UN Universal Periodic Review

The Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs coordinates drafting of the national report on human rights and preparations for the review of Finland. This project nevertheless concerns the Government as a whole, and involves all branches of government.

What is the Universal Periodic Review?

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer review mechanism of States conducted in the context of the UN Human Rights Council. It helps the Council to review the implementation of human rights obligations and commitments by all UN Member States at regular intervals. The UPR has become an international mechanism of significant political importance, complementing other UN human rights mechanisms.

Review cycles take about four years to complete. The first review cycle was arranged in 2008–2011, the second in 2012–2016 and the third in 2017–2022. The fourth review cycle will begin in 2022. Each cycle reviews the human rights situation of every UN Member State.

How is a periodic review conducted?

The periodic review is a multi-phase process. At its core is an intergovernmental dialogue on the human rights situation in the State concerned.

This State initially prepares a report on its own human rights situation. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in turn creates a compilation of conclusions and recommendations already issued by other human rights organs. It also compiles a summary of views submitted by the national human rights institution (the Human Rights Centre in Finland) and by NGOs.

The Human Rights Council UPR Working Group uses these documents to examine the human rights situation in the Member State. This takes the form of a dialogue between Member States, with other UN Member States free to ask questions and submit comments at a meeting of the working group. Member States may also submit action recommendations to the State under review. A report of the review is prepared, recording the action recommendations submitted.

A Government-appointed delegation of ministry officials represents Finland on the UPR Working Group. Independent observers from NGOs may also be appointed to the delegation.

The review concludes with the adoption of the Working Group report at a session of the Human Rights Council.

What does a national report say?

The report describes the state of implementation of the recommendations made in the previous review cycle. It also describes successes and areas for improvement in human rights policy. The report may include political commitments, for example to submit an interim report on implementation of recommendations. The report is concise, and is prepared in accordance with UN guidelines.

The principles applied by Finland in the preparatory phase include openness, broad-based consultations, readiness for constructive dialogue and self-critical assessment, and stressing the importance of consistency and coherence between national and international human rights policies. Finland also seeks to set an example to other countries by encouraging them to adhere to the principles that we consider important in their own reviews.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will coordinate drafting of the third national report and preparations for the review of Finland. The project nevertheless involves the entire Government, and all branches of government will participate in the process.

What happens with action recommendations received?

After the dialogue, the country under review decides which action recommendations it will adopt. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs will forward the action recommendations to the competent government departments for further measures.

Member States should implement the recommendations that they have adopted, and report on this implementation either at the mid-term review, or at the next periodic review. Adopting a recommendation does not create a legal obligation, but establishes a political commitment.

Universal Periodic Review of Finland, 4th cycle

National report 8/2022 (pdf, 356 kb, 24 s.)

Outcome of the review:

Views of Finland on recommendations:

Where can I find more information?