Universal Periodic Review

A+ grade stampThe UK human rights review

On the 20th of September the UK government presented its response to the 132 recommendations the UN made to improve human rights in the country. During the four yearly “human rights exam” known as Universal Period Review the United Nations provided the UK with recommendations to strengthen human rights protection for vulnerable individuals. The report, adopted in May 2012, says the government must ensure that children, women, ethnic minorities and disabled people are protected from violence and discrimination. The UN also recommends that the rights set out in the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act and international human rights laws are preserved and strengthened. It notes that the right balance must be found between security and people's basic rights, for example in the areas of stop and search, counter-terrorism and migration policy. The findings of the Commission'sHuman Rights Review in England and Wales were supported by the UN recommendations.

The Commission, as A status National Human Rights institution (NHRI) has prioritised engagement with this key international compliance mechanism.

  • Delivered a statement at the Human Rights Council Session on the on the 20th of September
  • Wrote to permanent missions in Geneva encouraging them to raise outstanding human rights concerns during the Session.
  • Participated in the Government consultation on response to recommendations and written to the Government stating our priorities.
  • Attended the examination in Geneva in May 2012.
  • Prior to the examination, in April 2012 we briefed Embassies in London on the findings of our Human Rights Review.
  • In March 2012, in cooperation with the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, we hosted a side event to the Human Rights' Council's 19th Session. 'Preparing for the Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom - A briefing for Permanent Missions by the UK A status National Human Rights Institutions' aimed to inform Human Rights Council State Parties about key human rights priorities in the UK.
  • In November 2011 the Commission provided an independent assessment of human rights in Great Britain to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
  • In Autumn 2011 we supported an awareness raising project across England and Wales encouraging voluntary sector organisations engaging with the process and submitting information to the OHCHR.
  • In April 2012 the OHCHR published a summary of the NHRI submissions and 75 NGO submissions. It also published a compilation of UN bodies’ observations and recommendations on human rights in the UK.
  • In Autumn 2011 the Commission also participated in the Government consultation on its National Report, which was published on 5 March 2012. The Ministry of Justice is currently running a mini survey on topics to be raised at the examination with the deadline 11 May 2012. Participate in the survey.


What is the UPR?


In order to improve human rights acoss the globe, the UN Human Rights Council holds a public examination of each of the 192 UN Member States every four years to examine where governments are doing well and how they can improve.

Why is the UPR important?


Though the exam takes place in Geneva, the UPR is an opportunity to kick start a national debate on human rights.

It's a chance for individuals and organisations in Britain to tell the world how the government is doing on human rights and how it can improve everyone's enjoyment of rights, everyday.

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