A busy crowded street A busy crowded street

Universal Periodic Review

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006 to review the human rights situation in every UN Member State. Each state is assessed by a group of representatives from other Member States every five years.

The UPR sends out the important message that all countries have the scope to improve the way human rights are promoted and protected. More information is available on the UN website.

The UK’s third Universal Periodic Review

The UK is due to be assessed for the third time under the Universal Periodic Review.

In May 2017 the UK government will send representatives to Geneva, where they will be questioned by the UN Human Rights Council on how much progress has been made over the last five years.

As part of our role as a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), we have submitted a report to the UN outlining the major issues facing Britain today. It found that, despite some improvements on issues such as stop and search and modern slavery, there were areas where progress is required.

The report sets out 30 clear recommendations to the UN, which we hope member states will promote and UK, Scottish and Welsh governments will act on.

Download the report - Protecting human rights: key challenges for the UK's third Universal Periodic Review - or watch the British Sign Language video, below.

British Sign Language (BSL) video of the report

Your questions on the Universal Periodic Review

Each UPR is conducted by the UPR Working Group which is made up of all 47 members of the Human Rights Council. The group draws on information from a wide range of sources, including the state under review, and more independent assessments from UN treaty bodies and non-governmental organisations (including National Human Rights Institutions, like the Commission). 

The working group considers how well a state is meeting its human rights obligations and makes recommendations for further progress in an ‘outcomes report’. The report includes a response from the state under review saying whether it accepts the recommendations or not.

The state is encouraged to submit a progress report at the midpoint of the five year reporting cycle.

The UK has been reviewed twice through the UPR process. Its last UPR took place in 2012. The UK received 132 recommendations across a wide range of topics. The full list can be found in Annex 1 of the outcomes report.

The UK government produced a mid-term UPR progress report and the Commission submitted its separate mid-term UPR report on UK progress in August 2014. The UK government will next report on how it has met these recommendations in 2017.

As a National Human Rights Institution (NHRI), the Commission:

  • monitors the UK Government and devolved administrations’ compliance with the UPR
  • reports to the Human Rights Council with its own recommendations for improvement
  • supports the implementation of the UPR recommendations

After producing our own independent assessment of progress at the midpoint of the UK’s UPR cycle, we are now working with the UK Government to encourage further progress on the recommendations before the end of the second UPR cycle.

The UN Human Rights Council also expects states and NHRIs to consult non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charities and interest groups to encourage their involvement in reviews of the UK’s progress on human rights. As we did in 2012, we will support NGOs to coordinate their contribution to the next UK UPR, due by September 2016.

Next UK UPR milestones

  • the UK's third UPR takes place in April to May of 2017

Last updated: 12 Dec 2016