Using the UPR
When we attend UN meetings and hear country representatives get up and brag on their country, we often wonder…”Is this what their citizens would say?” The picture painted by diplomats is often very different from the reality experienced by the people of the country. UN leaders know this is true, and—at least in the area of Human Rights—have created a process for citizen groups and other parties to comment on a country’s progress. While it is voluntary, it is another way to make countries accountable for the commitments they made on human rights.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) takes place every 4 ½ years, evaluating how a country is doing in the area of human rights, and suggesting ways it could improve. Two years after review, the world is invited to look at the UPR information and comment on its implementation (or lack of it). Then that “mid-term” report is made public, telling the number of NGOs or UN agencies that responded. It even gives the actual comments from NGOs or other nations—some not very complimentary! If you would like to check your country, go to http://www.upr-info.org/
The UPR may be an excellent tool for advocacy in your region. More on this later—we will prepare some educational materials for your use.