The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is seen by some as the most tangible innovation in the reform process that created the Human Rights Council in 2006 to replace the repudiated Commission on Human Rights. It is an intergovernmental process where states monitor themselves, in contrast to the quasi-legal character of treaty bodies and special procedures. Its function is to assess each state’s fulfillment of its human rights obligations and commitments, based on objective and reliable information, in a manner that ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all states. The first UPR session was held in April 2008, and as the mechanism evolves many issues will confront it and determine its future direction. The thesis considers how state obligations may serve to influence the UPR mechanism on a practical, progressive level to enhance human rights and interests. It looks at human rights obligations and identifies categories of UPR interests, based on dignity, community and process, by which to examine matters affecting the UPR, such as openness, inclusion and efficiency, norms of obligations, and effects of state conduct. In the end, it finds that state sovereignty remains paramount, and the mechanism is subject to abuse, but important avenues exist whereby all human rights stakeholders can help bring balance and greater recognition of human rights in the determination of state domestic performance and, by extension, to what occurs on the ground.