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Human Rights Council – Universal Periodic Review


11 December 2008 (afternoon)
For use of information media; not an official record

The Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group concluded its third session this afternoon after having reviewed the fulfilment of human rights obligations for 16 States and adopting reports for each State review.

The third group of States to have their human rights records reviewed under the new UPR mechanism during the session were (in order of review): Botswana, Bahamas, Burundi, Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan and Tuvalu.

During the two-week session, which began on 1 December, interactive dialogues 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, the President of the Human Rights Council, MARTIN IHOEGHIAN UHOMOIBHI (Nigeria), noted that much important work had been achieved and carried out in during the session in a spirit of cooperation, goodwill and a common desire to make UPR all that it can be. "Having witnessed the energy and the interest displayed during this session, I have no doubt that we shall collectively achieve the primary goal of the UPR, which is the improvement of the human rights situation on the ground", he added.

This afternoon, the Working Group also adopted, ad referendum, the reports on Cape Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan and Tuvalu. 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 Cape Verde: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report of Cape Verde are Angola, Bolivia and Saudi Arabia. Introducing the report on behalf of the troika ANGÉLICA BARROS (Bolivia) said the document was a good reflection of the dialogue which took place on 10 December and served well to provide a better understanding of the human rights situation in Cape Verde. Representing the State under review, ALCIDES BARROS, Second Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Cape Verde to the UN Office at Geneva, thanked Cape Verde’s development partners as well as all delegations who took part in the dialogue for their relevant questions and recommendations. Cape Verde was still vulnerable in many sectors; hence the support from the international community was very much appreciated. Cape Verde will remain open to dialogue to all partners with a view to strengthening development in the country.

Adoption of report on Colombia: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report of Colombia are Burkina Faso, Bahrain and Italy. Introducing the report on behalf of the troika GIOVANNI CARACCIOLO DI VIETRI (Italy) said the troika unanimously welcomed the level of commitment shown by Colombia which was a signal of the level of importance the State attached to the UPR process. The high number of States participating in the discussion also demonstrated the level of interest in the human rights situation in Colombia. It was noted that Colombia provided its views and comments on the recommendations which would be distributed after the adoption of the review and would be included as an addendum to the report of the Working Group. Representing the State under review, ADRIANA MEJIA HERNANDEZ, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, said her country was grateful for having taken part in the review which would help Colombia to improve its human rights situation and attain its human rights goals. Colombia’s commitment to guaranteeing the human rights of all inhabitants in the territory and to the UPR process itself led it to accept 69 recommendations reflected in the report, which were posed by the 43 countries who took the floor during the discussion. Colombia would do its utmost in implementing these recommendations. The recommendations not acceptable were rejected on legitimate grounds. The violence which persisted in Colombia posed a serious threat to the inhabitants in the country; these threats were now being confronted by the strengthening of the rule of law. Colombia was of the view that the UPR process was the best mechanism for developing a State’s efforts to safeguard human rights. Towards that goal, Colombia would continue to work to strengthen human rights institutions, combat poverty and end all forms of discrimination.

Adoption of report on Uzbekistan: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report of Uzbekistan are Egypt, Indonesia and Nicaragua. Introducing the report on behalf of the troika HISHAM BADR (Egypt) said the report contained an accurate refection of the debate held during the review on Uzbekistan. The responses of Uzbekistan to the recommendations made by States and contained in the report were included in the report. Representing the State under review, AKMAL SAIDOV, Chairman of the National Centre for Human Rights of Uzbekistan, said Uzbekistan was highly responsible to the dialogue and the ensuing recommendations. Uzbekistan will study the recommendations contained in the report in due time and will report back to the 10th regular session in March. The recommendations in the report were reviewed by the Government of Uzbekistan and their position thereon should be clearly indicated in the report.

Adoption of report on Tuvalu: The three Council members serving as the troika for the report of Tuvalu are Qatar, Zambia and Azerbaijan. Introducing the report on behalf of the troika ELCHIN AMIRBAYOV (Azerbaijan) noted that the discussions on drafting the report were held in a very constructive spirit in an open and transparent manner with the full involvement of the State under review in the deliberations. The troika was of the view that the report accurately reflected the discussion during the interactive dialogue which took place on 11 December. Representing the State under review, SEVE LAUSAVEVE, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs and Rural Development of Tuvalu, thanked delegations for posing very constructive questions and suggestions as indicated in the report. Most of the recommendations enjoyed the support of Tuvalu while others would be considered and reported on at the 10th regular session. For Tuvalu to respect its human rights obligations Tuvalu called on the international community to provide the necessary technical assistance and financial support.

The 16 reports adopted during the third session of the UPR Working Group will be considered by the Human Rights Council, in plenary session, at its tenth regular session to be held from 2 to 27 March 2009.

The next session of the UPR Working Group will take place from 2 to 13 February 2009 during which the next group of 16 States will have their human rights obligations reviewed. The States to be reviewed during the fourth session of the UPR Review Working Group are (in order of review): Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China, Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan and Malaysia.

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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