The United States believes the Universal Periodic Review has the potential to effect real change in countries throughout the world. Therefore, when it came time for our national review, we took seriously our commitment to review human rights in our country and consulted with civil society organizations and interested individuals across the United States. Staff, including senior high level officials, from a broad range of U.S. Government departments and agencies participated in these consultations to hear from our civil society partners at the grassroots level. The substance of these consultations was reflected in the UPR report we submitted. We also held a “Town Hall” discussion in Geneva between civil society and our UPR delegation on the sidelines of our UPR presentation.
Since our review, we have adopted a process for carrying out and reviewing our implementation of the recommendations that we accepted.
We have divided the recommendations into 10 thematic areas and have formed working groups to oversee implementation efforts in each of these areas. These 10 working groups are led by the government department or agency with the greatest subject matter expertise in that area and are composed of members from other relevant departments and agencies. The groups will bring a whole-of-government approach to developing solutions for the human rights challenges facing our country. But, of course, this is not something any government can do alone. We need our civil society partners, and through this working group process we will reach out to civil society during the coming months and years, thus continuing the dialogue that was begun in preparation for our review. The honest exchange of ideas, resources, and constructive criticisms will ensure that we stay focused on our goal of not just checking a box for our next review, but pursuing tangible improvements on an ongoing basis.
For the United States, the Universal Periodic Review is not something that occurs in Geneva every four and half years. It is an ongoing, daily tool through which to advance human rights.