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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review

11 December 2009 (afternoon)
For use of information media; not an official record

The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review Working Group this afternoon concluded its session, adopting four reports ad referendum, namely those of Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Equatorial Guinea, and Ethiopia, the reviews of which took place from Tuesday 8 to Wednesday 9 December.

Adoption of report on Brunei Darussalam: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Brunei Darussalam are Zambia, France, and Indonesia. Introducing the report, DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) said the Troika members commended the willingness of Brunei Darussalam to consider the suggestions and their openness to the recommendations put forward by different members of the Working Group, and hoped that they had obtained positive encouragement from the process, and would thereafter constructively apply the recommendations that enjoyed their support and which, the Troika believed, would serve to further improve human rights standards at all levels of the national sphere. Representing the State under review, ERYWAN PEHIN YUSOF, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, said Brunei was fully committed to the success of the Universal Periodic Review process and as such would give due consideration to all comments made and see how they would suit and fit Brunei Darussalam best, consistent with its norms, values and traditions.

Adoption of report on Costa Rica: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Costa Rica are United Kingdom, Burkina Faso, and Republic of Korea. Introducing the report, PETER GOODERHAM (United Kingdom) said the fact that the Government of Costa Rica had chosen to provide their response to the vast majority of the recommendations today clearly involved a substantial amount of work on their part, and they were to be commended for their efforts and acceptance of so many of the recommendations made during the review. Representing the State under review, CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said participating in the Review was an opportunity to have an external perspective on the situation, challenges, successes, and weaknesses. No State was perfect, and the participation in the exercise called upon all to consider comprehensively the internal situation, and Costa Rica had accepted most of the advice given.

Adoption of report on Equatorial Guinea: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Equatorial Guinea are Jordan, Egypt, and Cuba. Introducing the report, AHMAD IHAB GAMALELDIN (Egypt) said the draft report reflected the discussion which took place on Wednesday December 9, during which a total of 115 recommendations were made, eighty-six of which enjoyed the support of Equatorial Guinea. The Troika hoped that the review process would render itself beneficial to Equatorial Guinea and wished the Government success in its future endeavours in protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country. Representing the State under review, SALOMON NGUEMA OWONO, Vice-Prime Minister, Social and Human Rights Sector of Equatorial Guinea,, said the thoughts shared in the framework of the Review had given rise to a fruitful exchange of views on human rights trends in Equatorial Guinea, the Government of which had decided to examine each recommendation made and attempt to implement them all.

Adoption of report on Ethiopia: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Ethiopia are Chile, Kyrgyzstan, and Italy. Introducing the report, LAURA MIRACHIAN (Italy) said the Troika had unanimously welcomed the commitment of Ethiopia during the preparation of the review, the interactive dialogue and the drafting of the report, an outstanding signal of the importance that Ethiopia rightly attributed to the process. Ethiopia had decided to accept the majority of the recommendations, and of the remaining, a group would be considered and a reply provided by March 2010. The Troika was confident that the Ethiopian authorities would take positive encouragement from the Universal Periodic Review process and constructively apply all the recommendations that they were in a position to support. Representing the State under review, FESIHA YIMER, Special Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, said Ethiopia was deeply impressed by the interest shown by so many countries in the human rights situation in the country, which gave it an added encouragement to work more towards fulfilling the commitments in regard to human rights obligations and their implementation. It had been an enriching experience for Ethiopia, and a majority of recommendations had been accepted- all others would be given due consideration before the next Review.

In concluding remarks, the President of the Human Rights Council, ALEX VAN MEEUWEN (Belgium), said once more the Working Group had witnessed how successful the mechanism was, with full participation of country delegations, and a great number of recommendations made. More adjustments should be made to make the mechanism work better. A model report had been implemented during the session, which would allow overcome the word limitation constraint and ensure the processing of working group reports. With the conclusion of this sixth session, ninety-six countries had been considered- half the membership of the United Nations.

In accordance with its institution-building package, the three documents on which State reviews should be based are information prepared by the State concerned, which could be presented either orally or in writing; information contained in the reports of treaty bodies and Special Procedures, to be compiled in a report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); and information provided by other relevant stakeholders to the UPR including non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, academic institutions and research institutes, regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives, also to be summarized by OHCHR in a separate document. The reports on XXX can be found here.

Additional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism can be located at the UPR webpage - http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx.

To access the webcast for the UPR session please visit http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/index.asp

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