The Use of International Human Rights Law in the Universal Periodic Review


Universal Periodic Review provides a unique insight into states’ perceptions of IHRL. States issue recommendations on fulfilling human rights obligations and commitments. HRC Resolution 5/1 sets out the bases of the reviews: the UN Charter, the UDHR, human rights instruments to which the state is party and voluntary pledges and commitments. Relevant IHL is ‘take[n] into account’. Analysing the identification of these bases of review and how they have been used in the 57,685 recommendations from the first two cycles of UPR, we demonstrate states’ understanding of the term ‘human rights’ and their preferences for certain sources of law. States have not limited themselves to the bases of review in Resolution 5/1. They have used additional materials and rejected distinctions between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ law. They have interpreted the notion of ‘human rights’ expansively but largely ignored regional human rights instruments. A body of generalised, non-specific IHRL has been recognised.