Universal Periodic Review

Making a Submission to Inform Australia's Statements on Countries Under Review

The Universal Periodic Review

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a United Nations process that considers the human rights record of each UN Member State every four years. It is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council.

The review is unique because it is led by Member States and covers a broad range of international human rights obligations and commitments. The UPR differs from United Nations human rights treaty body reviews that are led by committees of experts and focus on specific treaties.

As part of each UPR cycle, Member States submit a national report and appear at the United Nations in Geneva for an interactive dialogue with other Member States.

The UPR process was established in 2006. It is based on equal treatment for all countries, and aims to encourage UN Member States to comply with international human rights obligations and improve human rights records through a peer review system. UPR sessions are open to civil society, including National Human Rights Institutions, NGOs and the media. 

The UPR process is central to Australia's approach to human rights. It is an opportunity to engage on the international stage with other countries on their domestic human rights issues, to highlight Australia's concerns, to acknowledge improvements and to make recommendations directed at promoting and protecting human rights.

Country statements

Australia makes statements on all countries under review. During the interactive dialogue with Member States, 140 minutes is available for Member States to make statements.  The number of States on the speaker's list determines the length of time Australia has to make each statement (which is typically around 90 seconds or approximately 180 words).  Statements may be required to be shorter if a particularly high number of Member States decide to make a statement on a particular country.

Our UPR statements are intended to address the current human rights situation in countries and lend credibility to the UPR process. As well as noting where positive progress on human rights has been made, Australia seeks to include three to four specific and measureable recommendations in each statement.

Past UPR statements can be found at www.upr-info.org/en

Making a submission

Australia is a strong supporter of civil society participation in the UN. We believe that civil society organisations add value and ballast to the international debate and help hold governments to account. We welcome submissions from civil society organisations with interests in the human rights contexts of particular countries. To make a submission, please send an email of no more than two pages to humanrights@dfat.gov.au including the following:

  • A description of your organisation's engagement on human rights issues
  • Issues of concern and proposed recommendations for a particular country:
    • Recommendations should be concise, specific and measureable
  • Rationale and background to the proposed recommendations, including how making the proposed recommendations could lead to improvements in human rights

Australia begins considering its recommendations 4-5 months prior to the country's review. Statements received closer to the review date may not be considered in the drafting process. We note that we value input from civil society, making a submission in no way guarantees that your proposed recommendations will be included in Australia's statements.

For further information, please contact humanrights@dfat.gov.au

Last Updated: 12 June 2018