problems but also to share best practices

- Focus of second and subsequent cycles

The facilitator introduced the main proposals on what the focus could consist of: the human rights situation, the technical assistance received, challenges in the implementation, basic information on institutional structures in the national Report if changes occurred, recommendations not accepted in the previous review and follow-up on recommendations.

The divergence on this issue was that some speakers believed that the second and subsequent cycles should focus {primarily} on the implementation of recommendations and that others believe it should focus {equally} on the developments in the human rights situation and the implementation of recommendations. Egypt on behalf of NAM and the Russian Federation belonged to the first group whereas Belgium on behalf of the EU, Mexico, Liechtenstein, the United States, Japan and Argentina belonged to the second one.

- Reports of the second and subsequent cycles

There was a call by the United States and the European Disability Forum to have a fourth document presented by National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI). Egypt on behalf of the NAM and the United Kingdom stated that the OHCHR summary of stakeholders information could include a dedicated part to NHRI. Belgium, on behalf of the EU, suggested the three basis documents to reflect both the implementation of recommendations and the human rights situations. Mexico and the United States proposed to have a fourth report containing all responses to all recommendations. Human Rights Watch called for guidelines to be drafted for national consultations.

The two other informal consultations were held on November 15 and 18.

See all proposals made during the informals in our excel sheet