A review of African states in the first cycle of the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review

Rhona Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abebe titled his article on the first session of the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Universal Periodic Review ‘Of shaming and bargaining: African states and the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council’. As the title suggests, he argues that African states ‘deftly manipulated’ the system, evolving from their traditionally-perceived role as ‘”subjects” of a condemnatory system’ to ‘conscious bargainers and participants in a much more co-operative forum’. With the benefit of hindsight, the first complete cycle of review having been concluded, and aided by qualitative and quantitative data, this article will seek to analyse the extent to which the African regional grouping has demonstrated solidarity inter se and extra se during the review process. It will be demonstrated that African states have proven more engaged with the review process when commenting on other African states than external states. In the spirit of universal application of human rights, it is to be hoped that this will change in the second cycle. African states have also been more positive towards other African states’ progress in human rights than states from other regions. Overall, African states adopted a soft, supportive approach in their comments during the interactive dialogues, although this may yet prove to be successful. Whilst some African states have embraced the opportunity to participate in the review process, a more substantive participation in the second cycle would help the process better achieve its objectives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-365
JournalAfrican Human Rights Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2015


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