What is the Universal Periodic Review?
Every four and a half years the UK’s human rights record is considered by the other countries which are members of the United Nations Human Rights Council in a process called Universal Periodic Review (UPR). UPR is based on the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all UN human rights conventions to which the UK is party.
UK Review 2012
The most recent ‘interactive dialogue’, or review, of the UK was held on 24 May 2012 at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and this was followed by the report of the UPR Working Group on the UK. Recommendations made from other UN member states to the UK included that the UK:
- Develop a National Action Plan on Human Rights;
- Permit individual communications to UN mechanisms on civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights as well as on the rights of the child;
- Remove reservations or interpretive declarations to international human rights treaties;
- Incorporate international human rights standards, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, into domestic law;
- Comply with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights;
- Reconsider the continued legality of corporal punishment against children and raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility;
- Guarantee economic, social and cultural rights and ensure that human rights are taken into account in the context of economic austerity, particularly the rights of vulnerable groups and in the context of welfare reform;
- Take effective measures to combat all forms of violence against women and increase efforts to combat human trafficking and;
- Recognise the human rights to water and sanitation.
Chair of the Commission, Professor Alan Miller said: “The Universal Periodic Review provides a welcome spotlight on the UK’s compliance with all of its human rights obligations. A number of the recommendations made so far reflect issues which the Commission raised in its submission. The Commission is committed to promoting the systematic implementation of international human rights recommendations in Scotland through the development of a national action plan”.
Professor Miller delivered a joint statement on behalf of the three national human rights institutions in the UK in response to the UK consideration of recommendations. There is a summary of some of the concerns in our News page article.
The Commission submitted its own recommendations in Novmember 2011.
Read the Commission's submission to the UPR process in Word format.
Read the Commission's submission to the UPR process in large print Word format.
Many civil society organisations in Scotland also submitted parallel reports, including:
(If you would us to provide a link on this page to your organisation's submission, please contact the Commission.)
In advance of the Interactive Dialogue of the UK in May 2012, the UN issued:
The Commission engaged directly with permanent missions to the UN Human Rights Council and continued to seek implementation of the recommendations.
To help build the capacity of civil society in Scotland to take part in the UPR process within tight deadlines, the Commission facilitated an information session on UPR for third sector organisations.
Copies of some of the presentations from the event are available to view:
Presentation from Duncan Wilson, Head of Strategy and Legal, Scottish Human Rights Commission (in powerpoint format) covering - What is UPR? What is the Commission's approach? How can civil society in Scotland be involved?
Presentation from Trevor Owen, Human Rights Policy Manager, Scottish Government (in powerpoint format) covering - How is the Scottish Government contributing to the UK State report? How can civil society in Scotland be involved?
International human rights bodies have repeatedly recommended a systematic approach to the realisation of human rights through a National Action Plan for Human Rights. National Action Plans for Human Rights are evidence based, developed in an inclusive way and independently monitored. The Commission will seek to facilitate an inclusive process of developing and monitoring Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights. The National Action Plan will be reviewed in 2014 to coincide with the Mid-term review of the UK's UPR recommendations.
To find out more about the UPR process, the following further links may be useful.
From the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:
From civil society organisations:
The United Nations has a webcasting service which broadcasts live proceedings including of the Interactive Dialogue at the Human Rights Council and the adoption of the State report.