2015 UPR Report Fact Sheet on U.S. Process

February 6, 2015

Established with the creation of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in 2006, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer review mechanism in which each UN member state is engaged in a dialogue about its human rights record.

The process provides an opportunity for all UN Member States to discuss their own human rights records in an open, international forum. It also allows states to share best practices and provide recommendations to other member states.

Preparing for review and receiving recommendations also creates a unique opportunity for national governments to engage directly in dialogue with civil society on their own human rights record. The United States is particularly proud of its ongoing dialogue with civil society, and encourages all countries to increase such engagement.

Overview of the Process

The report submission is just one step in the UPR process. National governments under review then participate in an interactive peer review session. During this session, the national government presents its report and engages with other UN Member States. States may ask questions and make recommendations to the state under review.

The United States’ review will take place on May 11 and will be webcast live on webtv.un.org.

National government must then either accept or “note” each of the recommendations resulting from the review. An outcome report compiled by OHCHR, including the recommendations made by UN member states and the national government’s response to those recommendations, is then adopted at a subsequent HRC session.

During that session (also webcast live), an hour of discussion is devoted to each national government outcome report before final adoption. The discussion includes the state under review, other UN member states, and civil society organizations and any National Human Rights Institutions.

The United States’ final Outcome Report will be adopted at the September HRC plenary session.


According to the OHCHR, the national government “has the primary responsibility to implement the recommendations contained in the final outcome.” Recommendations are not binding.

The UPR is cyclical, and aimed at ensuring that all countries continue to make progress on the recommendations they accepted during prior reviews.

The UPR working group is currently in its second cycle, and so states are expected to provide information on progress made on the recommendations accepted during their first review four years earlier.