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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.

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.

How the UPR treaty cycle works

We have received the outcomes report from the UN Human Rights Council's UPR Working Group which includes recommendations for UK government. The report is expected to be approved at a meeting of the Human Rights Council in September 2017. We will then work with government and civil society organisations over the next five years to work to implement the recommendations. 

A flow chart showing the various milestones of the UPRtreaty cycle

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 three times through the UPR process. Its last UPR took place in May 2017. The full list of recommendations received will be published in September 2017.

As part of this process, the UK Government submitted a report which set out the major human rights challenges and achievements of the last five years.

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 civil society to submit its own evidence to the Human Rights Council
  • supports the implementation of the UPR recommendations

Once the third cycle recommendations are adopted at the Human Rights Council in September 2017, we will be working with the UK government to encourage their implementation. The UN Human Rights Council expects states to consult NHRIs and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), charities and interest groups on the recommendations received in order to form a UPR implementation plan.

Next UK UPR milestones

The formal adoption of the UK's third cycle recommendations takes place in September 2017

Last updated: 01 Aug 2017