Described as an intriguing and ambitious development in international human rights monitoring, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is now at the end of its second cycle of country examinations. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon described the UPR as having “great potential to promote and protect human rights in the darkest corners of the world”. Has the UPR lived up to its aims of promoting human rights, of ending ‘naming and shaming’ and providing a cooperative mechanism, and ensuring universal coverage and equal treatment of states? Or is the UPR, as some critics allege, reducing accountabilities for human rights through the number and weakness of recommendations and the absence of a follow-up mechanism? Examples from the New Zealand UPR experience are explored. The presentation discusses the improvements that could be made for the third and fourth cycles of the UPR relating to the roles of national parliaments, human rights institutions and civil society. These future cycles are crucial in establishing the UPR’s credibility.
Chair and Panel to be announced