Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is the first international human rights mechanism to address all countries and all human rights.

This unique mechanism of the Human Rights Council sees the record of UN Member States reviewed by their peers every four to five years, with every State having the opportunity to ask questions or make recommendations to the State under review. The result of each review is contained in an ‘outcome report’, listing the recommendations the State under review is expected to implement. 

Civil society organisations are able to feed in to this process formally, by submitting reports which are incorporated into a compilation prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and published in advance of the review, and can also lobby delegations directly as to the questions they should ask and recommendations they should make. Civil society also has a crucial role in monitoring and pushing for implementation of recommendations at the national level.

ISHR supports human rights defenders in their interaction with the UPR. We also publish and submit briefing papers regarding the situation facing human rights defenders in some States under review, and advocate for the UPR to be used as mechanism to support and protect human rights defenders on the ground.

Latest Updates

Guatemala at critical juncture, urged to re-engage meaningfully with UN rights bodies

The Guatemalan government rejects 40% of recommendations at crucial UN human rights review. Amidst a delicate electoral context, NGOs urge the government to cooperate in good faith with UN bodies and implement key recommendations to address attacks against human rights defenders, justice officials, and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples, women, and LGBTIQ+ persons.

Benin UPR: Protect civic space and its defenders

At the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, during the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Benin, ISHR and Changement Social Benin delivered a joint statement encouraging Benin to do more for the protection of defenders in the country.

Zambia UPR: Adopt legal measures to protect defenders from reprisals

At the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, during the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Zambia, ISHR, the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolutions of Disputes and the Zambia Human Rights Defenders Network delivered a joint statement calling on Zambia to revise its legal instruments and adopt an adequate legal framework to ensure defenders can work in a safe environment without fear of reprisals.

Mauritius: Enabling a stronger protection of defenders

Mauritius is one of the island States of Africa. The local civil society can find it challenging to connect to civil society on the continent, and to raise the restrictions they face to international and regional human rights mechanisms. A recent workshop helped address this issue.

Explore our resources