Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 (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

Congo
Represented by nine-member delegation headed by Mr. Bienvenu OKIEMY, Minister of Communication and Relations with Parliament, Government Spokesperson.

Documents

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

Troika *

Austria, Ethiopia, Indonesia.

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • This second UPR was occurring at a time when the national context was marked by a strengthening of peace and institutional stability;
  • The country had witnessed a growing and stable economy, public finances, reduced inflation, and a GDP of more than 5 per cent;
  • The economy of the country was essentially based on oil and wood industries but had been diversified thanks to the agricultural and mining sectors.  Overall economic performance had brought about the reduction of poverty. Between 2005 and 2011, the unemployment rate had dropped from 19.4 per cent to 6.97 per cent;
  • The Government had decided to expand and bolster its strategic framework to combat poverty through its National Development Plan 2012-2016;
  • Since its first UPR, the Congo had acceded to several international instruments, including the first two Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime. They were also currently in the process of acceding to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, as well as ILO Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples;
  • In 2011, Congo became the first country that had ever ratified a national legislation aimed at guaranteeing the promotion and protection of indigenous people;
  • Since Congo’s first UPR, two Special Procedures had visited the country, namely the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People;
  • The Government was aware of the accumulated delay with regard to the presentation of its reports to the different human rights mechanisms. Measures had been taken to address this delay and an inter-ministerial Committee had been tasked with the drafting of the reports; With regard to the fight against corruption in the judiciary, eleven magistrates had been revoked in 2009 by the Judicial Council and the work of its Discipline Commission was still on-going;
  • Congo was still in a post-conflict situation; the police forces had been re-established, incorporating some former fighters.  Major resources had been allocated to the training and capacity-building of law enforcement bodies;
  • With regard to the respect of gender issues and the elimination of violence against women, the Congo had created a Ministry on Women and Integration of Women;
  • The Congolese Government had placed at the centre of its focus access to education for children. Obligatory school enrolment was free up to the age of 16.   Congo had reached a school enrolment rate of more than 82 per cent.

Participants

In total 74 States participated in the dialogue:  30 HRC members and 44 observers  (Statements available on Congo page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Efforts to overcome and promote gender inequality;
  • Progress made in the areas of education, eradicating poverty, health and combatting trafficking;
  • Steps taken to combat HIV/AIDS and advances made in vaccinating children against disease;
  • Ratification of the OP to the CRC on children in armed conflict;
  • The implementation of the plan of action to improve the quality of life for indigenous peoples;
  • Accession to international human rights instruments since the first UPR.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Measures to achieve gender parity and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women;
  • Steps to prohibit female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices;
  • Efforts undertaken to combat all forms of violence against women and raise awareness in that regard;
  • Measures to ensure equal access to education for girls and women at all levels;
  • Progress made in improve access to health, in particular in combatting HIV/AIDS;
  • Steps envisaged to abolish the death penalty.

Recommendations

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

  • To review and repeal all provisions which discriminate against women with a view to achieving gender equality including in access to the labour market; To increase efforts to ensure the full realisation of women’s rights by establishing national programmes to empower women’s organisations and groups;
  • To take necessary measures enforce the prohibition of female genital mutilation per existing legislation and to organise awareness-raising campaign on harmful traditional practise;
  • To provide medical and psychological assistance for women victims of sexual violence; To create a system to include training for law enforcement and healthcare personnel for providing legal and medical aid to survivors of gender-based violence; To take the necessary measures to combat impunity for acts of violence against women;
  • To institute awareness-raising campaigns on human trafficking;  To continue efforts in finalising the bill to control trafficking in persons and to provide appropriate funding and resources on programmes and activities in this regard;
  • To adopt necessary measures to ensure equal access of girls to education at all levels; To pursue efforts to promote and facilitate school enrolment and attendance;
  • To continue efforts to combat HIV/AIDS and support those living with HIV; To continue to work to reduce the occurrence of water-borne diseases such as cholera, and other infectious diseases;
  • To enact legislation to allow human rights NGOs to monitor and visit detention centres;
  • To take steps to strengthen the independence of the judiciary; To ensure access to justice for indigenous groups;
  • To abolish the death penalty for all crimes; To include an explicit definition of torture in domestic legislation;
  • To take steps to bring the National Human Rights Commission in line with the Paris Principles;
  • To extend a standing invitation to UN Special Procedures;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Kampala amendments to the Rome Statute, the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, the OPCAT, the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the 3rd OP to the CRC, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ICC, ILO Convention 169 on indigenous peoples, and the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Congo is scheduled to take place on Friday, 1 November 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. 
**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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