UK changes previous UPR commitments

Date: 31st May 2017
Category: Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

Before its third UPR review in May 2017, the UK sought to change its position from support to noted on a number of 2nd cycle 2012 recommendations.

Among the issues on which the UK changed its position are those which impact on children's rights.

The UK's human rights record was examined by the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group for the third time on Thursday, 4 May 2017. In the 3.5 hour meeting the State under Review (SuR) received a total of 227 recommendations. The UK's first and second UPR reviews took place in April 2008 and May 2012, respectively.

During this third cycle review the delegation of the UK, headed by Sir Oliver Heald QC, MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, presented its National Report, and ensured the Human Rights Council that the "UK has a deep commitment to the success of the Universal Periodic Review as it is an important mechanism of universal and constructive peer review and allows the sharing of best practice, and promotes the continual improvement of human rights on the ground."

During his statement, the delegation also updated the audience on its position, and on bringing the categorisation of the recommendations in line with the accepted classification of either "supported" or "noted". In this regard, the UK now supports 66 recommendations from 2012 and notes 65, whilst on the original report it supported 95 and noted 46.

Together are concerned that changing the State's position on recommendations, just before a next review, could be used as an attempt to shy away from accountability with regards to the implementation of previously accepted recommendations. Those recommendations particularly impacting on children which were previously supported by the UK, but which are now marked as 'noted' are:

  • Commitment to ratifying Optional Protocol 3 to the UNCRC (a complaints procedure);
  • Commitment to ratifying the CPED (Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance);
  • The use of children in military actions;
  • Ending child poverty in the UK by 2020;
  • Protection of human rights, including those of migrants;
  • To prohibit the indefinite detention of migrants;
  • Compliance with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights;
  • Implementing a concrete plan of action to realise treaty body recommendations;
  • Ending racial and religious profiling in practices such as stop and search and combating terrorism;
  • Standardising anti-trafficking responses;
  • Providing legal assistance to detainees;
  • Monitoring of hate crime;
  • Recognising the right of access to safe drinking water and sanitation;
  • Find out more via the UPR Info webpage here.