What is the UPR?

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) that involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member States. It is a chance for Australia to engage in a dialogue with other States, NGOs and national human rights institutions about the progress Australia has made in implementing its human rights obligations. The UPR is an opportunity for Australian non-government organisations (NGOs) to encourage and influence the Government to improve the protection of human rights in Australia.

The UPR process involves the Australian Government preparing a national report on its human rights progress. This report is complemented by a ‘shadow’ report prepared partly by the Australian Human Rights Commission and partly by Australian NGOs. The length of the shadow report is capped at 5,630 words. The reports will be discussed at an HRC meeting (in November 2020) at which other nations will ask Australia questions about its progress towards implementing human rights. After this meeting, the UPR working committee will make recommendations about actions which should be taken to improve human rights in Australia.

You can learn more about the UPR process at the Human Rights Law Centre website by clicking here.

Making the UPR work for women

Equality Rights Alliance is leading a working group of organisations interested in gender equality to prepare a section on the human rights of women and girls for the NGO report. The amount of space allocated for each subject area in the report is very limited - we will have only 300 words in total and can make only 3 recommendations. Other areas have even smaller word limits.

This means we will only be able to report on the most urgent and strategic issues of women's human rights / gender equality and we need your help to identify which issues should be prioritised in the report.

The Gender Equality Working Group has decided to focus the our section on issues which are likely to appear on the Government’s agenda over the next 12 months or issues which are likely to be the focus of lots of attention next year in order to maximise the impact of our involvement in this process. We're hoping to force the Australian Government to respond to questioning from other nations about issues which are also being actively considered at home. Twice the pressure!

The shadow report will contain other sections which are relevant to women's human rights. We will be contacting the authors of those sections to encourage them to include women's rights in their text. At the time of writing, the complete list of areas is:

Constitutional, Legislative and Institutional Frameworks
Domestic Implementation of UN Recommendations
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Equality and Non-Discrimination (including religious discrimination)
Democratic Rights and Freedom
People with Disability
Administration of Justice
Gender equality and women
Housing and Homelessness
People with Disability
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
Refugees and Asylum Seekers
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse People and Communities
Business and Human Rights
Older Persons
International Assistance
Sex Work

Want to get more involved?

Contact Helen at ERA@ywca.org.au to be added to our email list.