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The UPR Project at BCU: USA

The UPR Project’s first stakeholder submission was to the USA, focusing upon capital punishment, climate change, and compassionate release for prisoners. The report was subsequently cited by the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights and informed recommendations made by Member States to the USA.

US flag UPR project large


Consultancy background

In September 2019, The UPR Project at BCU submitted its first Stakeholder Report to the United States of America’s third cycle UPR, which took place in the Human Rights Council in November 2020. This submission was jointly compiled with The Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, New York. It focused on three areas of expertise with the School of Law, namely:

  1. Capital punishment
  2. Climate change
  3. Compassionate release for prisoners

It makes specific recommendations to the USA as to how it can improve its adherence to international human rights standards on these three issues.

The findings and recommendations presented in the report was based upon ongoing research being carried out in the School of Law’s three research centres – the Centre for Human Rights, Centre for American Legal Studies, and Centre for Law, Science and Policy. View the report below:

Download the stakeholder report

On 6 March 2020, our report was cited by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Stakeholder Summary to support the findings of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in their observations on fossil fuels and the oil and gas industry (FN38) and in the need for the US to reinstate the Paris Agreement (FN43). Furthermore, our report was cited to support the American Civil Liberties Union's observations on the jurisdictional use of the death penalty (FN63) and in regard to Amnesty International's claims regarding miscarriages of justice in death penalty cases (FN66).

Member States recommended that the US should reinstate the Paris Agreement (Recommending States: Slovenia (26.64); Fiji (26.65); Spain (26.77)). These Member State recommendations are consistent with the points specified by the UPR Project at BCU’s Stakeholder Report, and the Biden Administration has since reversed the decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement regarding climate change.

About the UPR Project at BCU

The Centre for Human Rights has been engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) since 2016. Under the auspice of the Human Rights Council, the UPR is an intergovernmental process providing a review of the human rights record of all Member States. Through the UPR Project at BCU, the CHR engages with the mechanism through taking part in the UPR Pre-sessions, providing capacity building for UPR stakeholders and National Human Rights Institutions, and the filing of stakeholder reports in selected sessions.

The Pre-sessions are organised by the NGO, UPRinfo, which brings together UN Permanent Missions, national human rights institutions, and civil society organisations to discuss the key human rights issues in the member states to be considered in the UPR. It seeks to identify stakeholder needs within individual member states, in order to help ensure that stakeholder issues and the claimed human rights violations are adequately reported to the Pre-session to help inform the UPR in the Human Rights Council. The UPR Project has engaged in numerous countries’ Pre-sessions, including Sudan and Namibia, having discussions with government delegations and civil society organisations across the world, and impacting upon recommendations made at the UPR.

In September 2019, the UPR Project at BCU submitted its first stakeholder report to the USA’s UPR. Since then, we have submitted reports to the UPRs of multiple countries, including Myanmar, Namibia, Eswatini, Sudan, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, South Sudan, and the Syrian Arab Republic. Our reports are frequently cited by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.