What is the Universal Periodic Review?

Approximately 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 that 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 country and share best practice around the globe.

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

UPR and the UK

The UK recently had their UPR review on 10th November 2022. Draft report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review PDF is available here.

The UK's previous reviews took place 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. A guide for civil society organisations interested in taking part is available here.

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.