Having completed the review of another 16 countries, the United Nations Human Rights Council is now one-third of the way through to reviewing the human rights records of all 192 Member States of the Organization, according to the President of the Geneva-based body.
“This also brings us a step closer to achieving the overall goal of the Universal Periodic Review – that is, to improve the human rights situation in every country and address human rights violations wherever they occur,” Council President Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi told a news conference following the conclusion of the fourth session of the UPR Working Group on 13 February.
The UPR – a mechanism to examine the record of every Member State – is one of the reforms differentiating the Council from its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights.
“The UPR process has great potential to shed light in the darkest corners of the globe,” noted the President, adding that while there is always room for improvement, the Review has made significant progress beyond the conference rooms.
“Several States who have undergone their review have already begun implementing recommendations posed to them by States and have adopted new polices, programmes and measures aimed at improving the human rights in their countries for the benefit of their citizens,” he stated.
This includes the commitments from the 16 States who have just completed their reviews during the just concluded two-week session – Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, Russia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China, Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan and Malaysia.
The Working Group will hold its next session from 4 to 15 May during which it will examine the records of Central African Republic, Monaco, Belize, Chad, Congo, Malta, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Viet Nam, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Comoros and Slovakia.
The Council replaced the Commission on Human Rights, which had been dogged by accusations of bias and politicization, in 2006 as part of ongoing UN reform.