UPR records must reflect recommendations
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has joined a call to the President of the UN Human Rights Council to ensure that records of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reflect all recommendations presented to the state under review. Recently, Russia managed to remove two recommendations from Georgia from the list of recommendations at the end of the report and to get them added as footnote. This is the last blow against the format of the Working Group reports which regularly, under the attack of countries under Review, get modified and weakened. The statement calls on the President to issue a statement which would clearly define how the Working Group report should be made and what it should contain.
A number of organisations deeply regret that two recommendations were recently taken out of a draft report at the UPR 16th session because they were considered as "not relevant" by the State under review.
-The principle has been and should remain that all recommendations are put on record whether accepted by the state under review or not. In 2008 the Human Rights Council decided that the reports should be a “summary of the proceedings” and should be drafted in an objective manner. This should apply to all states, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
The following statement was delivered at the United Nations Human Rights Council: 23rd Session as a joint oral statement on Item 6 – General Debate:
10 June 2013, UPR Info
Civil society is deeply concerned by the current attacks on the format of the Working Group report. This document bears great importance as it represents the official record of the reviewprocess in Geneva on which implementation of recommendations will be based. We thereforedeeply regret that during the UPR 16th session two recommendations were taken out of the body of a draft report and added as footnotes because they were considered as "not relevantby the State under review. This was an action never seen before in the UPR and runs the risk of setting a dangerous precedent.
The format of the Report of the Working Group should be the same for all countries in order to guarantee equal treatment. According to Resolution 5/1, the Report is a “summary of the proceedings” and should be drafted in an objective manner. Its content should reflect the discussion held in the room and should not be subjected to negotiations by countries, as statein Presidential statement A/HRC/PRST/8/1 from 9 April 2008.
Both accepted and noted recommendations should be included in the report, irrespective of the country making them and the issue raised. All States have the right to suggest any recommendation. Similarly, any State under Review is entitled not to accept recommendations. However, under no circumstances should States have the possibility to remove recommendations from the list, not even on the grounds that recommendations are considered as being “not relevant”.
Comments from States under Review on the reasons why they do not accept recommendations should be incorporated in the addendum. The chapeau or headers of the categories of recommendations in Section two of the Working Group report should be streamlined and clearly defined as: recommendations which enjoy the support, those which are noted and those pending until the HRC adoption.
We therefore call on you, Mr. President, to issue a Presidential statement to immediately end any attempts to tamper with the Working Group Report and clarify its format as soon as possible.