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UNESCO advises Member States on strengthening Universal Periodic Review recommendations on free expression

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

A new guidance note from UNESCO provides suggestions for Member States on how to word formal recommendations by country peers. The note covers the field of freedom of expression, including the safety of journalists and access to information.

Recommendations are made within the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, where the UN’s Human Rights Council assesses each of the 193 UN Member States on their human rights performance.

Informing the process are reports submitted by Member States, civil society and UN agencies, including UNESCO.

The new guidance note provides model text and background motivation for nine model recommendations across the field of freedom of expression.

They include: reviewing overly-broad legal terminology; setting up or strengthening institutional mechanisms for safety of journalists; special attention to protecting women journalists; and adopting or strengthening access to information laws/policies and commitments to ensure inclusivity for marginalized groups.

The guidance note also unpacks the strong links between the UPR process and the SDG monitoring and reporting.

The model wording in the note will also assist UN Country Teams, National Human Rights institutions (NHRIs) and civil society in formulating their UPR submissions and their follow up to recommendations that are accepted by the country concerned.

The note is part of a project to promote freedom of expression through the UPR, including also UNESCO´s Guidelines for UN Country Teams, National Human Rights InstitutionsInformation Commissioners, Civil Society Organizations and journalists in all six UN languages.

This Guidance note for Member States was produced through funding from UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on freedom of expression and safety of journalists.

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UNESCO's work on the Universal Periodic Review and Freedom of Expression

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About the Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP)

The MDP serves to further strengthen UNESCO work at a global, regional, and national levels, by channeling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression. It enables UNESCO Communication and Information Sector to address complex issues through the design and implementation of holistic medium and long-term interventions at national, regional and global levels. The mechanism allows UNESCO and its partners to achieve greater impact and sustainability, whilst reducing fragmentation of activities in the same field.