History and objectives
The Pre-sessions were introduced in 2012, at the beginning of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Aware of the fact that civil society participation in the UPR is limited, UPR Info follows a dual objective through its Pre-sessions:
- First, our Pre-sessions provide national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society organisations (CSOs) with an international platform through which they can inform the representatives of the recommending States about the human rights situation in the State under review (SuR) before the UPR.
- Second, they offer an opportunity for permanent missions to gather first-hand information on the human rights situation in the countries under review. As a result, the Pre-sessions ensure that the recommendations made during the UPR Working Group accurately reflect the reality of the SuR.
Since the beginning of the 2nd cycle, the Pre-sessions have brought together over 1500 NHRI and CSO representatives and 163 permanent missions to exchange on the human rights situation in UN Member States.
To learn more about Pre-sessions we encourage you to consult our publication :
UPR Info Pre-sessions: Empowering human rights voices from the ground and visiting our frequently asked questions page.
The Pre-session for each State under review (SuR) lasts between 30 minutes and one hour, depending on the number of speakers.
Each NHRI and CSO representative has 5-7 minutes to present the human rights situation in their country, and report on the progress made by the SuR in the implementation of recommendations since the previous cycle.
Once all speakers have finished their presentations, the moderator gives the floor to the representatives of Permanent Missions present in the room to ask questions to the panelists.
In accordance with the principles of universality and transparency, the Pre-sessions are a public event. UPR Info invites all Permanent Missions to attend the Pre-sessions, including the SuR. At the beginning of each meeting, the SuR is given the opportunity to briefly present progress and challenges it has faced in implementation since the last review but is not allowed to ask questions of the panelists or comment on the presentations that have been made.
The Pre-sessions take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, one month before the UPR Working Group. Information regarding the meeting schedule can be found before each UPR session on this page.
The selection process for panelists begins three-four months before the Pre-sessions with a call for applications on UPR Info’s website and social media channels. CSOs and NHRIs interested in taking the floor during the meeting must fill in an online application form to provide UPR Info with information on their organisation and involvement in the UPR process. It is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that their application is submitted within the deadline, and we encourage applicants to visit our website regularly and to subscribe to our social networks - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
Due to time constraints and the large number of applications UPR Info receives, it is impossible to select all organisations that apply. Using objective selection criteria established in 2012, priority is given to the following organisations:
Because they ensure that local voices are heard at the international level;
Organisations that have submitted a report to the UPR.
CSOs have the opportunity to submit reports to the OHCHR approximately seven months before the review date. In preparing the report for the UPR, CSOs develop specific expertise on human rights issues in the country. On the other hand, CSOs that are already engaged in the UPR are more likely to remain involved in the mechanism on a long-term basis;
Because they benefit from the knowledge of each of its members. In addition, they can address a broader spectrum of human rights violations in the country;
Organisations representing as many different human rights themes as possible.
The issues on which CSOs wish to speak should be sufficiently diverse to reflect the different expectations of the population.
In addition, during the selection process UPR Info strives to ensure a gender perspective for each Pre-session panel and gender parity among speakers.
Pre-session calendar and timeline of engagement
Timeline for UPR Info Pre-sessions
Let us see the process and all approximative dates for the Pre-sessions.
Pre-sessions take place one month before the UPR Working Group. The Pre-sessions usually take place over 4 days in the morning from Tuesday to Friday. The selection process for panelists begins three-four months before the Pre-session with a call for applications on UPR Info’s website and social media channels.
National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have approximately three weeks from the publication of the call for applications to apply as a speaker. UPR Info contacts selected candidates 2-3 weeks following the end of the application process.
In addition to our pre-session, we also offer a one-day training in Geneva during the week of the Pre-sessions.