Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its general debate on human rights situations requiring the Council’s attention.
In the general debate on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, speakers raised violations of human rights in a number of countries and regions.
The following non-governmental organizations took the floor: Nonviolence Radical Party, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, Society for Threatened Peoples, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, Eastern Sudan Women Development Organization, Asian Legal Resource Centre, , Centrist Democratic International, General Arab Women Federation, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme, Freedom House, Press Emblem Campaign, Franciscans International, Liberation, In Buddhist Relief Organisation, Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme, Agence Internationale pour le Développement, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopération Économique International, Center for Inquiry, International Educational Development, United Nations Watch, Al Zubir Charitable Foundation, World Muslim Congress, International Humanist and Ethical Union, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities (IHRAAM), Federation of Cuban Women, International Committee for the Indians of the Americas, Development Innovations Networks, Democracy Coalition Project, United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation, Femmes Solidaires, International Federation of Human Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos y de Justicia de Genero, Verein Sudwind, Comite International pour le Respect et L’Application de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples (CIRAC), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Women’s Human Rights International Association, Indian Council of South America, International Organisation of Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, and African Association on Education for Development.
At the end of the meeting Sudan, Venezuela, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Republic of Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe, Japan, Cuba, China, Turkmenistan, Nepal, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Paraguay, Gabon, Iran, and Cameroon spoke in a right of reply.
The Human Rights Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 29 June to hold a panel discussion on the promotion and protection of human rights in a multicultural context.
Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention
Nonviolent Radical Party was extremely concerned by the recent deaths of two Uyghur minors in detention and the attacks on religious schools in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. According to the authorities, an eleven-year old boy had been arrested in May 2012 and committed suicide shortly after. However, there were clear indications that the boy was subjected to torture. The Nonviolent Radical Party called upon the international community and the Human Rights Council to urge China to carry out a full, independent and comprehensive investigation into such incidents.
International Association of Democratic Lawyers said that during the Viet Nam war the United States had used the commonly named Agent Orange, which exposed Vietnamese people to the most damage. About three million of them had been afflicted with one or several kinds of dangerous diseases including children of the second or third generation being born with severe deformities. The United States almost ignored the demand of the victims to admit its responsibility.
Society for Threatened People was deeply concerned about continuous reports of widespread and systematic human rights violations in China. China’s laws protected and promoted the ethnic minority languages, yet the reality suggested otherwise. The Society for Threatened People urged the Council to call upon China to allow the United Nations independent experts to ascertain the situation on the ground and implement the invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights for a fact-finding mission which would devote adequate time to Tibet.
Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development said that South Sudan had been attacked by the forces of the North, which had a direct impact on the life of civilians and constituted a serious violation of human rights. Maarij Foundation urged the Council to take all necessary measures to ensure that all detained persons were freed.
Eastern Sudan Women Development Organization highlighted the importance of women’s development and empowerment. It reported on the steps that had been taken in Sudan in order to improve the position of women in society and commended the contribution of women in several areas such as civil service, education and health.
Asian Legal Resource Centre said that serious human rights violations continued to be documented in Nepal and highlighted the need for such crimes to be investigated and prosecuted. It also noted that no action had been taken to investigate and punish acts of violence committed in Indonesia’s Papuan provinces.
Action internationale pour la paix et le développement dans la région des Grands Lacs expressed concern over the continuous embezzlement of humanitarian aid in conflict zones where many refugee children and the elderly were affected. The systematic misuse of humanitarian aid in the Polisario camps required attention. Populations taken hostage by the Polisario separatist militia continued to suffer from human rights violations and aid was only serving the enrichment of the separatist militias.
Centrist Democratic International said that despite increasing awareness of the need to consolidate achievements in human rights, testimonies suggested continued violations committed by Polisario militias. Humanitarian aid was being mismanaged by the Polisario, who sold aid in neighboring markets. Centrist Democratic International appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to fulfill international obligations with these refugees to ensure their needs were met.
General Arab Women Federation said that in Syria under the excuse of supporting democracy some powers were supporting terrorists and violating international instruments by interfering in the internal affairs of Syria. Collective assassinations on a sectarian basis were taking place in Syria, as well as premeditated violations of human rights, including the targeting of minorities and kidnapping of individuals. Weapons continued to arrive from Europe and some Member States had openly acknowledged their support for the rebels.
Mouvement International de la Réconciliation said that there had been 15,000 casualties in Syria and this was appalling. All armies claimed to protect democracy, and for this purpose used violence. When violence was used it led to further violence in return. To avoid this vicious circle, it was advisable to renounce the use of force. Concerning Syria, the International Movement urged States outside of the conflict not to send arms to fighting parties, and for deserters to be considered as conscientious objectors and be accepted in neighbouring countries as refugees.
Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru said that the report on Belarus was based on Western media sources or on statements made by non-governmental organizations and affirmed that opposition candidates and their partners carried out a peaceful march, while in reality it was not, according to credible sources. Old inquisition methods and sanctions against Belarus who would not submit to Western powers only led to a question of credibility and moral authority of the Council. Tupaj Amaru condemned the violation of Syria’s airspace and appealed for condemnation of the attempt to trigger a conflict, under the aegis of the “responsibility to protect”.
Ligue internationale contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme said that exercising free speech in Venezuela was fraught with risks and that political dissent was criminalized. More than 5,000 had died in the country’s disgraceful prisons, many of them awaiting trial and therefore possibly innocent of what they were charged of. Despite this, the country was seeking election to the Council. To elect Venezuela would shame and embarrass the Council and allow Venezuela to shield its horrendous record of abuse.
Freedom House said that the speaker’s wife and two daughters were being arbitrarily detained in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the speaker had refused an order to kidnap two students from the Republic of Korea 25 years ago, and said that he wished to be reunited with them. He also noted that 200 persons were detained in political prison camps in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and expressed the wish that those persons would be freed.
Press Emblem Campaign reported that in 2012 there was an increase of 50 per cent in the number of professional and non-professional journalists who had been killed compared to last year. He said that the situation was particularly serious in Syria and noted the recent attack on a Syrian television station. Press Emblem Campaign also expressed deep concern over the arbitrary arrests and detention of journalists in the West Bank and Gaza as described in Mr. La Rue’s report.
Franciscans International was deeply concerned about the violation of human rights in Papua and West Papua and in particular about the killing of persons. Victims included civilians, civil servants, and police and army officers. Franciscans International called upon the Council to take immediate measures to stop random shootings, to provide security for all Papuans, and to investigate human rights violations in Papua.
Liberation said that freedom of expression was a cornerstone of democratic rights and freedoms and drew the Council’s attention to India’s efforts to restrict freedom of opinion and expression using Constitutional allowance for “reasonable restrictions” on free speech. For example, artist Maqbool Fida Hussein had his gallery vandalized and had to flee the country after being accused of insulting the Hindu religion with a painting. Media houses had also been targeted because of the content of their work. Liberation called upon India to uphold freedom of opinion and expression.
In Buddhist Relief Organization said that Dalits in India needed particular attention from the international community. They were segregated and restricted from schools, worship places, hospitals and water sources. Crimes against Dalits were committed every day and the Council must call upon India to take positive steps to accord equal status to the members of this caste.
Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy drew attention to human rights violations committed by Maoists, known as Naxalites, and security forces in India. Abductions had become routine and only in 2012, 88 people had been victims and 11 had been killed by left wing extremists. Human rights violations were reciprocated by paramilitary and police forces for which the State had a preference. A holistic approach was needed for addressing the situation on the ground.
Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme said the deterioration of the human rights situation in Belarus since the last elections showed a lack of transparency and political will to create conditions favourable to open cooperation with mechanisms of the Council. The non-governmental organization was alarmed by the scale of human tragedy in Syria. What could be done to end the spiral of violence and daily killings? It regretted that nothing had been done to shed light on military acts in Bamako by Islamist groups. It condemned all forms of violence against women, summary executions, as well as the robbing and looting of historical heritage.
Agence Internationale pour le Développement drew attention to the situation of Sahrawi populations living in the POLISARIO refugee camps, especially to the lack of an appropriate population census. United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations had noted a significant discrepancy between their figures, at 90,000 for the United Nations, and those presented by the POLISARIO, at 165,000, which were clearly disproportionate. Humanitarian assistance was being embezzled and there was a need for a better picture of the situation in the camps.
Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et la Promotion de la Coopération Economique Internationale said that women and children were the most sensitive and vulnerable component of a society and called attention to the situation of women and children in Indian held Jammu and Kashmir. Between 10,000 and 12,000 men were estimated to have been involuntarily and enforcedly disappeared. Recently, thousands of mass graves had been discovered. The organization requested the Council to pursue the Indian Government for an investigation into disappearances, so that the half widows/half wives and children could know the fate of their loved ones.
Centre for Inquiry in a joint statement said that the homosexual community was being discriminated against in Uganda and stressed that several non-governmental organizations had been prohibited in the country because they were recruiting homosexuals. A draft law proposed the death penalty for practising homosexuals and, if adopted, that law would have an impact on the human rights of homosexual persons. The Centre reminded the Ugandan Government of its obligations to human rights and called upon the Council to speak out to protect all minorities in Uganda and to send a clear message to all Governments that persecuted homosexual and transgendered persons.
International Educational Development welcomed the assessment of casualty figures in Syria but noted that no assessment of casualties or mapping of events had taken place in Sri Lanka. It also said that nothing had been said about the assassinations and other crimes which had been committed in the Tamil areas. It concluded by stressing that the Council’s process should not be a substitute for international action in the area of humanitarian law.
United Nations Watch said that its speaker had been a political prisoner in Venezuela until recently and drew attention to the ongoing human rights crisis in the country. Venezuela systematically ignored unfavourable rulings delivered against it and stressed that it would be immoral to allow the country to be a member of the Council unless it resolved to alter its conduct. The Council should remember the persons who were victims of the Venezuelan Government, which did not respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Al Zubir Charitable Foundation said that the human rights situation in Sudan had seen notable progress, including the creation of an office for human rights that would contribute to better monitoring and follow up mechanisms. However, human rights violations against Sudanese people continued unabated, including cases of forced recruitment of children and the kidnapping of women by rebels supported by South Sudan. There was also a large number of Sudanese imprisoned in South Sudan without trial. The Foundation called upon the Council to intervene.
World Muslim Congress said that the occupation Indian forces had committed over half a million crimes and had reached genocidal proportions in Indian occupied Kashmir. The Indian State had been using draconian laws that facilitated human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir. The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions had also mentioned in a preliminary report that the right to life was in effect suspended.
International Humanist and Ethical Union lamented the tragedy of children accused of sorcery in African communities, such as the case of Kriisty Bamua a fifteen-year old child killed in London. The police officer in charge of the case said that violence against women, including on the basis of accusation of sorcery, was not condemned in some cultures where the belief in torture was widespread and promoted by priests. The Union called upon the Council to draw attention to this problem.
International Human Rights Association of American Minorities said that there had been hundreds of criminal cases involving Indian army personnel but that no action could be taken against the army without permission from New Delhi. None of the cases referred to the Government had been answered. Also, the Government had the power to detain any person purely on the presumption that the person may in future commit an act harmful to public order or the security of the State. Mass graves had been identified. The Association urged the Council to impress upon India to stop human rights violations and abide by human rights standards.
Federation of Cuban Women expressed concern about the Human Rights Council reverting to the very practices of its defunct predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights. The United States continued in attempts to make the world dance to its tune and condemned countries such as Cuba that would not yield to its will. It appeared that Member States of the European Union were not aware of the situation of human rights in the United States, or they would have denounced them, and addressed them in this general debate.
International Committee for the Indians of the Americas said the United States had flagrantly manipulated the right to self determination and subverted the United Nations de-colonization progress to extinguish the Alaskan people’s right to self determination. The International Committee urged the Human Rights Council to call upon the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to transmit Alaska and Hawaii’s Article of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination petition to the appropriate bodies of the United Nations, and to relist them as Article 73 Non Self-Governing Territories.
Democracy Coalition Project said that the speaker, Puyan Mahmudian, had been jailed in Iran in 2007 for working as an editor for a pro-democracy student publication. Human rights organizations had drawn attention to the violation of rights such as the freedom of expression in Iran. Women and ethnic minorities faced discrimination in the area of education and certain persons had been banned from higher education on the basis of their religious beliefs. Democracy Coalition Project called upon the Council to address this issue.
United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation said that the plight of the Baluch people demanded urgent attention and fast action. The situation in Baluchistan was bordering on a full-scale ethnic cleansing. The situation had deteriorated because Islamabad had blocked NATO supply lines in Baluchistan. United Towns Agency also noted the plight of Baluch people in Karachi.
Femmes Solidaires said that hundreds of women had been raped by the army in Djibouti and had been scarred for life. Rape and violence against women were a common occurrence in the country, where true peace had not been implemented. Those who had committed these crimes had not been punished and as a result women continued to live in fear. These crimes had to be recognized as war crimes and perpetrators should be brought to justice.
International Federation of Human Rights called on Bahrain to implement all recommendations on the protection of human rights. Despite what the authorities said, Bahraini civil society testimonies suggested that the repression of peaceful protests had only intensified. Activists who participated in Bahrain’s Universal Periodic Review process were attacked by pro-government media who referred to them as traitors.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said that since February 2011 the human rights situation in Bahrain had deteriorated and peaceful protests had been repressed by force. A number of States had joined in the Council to address human rights violations in Bahrain, demonstrating a principled commitment to human rights and democracy. The Cairo Institute urged countries that did not support this effort to address double standards. The Council should also continue to pay attention to the situation in Egypt.
Centro Regional de Derechos Humanos y Justicia de Genero urged the Council to make a statement condemning the situation in Paraguay, with reference to the removal from power of the democratically elected President, by Congress, without respect for due process and in non-compliance with its Constitution. This was a matter of urgency in order to avoid replication of similar events. The Regional Centre also urged the Council to establish a human rights monitoring mechanism in Paraguay.
Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik said Iran had continued its widespread abuse of human rights and drew specific attention to the situation of three well-known human rights defenders. Two weeks ago, the security police had raided a gathering of workers that had applied for permission of that association in 2005. More than 60 of them were detained and were beaten, and others were imprisoned. At least eight political prisoners had been sentenced to death. It highlighted the urgency for Ms. Pillay to visit Iran. It was also important that the Special Rapporteur be allowed to visit the country for a fact-finding mission.
Comité International pour le Respect et l’Application de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples deplored that the United States had been behind the blocking of the publication of a United Nations report that shed light on what President Kagame of Rwanda had done in the north east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and his connection to the recent deterioration in the situation. President Kagame had given active military support and shelter to armed groups that looted and killed and were guilty of the worst war crimes against humanity. The International Committee deplored that action by the United States which declared itself as a defender of human rights.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development was distressed over the forcible acquisition of land by the military in former conflict zones in Sri Lanka and the ill-treatment of persons who complained about that situation. The Asian Forum also urged the Council to pay attention to human rights violations in Myanmar and said that democratization should be bolstered in the country. It appealed to the international community to provide adequate support to the persons fleeing the conflict in the Arakan state.
Indian Council of South America reported on the findings of the Confederation of Indigenous Peoples in Bolivia concerning the violation of their rights and called upon the President of Bolivia Mr. Morales to protect them and their rights. It also drew attention to the right of the indigenous peoples in Alaska and noted that the United States, supported by multi-national corporations and European States, violated the rights of the people of Alaska and yet enjoyed impunity in this Council.
International Organization of Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination in a joint statement drew the Council’s attention to the persons awaiting execution in Iraq. It noted that torture and physical abuse were common ways to extract evidence in the country and that impunity of those who committed the crimes was preserved. It also noted the lack of transparency in court proceedings and the lack of fairness of trials. It reported that hundreds of persons who were on the death row in Iraq had been deprived of their legal right to be properly defended, and asked for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iraq to address those issues.
African Association on Education for Development said that ritual crimes constituted practices in which vital organs were taken based on a belief of ritual cleansing and called upon authorities to respect international human rights obligations, in particular the right to life. Ritual crimes should be stopped in order to ensure the enjoyment of life. The problem of ritual crimes was related to the persistence of beliefs. Similarly, the African Association drew attention to the situation of albinos who were also abused and victimized for their organs or magic rituals; they often received no attention and had to live in hiding.
Right of Reply
Sudan, speaking in a right of reply, responded to allegations made by some delegations and a written statement which were biased and untrue. Concerning comments about aerial bombardments and the situation of the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, the resolutions of the Security Council and the African Union were now under implementation and a roadmap was in place. Regarding the declaration of the state of emergency in the Blue Nile and some localities in South Kordofan, the written statement simply went contrary to the situation. Declaring a state of emergence was an international right under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and it was not true that the State provided the President with extended powers. Concerning cases of arbitrary detention, two cases in question were misleading. More importantly, declaring the human rights situation as deteriorating on the basis of a couple cases was a politically motivated allegation. Pointing fingers, naming and shaming, and selectively promoting allegations would not help advance human rights challenges in any country.
Venezuela, speaking in a right of reply, referred to a statement by the United States that demonized States that would not submit to their demands. The United States made false claims in an attempt to discredit Venezuela’s ability to guarantee the fundamental rights of its people, including the right to belief. The United States was the worst culprit of violations of human rights, while promoting itself as the leader in the promotion and protection of human rights. Fundamental freedoms were not curtailed in Venezuela. Venezuela called on the Government of the United States to desist from its harassment of Venezuela and honour its promise of a new relationship with Latin America, founded on mutual respect and equality of nations.
Sri Lanka, speaking in a right of reply, reiterated that Sri Lanka continued to update the Council on relevant developments and that it continued to constructively engage with the Secretary General and United Nations mechanisms on issues of mutual interest. The Panel of Experts’ report was a culmination of a private consultation and was not the product or outcome of a request of the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly or any other United Nations body. Its mandate did not extend to fact-finding or investigation and assertions in the report. Last year, Sri Lanka had extended an invitation to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit the country. Sri Lanka strongly denied allegations of intimidation of human rights defenders, and said that Sri Lanka had a vibrant and active civil society including human rights activists.
Bahrain, speaking in a right of reply, rejected the accusation that had been made by Switzerland. Bahrain had always cooperated with the Council. Bahrain had not been consulted in a transparent manner about that matter and the statement that was made was based on reports by non-governmental organizations which were often unfounded and therefore did not reflect the efforts and achievements which were being made by Bahrain. Such statements destroyed the image of human rights in the country. All the measures that had been taken in the country had been based on the rule of law and were to the benefit of Bahrain’s citizens. A national dialogue had been launched and an independent investigation commission had been created at the initiative of the King of Bahrain. The recommendations of the Commission had been accepted and were already being implemented. The Council should avoid creating a toxic environment that would undermine the process of implementation.
Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, responded to an earlier statement by Japan on the issue of so-called comfort-women. All issues related to the comfort women had not been legally settled and they may constitute war crimes and, therefore, the Republic of Korea called upon Japan to take the necessary measures in a sincere manner to implement these recommendations and to accept its legal responsibility for the comfort women. Neither the San Francisco Peace Treaty nor the bilateral treaties were concerned with human rights violations in general, and, in particular, to military sexual slavery. The Republic of Korea further called upon the Japanese Government to take all effective measures to provide all necessary remedies, including formal apology, in a manner agreeable to the victims.
Syria, speaking in a right of reply, said that Syria was bewildered by the criticism raised by numerous delegations and rejected the accusations, especially as many came from countries that knew nothing of democracy or freedom. Libya had been exporting and sending mercenaries and shipments of arms to Syria to ensure that the bloodshed continued. The Gulf countries and Qatar had been funding the conflict and Syria called upon Qatar to organize parliamentary elections and adopt a constitution because the institutions in that country were imaginary. It would continue to resist all terrorists, who were the real enemies of the culture of peace and freedom.
Zimbabwe, speaking in a right of reply, expressed disappointment at the fact that it had not been mentioned that the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe were in violation of the rights of the people of the country, as Ms. Pillay had noted. Zimbabwe also demanded that the United Kingdom and all those who had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe lift them because they were in violation of the fundamental rights of the people of Zimbabwe.
Japan, speaking in a right of reply, said that in regard to the issue of the so-called comfort women and events during the war, Japan had extended a sincere apology that reflected the feelings of the Japanese people. Furthermore, concerning the issue of reparations and claims relating to the Second World War, these had been settled by the relevant peace agreements after the war in San Francisco. Nevertheless, the Japanese Government had taken measures to provide support to fund projects, reflecting the interest in furthering mutual understanding and earnest feelings of the Japanese people concerning this issue. The figures quoted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were groundless and these issues should not be brought up as way of hiding ones’ own responsibility concerning human rights.
Cuba, speaking in a right of reply, said that neither the United States nor Sweden had any moral authority to point the finger at or judge Cuba on its human rights record. Their own record of violations deprived them of any credibility to accuse others of the same. The United States kept silent in face of serious violations in its territory and that of other countries, such as those mentioned in Cuba’s statement in the general debate. Cuba was stricken by the fact that the United States had not referred to the criminal embargo it had had in place against Cuba for over 50 years coupled with hostile policy, which was a stumbling block for the full enjoyment of human rights of the Cuban peoples. Sweden should look to its own backyard and promote its own citizens’ rights.
China, speaking in a right of reply, rejected the accusation made by a number of countries concerning the violation of human rights and pointed out that the countries that had made the accusations should put their own houses in order before accusing others. China protected freedom of expression and nobody had been detained for publishing different political opinions. However, those who instigated the subversion of the Government and violated the law would be brought to justice in accordance with the law. The Government protected according to the law the right to religion, language, culture and other fundamental rights of persons in Tibet and in other ethnic minority areas. The Government had invested large amounts of money in that respect and had achieved outstanding results.
Turkmenistan, speaking in a right of reply, said in response to the statement by the United States that in accordance with national law, religious groups were registered according to general international norms in Turkmenistan. All religions were equal and no discrimination existed based on the number of followers. In May 2010, a new criminal court was established that ensured wider supervision by civil society over the functioning of the penitentiary system, in accordance with international standards. In February 2007 a State Commission was created for the consideration of complaints related to the law enforcement bodies, which took the complaints into consideration and took the necessary actions to investigate these. A number of projects had been carried out with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which had also been providing technical assistance on the reform of its penitentiary system.
Nepal, speaking in a right of reply, said it was important to provide the right picture of the situation in Nepal. The Constitution and legal instruments provided a framework for social order. The Government remained fully committed to ensure the rule of law and any person who suffered from torture or ill-treatment was entitled to compensation by the law. Gender equality received priority and over 30 per cent of the recently-dissolved assembly were women. The Government was committed to ensure the safety and security of journalists, despite allegations made on the basis of particular incidents. Nepal was as committed to promoting and protecting human rights as ever.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, rejected the allegations made by Japan and noted that Japan refused to acknowledge rape in war as a crime against humanity. It also dismissed the accusation made by Freedom House, on which it refused to comment further. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also rejected the allegations made by Australia and a number of European countries and pointed out that they had kept silent about xenophobia, Islamophobia and the violation of several human rights in their own countries, which meant that the concern for human rights which they demonstrated before the Council was hypocritical.
Djibouti, speaking in a right of reply, said that the allegations made by Femmes Solidaires were false, unfounded and irresponsible. Peace and stability reigned in Djibouti, with national cohesion of all parts of the population. Djibouti had signed a peace agreement in 1994 and a definitive peace accord in 2001. The peace accord rigorously considered all aspects of the conflict and was something that would not only help consolidate national unity but was also an effective remedy against any repetition of causes that led to the conflict. The Government had committed itself to the true promotion of women’s rights and had established a Ministerial Department dedicated to the integration of women in the process of development. This department had seen its rank raised to the level of Ministry. Determined efforts had been deployed to ensure the significant rise in the representation of women in different spheres of life, including parliament. Djibouti affirmed full confidence and certainty that information related to the situation of women made by Femmes Solidaires had no connection to reality. It rejected all allegations related to impunity and said Djibouti had worked to establish the rule of law in the country.
Paraguay, speaking in a right of reply, responded to the allegations put forward by Connectas concerning the human rights situation in Paraguay. The legal processes undertaken against the former President should have an impact on the human rights of the Paraguayan people. The deposition of the President had taken place in strict observance of the Constitution; it had been decided to replace the President who had decided to stand trial in full enjoyment of his rights. There had been no institutional breakdown and peace and tranquillity reigned. President Lugo and his supporters continued to enjoy their rights without any restrictions and to continue with their lives and business unimpeded, and the media remained free and unfettered. All human rights continued to exist in Paraguay.
Gabon, speaking in a right of reply, rejected the statement that was made in relation to ritual crimes in the country and said that even though certain practices concerning ritual crimes did exist, the statement of the African Association was based on the reproduction of newspaper articles and therefore it was difficult to check those facts in a scientific manner. The matter was now being dealt with at the national level and the Government had all the means to deal with it and take all the necessary steps if indeed a crime had been committed. Gabon asked for the statement that had been made to be rejected and pointed out that the country fully respected human rights.
Iran, speaking in a right of reply, said that allegations made against it were made without relevant data, were unfounded, and were rejected.
Cameroon, speaking in a right of reply, said the statement of the African Association on Education and Development mentioned Cameroon as one of the countries in which women were stigmatized, killed and had their organs used for rituals. Cameroon refuted this allegation which it considered to be completely unfounded, lacking in substance and evidence. Women enjoyed the same civic, economic, social and cultural rights as all others persons residing in Cameroon. Cameroon called on the statement presented by the Association to be rejected and considered as baseless.
Japan, speaking in a second right of reply, said that Japan’s position concerning the issues raised by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were well known and had been repeated on a number of occasions. Japan reiterated that the grave violations occurring in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea were cause for widespread international concern.
Democratic People's Republic of Korea, speaking in a second right of reply, said that the position of its Government was crystal clear and there was no point in reiterating them. Japan had to stop politicizing the situation and start addressing past acts of violence. This was a matter of utmost priority.
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