UN Human Rights Council To Review China's Human Rights Record
On February 9, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva will review China's human rights record under a new mechanism known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR was created on March 15, 2006 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (A/Res/60/251), which established the 47-member Human Rights Council (Council), replacing the Commission on Human Rights.
On February 9, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva will review China's human rights record under a new mechanism known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR was created on March 15, 2006 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (A/Res/60/251), which established the 47-member Human Rights Council (Council), replacing the Commission on Human Rights. The UPR mechanism "involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years." (UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR), Basic Facts About The UPR). OHCHR describes the UPR as "one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur." (OHCHR, Fact Sheet: Human Rights Council-Universal Periodic Review).
The Working Group on the UPR will meet in a three-hour session on February 9 to review China's human rights record. Each review is facilitated by a group of three rapporteurs (referred to as "troikas"), who are drawn by lot from Council members and from different Regional Groups. Canada, India, and Nigeria will serve as the troika for China's review. They will facilitate the "interactive dialogue" portion of the Working Group session and will prepare the report of the Working Group. (Human Rights Council Res. 5/1, "Institution-building of the United Nations Human Rights Council," sections D.2.18(d), and 21 (18 June 2007).) Participation in the review is not limited to Members of the Council; any Member State may be involved, including in the interactive dialogue, during which they may ask questions, make comments and/or offer recommendations. (Human Rights Council Res. 5/1, sec. D.2.18 (b); OHCHR, Basic Facts About The UPR). Representatives of NGOs may also attend the review. (HRC Resolution 5/1.)
The review will be based on:
- "The Charter of the United Nations
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Human rights instruments (covenants, conventions and other treaties) to which [China] is a party
- Voluntary pledges and commitments made by [China]
- Applicable international humanitarian law" (OHCHR, Fact Sheet)
The documents that will be considered for the review are:
- China's National Report;
- A compilation of information contained in human rights-related UN reports, prepared by OHCHR;
- A summary of information provided by other relevant stakeholders, prepared by OHCHR (primarily non-governmental organizations (NGOs)).
For more information on China's compliance with its international human rights obligations and commitments, see the Congressional-Executive Commission on China's 2008 Annual Report. For more information on the UPR review process, see China's National Report (in Chinese only), the "compilation of UN information" and the "summary of stakeholders' information" prepared by the OHCHR (in English), and the original submissions of 46 stakeholders . The final report (referred to as "outcome") of China's review, once released, will be available here. Click here for a list of representative cases to use as a resource for formulating questions, comments, and/or recommendations pertaining to the release of citizens detained or imprisoned for advocating greater human rights guarantees in China, including citizens who engage with the international community to address human rights abuses.