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NGO Participation is Essential to the UPR Process
March 21, 2014

Item 6:  General Debate on Universal Periodic Review

Delivered by Tabitha Snowbarger

Human Rights Council 25th Session
Geneva, March 21, 2014


Thank you, Mr. Vice President.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process should ensure the participation of all relevant stakeholders.  The presence of local NGOs during the UPR, and indeed all sessions of the Council, is essential to gaining a full understanding of a country’s human rights situation.  NGOs often speak for those who have no other voice, and their presence here during reviews allows for a unique exchange of personal stories, collected data, and alternative perspectives, which can shape a more productive dialogue between states.

The UPR promotes honest and open dialogue among Member States, various human rights mechanisms, and civil society.  Through dialogue, real improvements can be made for citizens in the states under review. This goal can only be met when all participants are able to speak openly and without fear of persecution, retribution, or physical harm.

The United States urges all states to take every possible measure to protect the active engagement of civil society actors in each phase of the UPR process.  We must ensure that no one who seeks to engage the Council is ever made to feel threatened while here, or once they have returned home.  As states, we must respect the rights of individuals who come before this body.

Thank you.