Introduction on the Universal Periodic Review
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process that takes place under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council. It involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process and provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of every country. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is 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.
Bhutan has been chosen to present its report for the UPR in December 2009. As the focal point for Bhutan’s preparations for the UPR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with all the relevant stakeholders in the country is presently preparing Bhutan’s report. Once the report is ready, it will be uploaded to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comments by the public. In the next few months, there will also be a public consultation on the report.