Background Briefing

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Preparatory stage of review

Human Rights Watch suggests the following modalities for assembling information regarding the state under review:

  • The date of the UPR for each state is set well in advance to facilitate the participation of interested parties;
  • The HRC bureau appoints an independent expert, selected from a roster prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), as session rapporteur for each state;
  • The Office of the High Commissioner compiles all relevant U.N. reports on the country concerned, including the reports of the special procedures, treaty-monitoring bodies, commissions of inquiry, the Secretary-General, OHCHR and other U.N. field offices, and, where appropriate, peacekeeping and peace building missions;
  • OHCHR further compiles available reports on the country from national human rights institutions and domestic, regional, and international intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, including national NGOs whether or not they have ECOSOC accreditation, and credible academic and media reports;3
  • The session rapporteur prepares a summary of the full dossier, listing all of the significant human rights issues identified in the reports and research.  The summary, together with the full dossier, is provided to the members of the HRC;
  • Finally, based on all of the materials assembled, the session rapporteur prepares written questions for the state sufficiently in advance of the scheduled review session so the state can respond in full and members of the HRC can review the state’s response.

There appears to be widespread agreement that professional staff should compile the initial information to be used in the review process.  Many stakeholders have also described a role for independent expert(s)—whether also from OHCHR, an independent session rapporteur appointed as we have suggested, or a panel of experts—in summarizing this information, and preparing questions for the state under review.

[3] The government of Indonesia (see statement of July 21, 2006) suggested that only local NGOs, and not regional or international NGOs, should provide information regarding the country under review.   Human Rights Watch believes that it is important that the Council have access to the reports of both local NGOs—whether or not they have ECOSOC status—and of accredited regional and international NGOs.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>August 2006