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PEN International concerned about attacks against the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process

Tuesday 11 June 2013 - 1:00am

Geneva, 10 June

PEN International today voiced concern over current attacks on the format of the UPR Working Group Report yesterday to the UN Human Rights Council in a joint statement with 76 NGOs. The oral statement delivered to the 23rd Session of the HRC, stressed that Russia’s actions at the 16th session of the UPR pose a dangerous challenge to the integrity of the UPR process.

The Working Group report of the UPR represents the official record of the review process in Geneva on which implementation of recommendations will be based. During the UPR 16th session in May 2013, two recommendations were taken out of the body of a draft report on Russia and added as footnotes because they were considered as "not relevant" by the State under review. According to Resolution 5/1, the Report is a “summary of the proceedings” and should be drafted in an objective manner. Its content should reflect the discussion held in the room and should not be subjected to negotiations by countries, as stated in Presidential statement A/HRC/PRST/8/1 from 9 April 2008.

PEN International and our civil society colleagues urge the Human Rights Council to immediately end any attempts to tamper with the Working Group Report and to clarify its format as soon as possible. The format of the Report of the Working Group should be the same for all countries in order to guarantee equal treatment. Both accepted and noted recommendations should be included in the report, irrespective of the country making them and the issue raised. Under no circumstances should States have the possibility to remove recommendations from the list, not even on the grounds that recommendations are considered as being “not relevant”.

Read the joint oral statement here.

For further information on PEN International’s policy and advocacy work at the United Nations please contact Sarah Clarke, International Policy and Advocacy Officer, at