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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 11 November 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

Sao Tome and Principe
Represented by six-member delegation headed by Roberto Pedro RAPOSO, Minister for Justice and Human Rights of Sao Tome and Principe

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the Sao Tome and Principe page on UPR website

Troika *

India, Botswana, Paraguay

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Sao Tome and Principe page on UPR Extranet **)

  • Since its independence Sao Tome and Principe had opted to build a country governed by the rule of law and based on fundamental human rights;
  • The consolidation of their democracy had been flanked by a strengthening of the rule of law and participatory practices and social oversight. Structural reforms had also been made in the economic, social, political and justice sectors, while fully respecting international provisions;
  • The Government had taken up priority areas, including unemployment and the high cost of living;
  • The Government had made efforts to control tuberculosis and malaria. The number of deaths from malaria had dropped from 0.009 per thousand habitants in 2010 to 0.004 in 2012. They had also improved assistance and help for people living with HIV/AIDS;
  • Among the issues Sao Tome and Principe was facing were a high level of unemployment and a poorly developed public administration;
  • The Government had taken on board the commitment to diversify the economy and improve the business environment;
  • Persistent and multiple malfunctioning in the judicial system had an impact on the society and the citizens. The judicial system had to be turned into a more credible one;
  • Sao Tome and Principe had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;
  • While there remained conventions they had not yet ratified, Sao Tome and Principe had adopted legal and judicial measures guaranteeing to everyone living in their territory the right to dignity and freedom;
  • Sao Tome and Principe was committed to create a national human rights institution in conformity with the Paris Principles;
  • On the protection of children, they had not only ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child but also ILO Convention 138 on minimum age of employment and ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labour;
  • Sao Tome and Principe was further planning to adopt a National Action Plan for the abolition of forced labour.

Participants

In total 51 States participated in the dialogue:  23 HRC members and 28 observers  (Statements available on Sao Tome and Principe page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Steps taken to register children at birth;
  • Ratification of the CEDAW and the CRPD;
  • The decriminalisation of same sex relations between adults;
  • Establishment of the Counselling Centre for domestic violence;
  • The Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan 2012-2016;
  • Justice reform measures.  

Issues and Questions

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

  • Upholding the rights of the child;
  • Establishing a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • Steps taken to register children at birth;
  • Combating discrimination and violence against women;
  • The ratification of international human rights treaties;
  • Measures taken to combat poverty.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Sao Tome and Principe.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To re-establish the National Commission on the Rights of the Child; To develop a national strategy for the implementation of the CRC;
  • To prohibit corporal punishment in law and practice; To develop programmes and policies for the prevention, recovery and social integration of child victims of trafficking and exploitation;
  • To fully enforce the prohibition of child labour in law and in practice;
  • To strengthen efforts to combat discrimination and violence against women, including sexual violence;
  • To develop and implement a programme to advance reproductive sexual health;  To address harmful cultural or traditional practices; To raise the minimum age of marriage to 18;
  • To ensure effective implementation of the CRPD; To establish a national policy to address the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • To adopt a strategy to eliminate discrimination against all vulnerable groups;
  • To adopt legislation that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • To take measures to enhance access to and quality of education; To improve access to safe drinking water;
  • To take steps to improve prison conditions;
  • To establish a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the ICCPR and its two OPs, the ICESCR, the CAT, the OPs to the CRC on sale of children and children in armed conflict, the CERD, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the Rome Statute of the ICC, the OP to CEDAW, and the Convention on the rights of migrant workers. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Sao Tome and Principe is scheduled to take place on Friday, 13 November 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

Media contacts:
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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