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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 30 April 2014 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Portugal
Represented by six-member, delegation headed by Bruno MAÇÃES, Secretary of State for European Affairs

Documents

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

Troika *

Brazil, Philippines and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • Since the first UPR of Portugal, the State has improved human rights in the country on a continuous basis; The Government was currently implementing all 86 recommendations posed to Portugal during the first UPR held in December 2009;
  • Despite having experienced a difficult economic crisis, the Government has taken measures to mitigate the worse effects of the crisis whilst upholding human rights throughout the country;
  • The Government created the National Human Rights Committee in April 2010, four months after the first UPR; the Committee met regularly with representatives of civil society; the Government worked closely with representatives of civil society in advancing human rights and addressing on a number of issues including domestic violence and human trafficking;
  • Portugal had all of its human rights reporting obligations up to date and was party to virtually all core international treaties;
  • Since 2005 Portugal ratified the OP to the ICESCR, the Convention on forced disappearances, the OPCAT, the OP of the CRC on communication procedures, the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, and the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence;
  • Legislation has also been reformed and national action plans enacted to strengthen human rights in the areas of LGBT rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, sexual and gender-based violence, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, and to better integrate immigrants and the Roma;
  • The right of immigrants were fully recognized in Portugal; in 2001 the European migrant index policy ranked Portugal in 2nd place among 31 countries in Europe;
  • Portugal was one of the first countries to abolish the death penalty and was a firm supporter of the International Criminal Court and thus ratified the Rome Statute in 2002; 
  • The State undertook to reform of the judicial system so as to expedite the exercise of justice; Pre-trial detention was only applied as an exceptional measure; Despite budget constraints, the State was modernizing prison facilities; Human rights training for law enforcement personnel was also provided; There was a general inspection of justice services regulated by the Ministry of Justice; 
  • The Government has also invested widely in ensuring access to education for all, including children of migrants; the educational system provided for services for the most vulnerable groups; The State’s national strategy on Roma aimed to fully integrate the Roma population into society and provided basic social services;
  • A national plan on human trafficking for 2014 to 2017 was currently being implemented; combatting trafficking has included measures to identify and protect victims and provide counselling to victims; shelters for victims of trafficking were also in place;
  • The Government was currently implementing the fourth national plan to combat sexual and gender-based violence covering the period 2014 to 2017;  Over 9,800 law enforcement officials underwent training on SGBV;

Participants

In total 74 States participated in the dialogue:  29 HRC members and 45 observers  (Statements available on Portugal page on the UPR Extranet **)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Efforts undertaken to address the human rights of the Roma population;  
  • The ratification of the CRPD and its OP, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the OPCAT and the 3rd OP to the CRC;
  • The National Plans against Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and on Human Trafficking;
  • Steps to improve the participation of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights; 
  • The extension of a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures;
  • The creation of the National Human Rights Committee.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Efforts to promote and protect the rights of the Roma population and other marginalized groups; 
  • Steps taken to combat racial and all other forms of discrimination, in particular against migrants, Roma and other vulnerable groups;
  • Measures to address domestic and gender-based violence and address the needs of victims;
  • Action taken to improve prison conditions and those for inmates;
  • Efforts to investigate allegations of ill-treatment of detainees and by police and security forces;
  • Experience and progress achieved in the judicial reform process.

Recommendations

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

  • To continue pursuing policies under the National Strategy for the Integration of Roma Communities and to improve access to housing, education and employment for Roma communities;
  • To continue efforts to improve access to education for children and youth from Roma and Ciganos communities;
  • To continue to promote the rights of vulnerable groups, including migrants, Roma and people of African descent;
  • To continue efforts to combat racial and all other forms of discrimination, in particular against migrants, Roma and vulnerable groups and condemn any racist and xenophobic speech; To continue to promote tolerance and diversity;
  • To continue efforts to combat domestic and gender-based violence and ensure victims had access to complaint mechanisms and rehabilitation services;
  • To redouble efforts to combat human trafficking and address the needs of victims;
  • To continue to take measures in promoting women’s participation in political affairs, to promote gender equality and to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women;
  • To pursue efforts to address prison overcrowding and supervise the observance of the human rights of prison inmates and to strengthen efforts to protect the basic rights of inmates in vulnerable situations;
  • To strengthen efforts to ensure that investigations into allegations of ill-treatment of detainees were timely and effective and to investigate all allegations of illegal use of force and ill-treatment by police and security forces;
  • To fully align national legislation with the Rome Statute;
  • To ensure civil society representatives were accorded full and active participation in follow-up to the UPR;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute of the ICC, and ILO Convention 189 (domestic workers).  

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Portugal is scheduled to take place on Friday, 2 May 2014

*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.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org
                             Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org

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