The Universal Periodic Review by the Human Rights Council in 2012: Implications for Immigration Detention Issues in the UK
12 October 2011
The human rights record of the UK will once again be scrutinised by the Human Rights Council next year. This presents a great opportunity to highlight British immigration detention issues at the international level. The Universal Periodic Review reviews all UN member states’ compliance with human rights every four years. UK was reviewed in 2008 and is up for review again next year between 21st May and 1st June 2012. During the review process, the UK government officials will be quizzed by other states’ representatives about their human rights record.
In theory, there are many ways that NGOs can influence this process. The UPR Info website contains useful information on how NGOs can participate in this process. However, given the limited time and resources available to many of the national NGOs who do not have a Geneva presence, the most likely route for those of us concerned about detention in the UK is to submit information to the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) before the review process starts. When UK was reviewed in 2008, it appears that only 25 submissions were made.
A quick look at the previous session shows that the immigration detention of adults did not get much mention, while child detention was referred to by some stakeholders.
If your organisation would like to submit information on detention issues, the deadline for the submission is 21 November 2011. The guidelines you need to follow are available on this page from UPR Info http://www.upr-info.org/-NGOs-.html
All the documents regarding the last UK session are available from http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/gbsession1.aspx
For more information generally about the UPR, visit the OHCHR website at http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
or visit the website of UPR-info here http://www.upr-info.org/
In the UK context, the British Institute of Human Rights is hosting a number of UPR events in Cardiff (20 October), Leeds (31 October) and London (2 November). Their webpage also includes a lot of useful information about UPR processes. It also says “BIHR will produce a short submission and some of the views captured in the events may be included in this.” For more
information, visit: http://www.bihr.org.uk/news/your-chance-to-comment-on-the-government’s-human-rights-record
The Detention Forum Co-ordination Group will be also preparing a submission, and will be inviting other NGOs to sign it. If you want to be kept informed of its progress, please contact Eiri Ohtani at detentionforum(at)gmail.com.