I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania , and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The Universal Periodic Review is a mechanism that has the ultimate goal of improving the human rights situation for people all over the globe and the European Union remains strongly committed to it. Its potential to make long-term advancements in the area of human rights in all 193 UN Member States requires all States to be involved and to base their recommendations on objective and reliable information.
In cases where such information is difficult to obtain, the complementarity between the UPR and the work of treaty bodies and other UN human rights mechanisms plays a key role. In these cases recommending States can base their UPR recommendations on information and reports from Special Procedures, Treaty Bodies, other UN entities such as UN country teams, as well as information from other stakeholders, including national human rights institutions and NGOs.
We would like to recall the very important role of national mechanisms for implementation, report and follow-up (NMIRFs) in the implementation of the UPR recommendations. National Parliaments, as well as many other segments of society, in particular, NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions should also be involved in such exercise. They are essential in ensuring that the UPR process has a real and tangible impact on the ground - and that it brings about actual changes in the human rights situation. Therefore, we strongly encourage states under review to make use of the recommendations received during the UPR cycle as a means to add impetus to progress in the human rights situation.
Civil society plays a crucial role in several phases of the UPR process such as in the preparation of the UPR sessions, in the implementation of the UPR outcomes, and in contributing to the quality of the national reports. The European Union will continue to defend civil society organisations fighting for human rights, individual human rights defenders (including bloggers), journalists, other media actors, and human rights lawyers. We will continue to oppose and condemn intimidation, harassment, and reprisals against individuals, NGOs, and groups cooperating with the UN and its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. We therefore call on all States to enable and encourage the legitimate participation of civil society in all stages of the UPR process.
In conclusion, allow me to reiterate the EU full support of the UPR and our gratitude to all stakeholders involved for their important contributions to the process.
*The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.