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UN council begins universal human rights reviews

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council [official website] held its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) [official website; OHCHR backgrounder] Monday, reviewing the human rights record of Bahrain. Under the UPR, the 47-member Council will systematically investigate the human rights situations in all 192 UN member nations. Bahrain's review [UPR materials; recorded video] focused on issues relating to foreign workers, freedom of expression and gender equality.

The Council has faced accusations of bias, but Human Rights Watch praised the creation of the UPR [press release] as

one of the most significant innovations in this new Human Rights Council. Under this system, for the first time, the human rights records of all UN Member States regardless of their size, wealth, or military or political importance will be regularly examined through a common mechanism.
Bahrain's current review is part of a two-week review of the human rights situation in 16 countries; the process will be repeated three times a year until all 192 members of the United Nations have been reviewed. AP has more.

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