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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Tuesday, 23 October 2012 (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

Gabon
Represented by nine-member delegation headed by Ms. Ida Reteno Assonouet, Minister of Justice of Gabon

Documents

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

Troika *

Czech Republic, Italy, Uganda

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • Per a Presidential Decree of 2007 a drafting committee was set up in preparation of the State’s UPR which brought together various actors from Government, civil society and others;
  • the National Human Rights Commission, up and running since September 2011, has also played a key role in the preparation of the UPR of Gabon;
  • Gabon has adopted a set of laws and set up several decrees in order protect and promote human rights;
  • Significant headway has been made in the area of human rights, in particular since 2008;
  • Gabon has ratified a number of international human rights instruments, namely the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, OPCAT and the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, among others;
  • A number of measures have also been made in the area of education, in particular the realization of universal primary education;
  • The State adopted a law combatting trafficking against children in 1994; another law on the protection of minors was also adopted to enhance the protection of rights of children;
  • Gabon has also constructed new prisons in an effort to improve conditions for inmates in the country;
  • The Government endeavoured to ensure the full freedom of the press with several legal provisions ensuring such freedoms;
  • Gabon has been taking a number of steps to ensure the full integration of indigenous populations;
  • The Government made no distinction or discrimination against pygmies and took measures to ensure they were afforded their rights, including the right to education and health, and to citizenship;
  • Responding to a question posed during the discussion, the head of delegation noted that children in Gabon were not turned into slaves; the delegation also noted that the media sometimes were given too much free range.

Participants

In total 61 States participated in the dialogue:  26 HRC members and 35 observers  (Statements available on the Gabon page on UPR website)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The abolition of the death penalty in 2010;
  • The reduction on infant mortality rates and efforts to alleviate poverty;
  • Increased school enrolment rates and equal access to education for boys and girls;
  • The provision of free healthcare for persons living with HIV;
  • The political reform process to vis-a-vis the promotion and protection of human rights;
  • Accession to the Rome Statute of the ICC, the OPCAT, the OP of CRC pertaining to children in armed conflict, and the Convention on enforced disappearances.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Freedom of the press, expression, and assembly;
  • Efforts to combat trafficking of human beings, particularly women and children;
  • Traditional practices affecting the enjoyment of human rights, in particular forced marriages;
  • Policies on school enrolment;
  • Steps to improve prison conditions;
  • The provision of social services for indigenous populations, in particular the Pygmy people.

Recommendations

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

  • Efforts in the area of human trafficking, including awareness raising, investigations, prosecutions and remedies for victims, and the implementation of the Palermo Protocol on human trafficking;
  • The protection of victims of contemporary slavery; a comprehensive strategy to combat violence against children;
  • Full access to social services of vulnerable population in rural areas, particularly the Pygmy peoples and the adoption of a plan to protect the rights of indigenous people, in particular the Pygmy peoples;
  • The participation of minorities in social, economic and political life of the country;
  • Public awareness programmes regarding ritual murders and measures to ensure there was no impunity in such cases and criminal responsibility for perpetrators of domestic violence;
  • Measures to guarantee gender equality and to eradicate customs and traditions that discriminated against women, in particularly forced or early marriages;
  • The extension of a standing invitation to Special Procedures;
  • Measures to ensure the freedom of expression, the press and peaceful assembly;
  • The adoption of legislative and other measures to guarantee in law and practice the protection of freedom of expression and the independence of the press and compliance with article 19 of the ICCPR;
  • The improvement of prison conditions;
  • The provision of universal health care and education and increased efforts to alleviate poverty;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments:  the OP to ICCPR related to the death penalty, the OP on the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the Convention on the rights of migrant workers (already signed), and OP of the ICESC.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Gabon is scheduled to take place on Monday, 29 October 2012

  • 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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