Peer review mechanisms, such as the Universal Periodic Review, rely upon traditional sovereign state diplomacy for contemporary human rights implementation. This article argues that this is a positive development for several reasons. First, at a theoretical level, it reveals an evolving maturity of the human rights regime through its capacity to detach from exclusively legalistic approaches to human rights implementation. Second, at a policy level, there is enough evidence of measured positive outcomes of peer review mechanisms to suggest a preference for more co-operative approaches to ensuring human rights compliance as a first and complementary step to other more controversial legal/adversarial means of implementation (such as the third pillar of the R2P concept). Finally, peer review mechanisms offer a theoretical and pragmatic framework conciliating between universalist and relativist conceptual approaches to human rights, accommodating and integrating views that call for compliance with international human rights law as well as those emphasizing respect for sovereignty.