(Geneva) – The UN Human Rights Council will begin a new review process on April 7, 2008. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is the most innovative and ambitious instrument of the council and was set up to assess the human rights performance of all 192 UN member states over a four-year cycle.

The first session will take place from April 7-18, 2008 and will assess Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom.

“With the Universal Period Review the council has an opportunity to improve on its disappointing start and make itself relevant to people around the world” said Juliette de Rivero, Geneva advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

The review will consist of a three-hour interactive dialogue in which governments will raise questions about a country and make recommendations. The reviewed country will be invited to respond and to make pledges about its future human rights policies. A preliminary outcome report of each review will be adopted during the session, to be followed by a final outcome document at the council’s next plenary session in June.