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Submitting a Report: UPR


Official submissions can focus on one or multiple human rights that are protected under UN instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter and documents to which the state is a signatory, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Reports can also outline the state's adherence to human rights commitments it has made nationally, as well as to relevant international humanitarian law.

The official submission from a single organisation cannot exceed five pages, however, a coalition of NGOs can submit reports of up to ten pages. Organisations may attach additional reports and information to the five-to-10 page submission as is necessary to support facts stated in the submission.

Organisations should be sure to follow the format requirements of an official submission, which are listed in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Technical Guide.

Submissions to the UPR review should be sent to: uprsubmissions@ohchr.org. The OHCHR secretariat will confirm receipt via email. Deadlines for submissions are six to eight months before the review session. A schedule of countries coming up for review is available here.


-Information on the Session (Session Number, Date, Country Under Review)

-The organisation's name and contact information should be clearly displayed at or near the top of the submission. If the submission is prepared jointly, include names of all contributing stakeholders.

-An executive summary and/or introduction should condense the main points of the submission and highlight the recommendations made. Here, stakeholders should provide a brief description of the organisation's activities and include “key words” that describe the human rights area(s) the report focuses on, such as “press freedom.”

-The method(s) the organisation used in gathering information should be included near the beginning of the report. Here, an organisation should show how it has ensured the information it is providing is accurate and objective.

-Include statistics, specific incidents, and facts that convey the human rights situation on the ground. Refer to international and national human rights documents and pledges to show whether countries are meeting or falling short of specific obligations.

-Suggest ways the international community can aid the country in fulfilling its human rights obligations through technical support and capacity building.

-Recommend actions the state should undertake to improve the human rights situation.


-The OHCHR strongly recommends that incidents, statistics and other facts in the document do not pre-date the four-year period leading up to the review.

-The submission should not include second-hand information, unless it clearly supports original information.

-It is not advised to discuss individual cases in the submissions, unless emblematic.

-The Human Rights Council asks that submissions avoid repeating the conclusions and recommendations made by the human rights treaty bodies or special procedures of the Human Rights Council.

-As highlighted in the OHCHR's Technical Guidelines, organisations should avoid excessive footnotes.

-As highlighted in the OHCHR's Technical Guidelines, organisations should not include as annexes pictures, maps, annual reports, reports from other organisations or any information that does not directly support the information presented in the submission.


-Organisations should ensure their recommendations are actionable, specific and measurable. The OHCHR will be more likely to include such recommendations in its compilation document and member states will be more likely to bring such recommendations to the floor.

-Ideally, the number of recommendations should not exceed 10 and should be closer to five to ensure that each recommendation is given the consideration and prominence it deserves.

-Pay attention to verbs. Recommendations that demand states take a specific action are likely to have strong verbs like “abolish,” “adopt” or “investigate”, while recommendations that use more passive or vague verbs, such as “pursue” “consider” or “review” can often be broadly interpreted and tend not to require a particular action. The Action Category, developed by Professor Edward R. McMahon of the University of Vermont with the support of UPR-Info, can help organisations choose verbs wisely.

-When formulating recommendations, it may help to research the recommendations that have been made and accepted by states with similar human rights challenges and violations, see http://www.upr-info.org/database/.

-NGOs should formulate some recommendations using language and demands that the state is likely to accept. This way, organisations can work with the government to implement their recommendations. Also, the groups can then monitor the progress made on such recommendations and can report implementation failures to the state reviewed, to member states, and the UPR Council.

-That said, organisations should not refrain from advancing recommendations that the state is liable to turn down. When a state rejects a recommendation, the government opens itself up to censure from the international community and civil rights organisations. Important human rights issues can also be exposed this way.


-The OHCHR encourages national stakeholders to consult with one another and prepare joint submissions ahead of the UPR process. By preparing a joint submission, organisations will also have more time and resources to put towards lobbying member states to voice their recommendations in the official review.

-While submissions will be accepted in all six official UN languages, English, French or Spanish is preferred. An organisation's submission is likely to be read by more member states if it is written in one of these three languages.

-Ensure the submission is proofread by individuals proficient in spelling and grammar.

-Groups submitting to the review should be well versed on the UN documents and mechanisms to which the country is a signatory and should cite human rights violations according to these documents. In addition, organisations can hold states accountable to voluntary pledges made nationally and to applicable international humanitarian law. Links to obligatory and voluntary international human rights mechanisms can be found here and a general briefing on the main UN human rights documents is also available.

-One of the UPR's aims is to highlight progress and achievements made by states in protecting and defending human rights. By recognising gains made in freedom of expression and information, organisations may promote such behaviour. Positive feedback could also lead to improved dialogue between the NGO and government officials.

-Convey the priority concerns and issues by highlighting them in the introduction and in recommendations. In addition, be sure the annexes focus on corroborating the priority issues.


ARTICLE 19, Submission on Freedom of Expression in Indonesia (2007)

ARTICLE 19 and the Justice Initiative, Submission on Egypt (2010)

Amnesty International, Submission on the United Kingdom (2008)

Centro de Derechos Humanos, Universidad Diego Portales, Report on Chile (2008)

Human Rights Watch, Submission on Cambodia (2009)

PEN Canada, Submission on Canada (2009)

International PEN, Submission on Kenya (2009)


All NGO submissions are organised alphabetically by review country in the UPR-info database.

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