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Minneapolis/ St. Paul (October 28, 2010) - On November 1, Liberia was being reviewed at the ninth session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations in Geneva. The UPR is a new human rights mechanism created by the UN General Assembly in March 2006, aiming at improving the human rights situation on the ground in each of the 192 UN Member States. It is a key element of the Human Rights Council, reminding countries of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms.The UPR also provides a forum for countries to declare what they have done to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights and acts as a place to share best practices regarding the promotion and protection of human rights.
In 2005, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (LTRC) made a request to the Advocates for Human Rights to coordinate the work of the TRC in the Liberian diaspora in the United States. The Advocates submitted a report[1] based on its work with the Liberian diaspora to the UPR, focusing on accountability for perpetrators of gross human rights violations during the civil wars. The questions of administration of justice, impunity and the rule of law are likely to be discussed during the UPR session, including many other issues. The Advocates for Human Rights will send a delegation of volunteers led by Deputy Director Jennifer Prestholdt to attend the Liberian UPR process in Geneva.
The purpose of the review is to assess to what extent Liberia respects its human rights obligations, as defined by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and any additional human rights instruments to which Liberia is party. (Click here to see a list of human rights treaties ratified by Liberia.[2]) The UPR is a peer review, meaning that it is a cooperative mechanism based on an interactive dialogue between the country being reviewed and any other UN-member country. During the review the Liberian government will present a report on human rights in Liberia, answer questions and receive recommendations from other countries. The interactive dialogue is followed by the informal adoption of an outcome document that includes the recommendations made to Liberia. The outcome document is then officially adopted at the next Human Rights Council regular session.
Anyone interested in following Liberia’s UPR process is advised to visit the following homepages:
·      At http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/index.asp you can stream the Liberian UPR session live, and find news videos from previous sessions. The videos are found under the “Media Centre” tab.
·      At www.ohchr.org, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) publishes the documents submitted to the UPR by the state under review, the UN, and different stakeholders. Any outcomes of the review will also be published on the OHCHR website.
For Further Information:
Jennifer Prestholdt
Deputy Director
612-341-3302 ext. 111
About the Advocates for Human Rights
The mission of The Advocates for Human Rights is to implement international human rights standards to promote civil society and reinforce the rule of law. The Advocates for Human Rights was founded in 1983 by a group of Minnesota lawyers who recognized the community’s unique spirit of social justice as an opportunity to promote and protect human rights in the United States and around the world. The organization has produced more than 50 reports documenting human rights practices in more than 25 countries; educated over 10,000 students and community members on human rights issues; provided legal representation and assistance to over 3,000 disadvantaged individuals and families and works with partners overseas and in the United States to restore and protect human rights. The Advocates for Human Rights holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. Click here to find out more about The Advocates’ work with the Liberia TRC.[3]

[1] http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/liberia_-_9th_session_-_accountability.html
[2] http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/research/ratification-liberia.html
[3] http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/ Liberian_Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_Project_2.html