In this opinion piece, Anika John reflects on how the UPR has impacted how she views human rights issues in New Zealand. A short blog that reflects on her trip to Geneva, to observe New Zealand in the Universal Periodic Review in January of 2019.
Attending New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review of human rights at the United Nations in Geneva, one recurrent theme of our delegation’s meetings with UN agencies was the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite the absence of SDGs in UPR recommendations so far, the natural convergence between the development and human rights agenda means combining the two can make them each doubly powerful. Given this under-utilised relationship, I will argue the need for the SDGs to be at the forefront of recommendations made during the current third cycle of the UPR.
Worldwide, the rights of people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and sexual characteristics are under threat. New Zealand’s third Universal Periodic Review - five-yearly process whereby a state’s compliance with international human rights treaties and norms is assessed at the United Nations - may feature New Zealand’s first ever recommendation on these issues.