Recommending States - Take Action
Key moments for recommending States to engage in the UPR
As described in the section "What is the UPR?", this mechanism is a full-circle process comprised of three key stages:
1. Preparation for the Review
2. Between the Review and Adoption
3. Implementation of the Recommendations
It is a cyclical process because each review process is based on the implementation of previously received recommendations.
All the stakeholders can get involved in each phase in a different way. The following section will show how recommending States can get involved at each stage. You can also refer to the "Documentation for States" section, for complementary documentation that could be useful.
1. Preparation for the Review
Before the UPR Working Group of any state, recommending States need to prepare and analyse whether the State under review (SuR) is of interest to them. Here are some actions to be taken by them.
Read the General Documentation
Approximately six weeks before the UPR Working Group, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) publishes three core UPR documents on its website :
- The national report submitted by the State under review (SuR);
- The compilation of information from UN bodies;
- The summary of information submitted by civil society
UPR Info also makes these documents available on the country pages of its website (see UPR Info landing page "Access UPR by Country" section), to present information on the human rights situation in the State under Review (SuR), including progress made since the last UPR and challenges faced by States in implementation.
Recommending States are encouraged to read these documents to ensure precise and accurate recommendations based on a better understanding of the human rights situation in the SuR.
Advance written questions
Recommending States can ask questions of the State under review (SuR) before the Working Group takes place. These written questions should be submitted by email (email@example.com) no later than ten (10) days before the review, and are forwarded to the SuR prior to the Working Group. Questions are an effective way for recommending States to:
- Gain information about the level of implementation of previous recommendations and related challenges;
- Receive information about a particular human rights situation in the country.
They also free up speaking time for the recommending State during the interactive dialogue, providing an alternative way to ask for additional information.
For their part, the SuR are provided with an opportunity to prepare answers in advance and thus deliver comprehensive explanations during the interactive dialogue.
2. Between the Review and Adoption
Between review and adoption, encompasses the time between the Review of the State under review (SuR), and the Adoption of the Outcome Report.
Recommending States can be "rapporteurs" for each SuR as well as participate in formulating recommendations during the working group.
Let's see how they participate, step by step.
During the Review
The Role of the troikas
In advance of the UPR Working Group session, three States are selected as rapporteurs for each State review. These States are selected at random and can also participate in the Working Group session as Recommending States.
Their role is twofold:
Prior to the review, the group must collect all preliminary questions and transmit them to the SuR;
After the review, the troika contributes to the preparation of the Working Group's report with the assistance of the OHCHR Secretariat and the SuR.
Finally, a member of the troika is responsible for presenting the list of recommendations before their adoption by the Working Group
The Working Group
The review in the UPR Working Group consists of a 3.5-hour interactive dialogue between the SuR and UN Member and Observer States. During the examination, the SuR has 70 minutes to present its national report and to provide updates on the progress made on the human rights situation in its country since the previous review. Recommending States take the floor to ask questions and make recommendations regarding the human rights situation in the SuR. As the name suggests, this dialogue is interactive and the SuR can take the floor to answer questions, advance written questions, and comment on the recommendations received.
During the interactive dialogue, recommending States have a total of 140 minutes to speak. These 140 minutes are divided by the number of recommending States that request to take the floor. Each State wishing to speak at a specific review must register with OHCHR. Registration is open the week before the Working Group session, from Monday at 10:00 am to Thursday at 6:00 pm. A registration desk is installed in the Palais des Nations and the OHCHR Secretariat informs the permanent missions of its location. It is important that the representatives of the recommending States register to speak during these four days, otherwise they will not be permitted to intervene during the review.
Based on the list of registrants, the order of appearance is then organised alphabetically in English and the President of the Human Rights Council (HRC) randomly selects the first speaker. Recommending States have the possibility to exchange their place on the list; those wishing to withdraw must inform the Secretariat at least 30 minutes before the beginning of the review. In the event that a Recommending State is not present at the scheduled speaking time, they must notify the OHCHR Secretariat in order to be given the opportunity to speak at the end of the review.
During the Working Group session, Recommending States take the floor to deliver their written statements. Unless they have submitted their statement electronically in advance to the OHCHR Secretariat, Recommending States should bring an extra copy of their statement for conference services officers and interpreters. However, it should be noted that recommendations that are not read from the floor within the allotted time will not be included in the Working Group report.
After the review of a State by the Working Group, the troika, in collaboration with the OHCHR Secretariat and the SuR, prepares a report on the interactive dialogue. It includes the questions and recommendations made during the meeting, as well as the responses and voluntary pledges made by the SuR. Recommending States may be contacted by the troika within 48 hours after the review to confirm the accuracy of the recommendations in the report. The report is adopted during a 30-minute session of the Working Group during which time the Recommending States have a final opportunity to verify that their recommendations have been reported correctly. Changes can only be made orally during the adoption of the list of recommendations and are not accepted afterward.
The final draft report, including the section on recommendations that have been accepted, noted, or left pending, is shared by the OHCHR Secretariat following the UPR Working Group session. Recommending States have until two weeks after the Working Group to notify the OHCHR Secretariat of any errors in the summary of the statement by writing to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the Review
Final adoption of the report
The adoption of the final report of the Working Group takes place during a regular plenary session of the HRC under Item 6, approximately four months after the Working Group. This session lasts only one hour per country, divided into three 20-minute segments allocated respectively to the SuR, recommending States, A-status NHRIs, and accredited CSOs. The speaking time allocated to each recommending State depends on the number of States registered. In general, a total of thirteen speakers are allocated 90 seconds each. If time permits, additional States may take the floor during the 20 minutes. Registration to speak during the adoption is open from Monday to Thursday one week prior to the segment.
Recommending States take the floor during the adoption in order to:
- Request clarification from the SuR on its responses to recommendations;
- Request clarification from the SuR regarding its responses to recommendations;
- Express regret or concern regarding the status of noted recommendations;
- Express their disagreement if the SuR has incorrectly indicated that recommendations have “already been implemented or in the process of being implemented”;
- Encourage the implementation of recommendations and express their willingness to assist the SuR in the implementation of specific recommendations.
The final report of the Working Group is always adopted by the HRC by consensus
3. Implementation of the recommendations
After the review comes the final adoption of the report. Then, as part of the cycle, comes the process of implementation of the recommendations: the time the State under Review (SuR) has to take action on all received recommendations before the next UPR cycle. Nonetheless, recommending States can help national stakeholders keep the momentum generated at the Review and Adoption.
Monitoring and supporting the implementation of recommendations
Following the review at the Working Group and the adoption of the final report at the HRC, the implementation phase of the recommendations by the SuR begins. This stage is crucial, and recommending States have an essential role to play in order to guarantee the follow-up of their recommendations and to ensure that they are in fact being implemented. During this stage, recommending States liaise with their embassies, development agencies, and civil society working in the country or region to receive up to date and accurate information on the human rights situation in the country. When useful and possible, they may also provide financial and/or technical support to the government of the SuR and other actors such as civil society.
In order to assess the status of implementation of its recommendations, the recommending State may discuss these issues in bilateral meetings with the SuR and/or gather information from local civil society. They may also ask the SuR for clarification and/or information on the level of implementation of their recommendations during the regular sessions of the HRC and the General Debate under agenda item 6.
To easily access information on previous recommendations, please consult our database of recommendations made during the UPR.
More information regarding the role of the recommending States throughout the UPR process can be found here.