The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a United Nations human rights mechanism that monitors, analyses, and highlights human rights violations. In this mechanism, Member States undergo a review of their human rights record conducted by other States and civil society in four-to-five-year cycles. Each UPR review cycle results in the States under review receiving and accepting recommendations addressing human rights concerns highlighted during the process. States are then tasked with adopting these recommendations through national policies and agendas before they are reviewed again in their next UPR review.

For communities and networks of people who use drugs, the UPR can be a useful mechanism for long-term change. Shadow reports submitted by community help to inform which recommendations are suggested to States under review. While recommendations can take years to implement and are subject to political shifts at the national level, they also provide a tool to measure progress on improving the human rights situation for people who use drugs. The UPR also offers a more intersectional platform to review human rights compared to other UN treaty bodies. This makes it ideal for addressing the complex and diverse human rights issues faced by people who use drugs (for example cross-cutting issues of gender, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation and gender identity and expression).

This brief is designed to:
• Introduce the UPR process and its relevance for people who use drugs
• Provide simple steps for submitting a shadow report for consideration in the UPR review cycle
• Provide tips and recommendations for writing a shadow report and conducting follow-up advocacy
• Provide links to resources that may be useful