The Law Society, Lawyers for Lawyers in the Netherlands and Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada jointly responded to the call from the United Nations’ Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR) for submissions regarding human rights in Viet Nam.
The OHCHR will now compile a report based on all submissions received for use at the Universal Periodic Review, in October, when Viet Nam will be quizzed at the UN Human Rights Council for three hours.
The proceedings can be viewed via webcast and will then be written up by the UN into a report from which recommendations are published.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Under this mechanism, the human rights situation of all UN Member States is reviewed every 4 and a half years.
42 States are reviewed each year during three Working Group sessions dedicated to 14 States each. These three sessions are usually held in January/February, May/June and October/November.
The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil 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.