Universal Periodic Review of Australia

Australia's human rights record is scheduled to be reviewed under the UN's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in November 2015. Non-government organisations (NGOs) across Australia have an opportunity to make submissions and advocate for recommendations. Below are copies of  key materials, media releases, and background information about the 2015 UPR. 


Australian NGO Coalition Materials

Download a summary of  NGO recommendations here.  

Download a copy of the NGO Joint Report here.

Other key resources

Download the Australian Government report here.

Download a copy of Australia's voluntary commitments here.

Download a copy of the Draft Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review here

Updates, media releases and oral statements

10 November 2015: International community condemns Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers during major human rights review at UN (media release)

9 November 2015: read a NGO Coalition update here.

6 November 2015: Australia in the hot seat at UN human rights review in Geneva (media release)

8 October 2015: watch video update 3 from Geneva here.

8 October 2015: watch video update 2 from Geneva here.

7 October 2015: watch video update 1 from Geneva here

25 September 2015: read an oral statement made at the Human Rights Council here

1 April 2015: Nearly 200 organisations outline concern for UN over Australia's declining human rights record (media release)

20 March 2015: Australia’s increasing disrespect for UN to be highlighted in lead up to major human rights review in Geneva (media release & oral statement at the Human Rights Council)

About the NGO Coalition

The Australian NGO Coalition represents nearly 200 organisation across Australia who have been working together on the UPR of Australia. 

The preparation of the NGO materials followed input received through NGO workshops and teleconferences across Australia and was guided by an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from a range of community organisation, led by a co-ordinating committee comprised of three NGOs. Each section has been prepared by lead NGOs representing vulnerable groups or with particular subject matter expertise, using a variety of consultation methods and within a strict word limit, and the whole report was reviewed by the Advisory Group and expert reviewers. 

NGO Workshops on Australia's Universal Periodic Review

Click here for a copy of the powerpoint presentation from the NGO workshop held in Melbourne.

What is the Universal Periodic Review of Australia?

The UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 nations that are members of the United Nations.  The review is intended to be a cooperative mechanism, based on interactive dialogue with the full involvement of the country concerned, together with other countries, NGOs and national human rights institutions. 

The UPR provides a significant opportunity for Australian NGOs to encourage and influence the Australian Government to improve the protection and promotion of human rights and to fulfill its international legal obligations.

UPR Process

Each nation is reviewed by the Human Rights Council once every four years.  The reviews are carried out by the UPR Working Group composed of the 47 Council members.  Each review is facilitated by groups of three nations, or “troikas”, who act as rapporteurs. 

Opportunities for NGO Involvement

The UPR provides a number of opportunities for NGO involvement. One of the key opportunities is through making a NGO submission. Experience has shown that the most effective way for NGOs to influence the final document is to co-ordinate their efforts and provide the UN with a single report. Given the usefulness of NGOs coordinating, a number of NGOs have established a small Coordinating Committee, consisting of Amanda Alford (National Association of Community Legal Centres), Anna Brown (Human Rights Law Centre) and Emma Golledge (Kingsford Legal Centre). 

While the Coordinating Committee has volunteered to coordinate the Joint NGO Report, a critical factor to the success of any UPR is the level of engagement and involvement from civil society as a whole. With this in mind, ideally as many NGOs as possible will be involved in contributing to the process, including through participation on an Advisory Committee, and ultimately endorse the Joint Report. 

Contacts for the Advisory Group of NGOs

Lead NGOs have taken responsibility for co-ordinating the preparation of particular sections of the Joint NGO Report. If you are interested in getting in touch with the NGO responsible for an area of interest (eg. women's issues, policing, disability rights) please find the contact details of the relevant individuals on this contact list.

Key dates

The key dates for Australia's upcoming UPR are:

  • 30 January 2015: draft sections of report due to Co-ordinating Committee
  • 23 March 2015: NGO Report(s) Due 
  • 20 July 2015: Australian Government 'National Report' Due
  • November 2015: Australia's Appearance at the UN in Geneva 
  • January/February 2016: Adoption of the 'Outcomes Report' 

What can your NGO do next?

Read this Background Paper

A Co-ordinating Committee has been established to coordinate an NGO Report to the UPR. Contact one of the Coordinating Committee members to indicate your NGO is interested in participating in the UPR process.

  • Anna Brown, Human Rights Law Centre (anna.brown@hrlc.org.au)   
  • Amanda Alford, National Association of Community Legal Centres (amanda_alford@clc.net.au)     
  • Emma Golledge, Kingsford Legal Centre (e.golledge@unsw.edu.au)

Related UPR information: