In 2006 the United Nations General Assembly near unanimously adopted Resolution 60/251, to establish a Human Rights Council (replacing the Human Rights Commission) with the responsibility for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. One of the key mandates of the Council is to undertake a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), on the fulfilment of each States’ human rights obligations and commitments. The UPR is therefore a unique Human Rights mechanism where each of the 194 UN Members States are peer-reviewed and examined on their entire human rights record every five years regardless of its size or political influence, under the same rules and supervision. States are required to respond not only to all recommendations made by its peers, but also to provide data on the implementation of recommendations it has previously Accepted, including voluntary commitments.
The UPR remains a co-operative process that requires the full participation of the State under Review. It complements the work of all UN treaty bodies. The UPR is a very important process for advancing the realization of human rights nationally, regionally and globally. It is worth noting that the UPR is a process and not an event. Therefore, the engagement of all the stakeholders must be sustained all through the entire cycle.
Kenya’s human rights record was reviewed for the 2nd time on 22nd January, 2015 when Kenya received a total of 253 recommendations. The outcome document of the review, the Working Group report, was formally adopted before the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on 25th June, 2015. After the Adoption of the Working Group report, the implementation phase begun. To this end, the Government of Kenya developed a comprehensive UPR Implementation Matrix for all the Accepted recommendations that was launched on 3rd June, 2016. Thereafter, the Government of Kenya together with other UPR stakeholders were expected to implement the said recommendations.
In order to enhance the implementation, it is good practice for States to submit Mid Term Reports to the UN HRC between the UPR Cycles so as to bring out the progress they are making in this regard and also raise some of the challenges that the State is facing and the solutions they have put in place to overcome those challenges. The Government of Kenya submitted its Mid Term Report to the HRC in July, 2018 while CSOs have also just finalised this erstwhile report in October, 2018.