As human rights promotion is recognized as important for achieving sustainable peace, it is particularly critical, in a conflict-affected country like Nepal, to focus on which efforts can effectively influence human rights change. A signatory to the majority of international human rights instruments, Nepal is investing significant resources in reporting to international mechanisms. This means that the limited resources of Nepal to engage in human rights promotion are channelled to its engagement with international human rights mechanisms. However, the change potential at national level of these mechanisms has not been thoroughly explored or documented. This article explores the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of Nepal and the complex engagement of national and international human rights actors in the different phases of the process. The main findings suggest that the limited attention to the full cycle of the UPR process beyond the Geneva-based review is likely to have serious implications for the change potential of the UPR. Another important finding is that process matters and systemic conditions that go largely unnoticed may change processes of engagement within the UPR process. The process of engagement within the UPR process could feed into patterns of polarization between states as well as polarization between state and civil society in the countries under review. The article points to areas we need to further explore in order to understand the potential of the UPR process for facilitating human rights change at national level.