The Universal Periodic Review
Building on its civil society leadership role in the first-ever review of the United States’ human rights record under the U.N. Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, the Human Rights Institute is actively engaged in the U.S.'s second UPR, scheduled for May 2015.
The first U.S. UPR took place in Geneva on November 5, 2010. As members of the U.S. Human Rights Network's UPR Planning Committee, the Institute joined over 70 representatives from U.S. civil society in traveling to Geneva for the review. In conjunction with the review, the Institute made presentations at educational side events and participated in a town hall meeting with the U.S. government's delegation.
As part of efforts to ensure that the UPR recommendations translate into strengthened human rights protections in the United States, the Institute coordinated a joint letter from the BHRH Treaty Ratification Working Group to the Administration addressing the treaty ratification and implementation recommendations resulting from the review and suggesting a plan of action for moving toward the goal of ratification of core human rights treaties. In addition, in August 2011, the Institute published a toolkit for state and local human rights and human relations commissions on implementing the recommendations from the first UPR.
Prior to the first U.S. UPR, at the request of the U.S. State Department, the Institute hosted a consultation between civil society and the Obama Administration at Columbia Law School on February 26, 2010. The written statements from consultation participants can be found here. Shortly after the UPR review in late 2010, the U.S. Department of State published an article on its engagement with the UPR process.
Also in advance of the first U.S. UPR, civil society organizations submitted 26 cluster reports on a range of issues including migrant rights, the right to adequate housing, the right to work with dignity, LGBT rights, discrimination, criminal justice and rights of persons with disabilities. The U.S. Human Rights Network published a compilation of these reports, available here. The Human Rights Institute coordinated a cluster report on treaty ratification and implementation that can be viewed here.
In September 2014, the Human Rights Institute submitted two stakeholder reports for the second U.S. UPR. These reports focused on the need for federal support and coordination of state and local human rights implementation and access to counsel in civil cases.