Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review
· The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group concluded its 4th session this afternoon after having reviewed the fulfillment of human rights obligations in 16 States and adopting reports for each State review.
· During the two-week session, which began on 2 February, interactive discussions between the States under review and the Working Group, comprised of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council, and observers, were held during which a wide range of human rights issues were raised.
· Speaking at the close of the session, MARTIN IHOEGHIAN UHOMOIBHI (Nigeria), President of the Human Rights Council, who noted that with the conclusion of the 4th session the Human Rights Council had now reviewed the human rights records of 64 States, one-third of the way to reviewing the human rights records of all 192 UN member States. During this session, the Human Rights Council witnessed an exceptionally high number of interventions during the interactive dialogues. The high number of speakers and the high level delegations attending the reviews highlight once again the increasing importance the international community attaches to this process, he stated.
· The fourth group of States to have their human rights records reviewed under the UPR process were, in order of review: Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China, Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan and Malaysia.
· This afternoon, the Working Group also adopted, ad referendum, the reports on the Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan and Malaysia. All reports were prepared and presented by groups of three Council members, or troikas, who served as rapporteurs for each of the country reviews.
· Adoption of report on the Mexico: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Mexico are South Africa, Pakistan and Nicaragua. Introducing the report CARLOS ROBELO RAFFONE (Nicaragua) recalling that the report contained all the interventions made by delegations during the review, expressed full appreciation to Mexico for the excellent review and process it carried out. Representing the State under review LUIS ALFONSO DE ALBA, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked all participating States as well as members of civil society for their valuable role in the UPR of Mexico. The OHCHR was also to be thanked for preparing the review process effectively. Dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders enhanced the understanding of the progress made and challenges to be overcome to ensure the realization of human rights for all people. Mexico has benefited from this exercise, which not only took the form of the interactive dialogue but also continued through an encounter with NGOs and other human rights bodies on a meeting held on the same day of the Mexican review. Mexico, as of now, accepted the great majority of recommendations made and included in the report. Mexico was more convinced than every that this UPR process was able to contribute effectively to promote and protect human rights throughout the world.
· Adoption of report on the Mauritius: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Mauritius are Zambia, Malaysia and Slovakia. Introducing the report ANTON PINTER (Slovakia) thanked the delegation for its constructive cooperation and flexibility in the course of the preparation of the report. It was noted that the report was divided into three categories: the recommendations which enjoyed the support of Mauritius; those which will be examined by Mauritius; and those taken note and commented on. It was noted that Mauritius did not reject any recommendation. Representing the State under review, JAYARAMA VALAYDEN, Attorney General of Mauritius, said his delegation benefited greatly from the discussions this week and provided a good opportunity to evaluate the reaction of the international community to the efforts of the Government of Mauritius for the promotion and protection of human rights. Many of the recommendations made will prompt Mauritius to do even more for its citizens. The UPR process has illustrated that Mauritius remained committed to international human rights law and to providing its population with the highest level of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.
· Adoption of report on the Jordan: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Jordan are Burkina Faso, Japan and Mexico. Introducing the report MABEL GOMEZ OLIVER (Mexico), after thanking the State under review and members of the troika for their participation drafting the report, said the report was a reflection of the discussions held during the interactive dialogue that took place on 11 February during which 53 delegations participated with comments, questions and recommendations. She then read out some oral amendments. The troika was convinced that the UPR process would bring positive results to Jordan. Representing the State under review, MUSA BURAYZAT, Director of the International Relations and Organizations Department and Director of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, said his country was fully supported to the UPR and has helped increase awareness in Jordan of all human rights questions. The fact that the issue of the UPR had been ion the public agenda in Jordan had increased citizens’ awareness on the issues at hand. This general check up on human rights in the countries helped let the people know where the country stood and informed them of the obstacles to overcome. The UPR had made it possible for Jordan to engage with the international community in a constructive fashion. Jordan was grateful for having been afforded the opportunity to inform the international community not only of the commitment which existed at the highest political level but also the serious efforts the Government was undertaking and the tangible progress achieved in this regard.
· Adoption of report on the Malaysia: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report on Malaysia are Egypt, Qatar and Nicaragua. Introducing the report HISHAM BADR (Egypt) thanked the State under review and the OHCHR Secretariat staff for the work in preparing the report and then made some slight oral amendments. Representing the State under review, TAN SRI RASTAM MOHAMED ISA, Secretary-General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, said his country has benefited from the many constructive suggestions and recommendations. Malaysia has done its utmost to accept most of the recommendations mentioned in the report. The entire UPR process has been very beneficial to Malaysia. The process of preparing the UPR report gave Malaysia the opportunity to assess and reflect on its achievements and shortcomings in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. The UPR had offered an environment of cooperation and consultation as envisaged by the Council in the creation of the process. While some may be disappointed with the process, the issues raised during the Malaysia review, for example, gave holistic consideration covering a wide range of issues in the areas of social, economic, cultural, civil and political rights.
· The next session of the UPR Working Group will take place from 4 to 15 May during which the next group of 16 States will have their human rights obligations reviewed. The States to be reviewed during the next session are, in order of review: Central African Republic, Monaco, Belize, Chad, Congo, Malta, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Viet Nam, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Comoros and Slovakia.
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.