Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission reports on the UK’s human rights record
The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has reported to the United Nations (UN) ahead of the Human Rights Council’s 4th Cycle Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom (UK). The Commission exercised its speaking rights and provided a statement on 29 August in Geneva alongside the Scottish Human Rights Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission of Great Britain.
What is the Universal Periodic Review?
The UK takes part in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). This is a peer review process conducted by the UN Human Rights Council to assess the human rights situation in every UN Member State.
The UPR assesses the extent to which states are putting human rights into practice, looking at each state’s human rights obligations as set out in:
- the UN Charter
- the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- the UN human rights treaties each state has ratified
- voluntary commitments, such as national human rights policies
- relevant international humanitarian law (which regulates the conduct of war)
The UPR takes place once every five years. All 192 UN Member States are subject to this process which aims to enable National Human Rights Institutions and civil society organisations to discuss the human rights situation with UN Member States. The UN website has information on how to participate. Further information on the UPR and civil society participation can also be found on UPR Info.
What are NIHRC’s recommendations?
On 29 August, the Commission participated at the Pre-session 41 on the UPR of the UK.
During the Pre-Session we highlighted four areas of concern:
- The reform of the Human Rights Act with the introduction of a Bill of Rights for the UK.
- The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill and proposals for dealing with conflict related investigations.
- Access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion services, for women and girls.
- The Commission’s compliance with the UN General Assembly Resolution 48/134 (the Paris Principles), including its financial position.
Read the full UPR submission here
What happens next
The UPR of the UK is scheduled to take place at the UN in Geneva during 7-18 November 2022.
After the review
The UPR Working Group will adopt the UN’s recommendations in November 2022.
During a country’s second or follow-up review (around 4 months later), it must provide information on steps it has taken to implement the recommendations accepted during the previous review (four years earlier).