Universal Periodic Review Shadow Report Launched
September 21, 2016
The Human Rights Consortium has launched its Shadow Report in advance of the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Kingdom in May 2017.
The Universal Periodic Review is a mechanism of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations, where each member state is examined by other member states for compliance with human rights and humanitarian obligations. More specifically the state being reviewed is examined for compliance with the following:
- The Charter of the United Nations
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Human Rights instruments to which the State is party (human rights treaties ratified by the State concerned)
- Voluntary pledges and commitments made by the State (including those undertaken when presenting the candidature for election to the Human Rights Council)
- Applicable international humanitarian law
The Human Rights Consortium and other civil society organisations from the United Kingdom send shadow reports in to this process to help illustrate the human rights situation on the ground in our country and to highlight our main concerns with how human rights are being respected, protected and fulfilled by our government.
The Consortium’s shadow report is split into two sections, based upon recommendations from the previous UPR cycle:
- How the UK can realise its international human rights obligations
- Ensuring human rights principles are integrated in domestic law
In the report we propose that the UK, and Northern Ireland in particular should participate more fully in these reviews (given the substantive failings in this regard over several years) and also work to mainstream human rights, through for example the Programme for Government in Northern Ireland, in order to better meet its international obligations.
To ensure human rights principles are integrated in domestic law, we highlight three main areas of concern. We note that despite the provision in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement there has still been no legislation to enact a specific Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. We also raised the potential repeal of the Human Rights Act and our apprehension that this might result in a weakening of rights standards. Finally, with regard to the process of withdrawing from the EU we highlighted that important EU human rights protections currently flow from our membership of the EU which need to be protected in any Brexit process to ensure there is no rollback of existing rights.
The full report is available for download below and the Human Rights Consortium will continue to be involved in the review process and provide updates for civil society on how to become involved.