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IFEX members bring free expression concerns to UN body

Several IFEX members have recently provided submissions to the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. Each of the submissions, whether written individually or in collaboration with other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), contains important information specific to the freedom of expression and/or freedom of assembly situations in countries that are coming up for review.

The UN General Assembly created the UPR in 2006 as a mechanism to review the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Each country is reviewed once every four years. Via the UPR, UN Member States must declare the actions they have taken to fulfil their human rights obligations and improve the human rights situation in their country. The Member State national reports are submitted approximately three months before the review takes place. The UPR process reminds States of their responsibility to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, with the objective of improving the situation in all countries and addressing violations when they occur.

The reviews take place in Geneva in a session of the Working Group on the UPR, which is composed of the 47 Member States of the Human Rights Council. An interactive dialogue takes place between the State under review and the member and observer States of the Council. At the end of each review, the Working Group adopts an outcome document, which is subsequently considered and adopted by the Human Rights Council.

The UPR process allows relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and national human rights institutions, to participate. Approximately six to seven months before the review takes place, these stakeholders can submit information for consideration during the review. The information they provide can be referred to by any of the States taking part in the review at the Working Group meeting. NGOs can attend the UPR Working Group sessions and can make Statements at the regular session of the Human Rights Council when the outcomes of the State reviews are considered.

IFEX member submissions to upcoming UPRs:

14th UPR session, 22 October - 5 November 2012
Argentina, Guatemala & Peru (IFEX-ALC)

16th UPR session, 22 April - 3 May 2012
Azerbaijan (ARTICLE 19/IRFS)
Bangladesh (ARTICLE 19)
Cameroon (WiPC)
Canada (CJFE)
Djibouti (ARTICLE 19)
Pakistan (Reporters Without Borders)
Russia (ARTICLE 19)
Sri Lanka (Human Rights Watch)
Sri Lanka (International Federation of Journalists)
Turkmenistan (Human Rights Watch)


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