The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC). Through the UPR process, the HRC, every four and a half years, examines the human rights performance of all 193 UN members, including New Zealand.
January 2014 will see New Zealand’s second Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council which, among other things, will look at New Zealand’s performance in implementing recommendations from the first UPR in 2009 as well as the current human rights situation on the ground. Civil society in New Zealand can submit “Stakeholder Reports” individually or in combination with other NGOs to make their submission stronger. These submissions can be used by UN Member States to identify appropriate recommendations to the State under review. NGOs can lobby governments to make these recommendations to the New Zealand Government when New Zealand’s performance is reviewed.
The process begins with the development of stakeholder’s reports from civil society and the Human Rights Commission – these reports are limited to about 10 pages each (5 pages for reports from a single NGO). These are then condensed by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) to one report of the same length. The deadline for stakeholder’s reports for New Zealand’s UPR is 17 June 2013.
After the review of the stakeholder’s reports in January 2014, the OHCHR summary report will be formally adopted at the Human Rights Council in Geneva between April and May 2014. Members of civil society with accreditation have the right to speak in the 20 minutes allowed for NGOs. Follow-up and the implementation of the recommendations then becomes the focus up to the next cycle expected to be in 2018.
You can find further information about the UPR on these four websites:
NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Peace Movement Aotearoa