Universal Periodic Review of the United Kingdom

The Commission notes the Draft Report of the United Nations Working Group on Universal Periodic Review published on 30 May 2012, and welcomes a number of its recommendations.

The ‘interactive dialogue’, or review, of the UK was held on 24 May at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Read the Draft Report in PDF format - link.

Recommendations from other UN member states included that the UK:

  • Should develop a National Action Plan on Human Rights.

  • Permit individual communications to UN mechanisms on civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights as well as on the rights of the child.

  • Remove reservations or interpretive declarations to international  human rights treaties.

  • Incorporate international human rights standards, including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, into domestic law.

  • Comply with decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

  • Reconsider the continued legality of corporal punishment against children and raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

  • Guarantee economic, social and cultural rights and ensure that human rights are taken into account in the context of economic austerity, particularly the rights of vulnerable groups and in the context of welfare reform.

  • Take effective measures to combat all forms of violence against women and increase efforts to combat human trafficking.

  • Recognise the human rights to water and sanitation.

Chair of the Commission, Professor Alan Miller said: “The Universal Periodic Review of provides a welcome spotlight on the UK’s compliance with all of its human rights obligations. A number of the recommendations made so far reflect issues which the Commission raised in its submission. This is not the end of the process, however, and we will continue to call for all of our recommendations to be reflected in the UK’s UPR which will conclude in September. The Commission is committed to promoting the systematic implementation of international human rights recommendations in Scotland through the development of a national action plan”.

Read the Commission's submission to UPR here.

The interactive dialogue on 24 May was part of the process of review of the UK. The UK Government must respond to recommendations by September 2012.

As one of the UK’s three national human rights institutions, the Commission submitted a parallel report to the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Scotland and also engaged directly with a wide range of other UN member States. The Commission held an awareness raising event about UPR for civil society in Scotland and will continue seek the implementation of the recommendations in our parallel report.

To advance the implementation of international human rights recommendations the Commission is pursuing the development of a National Action Plan for Human Rights. International human rights bodies have repeatedly recommended a systematic approach to the realisation of human rights through a National Action Plan for Human Rights.  National Action Plans for Human Rights are evidence-based, developed in an inclusive way and independently monitored. The Commission will seek to facilitate an inclusive process of developing and monitoring Scotland’s National Action Plan for Human Rights.

The UN Human Rights Council assesses the human rights record of every country every four and a half years in a Universal Periodic Review. The current review is the second cycle review of the UK - read more about UPR here.