Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Monday, 5 May 2014 (Afternoon)

(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

Equatorial Guinea
Represented by a 16-member delegation headed by Mr. Alfonso NSUE MOKUY, Deputy Prime Minister or Human Rights of Guinea.

Documents

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

Troika *

Estonia, Japan and South Africa.

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • The head of delegation noted that since the promulgation of the new constitution fresh impetus has been provided to the State towards social development; Equatorial Guinea’s strategy to advance human rights began with combatting poverty, building social housing, schools, hospitals and developing infrastructure to enable people to better enjoy human rights;
  • The Government took steps to ratify the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and implemented a decree in 2004 on the integration of disability rights within the social system; 
  • The judiciary was separate of the legislative and the executive branches and operated completely independently; new courts of first instance were also recently constructed in rural areas;
  • Pursuant to the recommendations from the Special Rapporteur on torture, and Working Group on arbitrary detention, human rights training has been provided to law enforcement; regular inspections of prison facilities and places of detention were also underway; a number of strict measures were also in place to combat corruption, including the enactment of a new law;
  • Steps were being taken to bring the National Human Rights Commission in line with the Paris Principles; the Government also took steps to engage with UN human rights mechanisms;
  • Responding to questions posed in advanced, the head of delegation remarked that the unlawful trafficking of migrants has never been practiced in Equatorial Guinea;
  • The Government endorsed a plan to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the rights of the child pertaining to children in armed conflict and planned to ratify it soon;
  • In terms of the accession to the Rome Statute on the ICC, Equatorial Guinea had already adopted the African Union instruments addressing the issues therein; on the death penalty, the Government has decreed a moratorium; in a recent police manual on human rights it is clearly stated that all acts of torture were strictly prohibited;
  • Additional investments have been made in the health sector and to improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation; safe drinking water was now available to 56% of the inhabitants in the country and work was being concluded on the distribution of potable water;
  • Health officials have been trained with the aim of reducing maternal and infant mortality with an aim to reduce these rates.  A Government representative was also appointed to address HIV/AIDS and STDs and a campaign has been carried out to raise awareness about these diseases; Further activities were being undertaken to combat malaria as well;
  • On education, the Government launched the construction of three university campuses; between 2010 and 2011 primary school attendance rates have risen; over 2,000 teachers have been hired and the enrolment rate has increased significantly, particularly among girls;
  • Restrictions on the written press have been reduced; there was no censorship and no publications were banned in the country.

Participants

In total of  76 States participated in the dialogue:  32 HRC members and  44 observers  (Statements available on Equatorial Guinea page on the UPR Extranet **).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The Inter-Ministerial Commission on Human Rights to combat human trafficking;
  • The reform of the Constitution approved in 2012;
  • The decision to create the Office of the Ombudsman;
  • Efforts taken to reduce maternal and infant mortality;
  • Accession to the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW;
  • The construction of new university campuses aimed to enhance education;

Issues and Questions

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

  • Efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and girls and domestic violence;
  • Measures to combat discrimination against women and girls and empower women
  • Steps to formally abolish the death penalty;
  • The process of bringing the National Human Rights Commission in line with the Paris Principles;
  • Measures taken to increase enrolment rates for primary and secondary schools;
  • Steps taken to guarantee the freedom of expression and to allow media and civil society to operate without restrictions.

Recommendations

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

  • To step up efforts to combat all forms of violence against women and girls and domestic violence and guarantee the effective application of laws to combat impunity of such acts;
  • To take necessary measures to combat discrimination against women and girls and empower women including through the enactment of legislation; To take steps to ensure women had access to health services, including reproductive health care and for HIV/AIDS;
  • To formally abolish the death penalty and remove the death penalty from legislation;
  • To hold security forces and other government officials accountable for human rights violations, including the use of torture and arbitrary arrests and detention of the opposition;  To abolish arbitrary or secret detention and release those detainees in poor health;
  • To ensure the judiciary operated independently and in line with international standards; to ensure that all those arrested were afforded legal representation;
  • To accelerate the process of if bringing the National Human Rights Commission in line with the Paris Principles;
  • To extend a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures; To submit without delay reports under the UN human rights treaties to which it is party; To implement all accepted recommendations from the first UPR;
  • To take additional efforts to increase enrolment rates for primary and secondary schools and ensure education without discrimination;
  • To allow for freedom of expression and for the media to operate in the country freely and without fear and prevent and punish acts of harassment against journalists and human rights defenders; To allow NGOs and human rights experts to carry out their work without restrictions and ease requirements for the registration of all NGOs;
  • To pursue and strengthen efforts combatting acts of corruption and to increase transparency;
  • To allocate necessary resources for implementing economic, social and cultural rights policies and the National Economic and Social Development Plan for Horizon 2020;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, the OPCAT, the Rome Statute on the ICC, the Genocide Convention, the 2nd OP to the ICCPR, the CRMW, the CED, the OP of the CRC on children in armed conflict, the UN Convention on corruption, the UNESCO Convention on non-discrimination in education and the OP of the ICESCR.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Equatorial Guinea  is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 8 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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