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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF


Thursday, 25 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

Benin
Represented by 14-member delegation headed by Ms. A. Marie-Elise C. Gbedo, Minister of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights

Documents

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

Troika *

Botswana, Kuwait, Romania

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • The head of delegation noted that, in preparation for its UPR, the Government had entered into an inclusive national process of consultation with the participation of UN agencies, which was validated by the National Committee on the Application of International Instruments within the National Advisory Council on Human Rights;
  • The State ratified the second OP of the ICCPR pertaining to the death penalty in July 2012 and officially abolished the death penalty in October 2012;
  • The Sub-committee on the prevention of torture visited the country in 2008 and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in 2010;
  • A reform of national legislation was undertaken in February 2011 which included, among other things, the creation of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture, which was in the process of being set up;
  • Numerous measures have been taken to reduce and alleviate poverty in the country, including the introduction of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction;
  • Steps have also been taken to enhance children’s education and their protection; the Government has endeavoured to guarantee free education for the entire population in accordance with the MDGs;
  • Other priority areas included improved access to social services, the reduction of maternal mortality rates, the promotion of women rights, and the fight against corruption and illegal enrichment;
  • A number of decisions have been taken to address the situation of overcrowded prisons and to monitor and improve the situation of detainees; a commission was set up in that regard; measures have also been taken to devise alternative forms of detention for minors;
  • Six new courts have also been constructed to address the situation of delayed trials and long pre-trial detention periods;
  • The Government has also stepped up the training of judicial and legal staff; to date more than 66 judges have been trained, among others;
  • The Government has also taken steps to protect children accused of witch craft and to combat the ritual killing of children;
  • There was also a law for the prevention and repression of violence against women adopted in January 2012.

Participants

In total 62 States participated in the dialogue: 28 HRC members and 34 observers  (Statements available on the Benin page on the UPR extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Efforts to promote health care, in particular reproductive health and accomplishments in the area of education;
  • Efforts of the Government to combat poverty, in particular the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction;
  • The abolition of the death penalty and ratifying the second OP to the ICCPR;
  • The creation of the National Council for the Promotion of Gender Equity and Equality, the National Institute for the Advancement of Women;
  • Measures taken to promote and protect the rights of women and girls;
  • The establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Measures to combat female genital mutilation;
  • Efforts to ensure the full promotion and protection of children;
  • Steps to address the scourge of human trafficking;
  • Efforts to combat discrimination and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation;
  • Measures to improve the conditions of prisons and detention centres;
  • Literacy and education programmes undertaken by the State.

Recommendations

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

  • Additional steps to fight gender-based violence and discrimination against women;
  • Raising awareness about and combatting female genital mutilation;
  • Measures to guarantee full protection of children’s human rights, including abolishing child labour, trafficking and corporal punishment;
  • Eradication of the practice of ritual infanticide and “witch children”;
  • Adequate training on human trafficking for law enforcement officers and the judiciary and the provision of protective services for victims;
  • Intensification of efforts to address discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and to investigate and prosecute crimes against LGBT persons;
  • Improving conditions of detainees and overall conditions of detention centres and prisons;
  • Implementation of legislation to minimize the pre-trial detention time;
  • Issuing a standing invitation to Special Procedures;
  • Intensification of efforts in promoting literacy among the population, especially among rural women;
  • Make food security one of the national priorities and fully support anti-malnutrition programmes;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments:  The Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC over the crime of aggression, the Third OP to the CRC on communications, the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the Convention of forced or involuntary disappearances.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Benin is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, 31 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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