I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Montenegro, Serbia* and Albania*, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
The European Union remains strongly committed to the Universal Periodic Review, a mechanism with potential to make long-term advancements in all 193 UN Member States. With the ultimate goal of the UPR mechanism being the improvement of the human rights situation in every country, with significant consequences for people around the globe, it is vital that States can base their recommendations on objective and reliable information. In cases where information on the human rights situation is difficult to obtain on the ground within the State under review itself, or from the States’ national report, it is particularly pertinent that 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.
In this regard, the valuable contribution of the civil society both in the preparation of the UPR sessions, and in the implementation of the UPR outcomes, cannot be overstated. The EU reaffirms its strong opposition to intimidation or reprisals against persons who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the human rights mechanisms during all stages of the UPR process. We therefore call on all States to enable and encourage the legitimate participation of civil society in all stages of the UPR process, and thank the President, the Bureau and the OHCHR for their continuous attention to this serious issue.
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 also continue to oppose and condemn intimidation; harassment; and reprisals against individuals and groups cooperating with the UN and its representatives and mechanisms; in the field of human rights including within and in all stages of the UPR process.
We would also like to stress the importance of complementarity between the UPR and the work of treaty bodies and other UN human rights mechanisms.
In conclusion, let me reiterate the EU's full support to the UPR and our gratitude to all involved stakeholders for their important contributions to the process.
 Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.