Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

About the UPR

Every four years, the UK's overall human rights record is considered by the other countries which are members of the United Nations Human Rights Council in a process called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR provides an opportunity for all counties to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. It also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe.

UPR is based on the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all UN human rights conventions to which the UK is party. The UK was one of the first countries to be reviewed in 2008 and reports from this review can be found on the UN website. 2008's UPR review of the UK's human rights record raised a number of important issues relating to children's rights.

The second UPR review of the UK took place in May 2012. The government was required to submit a full report and other interested stakeholders were invited to submit their own submissions.

The third UPR review of the UK took place on May 4th 2017. As a result of joint lobbying between Together, the Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) and the Welsh UNCRC Monitoring Group, a quarter of the 226 recommendations in this cycle are focused on children.

 

2017 UPR

Together's briefings

Together has been working in partnership with the Child's Rights Alliance England (CRAE) and the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group to make a submission in preparation for the 2017 UPR process. This is to ensure that specific recommendations are made, including issues raised by Together's members. The submission, given in Autumn 2016, drew from feedback and evidence provided by NGO members of Together. It reflected on the progress made since the recommendations made to the UK Government in the previous two sessions of the UPR in 2008 and 2012. It also highlighted additional key issues raised through the Together's annual State of Children's Rights reports.

Together also prepared an oral briefing with CRAE and the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group that was delivered to the Human Rights councill in mid-April 2017 in advance of the UK's May 2017 review. This included issues raised by Together's members such as the impact of Brexit on children, plans to repeal the Human Rights act, Child Rights Impact Assessments (CRIA), children of prisoners, child poverty and violence against children.

Together, England and Wales also wrote 8 different briefings outlining key issues identified across civil society on:

These briefings were sent to UK embassies, Geneva missions and Scotland-wide embassies. They each have a set of 4 suggested recommendations, with reasons why these recommendations have been made.

As the Government is currently subject to "purdah", due to the forthcoming General Election, it did not accept any of the recommendations raised by the other countries, as would normally be the case. Together, CRAE and the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group will therefore be urging the new Government to set out their commitment to improving the UK's children's rights record by responding positively to the UPR recommendations. In Scotland, Together will be working alongside other organisations to advocate for those recommendations within the devolved remit of the Scottish Government, and to put forward those recommendations that pertain to the whole of the UK.

 

Scottish Human Rights Commission

As Scotland's National Human Rights Institution, the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has a distinct role in the UPR process. They contribute evidence, support civil society organisations to take part in the process, and have speaking rights at the Human Rights Council.

The Commission has also produced seven briefing papers on key issues for the 2017 UPR on the following:

 

Government submissions

Scottish Government

This Scottish Government position statement describes key features of Scotland's performance against international human rights obligations. It covers the period since the previous Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted in 2012.

 

UK Government

The UK Government submitted their national report for the UPR to the Human Rights Council in February 2017. This report details the steps the UK Government has taken to progress the recommendations made following the 2012 UPR and also discusses the impact of Brexit and potential changes to the Human Rights Act.

 

2014 Midterm report

In 2014, the UK submitted a mid-term report on the recommendations received at the conclusion of the UPR in 2012.

Together's briefings

Together produced a mid-term report to inform this, which highlighted where UPR recommendations were made to highlight children's rights issues, particularly concentrating on those recommendations accepted by the UK Government. It outlined the 'next steps' that Together hoped the Scottish and UK Government would take to ensure effective progress of each recommendation. The report can be accessed below.

Together then submitted a joint report alongside CRAE to the Ministry of Justice in response to their call for views on the final UPR recommendations that the UK Government should prioritise in its mid-term report or on areas not included in the UPR's recommendations.

 

Government submissions

Scottish Government

UK Government

 

2012 UPR

The second UPR review of the UK took place in May 2012. The government was required to submit a full report and other interested stakeholders were invited to submit their own submissions.

Together's briefings

Together submission to the UPR was drawn from feedback and evidence provided by NGO members of Together. It reflected on the progress made since the recommendations made to the UK Government in 2008 through the first session of the Universal Periodic Review. It also highlighted additional key issues raised through the Together's annual State of Children's Rights reports.

Together had been working with Save the Children and the Wales UNCRC Monitoring Group to try ensure that the issues of child poverty and incorporation of the UNCRC into law were raised at the UK review. We had also been working with the Children and Young People's Commissioner for Scotland and Families Outside to highlight issues faced by children of prisoners.

 

UPR Hearing Summary Report

The 'interactive dialogue', or review, of the UK was held on 24 May 2012 at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Below you can read a summary report on the UPR Hearing and subsequent developments including a link to the UN's draft report.

Government response

Scottish Government

UK Government

About Together Scotland

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