How 'universal' is the United Nations' Universal Periodic Review process? An examination of the discussions held on polygamy


In 2006, United Nations Human Rights Council was tasked to establish a new human rights monitoring mechanism: Universal Periodic Review process. The primary aim of this process is to promote and protect the universality of all human rights issues and concerns via a dialogical peer review process. The aim of this investigation isto ask the following question: has this claim of promoting and protecting the universality of the human rights been met, or challenged, during state reviews in the UPR process? The issue of polygamy has been selected as the focus for this investigation to be used, primarily, as a tool to undertake an in-depth analysis of the discussions held during state reviews in the review process. In addition, this paper will employ scholarly debates between universalism and cultural relativism, as well as the sophisticated and nuanced approaches that fall in between the polarised opposites, to analyse the discussions held on human rights during state reviews. Ultimately, the findings and discussion of this investigation will provide a unique and valuable insight to the work and operation of the UPR process, so far.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Law School
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: universalism,cultural relativism,polygamy,Universal Periodic Review
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2017-12-01
Published Online Date: 2017-08-02
Accepted Date: 2017-08-02
Authors: Patel, Gayatri (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-6795-1319)



Version: Accepted Version

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