The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique mechanism of the United Nations which started in April 2008 and consists of the review of the human rights practices of all states in the world, once every four years. The UPR lets states make recommendations for human rights development in other states, and receive recommendations in turn. But how can their implementation be ensured? The follow-up of the UPR recommendations is the most critical and important phase of the whole UPR process. This phase is the one leading to the realization of the UPR objective that it is the “improvement of the human rights situation on the ground,” which shows progress. To make the UPR process more accountable and effective, UNDP BRC started the UPR Follow-up Facility (UPRF): a mechanism to support country offices in the region as they try to implement the UPR recommendations for their country.
In 2012 and 2013 UNDP supported 14 countries in the region to implement human rights recommendations that came out of the UPR: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, fYR Macedonia and Ukraine in 2012 and Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, and Serbia in 2013.
The Country Offices of the ECIS region develop their individual plans of action to implement the recommendations from the first cycle of the UPR. UNDP BRC is supporting these Country Offices, monetarily and through dissemination of expertise, to realize their goals. Take a look at what some of our COs did last year:
FYR Macedonia: Undertook an analysis of the legal framework and actual practices regarding the employment of persons with disabilities. The aim of the initiative was to improve the opportunities for employment available to persons with disabilities, by removing the prevailing stigma against them.
Serbia: Launched an online initiative called 'Rate Your Rights', to get the citizens' perspective on the human rights situation. The portal got an average of 1,000,000 visits per day, by around 200,000 visitors.
Ukraine: Apart from online crowdsourcing like Serbia, Ukraine also organized a Model UPR session based on the Model UN format, to educate university students about the process. This was followed by a training session about the UPR for 20 journalists.
The main goal of the UPR is a worldwide improvement in human rights situations. This goal is expressed in the form of recommendations to individual countries in their review. The UPRF project aims at helping the countries of the ECIS region to implement the recommendations they received.
- Providing support to UNDP Country Offices and UN country teams with catalytic funds and expertise
- Supporting the implementation of the UPR and other agreed human rights recommendations
- Facilitating productive dialogue among governments,national institutions,CSOs and other stakeholders
- Integrate human rights into development
- Provide support to strengthen and develop national human rights systems
- Support development of capacities of both duty bearers and rights hoiders
UPRF is now running for its second consecutive year. Based on the outcome of the project, and the initiatives undertaken by the Country Offices, the project will be relaunched to support another set of Country Offices to implement UPR recommendations the following year.