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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Friday, 31 January 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

The Comoros
Represented by five-member delegation headed by Mr. Abdou OUSSENI, Minister of Justice for Human Rights

Documents

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

Troika *

Benin, Czech Republic and Germany

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • The Constitution of the Union of the Comoros, adopted in 2001 and amended in 2009, in its preamble reaffirmed the commitment of the Union of the Comoros to the universal values of human rights;
  • The head of delegation indicated that the Comoros has signed and ratified several international conventions and has strengthened the protection of human rights in its laws. The Government has also created several institutions and structures to protect and promote human rights;
  • The establishment of the Human Rights Delegation, the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms, and the Inter-Ministerial International Humanitarian Law Commission reinforces the Government’s capacity to cooperate with follow-up mechanisms established by the United Nations in the field of human rights and to submit periodic reports to treaty bodies;
  • In an effort to fulfil the recommendations of the first UPR cycle the country submitted to the Parliament a draft legislation on the reform of the criminal code and the code of criminal Procedure. The new codes have incorporated the international human rights instruments to which the Comoros is a party, including on the abolition of the death penalty and the prohibition of the worst forms of child labour and of trafficking in children;
  • The Union of the Comoros has also reconsidered its position on the use of corporal punishment within the family and in the school and has taken the appropriate steps to protect the rights of children, including by the adoption of a new labour code;
  • The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was currently under consideration for adoption with the parliament:
  • In 2011, the Union of the Comoros has adopted establishing a national commission for human rights and freedoms;
  • In the Comoros an ancient tradition of religious tolerance prevails. No one is repressed for his or her religious beliefs. The Government however remained vigilant of any instrumentalizing of religion for political purposes;
  • In an effort to reinforce the national health system and health infrastructure, the Government has decided that emergency care should be provided free of charge;
  • In the Interim Education Plan for 2013–2015, a policy, strategies and procedures were worked out for definitively eradicating illiteracy;
  • The Union of the Comoros had set up care structures for children and women victims of abuse and ill-treatment. On the other hand, there are no shelters or reintegration centres for children and women at risk;
  • The death penalty was still recognized in Comorian legislation. Since 2009, however, no executions were carried out and in the spirit of General Assembly resolution 63/168, a moratorium on the death penalty is being observed.

Participants

In total 58 States participated in the dialogue:  24 HRC members and 34 observers (Statements available on the Comoros page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The establishment of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms;
  • The creation of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the ratification of the UN Convention Against Corruption;
  • The observation of a de facto moratorium on the death penalty;
  • Accession to the Rome Statute of the ICC;
  • The ratification of the OP on the CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography;
  • The provision of free emergency health care.

Issues and Questions

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

    • Efforts to combat domestic and sexual violence against women and better protect victims;
    • Steps to strengthen women’s participation in decision-making bodies;
    • Measures to avoid discrimination against and uphold the rights of LGBT persons;
    • Efforts to guarantee free universal health care services for all citizens;
    • Steps taken to improve detention conditions for prisoners;
    • Measures to better protect and guarantee religious freedom.

Recommendations

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

  • To continue to combat domestic and sexual violence against women, particularly aimed at protecting victims, and to adopt a comprehensive law on violence against women; To establish shelters for victims of violence, including domestic and sexual violence;
  • To strengthen women’s participation in decision-making bodies; To reduce gender disparity including in schools and address the high dropout rates of girls;
  • To take steps to avoid discrimination against LGBT persons and to consider implementing the recommendation laid out in the report of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on sexual orientation and gender identity;
  • To ensure free universal health care services for all and to enhance access to health services for vulnerable persons; To ensure all citizens had access to safe drinking water;
  • To continue to focus on children’s access to primary education; To consider including human rights education in the 2015-2020 overall education plan;
  • To proceed with the formal abolition of the death penalty;
  • To take steps to improve detention conditions for prisoners placing emphasis on social reintegration; To maintain separate detention facilities for minors; To improve access to justice for the poorest plaintiffs;
  • To take measures to better protect and guarantee religious freedom, including through bringing the older Penal Code which prohibits conversion from Islam in line with the Constitution;
  • To strengthen efforts to fight corruption and to increase the independence of the Anti-Corruption Agency and increase the number of prosecutions for credible allegations of corruption;
  • To extend a standing invitation to the Special Procedures;
  • To guarantee the independence of the National Commission for Human Rights and to provide it with adequate resources;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the ICESCR, the OP to the ICESCR, the ICCPR, the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the CAT, the 3rd OP to the CRC, the Convention on enforced disappearances, the OP to CEDAW, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.  

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Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on the Comoros is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 4 Februray 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

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