The Universal Periodic Review process reviews the human rights record within a country based on three documents: 1) a report submitted by the national government of the country under review; 2) a report compiled by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) consisting of information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and special procedures concerning the country, including its observations and comments, and other relevant official UN documents; and 3) an OHCHR compilation of information that is credible and reliable from other stakeholders, including NGOs and national human rights institutions.
Each country undergoing review takes part in a 3.5-hour Q&A session, in which any UN member state is able to ask questions and make recommendations. One hour and ten minutes of the session is provided to the national government to present its report; respond to any written questions from other UN member states that it may have received prior to the review; respond to oral questions, comments, and recommendations during the review; and present its conclusions.
Following this session, a “troika” of rapporteurs—a group of three Human Rights Council members selected by lot, aided by a member of the Secretariat (OHCHR)—produce the report of the review. The report must accurately reflect the debate and must include all recommendations made to the national government by other member states. The national government is then given the primary responsibility to implement the recommendations or to decline recommendations it does not wish to undertake. Two days following the review, the Working Group presents the report for adoption. For two weeks after the adoption, factual errors can be corrected through the request of delegations. Finally, as part of the process, countries follow up on recommendations to improve their internal human rights situation.
The final Outcome Report of the UPR of a national government is debated and adopted in the following plenary session of the HRC. During the plenary session, each government’s outcome report is debated for an hour. The national government is provided 20 minutes to clarify in a statement any issues insufficiently addressed during the review, explain its decisions regarding recommendations, note its voluntary commitments, share its views on the Outcome Report, and make final comments. Members and observers of the HRC have another 20 minutes to comment on the UPR Outcome Report. Then, civil society organizations and National Human Rights Institutions with ECOSOC accreditation have two-minutes for interventions to express their views until the hour concludes.
The final Outcome Report of the UPR is adopted at the plenary session of the HRC. It is composed of a procedural decision adopting the Outcome Report, the report of the Working Group, with the written comments provided by the national government, and the summary of the plenary proceedings contained in the report of the session.
The state under review is primarily responsible for implementing the recommendations per the final report. In principle, each state should use its review to report on its progress toward implementing recommendations accepted during the previous review. In collaboration with the national government, the international community also assists in implementing recommendations and conclusions related to capacity-building and technical assistance.