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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Wednesday, 23 January 2013 (Morning)

 

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record.  The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed.  An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Botswana
Represented by 13-member delegation headed by Dikgakgamatso Ramadeluka Seretse, Minister of Defence, Justice and Security

Documents

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

Troika *

Uganda, Austria, Poland

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • Botswana continued to live up to its obligation as a democracy and has been observing the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and good governance;
  • The Government gave priority to resourcing its institutions that dealt with the promotion and protection of human rights, these included the Office of the Ombudsman, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, the Police Service, the Prisons Service, and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime;
  • In 2009, for the first time in history, a woman was elected head of the Legislature, one of the Government’s three organs;
  • As regards access to justice, more Specialised Courts have been established in different parts of the country and there was a pilot project on Legal Aid in 2011 to promote better access to justice; moreover, a Legal Aid Bill will be considered by Parliament at its July session this year;
  • The Government continued to pay particular attention to human rights issues which directly impacted on women, children and the youth; gender sensitisation initiatives have been undertaken with a specific focus on HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence;
  • Also on gender-based violence, the Government was currently validating the 2012 gender Based Violence Indicators Study due for completion in September 2013; gender sensitive training for police officers was also being conducted;
  • In 2009 the Government domesticated the Convention on the Rights of the Child through the enactment of the Children’s Act and a comprehensive six-year National Action Plan (2010-2016) for Orphans and Vulnerable Children was adopted;
  • Responding to questions posed in advance, the head of delegation indicated that, as regards marital rape, wide consultations with the public and legislators were underway and the Government enacted the Domestic Violence Act;
  • In terms of the rights of the Basarwa, several programmes are being implemented to address their needs including in the area of poverty eradication, education, and natural resource management; 
  • On the issue of indigenous people, the head of delegation stated that the Government did not recognize any specific group as more indigenous than another; the Government was pursuing affirmative active measures for remote area communities in order to promote social inclusion for those living there;
  • As to the rights of persons with disabilities, the Government set up the Coordinating Office for People with Disabilities in 2010 which has recorded major achievements since;
  • Responding to another question, the head of delegation noted that the Government introduced human rights education for prison staff and also health education training, particularly in the area of HIV/AIDS.

Participants

In total 70 States participated in the dialogue:  27 HRC members and 43 observers  (Statements available on the Botswana page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Progress towards achieving MDG2 on universal primary education and access to education for HIV/AIDS orphans;
  • HIV/AIDS awareness programmes and enhancing the health care system;
  • The creation of the National Children’s Council and Children’s Act; 
  • The national strategy on poverty eradication and progress achieved in that regard;
  • The enactment of the Domestic Violence Act;
  • The establishment of the Office for People with Disabilities.

Issues and Questions

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

  •  Measures to combat gender-based violence and discrimination;
  • The Government’s policy to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence;
  • Steps to uphold the rights of those living in rural communities;
  • Efforts taken to decriminalise sexual relations between people of the same sex;
  • Measures taken to abolish the death penalty;
  • Progress towards establishing a NHRI in compliance with the Paris Principles.

Recommendations

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

  • To take measures to improve the reporting rate of gender based violence and step up efforts to combat such acts;
  • To enact specific legislation on marital rape and provide redress and protection for victims;
  • To decriminalise sexual relations between people of the same sex and engage in dialogue to repeal such laws; 
  • To abolish all forms of corporal punishment and identify types of hazardous work prohibited to persons under the age of 18 years;
  • To strengthen indigenous children’s equal access to education and explore options for mother-tongue schooling;
  • To continue addressing the HIV/AIDS impact on women and children as a priority;
  • To request the transfer of a case from traditional court to a constitutional law court, as recommended by CEDAW and reform customary laws to eliminate restrictions on women’s access to property;
  • To guarantee the return of the Kalahari Game Reserve to the San community and ensure that such communities had access to safe drinking water and sanitation;
  • To redouble efforts to increase women participation in public life and to enhance efforts to address cases of gender-based discrimination, and pay special attention to the needs of rural women;
  • To improve transparency of the clemency process in death penalty cases and consider establishing a moratorium on the death penalty;
  • To speed up the process of setting up a national human rights institution in compliance with the Paris Principles and domesticate all international treaties ratified by the Government;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: ICESCR and its OP; CRPD, OPCAT, Convention on the rights of migrant workers, Convention on enforced disappearances, ILO Conventions 169 (indigenous people) and 189 (domestic workers), and the Third OP to the CTC (communications).

 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Botswana is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 January 2013

  • 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. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org

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