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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Thursday, 5 November 2015 (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

Oman
Represented by 14-member delegation headed by Mr. Abdullah Mohammed Said Al Sa'eedi, Minister of Legal Affairs

Documents

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

Troika *

South Africa, Viet Nam, Montenegro

Opening statement by State under review

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

  • Oman has established a commission within the ministry of foreign affairs made up of government and civil society representatives to follow up on the recommendations posed during the first UPR in 2011;  It was noted that 103 recommendations were accepted and 12 rejected due to incompatibilities with legislation and cultural values;
  • Amendments made to the Constitution in 2011 led to major changes including in the promotion and protection of human rights; the head of delegation noted that any confessions solicited under torture were invalid;
  • While the Government was not party to the Convention on the rights of migrant workers the State guaranteed the rights stipulated therein;
  • There have been important changes applied to enhance the independence of the judiciary; new laws have also be promulgated to strengthen the exercise of freedom of opinion and expression; 
  • Over 50% of the population of Oman was made up of young people; the right to education has been established as a priority of the Government; the number of university graduates was rising steadily and the Government spared no efforts to ensure Omani citizens were well suited for the job market;
  • A national plan of action was approved to promote the rights of the child and a ministerial decree was adopted thus establishing a commission to prevent the ill treatment of children in Oman;
  • The number of women and girls enrolled in higher education exceeded that of men, the head of delegation noted; on 25 October 2015 elections were held for members of the consultative council – the Shura;
  • The Government established a national commission to combat human trafficking, in compliance with national legislation, provided care of victims and promoted awareness to combat this scourge and address the phenomenon;
  • Between 2014 and 2015 some 100 million USD have been donated by Oman for humanitarian operations worldwide, including countries struck by natural disasters;
  • Laws guaranteed that religious practices were preserved as long as they did not disturb public order; non-Muslims were able to practice their faith freely;
  • Amidst the many challenges posed to Arab countries in recent years, the Government has spared no efforts in maintaining the stability and security of the country thanks to a policy establishing a balance between increased rights and freedoms while respecting the stability and security; the State viewed these rights and freedoms as an integral part of human rights which has allowed the Government to avoid the expansion of extremism in the country;
  • Citizens enjoyed a very high standard of living, despite the many challenges facing the nation; the Government has dedicated intensive efforts to safeguard human rights and will continue to attempt to overcome all the difficulties it is faced with. 

Participants

In total 85 States participated in the dialogue: 30 HRC members and 55 observers  (Statements available on Oman page on UPR Extranet )

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Advances made in realising the right to health and education;
  • Establishing criminal liability for acts of torture;
  • Steps to establish the National Human Rights Commission;
  • Measures taken to advance the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • The visit of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
  • Steps to establish labour courts and protecting workers’ rights.

Issues and Questions

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

  • Steps to end discrimination against women and girls;
  • Measures to allow women to pass their nationality onto their children;
  • Guaranteeing the freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
  • Upholding the rights of the child;
  • Steps to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty;
  • The ratification of international human rights instruments.

Recommendations

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

  • To end discrimination against women and girls in law and in practice and in accordance with CEDAW; To withdraw reservations to CEDAW; To increase women’s participation in elections to the Shura Council;
  • To allow women to pass their nationality onto their children in an equal manner with men;
  • To decriminalise same sex relations between consenting adults;
  • To ensure effective protection of women against gender-based violence;
  • To continue efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation;
  • To guarantee in law and practice the freedom of peaceful assembly and association; To implement the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly; To amend the Penal Code that disproportionally restricted the right to freedom of association;
  • To fully implement the Child Law and strengthen awareness raising campaigns to promote child rights;
  • To explicitly prohibit corporal punishment; To ensure access to education for children with disabilities;
  • To abolish the kafala system (sponsorship);
  • To adopt a moratorium on the death penalty; To investigate reports on the excessive use of force by law enforcement; To enhance human rights training for law enforcement;
  • To issue a standing invitation to the UN Special Procedures;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the ICCPR and its 2nd OP, the Rome Statute of the ICC, the CAT and its OP, the ICESCR and its OP, ILO conventions 189 (decent work), 87 (freedom of association and protection of the right to organise) and 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining),  the Convention on the rights of migrant workers, the OP to CEDAW, the OP to the CRPD, and the Convention against discrimination in education.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report -recommendations section- of the UPR Working Group on Oman is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 10 November 2015

*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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