NGO Recommendations DO Matter in the UPR Process

banner  In 2008 the Human Rights Council initiated the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This four-yearly human rights review of every Member State of the United Nations takes place in Geneva and the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as ERI is crucial.

As part of the twenty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council currently taking place in Geneva, the ERI team attended a session on the importance of NGO recommendations in the UPR process. With presentations from Professor Edward McMahon (University of Vermont), Ambassador Laura Dupuy-Lasserre (Uruguay), June Ray (OHCHR) and Nalini Elumalia (SUARAM, Malaysia) we heard that NGO recommendations do in fact matter to countries when they compile recommendations for countries undertaking UPRs.

With two-thirds of NGO recommendations being reflected in state recommendations, and approximately 80% of these being accepted by the state being reviewed, we now have evidence that the work of NGOs across the world is vital in holding countries accountable to their human rights commitments.

These findings are encouraging for ERI and reinforce that our work is making a difference to human rights across the world. It was emphasised by the panel that the task of NGOs is to report credible and reliable evidence of human rights abuses, and successes too. This is particularly relevant to our work at ERI. It is only by working with our in country networks that we are able to provide first hand evidence of the human rights situation in a range of countries around the world. This evidence then becomes the basis for the report we submit to the UPR Working Group and interested countries. Later we contact interested countries in an effort to persuade them to present our recommendations for the improvement of human rights to the country under review.

We are currently undertaking the final stages of this process in regards to the upcoming UPR of Nigeria.

Professor McMahon’s report and the encouragement from other panelists reassures as that the work we are doing here at ERI in Geneva is worthwhile and will make a difference to the lives of people across the world.

To read Professor McMahon’s report in full, see the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung website (available until 1st October 2013).

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