Every five years the UK undergoes a ‘human rights health check’, when other members of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations review the UK’s human rights commitments.
The process is called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). As the name suggests, it’s a little different to other human rights reviews as it’s not about one particular treaty or set of laws but encompasses all the commitments the UK has made in relation to protecting, promoting and fulfilling human rights.
The actual review of the UK will take place in November 2022 in Geneva, when other member states will ask the UK lots of questions about how it is meeting its commitments, or about areas where they believe improvements can be made. The session can be viewed online, and we’ll share a link closer to the time.
In advance of this two things are happening:
- The UK Government is drafting a report on how it believes it is meeting its commitments
- Civil society organisations are drafting their own ‘shadow’ reports
The UK Government report
The Ministry of Justice takes the lead for the UK Government in terms of engaging with the UPR process, including drafting the report they will submit to be reviewed by the other members of the UN Security Council. To draft this report, the Ministry of Justice consults with civil society to inform their work. For this purpose, we attended a roundtable event on 27 January with representatives from the Ministry of Justice to discuss human rights in the UK.
During the event we raised issues including the current threat to the Human Rights Act, increasing inequality in the UK, the availability of good-quality employment opportunities and the right to work for asylum seekers.
To further inform members of the UN Security Council about how the UK Government is meeting its human rights obligations, civil society organisations are invited to submit their own reports. We will be submitting one, but due to the strict word limit will only be able to cover a few issues including:
- proposed reform of the Human Rights Act
- No Recourse to Public Funds
- the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on our rights
If you’d like to get involved by submitting your own report, the deadline is 31 March 2022. Reports from a single NGO are limited to 2815 words. A joint submission submitted by a coalition of NGOs (two NGOs or more) can reach 5630 words. Reports must be submitted through an online portal, so do make sure you register beforehand.
If you want to chat more about this process, contact our Head of Policy, Research and Campaigns [email protected].