What is the Universal Periodic Review?

Every four years the UK’s overall human rights progress is assessed under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is a process where the countries which are members of the UN Human Rights Council review the human rights progress of UN member states. The UPR provides an opportunity for all countries to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situation in their countries and to overcome challenges to the fulfilment of rights. Other countries can make recommendations on where further improvements could be made. The aim of the UPR is to improve the overall human rights situation in each member country and share best practice around the globe.

The UPR is based on the UN Charter and all the UN human rights treaties which have been ratified the country under review.   

UPR and the UK

The UK has been reviewed under the UPR process in 2008, 2012 and 2017. Official reports from each review can be accessed here.

At each review, the UK Government submits a full report outlining steps it has taken to progress human rights since the last review and the Scottish Government also submits a report on steps being taken in Scotland. Civil society organisations can present their own reports as part of the process and Together has frequently been involved in contributing to these reports in the past. National Human Rights Institutions, such as the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC), have a distinct role in the UPR process and contribute evidence and support civil society organisations to take part in the process.