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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Gambia to defend human rights record at UN

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The UN’s Universal Periodic Review is a cycle and like all other countries, The Gambia is going before the committee to report and defend its implementation of human rights principles, practices, values and standards in the country.

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The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process, which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN member states. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council, which is based on equal treatment for all countries. It provides an opportunity for all states to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to overcome challenges to the enjoyment of human rights. The UPR also includes a sharing of best human rights practices around the globe. Currently, no other mechanism of this kind exists.

The ultimate goal of UPR is the improvement of the human rights situation in every country with significant consequences for people around the globe. The UPR is designed to prompt, support, and expand the promotion and protection of human rights on the ground. To achieve this, the UPR involves assessing states’ human rights records and addressing human rights violations wherever they occur. The UPR also aims to provide technical assistance to states and enhance their capacity to deal effectively with human rights challenges and to share best practices in the field of human rights among States and other stakeholders.

Already a pre-session took place on 7 October in preparation for the actual 20th session, which is expected to take place in Geneva.

The Gambia Government has submitted its report and the UPR has also received submissions from other organisations from around the world

The UPR was established when the Human Rights Council was created on 15 March 2006 by the UN General Assembly in resolution 60/251. This mandated the Council to “undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfilment by each state of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States”. 

The UPR will assess the extent to which states respect their human rights obligations set out in: (1) the UN Charter, (2) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (3) human rights instruments to which the state is party (human rights treaties ratified by the state concerned), (4) voluntary pledges and commitments made by the state (e.g. national human rights policies and/or programmes implemented), and (5) applicable international humanitarian law.

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