The Universal Period Review (UPR) is a human rights mechanism developed in March, 2006, by the General Assembly Resolution 60/251. This resolution established the Human Rights Council (HRC), a body made up of 47 member states. The HRC periodically reviews the performance of the 192 UN member states in regards to their implementation of human rights obligations and voluntary pledges and commitments. The review occurs every 4 years with each subsequent session reviewing the performance and implementation of recommendations from previous sessions.

The UPR is innovative in at least three ways. First, it includes all aspects and dimensions of the protection of human rights and is not restricted to a specific treaty or kind or group. Second, the UPR runs on a peer review system run by the member states, making the process participatory and inclusive. Third, the participation of civil society organizations is guaranteed and refers to them as “stakeholders” along with national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic and research institutes and regional organizations. Stakeholders in this process are allowed to lobby and formally participate in the state review process.

The UPR process in Lebanon that took place between 2009 and 2011 had many strengths and weaknesses that are highlighted in this report. This report highlights  human rights issues that can be improved upon, and other issues that the Lebanese government completely refused to address due to their political sensitivity. The UPR introduced human rights issues in Lebanon on an international scale, but at the same time did not provide tangible tools or measurable targets to improve the human rights situation. Overall, the process was successful, and the second round will build on the first to obtain a better outcome.

The following paper combines academic research with practical implementation, within the scope of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Lebanon.  The study aims at assessing the extent to which the UPR’s stated principles and objectives of improving the protection of human rights in Lebanon were achieved.

To do so, the paper will briefly review literature on the UPR, its mechanism and its main objectives. It will also describe the Lebanese process of UPR reporting in 2010 and will highlight the challenges that could guide the involved stakeholders in the next UPR session. Finally, the research paper will give a set of recommendations based on lessons learnt to improve the potential effects of the UPR process in its next round.

The Universal Periodic Review: Lebanon’s Experience