On the 29th of January a State did not attend the Council for its Universal Periodic Review, setting a dangerous precedent which must be redressed by the Human Rights Council.
The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is deeply concerned for the integrity of this human rights mechanism that is important for civil society, as well as for member States as a means of promoting and protecting human rights. To let this precedent stand would enable non-cooperative States to avoid compliance and hence jeopardise the entire mechanism.
Despite the language in the presidential statement, which deals with a first absence, it is still the case that there is a lacuna as to how to deal with cases of persistent non-cooperation. This must be addressed, and an effective mechanism must be established to ensure transparency and accountability in the process. WILPF argues that such a mechanism should incorporate the potential for a Review in absentia.
In the current case of Israel, their UPR must not be indefinitely delayed. A clear message must be sent that, should they decide not to resume their cooperation, the review in absentia will take place and a date should be set by the Council as soon as possible. Civil society should be given the opportunity to update their reports, so as not to render them obsolete due to this delay.
Hence, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom:
- Urges the Human Rights Council to hold Israel’s UPR at the earliest opportunity. Should the Israeli delegation not be present, the UPR should be held in absentia.
- Calls for the establishment of an unambiguous, firm and universal mechanism for cases of non-cooperation that would encourage every Member State not to abandon the UPR process, including the use of the review in absentia.