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UN review of first group of countries human rights records wraps up

The United Nations Human Rights Council has concluded its review of the first batch of countries as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a new mechanism to examine the record of every UN Member State. The mechanism’s Working Group wrapped up its first session in Geneva today after evaluating the rights records of 16 nations: Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, the Philippines, Algeria, Poland, the Netherlands, South Africa, the Czech Republic and Argentina. “Having witnessed the energy which you have all displayed during this session, I have no doubt that we shall collectively rise to the occasion and achieve the primary goal of the UPR, which is the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground,” said Council President Doru Romulus Copstea in a message delivered at the meeting’s close by Vice President Boudewijn Van Eenennaam. The Working Group’s next session will be held from 5 to 19 May, during which 16 more Member States’ records will be reviewed. The UPR is one of the reforms which differentiate the Council from the Commission on Human Rights, which it succeeded in 2006. Under the Review’s work plans, 48 countries are scheduled to be reviewed each year, so that the UN’s complete membership of 192 countries will be reviewed once every four years. Last month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Council to ensure that all countries were scrutinized equally. “The Review must reaffirm that just as human rights are universal, so is our collective respect for them and our commitment to them,” he said. 18 April 2008The United Nations Human Rights Council has concluded its review of the first batch of countries as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a new mechanism to examine the record of every UN Member State

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