Unlike the existing procedure the UK changes...
The United Kingdom’s human rights record was examined by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time on Thursday, 4 May 2017. In the 3.5 hour meeting the State under Review (SuR) received a total of 227 recommendations. The United Kingdom’s first and second UPR reviews took place in April 2008 and May 2012, respectively.
During this third cycle review the delegation of the United Kingdom, headed by Sir Oliver Heald QC, MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, presented its National Report, and ensured the Human Rights Council that the “UK has a deep commitment to the success of the Universal Periodic Review as it is an important mechanism of universal and constructive peer review and allows the sharing of best practice, and promotes the continual improvement of human rights on the ground.” During his statement, the delegation also updated the audience on its position, and on bringing the categorisation of the recommendations in line with the accepted classification of either “supported” or “noted”. In this regard, the UK now supports 66 recommendations from 2012 and notes 65, whilst on the original report it supported 95 and noted 46.
Among the issues on which the UK changed its position are: ratification of international treaties and lifting reservations to others, human rights protection and detention, children’s rights, gender equality, non-discrimination, welfare rights, migrants’ rights, and women’s rights.
During UPR process only accepted recommendations are expected to be implemented. However, noted recommendations can be used to raise public awareness and lobby the government to change their position. The implementation of each accepted recommendation will be reviewed during the next UPR cycle for each State.
UPR Info welcomes the aim of bringing the State’s responses in line with the accepted classification of responses as contained in HRC resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1. It is however concerned that changing the State’s position on recommendations, just before a next review, could be used as an attempt to shy away from accountability in regards to the implementation of previously accepted recommendations.
Such an effort for changing the position, can leave negative effects on the effectiveness of recommendations and the UPR process, because if this is accepted, it can create a wrong procedure towards escaping accountability of countries. In other words when a country accepts a recommendation, in fact it declares its commitment to its implementation, which will be reviewed in another UPR session; now if we accept the presumption that this commitment can be suspended after acceptance, then the function of recommendations and states’ commitments in implementing the and the guarantee of their implementation will be ineffective.
Quoted and edite: Negar Paidar