Countries must stop using UPR to oppose the Council's country-specific work

Statement by UN Watch

Item 6 General Debate, UNHRC 32nd Session

Delivered by Ms. Charis Marantzidou, 27 June 2016

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch is deeply concerned by endemic misuse of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism by numerous countries.

First, UN Watch deplores the use of the UPR process for mutual praise. This squanders a golden opportunity to subject governments to scrutiny and to protect human rights victims. Instead, it serves only to obscure human rights abuses.

For example, during Sudan’s review last month, the United Arab Emirates praised “all the efforts being made by the Sudan to uphold human rights.” Similarly, the delegation of DPRK expressed its appreciation for the “continued efforts by the Sudanese Government for peace and stability as an essential fact of genuine human rights.”

Second, UN Watch regrets the repeated efforts by many countries to invoke the existence of UPR as a pretext to undermine Item 4 and the Council’s country-specific work.

For example, in the March session, Eritrea said that “the use of politicized, country-specific mechanisms is becoming an impediment to the collective ideals and efforts of humanity and human rights.” Instead, said Eritrea, “the use of the UPR as a means of engagement is the only way forward.”

Likewise, at a demonstration that was held outside the UN last week in support of Eritrea, and in opposition to this council’s commission of inquiry, there were signs invoking the UPR as the only legitimate mechanism to address countries.

Similarly, in the March session, Venezuela also opposed all country specific resolutions, claiming they make it “impossible to engage any government in a frank dialogue.” Instead, Venezuela said that “the UPR is an ideal mechanism for promoting international cooperation.”

Mr. President, the reality is that even if the UPR were correctly implemented, that would still not constitute an adequate reason for ending the Council’s work on country-specific situations, which is expressly mandated by Article 3 of Resolution 60/251. That the UPR process is routinely abused makes this suggestion even further wide of the mark.

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

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