Human Rights Council
20 September 2012
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on the United Kingdom, India and Brazil.
Karen Pierce, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Office at Geneva, stressed the commitment of the United Kingdom to play a key role in realizing the Universal Periodic Review’s potential through working together to preserve core values of this mechanism. Following its review in May 2012 and the extensive in-country consultations, the United Kingdom had accepted in full 73 of the recommendations, partially accepted 18 and rejected 40. The United Kingdom had voluntarily committed to a mid-term report in 2014, which was an important tool to monitor and measure progress and maintain focus on the recommendations.
Great Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, Scottish Human Rights Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, said that two key human rights issues required ongoing monitoring and engagement: the current debate on the future of human rights protection in the United Kingdom, and the effect of the economic crisis and austerity measures on women, children, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
Speaking in the discussion were Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Algeria, Belarus, Botswana, Cuba and Ecuador. The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation, Human Rights Watch, Action Canada for Population and Development, Amnesty International, Save the Children International, North-South XXI, Maryam Ghasemi Educational Charity Institute, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Edmund Rice International and International Federation of Human Rights Leagues.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on the United Kingdom.
Dilip Sinha, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that India viewed the Review as a continuous process and not a one-time exercise and stressed that its commitments were not limited to the accepted recommendations. A range of administrative and legislative measures had been taken to seek improvement in all aspects of human life, said Mr. Sinha, and underlined the importance of an effective institutional framework to protect the human rights guaranteed to its people by law.
The National Human Rights Commission of India said it would help to disseminate the Universal Periodic Review outcomes to the public and monitor the implementation of the accepted recommendations. The problem in India was not lack of laws and budgets, but the implementation of recommendations.
Taking the floor were Indonesia, Iran, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Cuba, Morocco, Myanmar, Philippines, Russia, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Also speaking in the debate on India were the following non-governmental organizations: Human Rights Watch, Forum Asia, Franciscans International, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, Action Canada for Population and Development, International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, Save the Children International and World Evangelical Alliance.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on India.
Marine Nazareth Farani Azevedo, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Brazil had taken part in the second Universal Periodic Review cycle in a transparent, constructive and inclusive manner with civil society, United Nations colleagues and Special Procedure mandate holders. Brazil accepted nearly all recommendations - 159 out of 170 - and gave its partial support to 10 recommendations because of institutional constraints. One recommendation, on ‘abolishing the separate system of military police by implementing more effective measures to tie State funding to compliance with measures aimed at reducing the incidence of extrajudicial executions by the police’, was inconsistent with constitutional and legal principles of the Brazilian legal system and could not be supported, given existing constitutional provisions on the existence of civilian and military police forces.
Speaking in the discussion were Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Algeria, Benin, Bhutan, Botswana, Bulgaria, China and Cuba. The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, Foodfirst Information and Action Network, North-South XXI, International Lesbian and Gay Association, International Voluntarism Organisation for Women, Education and Development, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme and Association for the Prevention of Torture.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Brazil.
The Human Rights Council will hold its annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective during its mid-day meeting today. At 3 p.m. it will consider outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review on Philippines, Algeria and Poland.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review on United Kingdom
KAREN PIERCE, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review had demonstrated how much this mechanism could contribute to the promotion of human rights. The United Kingdom was committed to play a key role in realizing its potential through working together to preserve core values of the mechanism. The United Kingdom stressed the importance of the universality of the Universal Periodic Review process and that no country was left behind. It was up to States to lead the way in establishing best practice in the process and the United Kingdom had joined another 39 countries in committing to make clear, realistic and focused recommendations and make a maximum of two. Following its review in May, the United Kingdom had reserved its position on all 132 recommendations it had received in order to consult across the United Kingdom Government, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and with civil society. The United Kingdom had voluntarily committed to a mid-term report in 2014 which was an important tool to monitor and measure progress and maintain focus on the recommendations.
The United Kingdom had accepted in full 73 of the recommendations, partially accepted 18 and rejected 40; one recommendation relating to stolen assets was considered to be outside of the process. The United Kingdom had accepted those recommendations it agreed with and was able to implement, or that were already being implemented. It had rejected the recommendations it could not commit to implementing at this stage. The United Kingdom stressed that it would only accept recommendations it could implement because it was important to the credibility of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and the ability to track implementation. The Universal Periodic Review must be seen as a continuous process and the period between reviews in which recommendations were implemented had the potential for far reaching impact.
DUNCAN WILSON, Great Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, Scottish Human Rights Commission and Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, in a joint statement, called on the United Kingdom to work with national human rights institutions to ensure that the Universal Periodic Review translated into a clear and measurable impact on the ground and to develop an outcome focused implementation plan. Two key human rights issues required ongoing monitoring and engagement: the current debate on the future of human rights protection in the United Kingdom, including calls to repeal the Human Rights Act and plans to create a United Kingdom Bill of Rights; and the effect of the economic crisis and austerity measures adopted by the United Kingdom Government on the enjoyment of human rights, of particular concern were the potential effects on women, children, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission expressed grave concern with regard to the failure of the United Kingdom to respond to recommendations concerning Northern Ireland.
Egypt regretted that the British Government considered that cooperation with requesting States to repatriate funds of illicit origin as falling outside the scope of the Universal Periodic Review and its obligations under international human rights instruments. Egypt recalled that parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption had obligations to prevent, detect and deter the international transfer of funds of illicit origins. Egypt was encouraged by the United Kingdom’s declared commitment to review the Equality Act in 2015.
Iran urged the United Kingdom to take effective measures to follow up implementation of the recommendations it had received on the provisions of the Convention against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in overseas territories under its control, as well as the withdrawal of reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning detained children, refugees and asylum-seeking children.
Morocco commended the United Kingdom’s commitment to the protection of human rights as illustrated by the recognition granted to its three national human rights institutions; and efforts to strengthen the rights of children through the ratification of the Optional Protocol of the Convention on Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and urged the United Kingdom to withdraw its reservation to the Convention. Morocco encouraged the United Kingdom to pursue efforts to protect victims of violence and combat discrimination against religious minorities.
Philippines took particular note of the openness of the United Kingdom to consider pursuing the ratification of the international instruments protecting the rights of migrants, including the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families and the International Labour Organization 189 Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.
Russia called on the United Kingdom to take measures to ensure the rights of detained persons under all circumstances. Russia noted that many of the recommendations had been rejected and called on the Government to review its position on lifting reservations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Thailand congratulated the United Kingdom on the successful organization of the Olympic and Para-Olympic Games this year. Thailand welcomed the inclusive national Universal Periodic Review process and expressed hope that the Government would promptly initiate a thorough investigation into places of detention in Afghanistan.
Algeria appreciated the acceptance of the recommendation by Algeria to eliminate the pay gap between men and women and urged the United Kingdom to take further measures to address racial discrimination and xenophobia. Algeria hoped that the United Kingdom would review its position concerning the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families.
Belarus noted that the United Kingdom was proud of its reputation in the field of human rights, however it had rejected a good third of the recommendations made during the process and the Belarusian recommendation concerning the minimum age for detention on criminal grounds had been rejected. The United Kingdom had repeatedly assured the Council on their commitment but what was the value of these assurances?
Botswana said that, even though the United Kingdom had accepted around 69 per cent of the recommendations, Botswana was encouraged by the fact that the United Kingdom undertook to keep all recommendations under continuous review and to keep updating the Council on those which had not been accepted. This, along with continuous efforts in institutional and legislative reform, clearly demonstrated a commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.
Cuba appreciated that the United Kingdom had accepted a number of recommendations, including some put forward by Cuba, but noted with concern that a large number of recommendations had been rejected or accepted in part. The United Kingdom continued to face significant challenges, in particular concerning economic, social and cultural rights. More efforts should be geared to prevent the negative impacts of austerity measures on vulnerable groups and more programmes to address marginalisation were needed.
Ecuador was struck by the large number of recommendations rejected by the United Kingdom, particularly those related to the ratification of international instruments, including that protecting the rights of migrant workers. The explanation of the United Kingdom that migrant workers were protected by national legislation was not sufficient given the violation of their rights on the ground.
European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation noted that intersex persons in the United Kingdom were not assured that medical professionals would adequately uphold their rights. The United Kingdom continued to impose requirements for transgender persons wishing to receive legal gender recognition.
Human Rights Watch noted the reforms the United Kingdom was undertaking to align its counter-terrorist legislation with its international obligations and welcomed the acceptance of the recommendation to investigate arbitrary detention and torture in the context of the fight against terrorism. Human Rights Watch acknowledged the engagement of the Government with civil society throughout the Universal Periodic Review process.
Action Canada for Population and Development said that women from Northern Ireland, despite being United Kingdom citizens, were not entitled to free, safe and legal abortions on the National Health Service, including women who had been raped, diagnosed with foetal abnormality, and victims of incest. The abortion law should be amended to prevent unsafe abortions and punitive provisions should be removed.
Amnesty International said that accountability was necessary for the United Kingdom’s involvement in rendition, secret detention and torture and other ill-treatment of alleged suspects in the context of counter-terrorism. The investigation into cases involving Libya constituted a positive development but failed to conform with international human rights standards. Counter-terrorism efforts should not undermine human rights protection.
Save the Children welcomed the acceptance of several recommendations relating to children’s rights and called on the United Kingdom to address child poverty, incorporating the Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law through comprehensive children’s rights legislation, and to ratify the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention.
North-South XXI expressed serious concern about the level of child poverty in the United Kingdom, where one third of children lived in poverty, and the increasing incidence of discrimination based on race or religion, which was affecting Muslims and migrant workers. The Government should take urgent steps to change public attitudes toward minority groups and foster an environment of mutual respect.
Maryam Ghasemi Educational Charity Institute in a joint statement expressed concerns about discrimination against Muslims in the United Kingdom and urged the Government to ensure that future policies did not undermine the trust of Muslim communities in institutions. Also, the Government should avoid incitement to hatred and violence.
International Humanist and Ethical Union said that the Government had consistently stonewalled the triggering of its 2010 Equality Act which would allow caste to be added to the list of protected characteristics. The Human Rights Council should inform the United Kingdom that further delaying of the implementation of legislation against caste discrimination was unacceptable.
Edmund Rice International Limited said the United Kingdom rejected roughly 75 per cent of asylum seekers’ claims. While awaiting a decision, asylum seekers received limited support but when their case was rejected, single adults and childless couples were evicted from their accommodation and benefits were withdrawn. Edmund Rice International Limited urged the United Kingdom to implement recommendations concerning the human rights of asylum seekers.
International Federation of Human Rights Leagues said that historically Scotland counted with separate laws, a separate education system and more recently a Parliament and, therefore, different solutions and recommendations that related to the particular Scottish experience were also necessary. The International Federation of Human Rights Leagues regretted that the Scottish Human Rights Commission was unable to undertake particular case work and expressed concern that welfare reforms had a particular impact on persons with disabilities.
KAREN PIERCE, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said in her closing remarks that the debate today was very useful and stressed the importance of the ability of everyone to raise in the Universal Periodic Review the issues that deserved scrutiny. Several speakers commented on the number of recommendations that the United Kingdom had rejected; Ms. Pierce said that the Universal Periodic Review was not an arithmetical process and that all recommendations came with a number of assumptions. The United Kingdom had rejected those recommendations whose underlying assumptions it did not share. Concerning the situation and the rights of migrants, Ms. Pierce said that the United Kingdom had a robust national legislation in place protecting their rights. The reservations on the Convention on the Rights of the Child had been withdrawn, said Ms. Pierce, and stressed the very strong position on torture which was not tolerated in the United Kingdom. The police had initiated inquiries into possible criminal offences that might have been committed, but because of the independent nature of police investigations no further information was available now. Finally, Ms. Pierce said that the United Kingdom had worked closely with Afghan human rights groups concerning detention facilities in this country.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on the United Kingdom.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review on India
DILIP SINHA, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that a number of recommendations were made by delegations during the interactive dialogue of the Universal Periodic Review. These had been carefully examined in consultation with the concerned ministries and departments. India viewed the Review as a continuous process and not a one-time exercise. It had commenced the second phase of the Review phase, during which it would pursue the implementation of accepted recommendations. However, its commitments were not limited to those recommendations. The fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and the various laws enacted by the Parliament formed the bedrock of human rights in India. A range of administrative and legislative measures had been taken to seek improvement in all aspects of human life. It was important to have in place an effective institutional framework to protect the human rights guaranteed to its people by law. In India, a democratic polity with an independent and impartial judiciary, a free and independent press, a vibrant civil society and an independent National Human Rights Commission, provided the requisite framework for the promotion and protection of human rights.
National Human Rights Commission of India said it had studied the recommendations made to India in its Universal Periodic Review and would help to disseminate the outcomes to the public. The Commission would also monitor the implementation of the accepted recommendations and would examine the rejected recommendations and see if the Commission itself could do something to implement them. Laws and budgets were not a problem in India, said the Commission, but the implementation was. The excellent laws were often flouted and a huge percentage of the billions of dollars budgeted for social welfare programmes often did not reach the beneficiaries.
Indonesia welcomed India’s acceptance of 83 recommendations which reflected India’s genuine commitment and solid conviction to the Universal Periodic Review. Indonesia was of the view that its recommendation on the enhancement of the effective coordination between the Central and State Governments would enable continued progress in the implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2010.
Iran said that India’s active participation in the Review was a manifestation of its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. Iran had submitted five recommendations to India on a number of issues and in that regard it appreciated the acceptance by India of a significant number of those.
Thailand welcomed in terms of policies, among others, India’s dedication to promoting equal access to justice for all and was thankful for the acceptance of its recommendation in that respect. At the same time it hoped that India would continue its efforts to eliminate discrimination against and empower all marginalised and vulnerable groups.
Kyrgyzstan appreciated the efforts by India to eliminate discrimination against marginalized groups such as women, children and minorities, and the laws enacted to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially rapid growth, poverty reduction, food security, job creation and improving access to public health and education services.
Lao People’s Democratic Republic was pleased that India had accepted a large number of recommendations and had already taken several important initiatives to ensure the rights of its citizens to live with dignity in a healthy environment. India had also introduced in Parliament the act on the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
Malaysia applauded the efforts of India to promote human rights and was pleased with the responses provided by India during its review. Malaysia was highly confident that India would take appropriate measures to implement the accepted recommendations which would improve the human rights situation of its citizens.
Cuba welcomed India’s commitment and the additional information it provided. It noted progress in the areas of, among others, social security, poverty eradication, and the rights of women, children and the disabled. Cuba welcomed the acceptance of a vast number of recommendations made.
Morocco congratulated India on the tangible action taken to promote human rights since its first Review cycle. Morocco also commended India for the legislative measures taken to protect human rights defenders as well as measures taken to eliminate discrimination vis-à-vis marginalised and vulnerable groups and empower them.
Myanmar commended India for its constructive engagement with the Review process and for its acceptance of recommendations including the one Myanmar had made. It also welcomed the efforts being undertaken by the Indian Government to further strengthen the institutional mechanisms to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights.
Philippines supported the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group report on India. Religious freedom was practised without discrimination in India, while the caring and humane treatment of refugees was a standard practice there. The Philippines welcomed India’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, particularly the provision of mandatory education to children from 6 to 14 years and to address poverty.
Russia said India had made significant efforts in implementing the recommendations from its first Universal Periodic Review cycle, as well as to ensure civil and political rights, and to eliminate gender discrimination. Russia recommended the adoption of India’s second Universal Periodic Review report.
South Africa appreciated the progress achieved in ensuring that citizens enjoyed their economic, social and cultural rights. Real progress had been achieved in the areas of the protection of women, the right to live in dignity in a healthy environment and the right to education. South Africa and India shared longstanding historical ties and would continue their positive engagement to promote the development agenda. South Africa supported the adoption of India’s Universal Periodic Review report today.
Sri Lanka commended India for its acceptance of recommendations including those made by Sri Lanka and noted that many were either implemented or in the process of implementation. Sri Lanka appreciated the advances made in universal primary education, school enrolment, reduction of maternal and child mortality, empowerment of women, and achievement of food security and access to water, despite the challenges.
Human Rights Watch regretted that India had failed to address the recommendations related to ending impunity. Despite pledges to zero tolerance, India did not amend the laws that effectively provided immunity to military and paramilitary personnel implicated in serious abuses and failed to amend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that provided the armed forces with widespread powers in internal conflicts.
Forum Asia noted that most of the 169 recommendations it had received were actually repeated from the first cycle, thus indicating a poor implementation status. The recommendations to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was key as the Government continued to camouflage the systematic impunity enjoyed by the armed forces in the Northeast and Kashmir.
Franciscans International expressed deep concern about the failure of the Indian Government to provide effective protection for the enjoyment of the human rights of vulnerable groups, especially children, women, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which continuously faced different forms of discrimination and were often denied full access to their rights.
Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik criticized India for only giving the list of accepted recommendations. It was very disappointed that India did not accept to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, or the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. It recommended that India reconsider the recommendations it had not accepted.
Action Canada for Population and Development was deeply disappointed and concerned that the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 that had been approved by the Cabinet retained Section 377 of the India Penal Code, which criminalized consensual same-sex relations. It also urged the Government to address trafficking holistically.
International Commission of Jurists highlighted that despite signing the United Nations Convention against Torture 15 years ago, India still had not ratified it, nor had it criminalized torture under domestic law. The International Commission of Jurists urged India to meet its Universal Periodic Review recommendations and to take prompt action to enact legislation criminalizing all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman, degrading treatment or punishments, and to uphold the moratorium on the death penalty.
Amnesty International regretted the apparent lack of support by India of recommendations to hold security forces to account for human rights violations. Amnesty International deeply regretted India’s rejection of recommendations to allow a visit by the Special Rapporteur on Torture, which had been pending since 1993, to go ahead. It also expressed serious concern about the lack of protection of human rights defenders in India.
Save the Children, in a joint statement with World Vision, highlighted two areas of Universal Periodic Review recommendations to secure the well-being of India’s children. India needed to redouble its efforts in maternal and child healthcare, particularly on child marriage, discrimination in access to maternal healthcare and the lack of health workers. The health budget should also be increased to the World Health Organization-recommended figure of five per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product by 2017.
World Evangelical Alliance was surprised that India had not accepted the recommendation concerning obligations it already had under the human rights framework. It regretted that India had not accepted recommendations asking it to create a comprehensive framework to deal effectively with the particular circumstances of communal or targeted violence.
DILIP SINHA, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks said that India was conscious of its human rights challenges, especially in their enforcement, and that it had persevered diligently to address these. The fact that it may not have accepted a particular recommendation did not in any way mean that it did not recognise its value, or that it did not have the adequate or necessary regulation or legislation in place to address those issues. In fact, it had pledged to work assiduously on all issues highlighted in the second Review. India pointed out that on certain issues which required parliamentary and other consideration, while it may not accept the recommendation per se, it would continue to pursue the effective implementation of provisions already on its statutes.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on India.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review on Brazil
MARIE NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO, Permanent Representative of Brazil to United Nations Office at Geneva, said Brazil had taken part in the second Universal Periodic Review cycle in a transparent, constructive and inclusive manner, which involved a thorough consultation process with civil society, United Nations colleagues and Special Procedure mandate holders. Brazil accepted nearly all recommendations - 159 out of 170 - and gave its partial support to 10 recommendations, which faced institutional constraints. Only one recommendation, which was inconsistent with constitutional and legal principles of the Brazilian legal system, could not be supported. For example, Ms. Azevedo said recommendation No. 127 on ‘protecting the natural family formed by a husband and a wife as the best conditions for raising children’ was only partially accepted as Brazil recognized other family arrangements were also eligible for protection, such as women raising children alone. The recommendation that could not enjoy the support of Brazil was No. 60, on ‘abolishing the separate system of military police by implementing more effective measures to tie State funding to compliance with measures aimed at reducing the incidence of extrajudicial executions by the police’. The reason was the constitutional provision on the existence of civilian and military police forces, although Brazil had adopted measures to improve control over the actions of public safety professionals.
Russia said that the second cycle of the Review confirmed that the Brazilian authorities were taking all possible measures to improve mechanisms for the promotion of human rights and actively engaged civil society. Russia welcomed that Brazil had accepted most the recommendations, and recommended the adoption of the outcome report.
South Africa appreciated Brazil’s ongoing efforts to address the challenges in the realization of the rights to adequate food, health, education and housing. It also recognized, in particular, Brazil’s strong engagement and commitment to the anti-racism agenda, including on issues related to people of African descent.
Sri Lanka was pleased to note that its recommendation to take appropriate measures to eradicate extreme poverty enjoyed Brazil’s support. Sri Lanka was encouraged by the policies implemented to combat racism and to promote racial equality, as well as Brazil’s endeavours to combat sexual exploitation and abuse of women and children.
Thailand commended Brazil for aiming to eradicate extreme poverty by 2014 and encouraged Brazil to continue to promote equal access to opportunities for all, especially the vulnerable groups, and to enhance the conditions of women prisoners in accordance with the Bangkok rules. Thailand supported the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Brazil.
Venezuela commended Brazil’s moves to lift out of poverty millions of people without neglecting social inclusion, thus meeting many of the Millennium Development Goals. Brazil’s work to integrate the most vulnerable people into social policies was also commended. Venezuela recommended the adoption of Brazil’s report.
Viet Nam commended Brazil for continuing its efforts on reducing poverty and narrowing socio-economic development in different regions and social groups, as well as its work to create favourable policies for the most vulnerable groups, such as women, children and minorities. Viet Nam supported the report.
Algeria said that it had noticed Brazil’s firm resolve to implement civil, political, economic and cultural rights. Algeria valued the acceptance by Brazil of most recommendations, including those put forward by it on promoting initiatives for social harmony and for combating child labour.
Benin noted the exploits achieved in the implementation of recommendations from Brazil’s first Review. Brazil had reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights. Benin encouraged Brazil to continue reforms to ensure the enjoyment of human rights in accordance with international law and recommended the adoption of the outcome report.
Bhutan appreciated the open and constructive manner in which Brazil had engaged in the Universal Periodic Review Mechanism and welcomed its acceptance of the vast majority of the recommendations as well as its frank and realistic approach to implement these in a progressive manner.
Botswana said that Brazil’s acceptance of most of the recommendations during the last review in May this year clearly demonstrated the country’s commitment to the promotion and protection of the human rights of its people. Botswana particularly noted the efforts made at the highest political level to the eradication of extreme poverty by 2014, and recommended adoption of the report.
Bulgaria noted with appreciation that Brazil accepted to review its national legislation, for example in fully aligning it with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and to create a National Council for Human Rights in line with the Paris Principles. Bulgaria wished Brazil success in the implementation of all the recommendations that were accepted.
China appreciated the responsible and constructive attitude with which the Brazilian Government participated in the Universal Periodic Review. China welcomed efforts made, particularly to the right to development, the right to food and the promotion of sustainable and inclusive development, as well as remarkable achievements in poverty elimination. China supported adoption of the report.
Cuba said that the current and former Presidents of Brazil had done a great deal in favour of human rights, and also in overcoming poverty and discrimination and promoting civil and political rights. It was no surprise that Brazil had accepted the majority of recommendations put forward to it.
Human Rights Watch urged Brazil to take concrete steps to address serious concerns that included impunity for police officers that broke the law. The most effective way to curb police abuse and ensure success of initiatives was to make certain that those police officers that broke the law were brought to justice. It welcomed Brazil’s acceptance of recommendations on torture and detention.
International Commission of Jurists welcomed Brazil’s acceptance of a number of recommendations, in particular those that related to the need to improve access to justice. It regretted that Brazil seemed to only partially support recommendations relating to the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted.
Amnesty International welcomed Brazil’s support for the recommendations to establish a national human rights institution compliant with the Paris Principles. It noted however that 18 years had elapsed since that discussion had begun and urged Brazil to create a strong and independent institution without further delay.
FIAN International respectfully requested that Brazil accepted all recommendations in its May 2012 Universal Periodic Review in reference to indigenous people, in particular the right to traditional land, territory and the right to be consulted. Further the demarcation process of indigenous lands should be completed and legislation to confirm the protection of human rights defenders should be approved without delay.
North-South XXI encouraged Brazil to play a leading role on the right to health, not just in the Human Rights Council but also within the forum of the World Health Organization. It also noted the growing influence of Brazil on the world stage and recognized its economic and social development. It therefore looked to the country to develop an environment of solidarity and cooperation with its partners.
International Lesbian and Gay Association welcomed Brazil’s stance on recognizing the legitimacy of same sex civil unions, although no legislation recognized the right of these couples to form a family, which violated the principle of equality. It also urged better recording of homo and transphobic crimes and commended the secular principles of Brazilian education policy.
International Voluntarism Organization for Women, Education and Development in a joint statement said that difficulties persisted in the full implementation of the right to education in Brazil and there was still a high illiteracy rate and indigenous children were particularly discriminated against. Brazil should take adequate measures to combat illiteracy and continue efforts to improve the quality of education.
Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme said efforts would have to be made by Brazil to overcome obstacles concerning access to education and housing for people of African descent. Rencontre Africaine expressed concern about the situation of the penitentiary system, and hoped that the Olympics and World Cup would be used as opportunities to tackle racism and discrimination.
Association for the Prevention of Torture said that torture and ill-treatment continued to be a widespread practice in Brazilian places of deprivation of liberty and such acts generally went unpunished. The Association for the Prevention of Torture welcomed the acceptance of most recommendations related to torture but regretted that Brazil did not fully support the United Kingdom’s recommendation concerning the national preventive mechanism.
MARIA NAZARETH FARANI AZEVEDO, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks said that Brazil had taken due note of reviews and hoped to work together in a cooperative manner towards the implementation of all accepted recommendations. The challenge now was to implement these. The Government of Brazil attached great commitment to those efforts and it would integrate all accepted recommendations into its national human rights policy through widespread consultations, including with civil society. Brazil intended to maintain and intensify ongoing dialogue with the High Commissioner and her Office including the Regional Office and other stakeholders to ensure the implementation of recommendations.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Brazil.
For use of the information media; not an official record