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UPR IN THE CIS COUNTRIES:  REGIONAL TRENDS Analytical report

Kyiv – 2013


The report contains an analysis of the UPR process in the region of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) through the study of the data collected from the national reports, stakeholders’ reports, and the UPR Working Group reports while summarising the recommendations received by states under review. In many respects a path-breaking effort is made to identify certain regional trends based on the comparative analysis of quantitative data.The present study also catalogues some available examples of national UPR experiences concerning preparation of national reports and implementation of the recommendations, focusing on the experiences identified as promising. Author: Takhmina Karimova – Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (Geneva). UNDP Coordination Team: Yuliya Shcherbinina, Maksym Klyuchar, Vasyl Romanyuk Contributions from the following OHCHR and UNDP colleagues are gratefully acknowledged: Vrej Atabekyan (OHCHR), Marc Bojanic (OHCHR), Theresa Khorozyan (OHCHR), Monjurul Kabir (UNDP).

The report was produced within the framework of the UNDP project “Leveraging change through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR): supporting CSOs and journalist communities in human rights advocacy efforts”, funded by the British Embassy in Ukraine. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. In Ukraine, three development focus areas define the structure of UNDP’s assistance activities. These include democratic governance and local development; prosperity, poverty reduction and MDGs and energy and environment. In each of these thematic areas, UNDP ensures balance between policy and advocacy work, capacity building activities and pilot projects. UNDP established its presence in Ukraine in 1993 /www.undp.org.ua/. ISBN 978-966-23-44-28-8

© United Nations Development Programme in Ukraine, 2013 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission. Opinions, conclusions or recommendations are those of the authors and compilers of this issue and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Great Britain, United Nations Development Programme or other UN agencies.


Table of contents

Introduction......................................................................................................................................................................7 i. Objective of the report...............................................................................................................................................................................7 ii. Structure of the report............................................................................................................................................................................7 iii. Methodology of the analysis................................................................................................................................................................8 I. Universal Periodic Review: a very short introduction................................................................................9 II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states..................................................................................11 i. Presentation and analysis of the data...........................................................................................................................................11 ii. Issues raised by NGOs..................................................................................................................................................................................12 iii. Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states.................................................17 iv. The response of CIS states to recommendations..................................................................................................................23 v. Overall analysis...........................................................................................................................................................................................28 III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations...............33 i. Reporting methodologies: national experiences.................................................................................................................33 ii. Implementation modalities: national experiences................................................................................................................38 National human rights action plans........................................................................................................................................................38 National monitoring body/or government focal point...................................................................................................................39 National Human Rights Institutions........................................................................................................................................................40 Processes adopted (e.g. involvement of, and consultations with, CSOs, legislature, etc.)...................................................41 IV. Conclusions: current use of the UPR process from the regional perspective......................................44 Annex...................................................................................................................................................................................45 References.........................................................................................................................................................................46

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List of acronyms

CAT

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

CERD

International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

CID treatment

Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment

CIS

Commonwealth of Independent States

CP rights

Civil and Political Rights

CRPD

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

CSO

Civil Society Organization

ESC rights Economic, Social and Cultural Rights HRC

Human Rights Council

ICCPR

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

ICCPED

International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance

ICESCR

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

ICRMW

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families

IDPs

Internally Displaced Persons

IGO

Inter-Governmental Organization

INGO

International Non-Governmental Organization

IHL

International Humanitarian Law

NGO

Non-Governmental Organization

NHRI

National Human Rights Institution

OHCHR

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

UDHR

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

UNDP

United Nations Development Programme

UNGA

United Nations General Assembly

UPR

Universal Periodic Review

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Introduction

i. Objective of the report The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review is an important mechanism for the improvement of human rights internationally. The main purpose of the study is, therefore, to assess the potential of the Universal Periodic Review mechanisms to instigate changes, advancing the human rights agenda ‘on the ground’ in the CIS region. For this purpose, the following questions informed the analysis: how did the CIS states and the civil society organizations approach the Universal Periodic Review mechanism? What were the concerns of the civil society in terms of human rights issues in the region? How have these concerns been addressed in the recommendations of states? What has been the response of the CIS states to those human rights issues raised? How did CIS states themselves engage in the inter-state dialogue with their peers on human rights issues? Additionally, the report discusses the question of the implementation of the UPR recommendations. To date, no general and consistent state practice regarding the follow-up procedure has as yet consolidated. Rather different implementation modalities are currently practiced, some examples of which, identified as good practices, will be discussed in the framework of this report. The extent to which CIS states themselves are currently taking meaningful action as a result of the UPR process at the domestic level is examined insofar as relevant data is available. In light of these parameters, the present study fulfils a dual function. First, it represents an analysis of the UPR process in the region of the Commonwealth of Independent States, through the study of the data collected from the National Reports, stakeholders’ reports, and the Working Group reports summarising the recommendations received by states under review. Nevertheless, there are inherent limits on the extent to which generalisations can be made about human rights situation in CIS states. Comparative analysis on the basis of quantitative data can only reveal certain trends and provide general directions, which can be the subject of further research. Second, since the potential and ultimate efficiency of the UPR is assessed on the basis of its impact on state performance, the present study will catalogue some available examples of different national UPR experiences concerning preparation of National Reports and implementation of the recommendations. The focus will be on those experiences identified as promising. It then discusses these processes as adopted by the CIS states.

ii. Structure of the report The present report is divided into three main sections. Chapter I provides a very short introduction to the UPR process and its basic components. It summarises the outcome of the first cycle of the UPR and modifications introduced to improve the functioning of the UPR review. The aim of this Chapter is to set the framework for the subsequent analysis. Chapter II of the report is dedicated to the quantitative and qualitative assessment of the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review for eleven CIS states. It first examines how ‘other stakeholders’, including both national and international civil society organizations, approached the process and types of human rights issues they identified as constituting a concern for the CIS states. It then looks at the trends and patterns outlined in recommendations given to the states under review. It examines the recommendations made to, and by, CIS states. Apart from substantive human rights issues, the report examines the level of reception by CIS states of recommendations made and finally discusses whether the concerns of the civil society organizations have been reflected in state recommendations. A comparative assessment of the CIS region with global assessments of the first and second cycle on this issue will also form part of this cluster. Chapter III of the report is dedicated to distilling available models of reporting and implementation under the UPR. This part of the research will also draw upon the preparatory process at the national level for the first cycle of reporting and the followup to the recommendations. A proviso is in order in this regard. It will be ambitious to attempt here anything like a complete analysis of the UPR preparation and implementation process. This Chapter draws from other available studies and analysis in this regard. Furthermore, it might be too early to say that the implementation practices are consolidated or to draw definite

7


Introduction

contours of the problems and challenges of the preparation and follow-up to the UPR recommendations and which lessons can be identified as success stories. Chapters III and IV are then followed by some general conclusions from the findings. It must be emphasized that the present study does not engage in the comprehensive discussion of human rights issues in the region. Its purpose is rather to bring together various components of one process: the views of states undergoing the UPR, recommending states, national and international NGOs. This will allow comparing their approaches to what they deem as an issue of concern or priority, whether recommending states and NGOs raised the same issues and how CIS states themselves approached the UPR process in the review of their peers.

iii. Methodology of the analysis This report analyses the Universal Periodic Review process of eleven states, comprising the CIS region, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.1 These countries were reviewed in second, third, fourth, seventh, eighth, twelfth, and fourteenth sessions, spanning from 2008 to 2011. Where applicable, information on the second cycle of the UPR review is also provided. The data was extracted from national UPR reports, Working Group reports summarising the recommendations received, and submissions of stakeholders. The report also uses a number of other sources for the purpose of analysis. For example, where necessary and applicable, statistics and data presented in the UPR-info.org were used. This choice is warranted in order to allow the purpose of comparative assessment of CIS trends with those at the global level. In addition, this report benefited from a number of other reports that have set in motion basic criteria of analysis of similar kind.

1 Membership in the CIS group of states does not correspond to membership of geopolitical regional groups disaggregated by the United Nations. Rather, it denotes official, associate members and participating states of the regional organization of the Commonwealth of Independent States that comprises eleven (or twelve) former Soviet Union republics.

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I. Universal Periodic Review: a very short introduction

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a new mechanism for human rights protection. The Human Rights Council through the Universal Periodic Review mechanism reviews on a periodic basis, the fulfilment by the United Nations Member states of their human rights obligations and commitments.2 Unlike treaty bodies, such as, for example, the Human Rights Committee or Committee on the Rights of the Child where the review process is carried out by independent experts, the UPR is a peerreview mechanism.3 It is ‘a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue’.4 The UPR is also a human rights mechanism that is responsible to deal with the capacity-building considerations and provision of technical assistance to states. UPR offers “an institutional forum permitting all States to voice their concerns”.5 One of the advantages of the UPR process is that it covers a broad field of human rights. The review process is not limited to any set of rights; rather it underlines the unity of all human rights. Human rights obligations that are reviewed are defined as those comprising the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and human rights instruments to which the state under review is a party.6 The scope of review involves obligations under international human rights law and applicable international humanitarian law.7 Roughly the UPR process comprises the following stages: preparation of the National Report, review of the human rights records of the State under review (which formally consists of the Working Group review and interactive dialogue and adoption of the Outcome Document), implementation of the recommendations received in the process of review. The implementation is then assessed at the subsequent review four and a half years later.

The UPR process: 4 ½-year cycle

Generally, three sources of information are examined in the UPR session. The state under review submits an assessment of its own human rights performance, in the form of a National Report (20 pages).8 This report is complemented by a second report prepared by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the basis of the information available from the UN (including the work of the treaty bodies and special procedures) in the field of human rights (10 pages). Finally, the OHCHR also prepares a summary report (10 pages) on the basis of information received from “other relevant stakeholders”, 2 UN GA Resolution 60/251 established that states: (…) Undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies; the Council shall develop the modalities and necessary time allocation for the universal periodic review mechanism within one year after the holding of its first session; UN GA Resolution 60/251, UN doc. A/RES/60/251, 3 April 2006, para 5(e). 3 Other existing examples of peer-reviewed mechanisms include the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and African Peer Review Mechanism. 4 UN GA Resolution 60/251, op. cit., para5(e). 5 Ibid., p. 618. 6 See HRC Resolution 5/1, annex. 7 Ibid. 0% 5% 10% 15% 8 UNHCR Resolution 6/102, 27 September 2007; See UN doc. A/HRC/6/22, 83.

9


I. Universal Periodic Review: a very short introduction

i.e. non-governmental organizations and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). Then, other UN member states have an opportunity to review the assessment together with a compilation of the UN ‘findings’ and contribution from other stakeholders, e.g. National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organizations. Another feature of the UPR is the broad participation. NGOs represent a fundamental component of the system of human rights protection. The UPR process provides for the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and National Human Rights Institutions.9 NGO reports may supplement additional information (on certain issues or problems) not addressed in the report of a state under review. Like with other reports, NGO input needs to meet certain qualitative and quantitative criteria.10 In 2011, upon completion of its self-review process, the HRC adopted a set of modifications to improve the functioning of the UPR.11 Some of these new modalities are well worth being rehearsed in the context of the present report. Under the revised modalities, states are required to clearly communicate to the HRC their position regarding all recommendations received in their respective review process.12 The HRC stated, among others, that the second and the subsequent cycles of the UPR should focus on the implementation of the accepted recommendations and the developments of the human rights situation in the state under review.13 Therefore, states are encouraged (i.e. on voluntary basis) to provide mid-term reports updating on implementation of recommendations.14 The reviewed modalities also addressed to an extent the process of the review itself.15 The duration of the review is extended to three hours and thirty minutes for each country in the working group, with the state under review being given 70 minutes and other states 140 minutes. The list of speakers for the interactive dialogue in the working group under the revised modalities is open on Monday of the week preceding beginning of the working group session. All speakers are given three minutes (and two minutes for Observer States). The speaking time is reduced to two minutes for all, should the allocated time be insufficient to accommodate all speakers. If needed, the speaking time is divided among all delegations registered to ensure that all states are given the floor.16 These alterations were introduced to address deficiencies of the previous process which was not sufficiently conducive for an equal participation of all delegations in the interactive dialogue.17 Finally, changes to the review modality did not overlook the role of the stakeholders in the process. Given that national consultations for the first cycle of the review were not consistently practiced, under the revised modalities states are advised to have broad consultations with all the relevant stakeholders on the follow-up to recommendations.18 Finally, the review of the HRC’s functioning produced reforms concerning the participation of ‘other stakeholders’. Namely, it was decided that National Human Rights Institutions with ‘A’ status will have a separate section in the summary of ‘other stakeholders’ information.19 Other stakeholders are also encouraged to include in their submissions information on the follow-up to the preceding review.20

9 HRC Resolution 5/1 states: “UPR should ensure the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 and Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996, as well as any decisions that the Council may take in this regard” in HRC Resolution 5/1, Institution-building of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Annex., para. 3(m). 10 See Universal Periodic Review: information and guidelines for relevant stakeholders’ written submissions. See also for NHRIs: Technical guidelines for the submission of information by national human rights institutions, both at OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/NgosNhris.aspx. 11 HRC Resolution 16/21: Review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council, UN doc. A/HRC/RES/16/21, 12 April 2011. 12 Ibid., para. 16. 13 Ibid., para. 6. 14 Ibid., para. 18. 15 See HRC Decision on the Follow-up to the HRC Resolution 16/21, UN doc. A/HRC/17/L.29, 17 June 2011. 16 Ibid. 17 Preliminary Report: Reflection group on the strengthening of the Human Rights Council, Second meeting: 25-26th January, Paris, available at http://www2. ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/Report_Paris_meeting.pdf . 18 HRC Resolution 16/21, op. cit., para. 17. 19 Ibid., para. 9. 20 Ibid., para. 8.

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II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

i. Presentation and analysis of the data To facilitate analysis and presentation of data, as well as for comparative purposes, all human rights issues were grouped under eleven broad categories/clusters. The following categories further defined in the Annex have been employed: 1) human rights obligations and institutional protection; 2) the right to life, freedom from torture, security of person; 3) justice and impunity; 4) other civil and political rights; 5) trafficking; 6) economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights); 7) equality and non-discrimination; 8) women, children and persons with disabilities; 9) other vulnerable groups; 10) environment; and 11) counter-terrorism and human rights.21 In arranging these eleven categories, the analysis took into consideration the frequency of mentions,22 the logic and structure of the National Reports,23 the classification adopted by the OHCHR summaries of stakeholders’ submissions24 and the categorisations adopted by other similar studies.25 For example, the right to life, freedom from torture, security of person as well as justice and impunity are all civil and political rights. Their separate categorization was possible owing to the high number of mentions they received in state recommendations and stakeholders’ reports. The number of human rights issues that served as the basis of analysis does not correspond to the number of recommendations as summarised in the Working Group reports for each of the CIS states undergoing the review. This is because one recommendation from a recommending state may in effect include two or more human rights issues.26 Rather, the data tabulated derives from the statistics collected by UPR-info.27 Such an approach is warranted in order to create consistent data that will allow comparative analysis with global trends. It is also necessary to detail the presentation of the analysis. The eleven categories of issues are further grouped under thematic sections such as equality and non-discrimination, civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, etc. Furthermore, this report presents the question of equality and non-discrimination and the related issues of the protection of women, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, namely minorities, IDPs, refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants altogether. This is because it is discrimination on the ground of race, sex, colour, religion, social origin or other basis that essentially lies at the heart of all issues.

21 The list of issues included under each category can be found in Annex I of the present report. 22 Where a human rights issue received a lesser degree of attention to the extent possible they were grouped under one category. An example would be issues concerning minorities, indigenous people, refugees, IDPs, stateless persons who have all been grouped under the rubric of ‘other vulnerable groups’. 23 For example, the structure of National Reports is designed first to provide an overview of the normative and institutional framework of human rights protection of a given state prior to addressing specific human rights categories/issues. 24 See an example of the ‘Summary of stakeholders’ information’ at the UPR documentation section of the OHCHR website at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx. 25 See e.g. UNDP report, Arab States and the Universal Period Review: Study undertaken on behalf of the United Nations Development Program, Regional Centre in Cairo, 12 November 2012, p. 27 (on file with author). 26 Consider, for example, the following recommendation made to Ukraine: “Take further efficient measures to ensure that all people deprived of their liberty are held in conditions that meet international standards and that the recommendations of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment regarding pre-trial detention are fully implemented”. Another example made to Belarus: “Continue its actionoriented policy on the reduction of infant mortality, maternal care, combating HIV-AIDs and environmental protection”. 27 UPR Info is a Geneva-based non-governmental organization, with a Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), that is raising awareness and providing capacity-building tools to the different actors of the UPR process, such as United Nations Member States, NGOs, National Human Rights Institutions and civil society in general.

Presentation and analysis of the data 11


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

ii. Issues raised by NGOs This section examines human rights issues as raised by ‘stakeholders’ report for the first cycle of the UPR process. The total of 984 mentions of different human rights issues were grouped under three categories: international NGOs, domestic NGOs, and mentions that were submitted jointly consisting of both international and domestic stakeholders.28 Although, regional intergovernmental organizations also made submissions, their contribution was grouped under INGOs for the purpose of simple categorization but also due to their overall limited number. It is necessary to point out two limitations here. First, for certain countries, domestic NGOs made submissions as a coalition. For example, a joint submission for the Russian Federation comprised 15 Russian NGOs. Consequently, a reference to a particular human rights issue by such a submission is counted as one, rather than 15. Second, an important factor to keep in mind is that in some of the countries of the CIS region, independent civil society is still lacking. Resources and capacity constraints in identifying, documenting and analysing human rights violations can contribute not only to the level of participation but also may explain the scant attention paid to certain human rights issues. With these provisos in mind, Figure 1 is indicative of a number of trends in the human rights issues raised by international and domestic NGOs. Analysis of stakeholder reports for eleven CIS states shows that INGOs made 527 mentions of human rights issues, with NGOs making 395 mentions, and joint submissions totalled 62 mentions. Figure 1: Categories of human rights issues brought up by NGOs (by type of NGO and in percentage of the total of all submissions)29

0%

5%

10%

15%

It is possible to draw the following general trends from a panoramic view of all human rights issues raised by all stakeholders’ submissions. Both international and domestic NGOs expressed concerns over civil and political rights encompassing the right to life, freedom from torture, security of persons, justice and impunity. The category under the heading of ‘other civil and political rights’ comprising various freedoms and rights pertaining to political participation constituted 30% and 22% of all human rights

28 A ‘mention’ in this context denotes a reference to a human rights issue. For example “The Ombudsman stated that, although targeted reforms continuously take place in the sphere of education, and each year more schools are built and provided with modern equipment, schools in remote regions and IDP settlements still experience shortages of teaching staff and equipment”. 29 That is the total number of 984 mentions by all stakeholders.

12 Issues raised by NGOs


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

issues raised by international and domestic NGOs respectively.30 These rights also ranked high in the priority, namely 27% of the total of all interventions by joint submissions. Systemic issues such as adherence to international human rights treaties and reform of internal structures to increase protection of human rights were of concern in equal measure for all groups of stakeholders. Economic, social and cultural rights such as fundamental rights at work, right to education, right to health, adequate standards of living (housing, poverty, social security) received equal attention from both groups of organizations. Conversely, protection of women, children and persons with disabilities figured more prominently among the concerns of the domestic NGOs than in interventions of the international counterparts (representing 10% of all the interventions, i.e. twice as much when compared to 5% by INGOs). At the same time, international NGOs mentioned the protection of other vulnerable groups, such as migrants, IDPs, refugees, minorities and indigenous people more than the national non-governmental actors did (9% and 7% respectively). Human rights protection in counter-terrorism measures and human rights education and training represent the issues that did not figure in the interventions of the domestic NGOs. In terms of priority among specific human rights issues, the table below illustrates the first ten issues of concern for all groups of stakeholders. Table 1: Human rights issues by priority INGOs

NGOs

Joint submissions

Freedom of religion and belief

Justice

Women’s rights

Justice

Torture and CID treatment

Scope of international obligations/ International instruments

Torture and CID treatment

Women’s rights

Justice

Freedom of opinion and expression

Equality and non-discrimination (racial, vulnerability)

Freedom of opinion and expression

Freedom of association and peaceful assembly

Impunity

Special procedures and Treaty Bodies

Refugees, IDPs, stateless persons

Freedom of religion and belief

Torture and CID treatment

Scope of international obligations/ International instruments

Conditions of detention

Sexual orientation and gender identity

Equality and non-discrimination (racial, vulnerability)

Freedom of association and peaceful assembly

Right to health

Right to health

Right to health

Freedom of association and peaceful assembly

Impunity

Freedom of opinion and expression

Labour

Overall, there appears to be little discrepancy between international and domestic non-governmental organizations. Variation may, however, exist at the level of specific human rights issues within the broad categories identified above. It is, therefore, useful to have a closer look at the highest categories and particularly the specific human rights issues raised within them.

30 The category included freedoms such as freedom of movement, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of religion and belief, right to privacy and family, political participation, elections and the right to privacy and family including the question of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Issues raised by NGOs

13


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Civil and political rights This section consolidates various civil and political rights concerns altogether as listed in Figure 2.31 These rights figured prominently in the CSOs’ comments and views on human rights performance of CIS states. In total, all civil and political rights (i.e. right to life, freedom from torture, security of person, justice, impunity, and other civil and political rights) accounted for an average half of the total number of interventions (Figure 1). International NGOs prioritised civil and political rights as high as 58% of all the human rights issues they raised, whilst for national NGOs the number amounted to 50% with 48% for joint submissions. In aggregate terms, noticeably, the difference between the groups is not significant. Rather the difference becomes visible at the level of specific human rights issues. The data below (Figure 2) indicates that in terms of order of concern over civil and political rights, the issue of freedom of religion, conscience and belief clearly takes precedence over other concerns. It 0% 5% 10% 15% is also one of the two issues, where there is a considerable difference between international and national NGOs. Freedom of conscience, religion and belief is number one priority for the INGOs compared to the national NGOs, where the degree of concern is three times less (only about 2% compare to 6%). Figure 2: Specific civil and political rights issues raised by NGOs (as a percentage)

0%

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

6%

Equally, INGOs mentioned right to life, torture and other CID treatment, freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of movement as well as concerns with issues of justice more frequently than the domestic NGOs.32

31  It includes the right to life, freedom from torture, security of person, justice and impunity and what has been earlier classified as ‘other civil and political rights’. 32  This finding, however, should be put into the context of methods outlined in the beginning of the section, in particular that the domestic NGOs often acted as a coalition thus formulating their concerns as one submission.

14 Issues raised by NGOs

0

5

10

15

20

25


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Equality and non-discrimination and protection of group rights According to the collected data, comments on equality and non-discrimination, women, children, persons with disabilities and other groups identified as ‘other vulnerable groups’ represented 19% of all interventions by all groups of NGOs. Equality and non-discrimination encompassed a number of human rights issues such as racial discrimination, discrimination on the basis of sex, health status (namely HIV/AIDS) and sexual orientation. Racial discrimination including the racially motivated violence was not relevant to all states except for few,33 while discrimination of women was raised in relation to all CIS states. 0% included 1% 2% 3%violence 4% 5% training 6%of Issues identified under the heading of women’s rights gender mainstreaming, against women, law enforcement on domestic violence and institutional reforms to ensure gender equality, etc. Figure 3: Equality and non-discrimination and protection of group rights (number of mentions)

0

5

10

15

20

25

It can be concluded that in aggregate terms, NGOs approached the problem of human rights protection of the groups consistently. This being said, national NGOs raised women’s rights, rights of the child, rights of persons with disabilities, as well as the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity far more often that their international counterparts. In addition, NGOs, both national and international, raised issues in this context in relation to both economic, social and cultural and civil and political rights.

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Analysis of the data reveals that socio-economic rights were mentioned far less than issues related to civil and political rights. In total, economic, social and cultural rights accounted for 6% of the total of all interventions for both international and national NGOs (see Figure 1). There is no observable divergence between how national and international NGOs mentioned the topic. At the same time, one has to bear in mind that socio-economic concerns can be in-built into the issues of equality and non-discrimination. For example, the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities, minorities are raised in relation to 10 0 5 15 20 all human rights and not only civil and political. In the context of protection of IDPs, CSOs raised the issue of access to housing, health services and education. Among specific socio-economic rights, the right to health and the right to education ranked highest. The right to health category collates issues related to financing of health care, quality of health care services, HIV/AIDS prevention and care, health care of elderly, LGBT, drug users, sexual and reproductive rights.

33  These included mainly the Republic of Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine, and marginally Azerbaijan.

Issues raised by NGOs

15


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Although, some of the countries of the CIS region experience socio-economic difficulties, references to adequate standards of living, poverty and development were minimal in the interventions from all groups of NGOs. One reason to such occurrence can be related to the fact that economic, social and cultural rights for long have been a neglected dimension of human rights, both in theory and practice. At the inter-state level these rights were relegated to the ‘development’ or ‘poverty’ discourse measured by economic parameters, whilst in the analysis of international NGOs, they have been largely ignored until recently. Alternatively, perhaps legal guarantees related to work, food, housing, healthcare, social security, or education are not seen as a priority amid rampant violations of rights relating to life, liberty, and security which typically attract greater at10 Ukraine) for 0 submissions 5 (Azerbaijan, 15the second20 tention. Be that as it may, a review of two stakeholders’ cycle reveals25 a more balanced approach of the CSOs towards these rights.34 Figure 4: Distribution by specific economic, social and cultural rights (number of mentions)

0

0%

10

5

5%

10%

15

15%

20

20%

34  See Summary OHCHR: Ukraine, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/14/UKR/3, 20 July 2012; Summary: Azerbaijan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/16/AZE/3

16 Issues raised by NGOs

25%


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

iii. Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states This section analyses the recommendations made to eleven states by both non-CIS and CIS states in the first cycle of the UPR process. For the first cycle of the UPR process, a total of 2347 human rights issues were raised to eleven CIS countries. Out of this number only 146 recommendations were made by the CIS states themselves, which constitutes merely 6% of the total number of recommendations. CIS states seem not to have had a substantial participation in the review of their peers. Such a limited contribution creates difficulties for comparative purposes. Nonetheless, despite this limitation, the graphs in this section are aimed to capture the type of issues raised by the CIS states in the review of their fellow states. The percentage under each group of states is calculated relative to the total number of recommendations raised by the respective group of states. Analysis of the data below shows a great difference in frequency of human rights issues raised by CIS states and nonCIS states. The frequency expressed in percentage is calculated in relation to the total number of recommendations made by respective groups. Table 2: Priority in human rights issues raised by recommending states (number of recommendations) Other states

CIS states

International instruments

223

Minorities

11

Women’s rights

167

Women’s rights

10

Rights of the child

164

Trafficking

9

Torture and other CID treatment

135

Rights of the child

8

Justice

113

ESC rights – general

8

Freedom of the press

91

International instruments

6

Detention conditions

88

Justice

5

Special procedures

85

Poverty

4

Freedom of opinion and expression

72

Special procedures

3

Persons with disabilities

59

Persons with disabilities

3

To gain some insight into the types of recommendations received by each individual state in the CIS region, it is instructive to take a glance at the distribution of recommendations under eleven categories in percentage relative to the total number of recommendations received by each state (Table 3).

Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states

17


23%

11%

11%

19%

3%

8%

0%

22%

4%

0%

0%

HR obligations, Institutional protection

Right to life, freedom from torture, security of persons

Justice and Impunity

Other Civil and Political Rights

Trafficking

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Equality and non-discrimination

Women, Children, Persons with Disabilities

Other vulnerable groups

Environment

Counter-terrorism

ARMENIA

18 Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states

0%

0%

6%

24%

0%

10%

1%

28%

3%

8%

19%

AZERBAIJAN

0%

0%

2%

14%

1%

8%

4%

27%

3%

15%

22%

BELARUS

1%

1%

4%

17%

0%

9%

3%

20%

7%

12%

25%

KAZAKHSTAN

0%

0%

4%

23%

0%

8%

1%

23%

8%

8%

23%

KYRGYZSTAN

0%

0%

8%

22%

4%

9%

7%

12%

7%

10%

16%

Republic of Moldova

1%

0%

7%

12%

7%

5%

1%

16%

9%

13%

27%

RUSSIA

0%

0%

1%

23%

0%

10%

3%

10%

3%

22%

27%

TAJIKISTAN

0%

0%

1%

5%

1%

4%

1%

34%

6%

11%

34%

TURKMENISTAN

0%

0%

12%

16%

8%

5%

3%

7%

8%

11%

29%

0%

2%

9%

12%

15%

3%

6%

12%

18%

7%

16%

UKRAINE (1ST AND 2ND CYCLES)

1%

0%

1%

10%

0%

9%

1%

17%

4%

23%

29%

UZBEKISTAN

Table 3: Recommendations received by CIS states (in percentage relative to the total number of recommendations received by each state)

II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

With regard to the frequency of the recommendations under the categories of human rights used in the analysis of stakeholders’ interventions, Figure 5 can provide an overview. Some general observations can be drawn at this stage. For CIS countries, issues concerning minorities, women’s rights and rights of the child were identified as important in their recommendations. In effect, economic, social and cultural rights appeared three times more often in the recommendations made 10 0 5 15 20 by CIS states. In the same vein, trafficking accounted for 9% of all the issues raised by CIS state. Figure 5: Human rights issues raised by the recommending states

0%

5%

10%

15%

20%

25%

It is now suggested to discuss more in detail the most representative categories to get a sense of issues raised within each of them. We shall examine, in turn, human rights obligations and institutional protection, civil and political rights (all rights included), equality and non-discrimination together with protection of women, children, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, and finally economic, social and cultural rights.

Human rights obligations and institutional protection of human rights Recommendations involving international obligations and human rights institutional protection were mentioned 528 times, representing 24% of all recommendations made. For non-CIS states, adherence to, and implementation of, international human rights obligations accounted for almost half of this number (10 %, i.e. 229 mentions, see also Figure 6). It appears that recommendations under this category were prioritized almost for all CIS countries (see Table 3). 0%

2%

4%

6%

8%

10%

Closely connected to the question of implementation of international human rights obligations is the issue of ensuring an effective institutional framework for the protection of human rights. The basic ingredients of establishing effective institutional frameworks typically include a) establishment of national human rights institutions, b) development of national programmes of human rights education, and c) the development of national plans of action for the promotion and protection of human rights. All these issues were raised in recommendations to CIS states. Recommendations included also issues of cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, such as treaty bodies, special procedures and with the UPR itself.

Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states

19


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states 0% 5% 10%

15%

20%

25%

Figure 6: Components of international human rights obligations and institutional framework for protection

0%

2%

4%

6%

8%

10%

The recommendations from non-CIS states stressed the need to expand standards of human rights protection through the ratification of international instruments. Almost 10% of the recommendations regarding the strengthening of the institutional framework encouraged CIS states to ratify international human rights treaties. This recommendation ranked as the highest priority for states such as Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, and Tajikistan, while for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, it followed as the second most frequent recommendation.35 It needs to be underlined that such a high number is not particular to the CIS region only. Globally, adhesion to international norms and their incorporation in domestic law recommendations related to international instruments rank No. 1. It is estimated that ‘international instruments’ represent 19.89% of all recommendations made to states under review.36 CIS-states acknowledged the need to speed up the processes of ratification of international instruments, and also considered strengthening the cooperation with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Regrettably, little emphasis has been made so far on supporting human rights education and training.

Civil and political rights Civil and political rights clearly received significant attention in the recommendations made by other states amounting to 39% of the total of their interventions, against 16% by CIS states. As the table below demonstrates, CIS states, compared to other states, made far fewer recommendations on civil and political rights issues. Among the civil and political rights, freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CID) ranked the highest in priority making up slightly over 6% of all recommendations. It is also one of the issues that CIS did not address 0% 1%issues avoided 2% concerns 3% regarding 4%death penalty, 5% 6% at all in their submissions to their fellows from the region. Other extrajudicial executions and freedom of movement. However, the main areas of preoccupation for CIS states were justice, freedom of conscience, religion and belief, and freedom of press (Figure 7).

35  According to the UPRinfo statistics, e.g. Armenia: 17.58%; Belarus: 18.34%; Kazakhstan: 17.83%; Russian Federation: 19.01%; Tajikistan: 26.67% and Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, 18.34% and 22.14 respectively. The information is available at http://www.upr-info.org/database/statistics/. 36 For Global Statistic, see also UPR-Info.org, ibid.

20 Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states

0%

2%

4%

6%

8%

10%

12%


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states 0%

2%

4%

6%

8%

10%

Figure 7: Civil and political rights in recommendations to CIS states

0%

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

6%

Equality and non-discrimination and protection of vulnerable groups Equality and non-discrimination in general, particularly the issue of racial discrimination, has received relatively low level of attention compared to the discrimination on other grounds. Furthermore, recommendations on racial discrimination were made only with regard to few states, namely, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Compared to other issues, women’s rights and rights of the child were highly prioritized by both groups of states. As noted in the introduction of this section, women’s rights, rights of the child and rights of minorities received a high level of engagement on the part of the CIS states. In terms of percentage of the total number of recommendations (97 in total), women’s rights accounted for 11% of recommendations (Figure 8). Issues such as discrimination against women, general advancement of women in society, domestic violence, and improving economic situation of women to prevent their trafficking, among others, were voiced, to name a few. The issue of migrants was not touched upon by any of the CIS states, even if, due to the large number of migrants within the 4%One of the 6%most frequent 8% recommendations 10% 12%to region, it is currently an important socio-economic0% and human2%rights issue. CIS states included suggestion to ratify international instruments protecting rights of migrants - a proposal that some of the destination countries, such as Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, rejected to accept. Equally, CIS states remained silent about rights of internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and refugees. It is also appropriate to mention at this point that while discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity drew significant attention of the NGOs, for CIS states, it did not form part of their interaction with their fellow states from the same region.

Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states

21


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states 0%

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

6%

Figure 8: Different dimensions of equality and non-discrimination invoked in recommendations

0% 0%

1% 2%

2% 4%

3% 6%

4% 8%

5% 10%

6% 12%

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Economic, social and cultural rights feature in recommendations made by both CIS and other states. These rights clearly ranked higher in recommendations made by CIS states (in proportion to all of their recommendations). They were one of the highest categories in the list of priorities, representing around 22% of all recommendations (Figure 5). While, CIS states most frequently referred to economic, social and cultural rights generally, in terms of specific issues, the largest numbers of recommendations fall into the right to education category (Figure 9). This was followed by poverty and development that together represented 7% of all recommendations made by the CIS states. Such a state of affairs is not surprising, as even if the CIS region consists of states with a varied socio-economic situation, as mentioned earlier, for some other states in the region (such as Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) socio-economic conditions remain a real challenge. On the other hand, it will be not entirely fair to state that socio-economic rights did not receive sufficient attention on the part of other states. Recommendations involving socio-economic rights accounted for 8% of all of the interventions. Furthermore, some neglected aspects of these rights 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% such as the right to water, the right to food and the right to housing were voiced by other states. 0%

200

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

6%

7%

Figure 9: Economic, social and cultural rights in recommendations to CIS states

150

100

50

0 Armenia 200

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Republic Russia Tajikistan Turkmenistan Ukraine of Moldova 0% 1% 2% 3% 4% 5% 6%

Uzbekistan 7%

22150 Human rights issues raised in the recommendations made to the CIS states 50%

100 40%


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

iv. The response of CIS states to recommendations Prior to discussion of the response of CIS states to recommendations, it is important to introduce basic elements of the context, in which they operate. More specifically, it is suggested to have a closer look at the trends and dynamics at the global level. According to the studies, a large majority of the recommendations, namely 73%, were accepted by the state under review. It is difficult to find precise reasons to justify this high acceptance rate. Such reasons may be related both to the political or interest motivations of the state under review, but also by a certain caution manifested by recommending States in taking up sensitive issues or in formulating recommendations in sensitive terms. Over the 12 sessions of the first cycle of the UPR, the rate of acceptance of recommendations steadily increased compared to the rate of other responses to recommendations. 37 The object of the recommendations ranged from procedural to substantive issues. From a procedural point of view, most of the recommendations (20%) reflect a concern for the ratification of international instruments protecting human rights and the alignment of domestic legislation to the international human rights standards. Over the first cycle of the UPR, states constantly formulated recommendations regarding the rights of women, children, and minorities (approximately 37% altogether) in relation to both civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights.38 According to the tabulated data (Table 4), CIS states in total accepted around 74% of the recommendations, of which 9% were addressed by fellow CIS states. Approximately 13% of recommendations were rejected, while the remaining 12% were subject to general response and around 2% received no response. Table 4: Responses of CIS states to the recommendations received Recommendations made by other States

RECOMMENDATIONS MADE BY CIS STATES

Total

%

Accepted

943

92

1035

74%

Rejected

179

6

185

13%

General Response

148

3

151

11%

No response

22

0

22

2%

1292

101

….

The next question to analyse is the type of recommendations and correspondingly the response of the CIS states to those recommendations. It needs to be mentioned that there is no standard or widely accepted categorisation of the recommendations by type. Notwithstanding, some advances in this area are being made in academia and civil society quarters. Particularly influential in this area is the study conducted by E. McMahon who categorized recommendations by level of action, on the basis of the wording used in the recommendations. He suggests using the scale from 1 to 5 in categorization, with 1 requiring the least cost and effort to the state under review and scale 5 for types of recommendations representing ‘the greatest’ potential cost. In essence, action characterised as “5” is a concrete and tangible, whilst on the other end of the spectrum, action 1 is often easiest to accept, since it requires less effort and in most cases is less tangible. A summary of the categories is useful, as they serve as the basis for the assessment of the recommendations given to CIS states.

37  E. R. McMahon, The Universal Periodic Review: a Work in Progress: an Evaluation of the First Cycle of the New UPR Mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council, September 2012, pp. 13-14. 38  Ibid., p 20.

The response of CIS states to recommendations

23


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Table 5: Action categories: distribution of accepted and rejected recommendations TOTAL, % CATEGORY

EXAMPLE

Action 1: this type of recommendations typically calls for ‘seeking’, ‘sharing’ information, or ‘requesting’ financial or other type of assistance;

ACCEPTED, %

REJECTED, %

Rec-s made by CIS countrie

Rec-s made by non-CIS countries

Rec-s made by CIS countrie

Rec-s made by non-CIS countries

Rec-s made by CIS countrie

Rec-s made by non-CIS countries

Share its positive experiences and best practices with other countries regarding the high level of ethnic and religious tolerance.

20%

1%

0%

1%

0%

0%

Continue the practice of adoptAction 2: recommendations ing national plans of action on suggesting a state to continue various fields with the purpose its current efforts and/or acto improve the human rights tions; situation in the country…

2%

13%

2%

13%

0%

0%

Action 3: recommendations Consider establishing and that invite a state to consider, improving the juvenile justice or to review its action; system

0%

9%

0%

5%

0%

1%

Action 4: recommendations calling for a general action, whereby a state is suggested to ‘take measures’ towards or ‘promote’, etc.;

Undertake measures ensuring rights of ethnicities and national minorities to use its native languages in practice.

3%

39%

3%

31%

0%

3%

Ratify the Protocol No. 14 to Action 5: recommendation the European Convention on that suggests taking a specific Human Rights and the Charter measure. for Regional and Minority Languages.

2%

31%

1%

17%

0%

9%

Source: E. McMahon, The Universal Periodic Review: a Work in Progress: an Evaluation of the First Cycle of the New UPR Mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

On the basis of the categories described above, Table 5 categorised the total number of received recommendations by type of action. As it appears, the majority of recommendations belong to category 4 and 5, in percentage terms these data represent 42% and 33% respectively. The distribution of recommendations made to CIS states is consistent with the trends at the universal level (Table 6). Table 6: CIS and global trends ACTION

CIS

GLOBAL

Accepted

74%

73.50%

Rejected

13%

14%

General Response

11%

6.38%

No response

2%

5.97%

24 The response of CIS states to recommendations


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Divergences between and among CIS states can be dissected at the level of responses to recommendations. Figure 10 looks in more detail at the level of acceptance and rejection of recommendations by CIS states. 0%

200

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

6%

7%

6%

7%

Figure 10: Responses of CIS states to recommendations (by states - first cycle)

150 200

0%

1%

2%

3%

4%

5%

100 150

50 100

0 50

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Republic of Moldova

Russia

Tajikistan Turkmenistan Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Republic

Russia

Tajikistan Turkmenistan Ukraine

Uzbekistan

0 of Moldova It is worth recalling that participation of the CIS states in the review of their peers from the region was very modest. With this caveat 50% in mind, it is still possible to conclude that generally, in terms of action categories, recommendations made by CIS states follow the patterns of recommendations made by other states (Figure 11). 40%

Figure 11: All recommendations received by type of action (first cycle)

50% 30% 40% 20% 30% 10% 20% 0% 10%

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

0% 35% 30%

Even if, in 34% of the cases, CIS states recommended states under the present analysis to continue existing course of action 25% 35% and/or efforts, recommendations falling in action category 5 accounted for 22% of the total recommendations made. As analysts observe, this could be a sign that states take the UPR process seriously by suggesting a specific course of action to 20% 30% institute changes in human rights situation of a state under review.39 It is now proposed to examine the recommendations 15% 25%

39  E. R. McMahon, The Universal Periodic Review: a Work in Progress: an Evaluation of the First Cycle of the New UPR Mechanism of the United Nations Human 10% Rights Council, September 2012, p. 15.

20%

The response of CIS states to recommendations

5% 15% 0% 10% 5%

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

25


20% 40% 10% 30% II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states 0% 20%

5 with a distribution Action by 4 action category. Action Action 2 the level of acceptance Action 1 has been that CIS statesAction accepted As is3 evident from the chart, fairly high. All action categories together, CIS states accepted around 74% of the recommendations. 10%

Figure 12: Distribution of accepted recommendations by action category

35% 0% 30%

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

25% 20% 35% 15% 30% 10% 25% 5% 20% 0% 15% 10% 8% 5% Recommendations rejected by CIS states 7%states in total rejected 13% of all recommendations. The chart below (Figure 11) is instructive in this regard. The over0% CIS whelming majority action accounted for 69% of all recommendations rejected. Actionof5 rejection fell into Action 4 category 5. They Action 3 Action 2 Action 1 Second 6% in the line are recommendations of category 4, making up 20% of rejected recommendations. 5%

Figure 13: Percentage by type of action rejected

8% 4% 7% 3% 6% 2% 5% 1% 4% 0% 3%

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

2% 1% 0%

It is not always possible to provide a thorough and an objective assessment of the reasons behind rejection of recommendations. Some states may opt to reject a recommendation on the basis that they have already taken an action on a specific issue. Some other states may reject recommendations because of the author of the recommendations. Yet another may reject because the state under review considers that the recommendations are ‘factually wrong’ or deny the existence of a problem addressed by the recommendation.

26 The response of CIS states to recommendations 0%

5%

10%

15%

20%


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Instead, few speculations can be put forward on the basis of the content of recommendations rejected and action category they belonged. According to the data tabulated, the ratification of international instruments ranked highest in the recommendations rejected. This is mainly because they included adherence to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture which made a third of the total recommendations rejected, followed by recommendations concerning signing or ratification of the Optional Protocol to ICCPR (OP 2) on abolition of death penalty. The remaining rejected recommendations in the category of ‘international instruments’ included among others adherence to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Aspects related to other civil and political rights such as freedom of press, special procedures, human rights defenders, freedom of opinion and expressions, etc. fell into the second category of rejected recommendations. Table 7: Recommendations rejected by issue TYPE OF RECOMMENDATIONS REJECTED

%

International instruments

28%

Death penalty

7%

Freedom of the press

6%

Special procedures

6%

Human rights defenders

6%

Freedom of religion and belief

5%

Freedom of opinion and expression

4%

Functioning of CSOs

3%

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

3%

Women’s rights

3%

As far as rejection of recommendations made by CIS states is concerned, they were generally of limited and rather of an exceptional nature. Such a conclusion can be supported by a closer examination of the subject matter of the recommendations as well as their context. For example, half of recommendations rejected involved recommendations that Armenia and Azerbaijan made to each other concerning discrimination, particularly minorities in their respective territories. In similar vein, Russian Federation and Ukraine rejected their respective recommendations, possibly due to political context in which those recommendations were made.

The response of CIS states to recommendations

27


10% 5% 0%Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states II. Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

Action 1

v. Overall analysis 8%

This section aims to establish whether there is a relationship between human rights issues raised by stakeholders and rec7% ommendations received by states under the present review. Within the limits of the present study, following quantitative comparative analysis method adopted earlier, some general observations can be made. 6%

In 5% what follows, it is suggested to compare the frequency with which all NGOs raised human rights issues against the frequency with which those same issues were mentioned in state recommendations in relation to eleven states under review. A 4% level of consistency can be visible, in the way both groups approached human rights issues identified. In some areas, certain one can visibly identify a certain correlation between the issues raised by the stakeholders and what recommending states 3% felt were the priorities. 2%

Predictably, states mentioned human rights obligations and institutional framework of human rights protection as well as chil1% and women rights issues far more frequently than all NGOs did. Conversely, all NGOs’ mentions of civil and political rights dren is higher than the number of times all states raised those same issues. The issues of most concern to international and national 0% NGOs were civil and political freedoms, right to life, freedom from torture and non-discrimination. NGOs raised justice and imAction 5 Action 4 Action 3 Action 2 Action 1 punity and the rights of other disadvantaged groups twice as frequently as states raised them. The concerns of the stakeholders with observance of human rights in the context of counter-terrorism did not find a corresponding echo with the states at all. Figure 14: Comparison between human rights issues raised by all NGOs and all states

0%

5%

10%

15%

20%

Impact of stakeholders’ input on states’ recommendations To answer the question of whether there is a correlation between stakeholders’ submissions and recommendations made by states, it is suggested to select Ukraine as an exploratory case study for a detailed contextual analysis. For this purpose the stakeholders’ summary for Ukraine was compared with the recommendations Ukraine received for the second cycle of the UPR process with a focus on qualitative parameters. Assessment shows that the majority of comments and issues raised by the CSOs are matched by recommendations raised by states in relation to Ukraine (see below Table 8). There are, however, exceptions. As the table below shows, most of the socio-economic concerns as well as the issue of human rights education raised by stakeholders did not appear, or at least in full, in recommendations made to Ukraine. 0%

28 Overall analysis 20%

5%

10%

15%

20%

25%


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states Table 8: Issues raised by ‘stakeholders’ and state recommendations received by Ukraine40 ISSUES RAISED BY ALL STAKEHOLDERS

STATES

ISSUES RAISED BY ALL STAKEHOLDERS

STATES

Ratification of ICC Statute, ICRMW, ICCPED, Convention on Stateless Persons

Persecution of human rights defenders, civil activists

Creation of specialised body to prevent torture

Trade union rights

-

Financing of institutional framework of human rights protection

Freedom of association and assembly

Anti-discrimination legislation

Participation of women in decision-making

Discrimination (gender, ethnic, sexual orientation)

Rights at work (unemployment and low wages and occupational safety and health)

-

Racial discrimination and xenophobia

Poverty

Torture and other CID treatment

Right to adequate standards of living

-

Detention conditions and monitoring of detention centres

Right to housing of vulnerable groups

-

Violence against Women

HIV/AIDS prevention and care

Trafficking in humans, particularly children

Right to health of drug users

-

Exploitation of children/child prostitution

Right to education

Independence of judiciary, administration of justice

Human rights education

-

Reforms related to juvenile justice system

Rights of persons with disabilities and compliance of domestic law with the CRPD provisions

Due process guarantees

Protection of minorities (incl. preservation of language, right to land, right to education and other basic services)

Fair trial

Violation of non-refoulement principle

Independence of legal profession

Protection of asylum seekers, refugees, stateless persons

Investigation of crimes committed by state agents

Environment

Partiallyt1

Right to family life (adoption, orphanage, assistance to single parents, recognition of diverse Partiallyt2 Sustainable resource management forms of families)

-

Freedom of religion or belief

-

Media freedom (including persecution and attacks against journalist)

Right to property

A comparison of stakeholders’ summary with the recommendations received by Ukraine (Table 8) seems to point towards a preliminary conclusion on the existence of correlation between stakeholders’ submissions and state recommendation in the CIS region. Analysis of Ukraine also confirms a pattern identified in Figure 14, i.e. low impact of stakeholders’ concerns over socio-economic rights on state recommendations. Another possible area of inquiry would be to compare whether national NGOs and CIS states raised human rights issues with similar frequency (Figure 15). This potentially could provide a better understanding of dynamics within the region. In this regard, we have to remind ourselves of the overall limited number of recommendations made by CIS states.41 It would appear, for example, that CIS states raised issues in the group ‘other civil 40  The data derives from Summary stakeholders’ report: Ukraine, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/14/UKR/3, 20 July 2012; Report of the Working group: Ukraine, UN doc. A/HRC/22/7, 20 December 2012. t1 More specifically, the recommendation was concerned about ensuring gender sensitive approach in poverty reduction programmes. t2 The relevant recommendation stated “Take further measures and accede to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption”. 41  Please refer to the introduction in Section C.

Overall analysis 29


1% 0% Action 5

Action 4

Action 3

Action 2

II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Action 1

and political rights’ to the same extent as the NGOs from the region. The data in percentage terms, thus, should not mask the quantitative differences, i.e. that the NGOs mentioned these issues about 87 times, whilst CIS states did so only about 13 times in total. In the same vein, in percentage terms, the concern of CIS states with issues related to ESC rights seems to exceed that of NGOs slightly more than three times in frequency. In terms of numbers, this figure appears for NGOs and CIS 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% states, 53 and 32 times respectively. Figure 15: National NGOs and CIS Recommendations

0%

0%

5%

5%

10%

10%

15%

15%

20%

20%

25%

20%

Notwithstanding limitations outlined above, one cannot but notice the divergence between the position of NGOs and CIS states concerning the right to life, freedom of torture and security of persons. In earlier comparisons, it was already noted that CIS states did15% not raise these issues in relation to the states under review at all. This conforms to the findings in the previous sections. To further capture better the differences within the region it is also instructive to have a glance at the basic parameters of the UPR outcome for each CIS state (Table 9). There is a certain level of similarity across the states. Themes most frequently 10% in the recommendations to CIS states included adherence to international human rights treaties, rights of women and raised children and civil and political rights (which refer to varying degrees to issues of administration of justice, independence of judiciary and combatting corruption in the judicial system, torture and other CID treatment, detention conditions). These 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 5% equally attract greater attention at the global issues level as the figure below demonstrates. Figure 16: Substantive issues of concern: global trends and CIS states 0% 20% International instruments

Women's rights

Rights of the Child

Torture and other CID treatment

Justice

International instruments

Women's rights

Rights of the Child

Torture and other CID treatment

Justice

15%

10%

5%

0%

30 Overall analysis


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

Table 9: Short overview of the UPR in CIS region COUNTRY

UPR DATE

Armenia

8 session (6 May 2010)

Azerbaijan

4 session (4 February 2009)

th

REC. RECEIVED (TOTAL)

165

th

Belarus

8th session (12 May 2010)

Kazakhstan

7th session (12 February 2010)

Kyrgyzstan

8th session (3 May 2010)

Republic of Moldova

12th session (12 October 2011)

Russian Federation

4th session (4 February 2009)

91

169

ACCEPTED/ REJECTEDt3

A: 158; R: 6.

A: 57; R: 15.

A: 124; R: 45.

A: 122; 129

175

123

121

R: 7.

A: 154; R: 3. A: 122; R: 1.

A: 75; R: 41.

RECOMMENDATIONS BY FREQUENCY (TOP 5)t4

REJECTED RECOMMENDATIONS (BY ISSUE)

Adherence to international instruments; women’s rights; justice; rights of the child; freedom of association and peaceful assembly.

Issues related to discrimination of women; discrimination of minorities; freedom of association and peaceful assembly;

Rights of the child; freedom of press; women’s rights; detention conditions; human rights education and training.

Freedom of press; freedom of opinion and expression; non-discrimination of ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups; ratification of ICC Statute.

Adherence to international instruments; women’s rights; functioning of CSOs; death penalty; freedom of press.

Issue of death penalty; freedom of association and peaceful assembly; adherence to OP-CAT, OP-ICESCR, OP-CPRD, ICCPED; compliance with elections standards; freedom of press; human rights defenders.

Adherence to international instruments; rights of the Child; administration of justice; torture and CID treatment; Women’s rights.

Adherence to ICRMW; freedom of religion and belief; adherence to ICC statute, OP-2 ICCPR; UPR process; joining Declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity; freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of Press.

Rights of the child; women’s rights; adherence to interna- Set up a body responsible for tional instruments; justice; gender equality and violence. elections. Women’s rights; rights of the child, trafficking; minorities’ To reduce the length of police rights; rights of persons with custody subsequent to arrest. disabilities. Adherence to international instruments; administration of justice; racial discrimination; rights of the child; cooperation with special procedures.

Compliance with international humanitarian law; death penalty, adherence to OP2-ICCPR, OP-CAT, ICC Statute, ICRMW and other treaties; human rights education of law enforcement bodies; cooperation with Special Procedures; institution of special body dealing with racial discrimination.

t3 A: accepted; R: rejected. t4 This column is based on statistic information obtained from UPR Statistics at www.UPRinfo.org.

Overall analysis 31


II. Analysis of recommendations concerning CIS states

COUNTRY

Tajikistan

UPR DATE

12th session (3 October 2011)

3rd session Turkmenistan (9 December 2008)

1 cycle: 2nd session (13 May 2008)

REC. RECEIVED (TOTAL)

150

87

ACCEPTED/ REJECTEDt3

A: 115; R: 33.

A: 37; R: 12.

st

44

A: 38; R: 6.

Ukraine 2nd cycle: 14th session (24 October 2012)

Uzbekistan

3rd session (11 December 2008)

32 Overall analysis

145

140

A: 118 R: 27

A: 89; R: 17.

RECOMMENDATIONS BY FREQUENCY (TOP 5)t4

REJECTED RECOMMENDATIONS (BY ISSUE)

Adherence to international instruments; women’s rights; torture and other CID treatment; rights of the child; death penalty.

Ratification of OP-CAT, OP2ICCPR, CPRD, OP-CPRD, ICCPED, OP-ICESR; detention conditions; freedom of religion and belief; freedom of expression and opinion; freedom of press; freedom of assembly.

Cooperation with special procedures; adherence to international instruments; freedom of opinion and expression; human rights defenders; and torture and other CID treatment.

Justice; extrajudicial executions; freedom of movement; human rights defenders; freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of press; sexual orientation and gender identity.

Follow up to treaty bodies’ recommendations; minorities’ rights; racial discrimination; justice system; women’s rights.

Adherence to ICRMW; implementation of treaty bodies’ recommendations on minorities’ issues; minority rights; adherence to soft-law standards on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Administration of justice; adherence to international instruments; anti-discrimination in general (in particular amendment and strengthening of anti-discrimination legislation); torture and other CID treatment, and in particular establishment of the preventive mechanism; sexual orientation and gender identity.

Adherence to ICCPED, OP-ICESCR, ICRMW, OP3-CRC, ICC Statute, 1954 Convention on Stateless Persons, CoE Convention on VaW and Domestic Violence; revision of legislation in regard to issues concerning sexual orientation, LGBT, and applying Yogyakarta principles; discrimination of Roma; strengthening tolerance in the society; politically motivated persecutions; implement recommendations on parliamentary elections; partially not accepted protection of refugees and asylum seekers.

Torture and other CID treatment; adherence to international instruments; detention conditions; cooperation with special procedures; rights of the child.

Human rights defenders; investigation of human rights violations; administration of justice; arbitrary detention; compliance with HR obligations; protection of asylum seekers and refugees; issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

The Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 makes clear that states are to prepare their national UPR reports in close consultation with all stakeholders, e.g. National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organizations and general public at large. The approach a state takes to national consultation process may impact the outcome – the National Report. The more a state under review is open and inclusive in its preparatory stage the more input it will be able to solicit to improve its National Report and to have a better understanding of underlying human rights issues within its boundaries. The follow-up process is an important phase of putting in practice the outcome of the UPR which aims essentially to contribute to the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground. For the UPR process as well as any action at the international level, the full implementation of the UPR outcome is also the indicator of the overall effectiveness of the mechanism and its capacity to impact/improve human rights situation of individuals. As of the date of completion of the present report, from among CIS states, only Ukraine has undergone the second universal periodic review. Several initiatives have been undertaken in the region to distil lessons learnt and identify challenges of implementation. The present study draws from the general direction provided by the Study of the Implementation Challenges and Lessons Learned of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Recommendations in the ECIS Region by the UNDP Regional Center in Bratislava. However, two other dimensions will be added to the present analysis: a) best practices of implementation mechanisms globally, and b) implementation modalities adopted by CIS states.

i. Reporting methodologies: national experiences With the second cycle of the UPR in progress, it may be that each state has already decided/or acquired sufficient experience on setting up structures and mandates necessary to perform its obligations at the preparatory stage. Nonetheless, it is possible to highlight some key ingredients of an effective process of UPR preparation and its outcome that forms the basis of the review, i.e. the National Report. The first consist of identification of a National Focal Point responsible for coordination and ensuring compliance with the formal and substantive requirements of the entire process. Commonly, the task of coordination is delegated to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice or other relevant state agency. In some cases, states have opted to set up a special inter-agency body in charge of the coordination and drafting of the UPR report. Second, the methodology adopted in preparation of the National Report is central for the process and the final outcome the National Report. Broad consultative process is essential to the success and it is important that the state takes “an open approach and invites for genuine participation” of all the stakeholders.42 In a way, the consultative approach to the process itself is an indication of the extent the state in question complies with the procedural aspects of the rule of law and the level of commitment to the implementation of human rights. Consultation on preparation of the National Report is also an opportunity for the state itself to obtain valuable information on facts and learn about trends, debates and issues concerning human rights in its territory. As noted “[t]he specialist knowledge of civil society organizations can be very useful to the state”.43 Comments and views of stakeholders will allow to structure National Reports in a comprehensive way taking into account the real situation on the ground, and also to address some of human rights issues raised at an early stage.

42  DIHR, Universal Periodic Review: First Cycle, Reporting Methodologies from the position of the State, Civil Society and National Human Rights Institutions, 2011, p. 13ff. 43  Ibid., p. 18.

Reporting methodologies: national experiences

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III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

Lichtenstein’s National Report44 Generally, reports submitted to the second cycle of UPR review qualitatively differ from the first cycle as they benefit from previous lessons learned, and enjoy accumulated experience regarding the process. A cursory review of the National Reports for the second cycle reveals improvements in their overall quality. Notwithstanding, Lichtenstein’s report submitted in November 2012 for the second cycle of review stands out from other reports in several respects. First, the Government of Lichtenstein has adopted an innovative approach in presentation of the National Report, structuring the information on human rights situation thematically based on the logic of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). For example, the report starts with presentation of the equality and non-discrimination covering all grounds of discrimination and vulnerable groups, and further follows the sequence of articles as they appear in the UDHR. Second, Lichtenstein in its National Report moves beyond the descriptive assessment of national consultations. Lichtenstein’s report provides, in a separate Chapter, an overview of main views and concerns all stakeholders raised during the consultation process. It is too often the case that information on national consultations largely cover only issues related to the process adopted rather than the substance and can be scarcely informative on how meaningful the participation of stakeholders has been or what were the critical points, if any. Seen in this light, Lichtenstein’s approach to National Reporting can be seen as a welcome development and an inspiration for the drafting of other reports. It is also important to have a clear planning base or strategy in this regard. This includes spreading information on UPR to all stakeholders. To make the process genuinely participatory and open to the general public, the information should be available and accessible in form and content (e.g. in all main languages of the state and easy to understand). Awareness on the UPR in general and the national consultation process to be carried out can be raised through various tools: a national UPR website, press, electronic media, TV and radio.

Ukraine’s National Report In Ukraine, the Ministry of Justice was tasked with coordinating the preparations for the second UPR cycle. In this regard, at the end of February 2012 (5 months before the National Report submission) the Ministry issued a decree convening an Inter-Agency Working Group for preparation of the National Report for the UPR. The 27-strong task force comprised representatives of state bodies and agencies, including the Ministry of Social Policy, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Education, State Border Security, Ministry of Interior, State Penitentiary Service, Security Service of Ukraine, State Prosecutor’s Office, etc. Between March and July a number of thematic consultations between the members of the UPR-coalition and state agencies that were part of the group were held. The official web-portal of the Ministry of Justice came to incorporate a special page, dedicated to informing the society at large on the UPR preparation process. The page hosted, in free access, the first version of the report for wide consultations with the public. While working on the National Report, the Ministry was a keen participant of activities organized by the UPR-coalition, including the presentation of CSOsalternativereports to the diplomatic corps. During the event, human rights defenders highlighted the situation with human rights in different spheres, and proposed core recommendations to better the situation in the country. Presentation of the draft UPR National Report was shaped as a round table which was held 10 days before submission of the final version to UNHCHR. Invitations to the event were extended not only to NGO experts, but also diplomats and representatives of international organizations. A positive feature of the consultations was the preliminary distribution of the report and sharing it in free access through the internet. As the consultations gathered feedback, certain amendments were introduced into the final version of the National Report stemming from the comments voiced by the representatives of the civil society throughout the national consultations. 44  See for full details, National Report: Lichtenstein, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/15/LIE/1, 8 November 2012.

34 Reporting methodologies: national experiences


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

Some examples of national experiences In Panama, a national commission to draft the National Report was established. It was composed of representatives from three branches of the government. The commission was mandated to conduct consultations with the civil society and to solicit their views and comments.45 Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia are other examples of states that have adopted a broad-based consultative process with civil society organizations in the UPR preparatory stages.46 The state may opt for cooperation with the National Human Rights Institution in the preparation of the National Report. For example, Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs acting in the capacity of National Focal Point together with the Danish Institute of Human Rights hosted public hearings in Denmark on the National Report. Furthermore, National Human Rights Institutions can be vital for the state under review as a source of expert knowledge on human rights and also as a link between the government and civil society. In the case of Denmark, quoted above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested the Danish Institute of Human Rights to provide input to the National Report.47 Another well-known example is the case of Tonga, where the Government notwithstanding serious capacity constrains undertook briefings with government agencies including Media Council, and Chamber of Commerce as well as the civil society organizations. The National Report as a result was widely approved.48 Burkina Faso, in a similar fashion has conducted wide public consultations. The government appointed a technical team, who was in charge of preparing questionnaires to the relevant ministries to collect the data. Burkina Faso held working group meetings with the government, and civil society, and in addition presented the draft report to a joint validation workshop with participation of government, parliament, justice system and CSOs.49 It needs to be emphasized that stakeholders also include parliamentarians, judiciary, media, academia and think tanks. There are different ways one can approach setting up a national consultation process as the experience of the first cycle shows. One of the widely practiced methodologies of national consultations is by holding briefings and workshops to discuss the draft National Report to solicit views and comments of stakeholders. In other cases, states have set up UPR web-sites for stakeholders’ comments or used media to discuss the National Report.

Australian consultation process The preparation of Australia’s National Report was assisted by the work of National Human Rights Consultation carried out in 2009. The Consultation Committee travelled all around Australia to seek the community’s views, conducting over 65 community roundtables and public hearings in more than 50 urban, regional and remote locations. The Consultation Committee received 35 000 submissions and also commissioned focus group research to ascertain community attitudes towards human rights and to cast light on the experiences and opinions of marginalised and vulnerable groups. The Consultation generated a national discussion and debate about human rights which has helped to inform and frame Australia’s National Report. In addition, the Australian Government has engaged extensively with civil society to prepare Australia’s National Report. In early 2010, a workshop hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) brought together 45  Ibid., p. 17. 46  For Ukraine, see UNDP, Universal Periodic Review of Ukraine: Compilation of Recommendations, Kyiv, 2012, pp. 6-7. 47  DIHR, Universal Periodic Review: First Cycle, Reporting Methodologies from the position of the State, Civil Society and National Human Rights Institutions, 2011, p. 13ff. 48  Ibid., p. 20. 49  Ibid., p. 71

Reporting methodologies: national experiences

35


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

National Human Rights Institutions, Government officials and non-government organisations to discuss the UPR. Participants attending the workshop proposed that the Australian Government draw on the National Human Rights Consultation for the UPR National Report. In March 2010, the Australian Government launched a preliminary consultation on the National Report, inviting NGOs and members of the public to submit initial views on issues to be addressed in the Report. The UPR was a featured topic at the inaugural joint annual NGO Forum on Human Rights, hosted by the Attorney-General and Minister for Foreign Affairs in June 2010, which was attended by representatives of 48 NGOs, and also at the NGO Forum hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in October 2010. A draft version of the National Report was released on the Attorney-General’s website for comment in July 2010. States and Territories were also invited to comment on the draft National Report. The submissions made during this consultation process were used to update and amend the National Report in preparation for its submission. Source: National Report of Australia, UN doc. A /HRC/WG.6/10/AUS/1, 5 November 2010

It needs to be stressed that the role of the CSOs is not only about providing input to other stakeholders’ report. As rightly pointed out: “[i]ndependent perspectives and voices are needed from beginning to end to provide a needed balance to the state’s performance”.50 The contribution of civil society organizations is much more substantial on the ground, and it includes but is not limited to: dissemination of information about the UPR process, including encouraging the wider public to actively participate in the consultation process. The CSOs play an important role in connecting with the field (their access to and capacity for information collection); documenting the situation of human rights/violations, and providing research support to provide basis for public debates.

CIS states’ engagement with CSOs during the first UPR cycle What has been the experience of the CIS states in engaging with the civil society organizations in preparation of the National Reports? One way to answering this question is to draw from the relevant sections of National Reports describing the methodology of preparation of reports in the states subject of this report. Analysis of National Reports is subject, however, to an important caveat. It is limited in nature as it reflects only the opinion of states. Some states have provided a detailed account of the processes adopted, while others provided synthetic information on the approach undertaken. The report of Armenia indicated in general terms that it had presented the National Report to non-governmental organizations to hear their views and opinion.51 Azerbaijan established a working group to prepare the report. The process involved the Azerbaijani Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) and representatives of human rights NGOs. The draft report was presented to NGO and other civil society actors on its substance and content together with indications on the procedure for its consideration at the Human Rights Council and the role played by NGOs in preparing it.52 Belarus indicated that the drafting of the report was preceded by broad consultations on the purposes and methodology of the universal periodic review (UPR). The consultations also included representatives of international organizations, whose views were taken into account in the preparation of this report.53 In contrast, Kazakhstan provided a more elaborate account on its methodology of the preparation of National Report. It conducted a series of consultation workshops which included government officials, members of NGOs, in50  DIHR, Universal Periodic Review: First Cycle, Reporting Methodologies from the position of the State, Civil Society and National Human Rights Institutions, p. 28. 51  National Report : Armenia, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/8/ARM/1, 17 February 2010, para. 3. 52  National Report: Azerbaijan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/4/AZE/1, 4 November 2008, paras. 1-3. 53  National Report: Belarus, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/8/BLR/1, 22 February 2010, paras. 1-5.

36 Reporting methodologies: national experiences


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

ternational experts and the OHCHR. The National Report benefited from ‘constructive proposals and recommendations’ of all these stakeholders. The list of NGOs included in the National Report testifies to the broad participation at the country level. Interestingly, Kazakh National Report also benefited from discussions with experts outside Kazakhstan, such as independent expert on minority issues, foreign representatives to the United Nations Office in Geneva, etc.54 In Kyrgyzstan, the basic information for the report was made available by a number of government ministries and also Ombudsman. Two joint consultative meetings were held with the OHCHR’s Regional Office for Central Asia and non-governmental organizations in the course of preparation of the report. Kyrgyzstan methodology is also unique in that it involved the members of the legislative. The Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic conducted a hearing, on compliance with the law and protection of human rights and freedoms.55 The drafting of the report of the Republic of Moldova also involved broad consultations with international and national nongovernmental organizations with the support of the UN Country Team. For the purposes of consultations, the Republic of Moldova, created an internet website and a special mailbox, where all relevant UPR information and formal suggestions could be submitted.56 The preparation of the National Report in the Russian Federation involved consultations with the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Commercial Court, the Office of the Prosecutor-General, the Central Electoral Commission, the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman), the national Social Forum and social forums in the constituent entities of the Russian Federation. Representatives of civil society organizations were also consulted.57 Tajikistan informed that it conducted a series of consultations with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working for human rights, including seminars organized with the assistance of the OHCHR.58 The inter-ministerial working group established for the drafting of the report also included the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman). Turkmenistan reported that it had started consultations in the process of drafting. The Interdepartmental Commission on compliance with Turkmenistan’s international human rights obligations, a body entrusted with coordination of the process, held a number of interdepartmental meetings and consultations with international experts invited by United Nations agencies. The draft report was transmitted also to voluntary organizations, whose comments and views were taken into account in preparing the final version.59 In Ukraine the preparation of the report involved broad public discussions, the holding of round tables and thematic working groups.60 In the preparation for the second UPR report, participation of the NGOs in the process was augmented. The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union served as coordinator of this process on behalf of civil society and as co-organizer of the working meetings.61 Uzbekistan’s UPR report was drafted by an interdepartmental working group including 32 government bodies and nongovernmental organizations represented by the National Association of NGOs of Uzbekistan. The coordinating role was entrusted to the National Centre for Human Rights and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated efforts, which analysed information and worked out approaches for the preparation of the report. In addition to the civil society organizations, the National Report indicated consultations with the Legislative Chamber (lower house) of the Oliy Majlis of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Parliament). The views of the CSOs and media on the report were solicited through holding of a round table.62

54  National Report: Kazakhstan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/7/KAZ/1, 3 November 2009, paras. 2-4. 55  National Report: Kyrgyzstan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG/6/8/KGZ/1, 22 February 2010, paras. 3-6. 56  National Report: Republic of Moldova, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/MDA/1, 19 July 2011, paras. 1-3. 57  National Report: Russian Federation, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/4/RUS/1, 10 November 2008, paras. 1-2. 58  National Report: Tajikistan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/TJK/1, 9 July 2011, paras. 1-2. 59  National Report: Turkmenistan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/3/TKM/1, 15 September 2008 , paras. 2-5. 60  National Report: Ukraine, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/2/UKR/1, 9 April 2008, paras. 1-2. 61  National Report: Ukraine, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/14/UKR/1, 13 August 2012, paras. 1-3. 62  National Report : Uzbekistan, UN doc. A/HRC/WG.6/3/UZB/1, 5 September 2008, paras. 1-3.

Reporting methodologies: national experiences

37


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

ii. Implementation modalities: national experiences States have a wide margin of discretion in terms of means and mechanisms they choose to comply with their international obligations in the area of human rights. For an effective implementation to take place it is important to have human rights infrastructure at the national level. Effective and transparent institutions, procedures and policies are all required at the national level in order to put in practice a state’s human rights obligations and monitor their progress, including commitments and pledges undertaken in the UPR process. To put it simply, the stronger the national human rights protection system is, the better are avenues to ensure effective UPR follow-up strategies. The review of the first cycle of the UPR revealed as a reality the fact that lack of follow-up mechanisms at national level is a crucial challenge. This being said, the purpose of this section is to draw attention to specific methods that were used or put in place to create national frameworks conducive for implementation and which have potential for replication in other different contexts. We will draw from the experiences that were suggested to be considered as possible good practices. It is not proposed that all elements examined below need be in place for an effective follow-up and implementation, rather what follows are some show cased real examples of UPR preparation and implementation across different regions. They can be relevant to, and further adapted to, different country contexts.

National human rights action plans National Human Rights Action Plans (NHRAPs) are important, as they identify human rights needs of a given country, raise awareness of human rights issues among a range of government and civil society actors. NHRAP is a common national framework for human rights action. Crucially, action plans represent a coherent vision with concrete targets and goals, indicators for monitoring and specific resource commitments. They effectively embody a blueprint for the implementation process providing indicators to monitor progress and achievements. There are basically two means to integrate UPR recommendations, either through their incorporation to the existing human rights action plan or through the institution of a new UPR-specific national action plan. According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as of 2012, 39 UN Member States were implementing UPR recommendations through concrete road maps and action plans.

While a comprehensive account for this is not available, some national experiences outside CIS region include Bahrain and Nepal. Other states, namely Australia and Finland, integrated UPR recommendations into their existing Human Rights Action Plans. Denmark is currently working on a National Action Plan on Human Rights which would be in line with the UPR cycle. The Australian Government has developed a new National Human Rights Action Plan in consultation with nongovernment organisations, which also articulates, in detail, how the Australian Government will implement the commitments it made in 2011 during Australia’s Universal Periodic Review. The action plan was informed by a baseline study on human rights issues in Australia and existing measures to address them.

38 Implementation modalities: national experiences


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

National monitoring body/or government focal point It is recommended that states set up a high-level coordination or working group to monitor the implementation process. Such a body can be established with representation of the National Human Rights Institution, civil society organizations, and other relevant stakeholders. One view strongly suggests that such a body should include high-level representatives of the executive in order to ensure decisions taken on the implementation of the recommendations are communicated to all involved bodies and are effectively put in place. National monitoring bodies can adopt a UPR-specific action plan or alternatively, if there is an existing human rights action plan, to synchronise it with the UPR recommendations. Ultimately, the national monitoring body is not only mandated to oversee the implementation of the UPR recommendations, but it can serve as a tool to promote cooperation between Government and CSOs and facilitate the national processes for the subsequent UPR reporting.

Costa Rica Costa Rica has as recently as 2011 established an Inter-institutional/inter-agency Commission for Follow-up and Implementation of International Human Rights Obligations under the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One of the principal objectives of this Commission is to promote cooperation between the state and civil society organizations to strengthen/enhance promotion and respect of human rights commitments undertaken by the state. To achieve this goal Costa Rica has established a permanent consultation body comprising members of civil society, thereby encouraging the active participation of all actors at the national level. Added to this, the Commission has an advisory committee composed of independent experts and institutions related to human rights who are invited to participate in discussions to support the Commission according to the topic. The Commission is currently active and has in its agenda the elaboration of a National Action Plan to counter racism and racial discrimination.63

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia64 In May 2012, following the mid-term review of the UPR recommendations of 2009, the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia established an Inter-sectoral Body on Human Rights mandated to coordinate followup to human rights mechanisms’ recommendations and propose relevant legislation and other implementation measures. The body is chaired by the Foreign Minister and has 14 members. All members are senior representatives at state secretary level and coming from the cabinet offices for EU accession and implementation of the Ohrid Peace Agreement, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior, Justice, Labour and Social Policy, Education, Health, State Statistics Office, as well as the Ombudsman Office, Broadcasting Council and Agencies for Personal Data Protection and for the Rights of Smaller Communities. The Body is to meet on quarterly basis and its first meeting was held in June 2012. So far, the Body initiated drafting of the Common Core Document and preparation of reports and monitoring of implementation under several treaties.

63  See Costa Rica mid-term report: Informe de Avance de Medio Periodo Sobre Cumplimiento de Las Recomendaciones Formuladas a Costa Rica en el marco del Examen Periodico Universal, submitted to 19th Session of Human Rights Council, March 2012, available at the OHCHR website: UPR implementation (information provided by States). 64  This example was kindly provided by the OHCHR.

Implementation modalities: national experiences

39


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

National Human Rights Institutions Human Rights Council has reaffirmed the important role of the NHRI in the reporting process. The reviewed modalities for the UPR process provided NHRIs with a dedicated section in the stakeholders report. The following is the type of contributions the NHRIs can make to the UPR follow-up: •

Publicize and disseminate the UPR outcome;

Use the UPR recommendations to inform their own work and consolidate national activities, including preparation of national human rights or UPR-specific action plans;

Organize post-UPR discussions with the government and CSOs on the way forward to implement the recommendations;

Engage with the Government to implement the recommendations;

Monitor and report on the status of implementation of UPR outcomes.

Due to their unique position, NHRIs are also better equipped to develop a model of UPR action plan or develop a matrix for an action plan for follow-up that can include: a) all recommendations received/actions to be undertaken; b) for each recommendation list responsible state agencies; c) supply each recommendation with a time frame with reporting deadlines; d) regularly monitor the implementation of the recommendations and keep the stakeholders, NGOs and international community broadly informed on the status of implementation.

Australian Human Rights Commission Following the UPR review, the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) committed itself to publishing an annual report on the status of implementation of the UPR recommendations. It will release a series of annual reports tracking Australia’s performance in the lead up to its next review in 2015. The AHRC has prepared the progress reports on behalf of the Australian Council of Human Rights Agencies (ACHRA), a body that brings together all Commonwealth, State and Territory anti-discrimination and human rights bodies. The reports provide an annual assessment of Australia’s progress in addressing commitments that the Government has made to protect human rights, as well as identifying emerging and existing concerns. As an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institution, AHRC will lodge each report with the UN Human Rights Council as part of its ongoing monitoring of Australia’s UPR implementation. Source: Australian Human Rights Commission, http://www.humanrights.gov.au.

Kenya’s Stakeholders’ Coalition for the Universal Periodic Review Kenya national experience of institutionalised post-UPR follow-up has been remarked by numerous commentators as exemplary. The Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) convened a stakeholders’ meeting that initiated the Kenya Stakeholders’ Coalition for the Universal Periodic Review (KSC-UPR) comprising approximately 97 national and international organizations and institutions. In this framework, the KNCHR together with the civil society took an independent initiative to develop their own Outcomes Charter, which highlighted main elements of human rights priorities in the country. This body set up a steering committee in charge of providing strategic guidance and proposals with an aim to collect the data for Kenya’s review under the UPR process. To carry out activities, thematic groups were identified on the basis of key human rights issues. The entire process was facilitated by the KNCHR and the steering committee.

40 Implementation modalities: national experiences


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

The Coalition followed up on its Charter with Annual Progress Report, which served as an assessment of stakeholders on the implementation of the UPR recommendations. The commitment of the civil society has had an impact on the level of compliance of the government, which subsequently moved towards developing an official implementation plan. On one account, one of the lessons learnt is that the success of the KSC-UPR initiative owed to the capacity of the Commission on Human Rights to steer, effectively engage civil society in the process, and provide technical capacity support. The structures developed (steering committee and thematic groups) were also central, particularly in terms of providing opportunities to share best practices but importantly to generate information for each key human rights area of concern. Last, but not least, the KSC-UPR developed an Advocacy Charter that worked around advocacy strategies. The Advocacy Charter was developed ‘for purposes of lobbying for specific questions and recommendations to be made to Kenya during the UPR review’.65

Processes adopted (e.g. involvement of, and consultations with, CSOs, legislature, etc.) The outcome of the UPR review is implemented primarily by states; nevertheless, “states are encouraged to conduct broad consultations with all relevant stakeholders on the follow-up”.66 As a minimum, states can actively engage stakeholders in the process of preparation and discussion of mid-term reports. However, it is recommended that states engage CSOs from the early stages such as drafting of a national action plan or amending the existing frameworks to follow up UPR implementation, soliciting views and inputs from all stakeholders. Particularly, the role of parliaments (legislature) should not be overlooked in the follow-up process. There is a general misconception that implementation of the UPR is only the task of executive. Parliaments can also have a significant contribution in implementation of UPR recommendations through various legislative processes. First of all, parliamentarians can influence the process of adherence to international human rights instruments and development of new legislation (or amending existing one) that can give effect to UPR recommendations. Second, parliaments can hold debates on key human rights concerns raised in the UPR review process and call for and/or take initiatives to reform government policies. Related to this, parliamentarians may have a mandate to consider the extent to which the executive and other authorities are compliant with the international human rights obligations undertaken through formulation of parliamentary questions to the government. It is, therefore, crucial that legislature is connected with the implementation, and is informed about the tools that can engage them successfully with UPR.

Follow-up by the Legislative Assembly of Costa-Rica In Costa-Rica, the Legislative Assembly holds a membership in the Commission for Monitoring and Implementation of International Human Rights Obligations tasked with the implementation of the UPR recommendations. In followup to UPR recommendations, the Assembly has approved several amendments to the Law on Violence against Women, laws on discrimination and approved law on combating trafficking and related activities, as well as in many other areas such as protection of children, right to education, etc. According to a member of the Assembly, the involvement with the UPR implementation also helps the legislative body to internalise the level of engagement needed for the implementation of recommendations made by UN human rights treaty bodies.67

65  H. K. Mutellah, Kenya’s Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) Experience in Universal Periodic Review (UPR), presented at the Regional Governance Week: Social Accountability in a Changing Region – Actors and Mechanisms, Cairo, Egypt, 26-29 November 2012. 66  HRC Resolution 16/21, UN doc. A/HRC/RES/16/21, 12 April 2011, para. 17. 67  See Strengthening the Role of Parliamentarians in the Implementation of Universal Periodic Review Recommendations Geneva, 12-13 November 2012, presentation by Deputy Victor Emilio Granados Bald, Chairman the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica

Implementation modalities: national experiences

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III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

Malaysia’s Dialogue with Civil Society One of the achievements of the post-UPR follow-up process in Malaysia included the practice of consultations with the civil society organizations. Malaysia conducted a Post-UPR Briefing Session for Civil Society Organizations in May 2010 to inform about the progress on UPR implementation by various government agencies. Similarly, the Government participated in the session on UPR follow-up organized by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia in cooperation with the OHCHR. On the basis of this experience, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia further recommended that regular dialogue and briefing sessions should be held to promote a better understanding among various actors about implementation process ‘as well as the possible role of various stakeholders could play in supporting the implementation of the UPR’ at national and international levels. These initiatives have been described as providing a platform for both the Government and civil society to exchange views and proposals concerning UPR follow-up.68

Progress reports and periodic updates As indicated in the introductory section of this report, states are encouraged to submit progress reports on the implementation of the UPR outcome. Such a practice is gradually crystallising, and more and more states are providing mid-term reports. Preparation of mid-term reports ensures continuity of implementation of human rights obligations undertaken by states. It also signifies that for the state under review, the UPR process is not a ‘one-time’ event but an ongoing national process to improve human rights records. Providing updates to the Human Rights Council can be considered as another example of reporting on the progress made on the UPR implementation. In effect, some states have provided updates on the status of implementation of their commitments pursuant to the UPR under item 6 of the agenda of the Human Rights Council.

Country specific examples To date, Colombia, the Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom have provided information under the periodic updates procedure about their respective activities to meet their human rights commitments. Slovenia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have submitted their mid-term reports. Also Croatia announced in February 2013 that it would be submitting a mid-term report later in 2013. Similarly, Georgia is planning to submit a progress report. Norway presented its mid-term report in 2012 prior to its second review in 2014. In presenting its progress report Norway stressed that it has adopted a consultative process for the preparation of midterm report and received feedback from CSOs on ways to improve further human rights performance. According to Norway, the preparation of mid-term report “has proven to be a very helpful tool to facilitate a sound and effective implementation process”.69

68  This best practice was documented by the UPR-info, Universal Periodic Review: On the Road to Implementation, 2012, pp. 24-25. 69  Norway presented today its mid-term report to the UN Human Rights Council on the follow-up of the recommendations received during the UN system of universal periodic reviews (UPR) of the human rights situation in all member countries, Press Release of the Permanent Mission of Norway to Geneva, 26 June 2012.

42 Implementation modalities: national experiences


III. National processes in preparation and implementation of the UPR recommendations

In terms of the reporting form, Switzerland has developed a format of mid-term reporting that has been heralded as a good practice.70 Switzerland developed an implementation matrix where it lists all recommendations received juxtaposing with the position adopted with regard to each of them and concrete steps it has undertaken to implement accepted recommendations. Although such an approach to reporting is relatively obvious, it, nevertheless, can serve as a good template for mid-term reporting.

Armenia, following its review, has established an Inter-agency Working Group with participation of the NGOs for implementation of the UPR. This Working Group has developed a comprehensive matrix encapsulating the country’s progress in the implementation of the UPR recommendations. Kazakhstan has adopted a Plan of Action on Implementation of UPR Recommendations for 2011-2014, brought into force by a Government Decree No. 1165, 13 October 2011.71 The Government of Ukraine has worked in close cooperation with the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner of Human Rights on implementation of the UPR recommendations. Ukraine is also in the process of setting up a high-level coordination group to monitor the implementation process. In addition, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine lodged mid-term reports informing on progress achieved with the implementation of the UPR recommendations.

70  Interview with the OHCHR staff, 8 March 2013. 71 Kazakhstan Implementation Report, available at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRImplementation.aspx .

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IV. Conclusions: current use of the UPR process from the regional perspective

The introduction raised questions on the approach of the CIS states and CSOs to the UPR mechanism. The conclusion returns to the theme. With all limitations of the data considered, it is possible to arrive at a conclusion that CIS states have engaged with the mechanism. The high level of acceptance of recommendations and the rejection of relatively few of them further supports this conclusion. The UPR process also proved to be instructive on some of the main human rights issues of concern and challenges in the CIS states. Nonetheless, as was pointed out from the very outset, CIS states did not actively engage in the review of the human rights of their fellow states from the region. This is not only unique to the CIS only. It appears that relatively modest participation in the UPR interactive dialogue is also the case with states outside the CIS region, apart from few exceptions.72 The outcome of the second cycle can be useful to get a better picture of the extent CIS states have improved their interaction with the mechanism. In the meantime, CIS states and CSOs can increase their dialogue inter se on the UPR in the region as a whole, and engage in the discussion of human rights issues found in the process of their review. The present report could serve as a basis of such a dialogue. NGOs, both international and domestic, have actively used the UPR mechanism to provide their views and concerns on human rights issues on the ground. Overall, most of the concerns they have raised were addressed in the recommendations to the CIS states. Few issues, however, remained relatively neglected, including human rights in counter-terrorism context. The data also pointed out to the fact that NGOs engaged with economic, social and cultural rights to a lesser degree than with civil and political rights. Given that poverty is an issue for some of the countries of the region, it will be useful to further investigate the relative neglect of ESC rights in the stakeholders’ submissions. The present report attempted to catalogue some examples of national experiences in preparation of National Reports and implementation of the UPR recommendations. This exercise proved useful and challenging at the same time. While some examples were put together from different regions and contexts, there is a need for more information exchange on the emerging practices and reflections on lessons learned from within the CIS region.

72  Statistically, only Azerbaijan actively participates in the interactive dialogue in the review process. According to the UPR-info.org, the country is included in the list of top 30 recommending states.

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Annex

Classification of human rights issues by categories HR obligations, Institutional Protection

Scope of international obligations Ratification of international instruments Special procedures and Treaty Bodies Corruption Human Rights Education and Training Human rights action plan and the implementation National Human Rights Institutions International humanitarian law UPR process

Right to life, freedom from torture, Right to life (death penalty, extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force) security of person Torture and CID treatment Conditions of detention Liberty and security of person (e.g. enforced disappearances) Justice and Impunity

Justice Impunity (including, investigation of violations committed by state agents)

Other Civil and Political Rights

Human Rights Defenders Civil society organizations Freedom of movement Freedom of association and peaceful assembly Freedom of opinion and expression Freedom of religion and belief Elections Right to privacy and family

Trafficking

Trafficking

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESC Rights)

Development Poverty Right to education Right to health (including, HIV-aids)Labour Adequate standards of living (housing, food, water) Social security

Equality and non-discrimination (racial, vulnerability)

Equality and non-discrimination (racial, vulnerability) Sexual orientation and gender identity

Women, Children, Persons with Disabilities

Women’s rights Rights of the Child Disabilities

Other vulnerable groups

Minorities and indigenous people Rights of migrants Refugees, IDPs, stateless persons

Environment

Environment

Counter-terrorism

Counter-terrorism

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References

DIHR, Universal Periodic Review: First Cycle, Reporting Methodologies from the position of the State, Civil Society and National Human Rights Institutions, 2011. Inter-Parliamentary Union, Strengthening the Role of Parliamentarians in the Implementation of Universal Periodic Review Recommendations Geneva, 12-13 November 2012, presentation by Deputy Victor Emilio Granados Bald, Chairman the Legislative Assembly of the Republic of Costa Rica. McMahon, E. R., The Universal Periodic Review: a Work in Progress: an Evaluation of the First Cycle of the New UPR Mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council, September 2012. Mutellah, H. K., Kenya’s Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) Experience in Universal Periodic Review (UPR), presented at the Regional Governance Week: Social Accountability in a Changing Region – Actors and Mechanisms, Cairo, Egypt, 26-29 November 2012. OHCHR, Preliminary Report: Reflection group on the strengthening of the Human Rights Council, Second meeting: 25-25th January, Paris, available at http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/Report_Paris_meeting.pdf . OHCHR, Technical guidelines for the submission of information by national human rights institutions, available at http:// www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/NgosNhris.aspx. OHCHR, Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society, New York and Geneva, 2008, Chapter on UPR. OHCHR, Universal Periodic Review: information and guidelines for relevant stakeholders’ written submissions, available at http:// www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/UPR/TechnicalGuideEN.pdf. UNDP, Arab States and the Universal Period Review, Study undertaken on behalf of the United Nations Development Program, Regional Centre in Cairo, 12 November 2012. UNDP, Universal Periodic Review of Ukraine: Compilation of Recommendations, Kyiv, 2012. UPR.info, Universal Periodic Review: Database and Statistics of UPR Recommendations, available at http://www.upr-info.org/. UPR.info, Universal Periodic Review: On the Road to Implementation, 2012.

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