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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Monday, 11 May 2015 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Marshall Islands

Represented by 6 member delegation headed by Tony A. deBrum, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Marshall Islands page on UPR website.

Troika *

China, Congo, Mexico

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Marshall Islands page on UPR Extranet **)

  • The head of delegation informed that during its administration of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the U.S. detonated 67 atmospheric, land, and underwater atomic and thermonuclear weapons from 1947 to 1958, or the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every single day for 12 years; to this day outstanding issues arising from this testing have yet to be resolved;
  • Since its first UPR in 2010, in addition to the Convention on the rights of the child and the Convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, the RMI was now State party to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the Convention against Corruption;
  • The Nitijela (legislature of the RMI) enacted a number of legislation that supported the Bill of Rights and criminalized any violations thereto, particularly the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act 2011, an updated Criminal Code 2011 and the Marshall Islands Public school System Act 2013;
  • The Government also recently adopted a number of important gender-inclusive national policies including the Gender Equality Policy, the National Climate Change Policy Framework, and the National Energy Policy, among others;
  • As to violence against women, the RMI set up the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Task Force in 2012;
  • A recent Family Health Study Survey, assisted by the UN Population Fund, began in 2012 and was projected to be launched later this year;
  • Other policies developed were the National Youth Policy (2009-2014), the National Reproductive Health Policy/Strategy (2014-2016), the RMI Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy (2014-2016) and the RMI Joint National Plan for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management (2014-2018);
  • In 2013, the RMI led efforts for the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders to adopt the Majuro Declaration which set national commitments to reduce emissions;
  • The Minister stated the impacts of climate change on local communities in the RMI continued to worsen;
  • The Special Rapporteur on toxic wastes visited the RMI in March 2012 and the U.S. the following month;
  • One of the issues identified in the report of the Special Rapporteur was the limited access to information relating to the US Nuclear Testing Programme which remained to be the case despite attempts by the RMI to gain access to this information, including as recent as 27 April this year;
  • On behalf of his Government, the Minister requested the assistance of the international community, as it had in 2010, for technical and financial assistance for capacity building of public servants, in improving human rights public awareness programmes and to address the effects of climate change.

Participants

In total 43 States participated in the dialogue:  24 HRC members and 19 observers  (Statements available on Marshall Islands page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The enactment of the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act in 2011;
  • The development of the National Gender Policy;
  • The ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities;
  • The adoption of the Disability Inclusive Development Policy, aimed at improving the life of persons with disabilities;
  • The National Strategic Plan of 2014 and the National Youth Policy;
  • The ratification of the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • The challenges facing the country as a result of climate change and environmental disasters and their impacts on human rights;
  • The prevailing violence and discrimination against women;
  • Access to healthcare;
  • Actions planned towards the ratification of the two main human rights Covenants;
  • Effort to bring national legislation in-line with international obligations;
  • The high level of school drop-out rates.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Marshall Islands.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To establish a national human rights commission in accordance with the Paris Principles;
  • To implement the National Gender Policy;
  • To strengthen existing laws criminalizing rape, domestic violence and violence against children and to introduce a national action plan of action to combat violence against women;
  • To take all measures to end domestic violence and to effectively implement the Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Act;
  • To ensure that all forms of discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation be fully prohibited;
  • To prohibit all forms of corporal punishment of children in all settings and to repeal the authorisation for the use of force to correct minors in the Criminal Code;
  • To give appropriate resources to implement the Disability Inclusive Development Policy;
  • To take measures to facilitate greater participation and representation of women in public office;
  • To continue to seek technical and other assistance from the international community in the area of human rights;
  • The expeditiously pass into law the child protection bill;
  • To include gender and disability as grounds for non-discrimination in the Constitution;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocols; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and its Optional Protocol; the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol; the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers; the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Marshall Islands is scheduled to take place on Friday, 15 May 2015

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

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Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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