Universal Periodic Review submission
April 4, 2022
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism at the United Nations (UN) to examine each Member State’s compliance with human rights and humanitarian obligations. The United Kingdom will be reviewed under the UPR process in 2022. Civil society organisations across the UK had the opportunity to make submissions to that process up until the end of March 2022. The aim of the mechanism is to hold the state party to account for the human rights condition in its territory, improve the human rights situation and address human rights violations.
The Human Rights Consortium made a submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom in March to highlight key concerns that it wanted to raise regarding the existing human rights landscape in Northern Ireland.
Our key areas of focus were:
- Human Rights Act
- Bill of Rights
- NIHRC Funding
The UPR is a peer review process whereby member states review and hold the UK to account for its progress in protecting human rights. In the previous 3rd cycle review of the UK in 2017 members states made a range of recommendations to the UK on how it could improve the human rights landscape domestically.
In order to help member states follow up on those recommendations and provide a enhanced picture of the current human rights environment in Northern Ireland, the Consortium made a submission to the process (available for download below) which contained a number of suggested recommendations that members states may wish to make to the United Kingdom government as part of the review.
- Ensure that any possible reform of the 1998 Human Rights Act has no impact on the scope of protection or access to the remedies currently enjoyed under the European Convention on Human Rights.
- Ensure that any proposed changes to the Human Rights Act do not undermine the UK Governments commitments to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights into Northern Ireland law as outlined in the Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity section of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998.
- Ensure that a distinct Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland is developed through Westminster legislation without further delay in accordance with the Belfast /Good Friday Agreement.
- Ensure that any review of retained EU law retains existing standards of protections or advances up these minimum standards rather than removing or undermining them.
- Ensure adequate and sustainable funding to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to a level in compliance with ‘A’ status of the Paris Principles and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).
It is expected that the UK will be formally reviewed under the UPR process in Oct/Nov of this year. This will be an important opportunity for member states around the world to hold the UK to account for its handling of human rights issues within its own territory. Civil society organisations like the Consortium will continue to try to provide updates to member states and work towards the strongest possible set of recommendations from that process.Tags: Human Rights, Universal Periodic Review