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Human Rights Council adopts outcomes of Universal Periodic Review of Qatar and Nicaragua

AFTERNOON

19 September 2014

Hears Presentation by the Working Group on a Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace, Holds General Debate on Human Rights Mechanisms

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Qatar and Nicaragua. It also heard the presentation of the report of the Inter-governmental Working Group on a Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace and held a general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al-Thani, Deputy Minister for International Cooperation Affairs of Qatar, said that Qatar considered human rights as a priority, as reflected in the development of human rights mechanisms and national strategies and in Qatar’s international policies. Qatar could not accept some recommendations that were incompatible with Islamic law or national identity. Qatar was considering acceding to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and was considering further efforts, including a new draft law on employment contracts, to protect the rights of all workers.

In the discussion, delegations welcomed Qatar’s cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review as well as its commitment to implement recommendations made during this process. Speakers also welcomed the provision by Qatar of development assistance for the advancement of economic, social and cultural rights. Speakers welcomed efforts by Qatar to promote the status of women and protect them from violence, and also to improve the status of migrant workers. Non-governmental organizations expressed concerns about the harassment of journalists and human rights defenders, exploitation of migrant workers and discrimination against women.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Qatar.

Speaking in the discussion were Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Algeria, Belarus, Brunei Darussalam, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon.

Also speaking was the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar.

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: Indian Council of South America, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Amnesty International, International Association of Schools of Social Work, United Nations Watch, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, Victorious Youth Movement, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopération Economique Internationale, and Africa Culture Internationale.

Carlos Robelo Raffone, Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that although his country did not accept the recommendation to accede to new international human rights instruments, human rights were protected by a broad national legislative framework. The recommendation pertaining to the definition of torture was rejected, but torture was prohibited and prosecuted by law. Nicaragua accepted recommendations relating to discrimination against indigenous peoples and people of African descent. There was no persecution or censorship in Nicaragua, and persons deprived of their liberty were already protected. Nicaragua was one of the most advanced countries in women’s participation and empowerment.

In the discussion, delegations welcomed Nicaragua’s enhanced cooperation with mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights, including through the ratification of international human rights instruments. Speakers commended Nicaragua’s efforts concerning economic development, employment and poverty reduction, as well as its progress in the fields of education, health and access to water and sanitation. Non-governmental organizations expressed deep concerns about Nicaragua’s criminalization of abortion and other violations of the rights of women. They also expressed concerns about torture and discrimination against indigenous peoples.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Nicaragua.

Speaking in the discussion were Venezuela, Viet Nam, Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Iran, Malaysia, Morocco and Russian Federation.

The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, World Organization against Torture, Save the Children International, Franciscans International, Action Canada for Population and Development, United Nations Watch and Lutheran World Federation.

The Human Rights Council then heard the presentation of the report of the Inter-governmental Working Group on the right to peace and held a general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms.

Christian Guillermet Fernandez, Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace, presenting the report, said that a second draft of the declaration had been submitted. New elements had been introduced such as the role of women and sustainable development in the prevention of armed conflicts. It was the result of an extensive collaboration with civil society, academia, and delegations. Despite divergent views on the concept of peace and its status in international law, all parties had participated in a constructive manner.

During the general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, speakers welcomed the transparent and constructive manner in which the Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Working Group had carried out its work despite the various views and disagreements concerning the concept of the right to peace. Speakers also called on countries to better cooperate with United Nations human rights mechanisms and condemned reprisals against persons cooperating with the United Nations.

Alberto Pedro D’Alotto, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, said on the issue of reprisals and intimidation and human right instruments, including the Universal Periodic Review, that he wished to take this opportunity to note the Council’s position that any act of reprisal against anyone or any organization cooperating with the United Nations was inacceptable and irreprehensible and must be denounced.

Speaking were Italy on behalf of the European Union, Latvia on behalf of a group of 64 States, Costa Roca on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, Ireland, Costa Rica, United States, Venezuela, Indonesia, Cuba and Germany.

The Human Rights Council will resume its work on Monday, 22 September 2014 at 9 a.m. when it will hold a panel discussion on the use of remotely piloted aircraft or armed drones in counter-terrorism and military operations. The Human Rights Council will continue its general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms at noon on the same day.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Qatar

SHEIKH MOHAMMAD BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL-THANI, Deputy Minister for International Cooperation Affairs of Qatar, said that Qatar had always been keen to participate constructively in the Universal Periodic Review. Qatar considered human rights as a priority, as reflected in the development of human rights mechanisms and national strategies. It was also reflected in Qatar’s international policies and assistance to other countries, including mediation efforts on the international scene. Qatar had big ambitions to overcome difficulties and relied heavily on cooperation and dialogue with United Nations human rights mechanisms. Qatar’s national experience preparing its Universal Periodic Review report had been fruitful and relied on cooperation with different stakeholders. All recommendations formulated during the dialogue were carefully reviewed.

Qatar took note at the time of 84 recommendations for further study. Consequently, several of these recommendations were being implemented. Qatar could not accept some recommendations that were incompatible with Islamic law or national identity. Recommendations calling for ratification of international conventions would be implemented, though Qatar was facing a shortage of technical and human capacities. Qatar was considering acceding to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Qatar was considering further efforts, including a new draft law on employment contracts, to protect the rights of all workers. Qatar would spare no effort for the implementation of accepted recommendations and for its cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms.

ALI AL MARRI, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Committee of Qatar, recalled some of the recommendations contained in the report, including those concentrated on the situation of women, such as on equality, domestic violence, and social and economic rights. It was hoped that women would make headway in the coming years by being able to transfer their nationality to their children. Challenges remained in Qatar, including the situation of expatriates in the country. It was hoped that new legislation would enable an improvement of this situation. Thanks were extended for the immense openness of the Government of Qatar and its willingness to positively engage with the human rights mechanisms.

Uzbekistan noted with satisfaction the very serious approach and constructive participation by Qatar in the Universal Periodic Review process. It was encouraging that it had accepted most of the recommendations made, including those submitted by Uzbekistan on trafficking in persons and on education. Viet Nam welcomed Qatar’s efforts to promote and protect human rights and its efforts within the review process, and noted that it had accepted a large number of recommendations made, including two recommendations formulated by Viet Nam. Qatar was encouraged to promote social tolerance. Venezuela noted progress made by Qatar in implementing accepted recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review. It welcomed measures to enhance life expectancy, recognized major efforts by Qatar to comply with its human rights commitments, and recommended the adoption of the outcome report.

Yemen expressed appreciation for the successes in the field of human rights and the provision of development assistance for the advancement of economic, social and cultural rights. Algeria congratulated Qatar on efforts made in promoting human rights and was pleased that Qatar had agreed to enhance measures to promote the status of women and protect them from violence, and also to improve the status of migrant workers. Belarus welcomed the significant efforts made by Qatar in implementing the recommendations and the intention to extend collaboration with international human rights bodies. Brunei Darussalam appreciated the cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms and commended the establishment of several institutions to advance the situation of vulnerable groups. China welcomed the commitment of Qatar to further promote gender equality and assist women in playing a greater role in socio-economic development and provide greater support for vulnerable groups, particularly persons with disabilities and the elderly. Côte d’Ivoire urged Qatar to follow up on its commitments to promote gender equality and recommended that the Council adopt the report.

Cuba praised Qatar’s impressive economic development, and the provision of basic living means free of charge, as well as the improvement of the living conditions of persons with disabilities. Djibouti welcomed Qatar’s recent establishment of a foundation to protect the rights of children. Iran welcomed Qatar’s decision to support Iran’s recommendations to continue institutional development and the promotion of the rights of women and children. Kuwait praised Qatar’s progress in creating a favourable climate for the promotion of human rights, and for having adopted recommendations made by Kuwait concerning enhanced cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Jordan welcomed Qatar’s agreement to most recommendations made by Jordan regarding efforts to implement economic and social rights, and the rights of children and women. Lebanon congratulated Qatar on its acceptance of Lebanon’s recommendations regarding legislative amendments in line with international law, particularly concerning prejudice against women.

Indian Council of South America was aware that there was work towards improving the human rights situation in Qatar. It encouraged Qatar to continue to work to address and eliminate discrimination against women. International Humanist and Ethical Union was concerned about restrictions on freedom of religion and belief in Qatar, despite the amendment of the Constitution. It was prohibited to preach any religion other than Islam, and violations were punishable by many years of imprisonment. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Study said that in Qatar, journalists investigating human rights violations disappeared and human rights defenders were harassed and imprisoned on a regular basis. No independent civil society organizations existed in the country. Qatar was urged to address these problems. Amnesty International was concerned that foreign migrant workers continued to be exploited and abused by their employers in Qatar. It welcomed accepted recommendations to reform labour and sponsorship laws. Women in Qatar still faced barriers in exercising their rights in policy, law and practice.

International Association of Schools of Social Work congratulated Qatar on its cooperation throughout its Universal Periodic Review, supporting the call to implement measures to strengthen women's capacities and their empowerment as well as to integrate the Rabat Plan of Action to end religious hatred, and regulate media and religious institutions to ensure the actual implementation of recommendations on religious freedom. United Nations Watch objected to the adoption of Qatar's Universal Periodic Review report and to the support expressed by 78 countries, about 90 per cent of the total of States participating to its review, saying migrant workers in Qatar suffered inhumane work conditions, women were denied equality rights, and Qatar participated in financing warfare. Organization for Defending Victims of Violence referred to migrant workers' poor working conditions in Qatar and the country's approach to terrorist groups. There were ongoing human rights concerns with regard to freedom of expression and assembly and it urged Qatar to stop financing terrorist groups. Victorious Youth Movement in a joint statement with Action Internationale pour la Paix et le Développement dans la Région des Grands Lacs welcomed Qatar's implementation of commitments in setting up a national commission of human rights, strengthening the fight against women’s discrimination and improving the conditions of migrant workers through the adoption of labour laws, and encouraged further implementation in all human rights areas. Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopération Economique Internationale had carefully studied the Universal Periodic Review of Qatar and praised Qatar for its efforts to improve women’s and children's rights, which it encouraged to pursue to ensure greater independence for women. It welcomed efforts to promote gender equality in Qatar, but expressed concern for the high rates of violence against women. Africa Culture Internationale said that Qatar’s human rights strategy revolved around education, environment, workers’ rights, and also empowerment of women and protection of the rights of children.

SHEIKH MOHAMMAD BIN ABDULRAHMAN BIN JASSIM AL-THANI, Deputy Minister for International Cooperation Affairs of Qatar, in his closing remarks extended thanks for all the comments and recommendations and said that they would all be taken into consideration. Qatar was ready to engage with all international human rights mechanisms and Special Procedures to promote and protect human rights.

The President said that of183 received recommendations, 145 enjoyed the support of Qatar and 38 were noted.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Qatar.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Nicaragua

CARLOS ROBELO RAFFONE, Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Nicaragua could not accept the recommendation to accede to new international human rights instruments as that would require additional capacity and resources, but this also did not mean that there was a vacuum in the human rights protection in the country; human rights were protected by a broad national legislative framework. Even if the recommendation pertaining to the definition of torture was rejected, torture was prohibited in several articles of the law, complaint processes for victims were in place, and perpetrators were investigated and punished. The national preventive mechanism had been established in 2012, while the Sub-Committee against Torture had visited the country in May 2014 and monitored the implementation of standards. Nicaragua had accepted recommendations relating to the policy to reduce discrimination and guarantee participation of indigenous peoples and people of African Descent in decisions relating to their territories. With regard to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intra-sex persons, Mr. Raffone said that recognition of persons’ sexual orientation started in 2006 and discrimination on those grounds was prohibited.

The Code of Ethics had been adopted to ensure the impartiality of the judicial system and merit-based competitive examinations for the selection of judges and prosecutors had been institutionalized. There was no persecution or censorship in the country, as evidenced by the existence of 300 radio stations, 20 television channels and 20 written media, while public activities were regulated with the support of the police in order to prevent disorder. It was important to keep in mind that Nicaragua was a developing country and even if the economy was stable resources were limited, so it could only commit to the progressive realization of persons with disabilities. Nicaragua rejected the recommendation concerning the protection of the rights of persons deprived of liberty, which were already protected in the legal framework and State policy; the major problem in prisons was overcrowding. Although the recommendations pertaining to combating violence against women were not accepted, Nicaragua was one of the most advanced countries in women’s participation and empowerment and the fight against violence against women had been ongoing since 2007. In 2012 a law had been adopted to guarantee the rights of women and to prevent, sanction and eradicate violence.

Venezuela recognized the huge importance afforded by the Government of Nicaragua to comply with accepted Universal Periodic Review recommendations. The open participation of Nicaragua in the process was extremely positive and demonstrated its commitment to the full realization of fundamental rights. Viet Nam deeply appreciated Nicaragua’s efforts to promote and protect human rights despite the numerous difficulties which confronted it. It welcomed that Nicaragua had accepted many recommendations, including two recommendations made by Viet Nam. Algeria noted the acceptance by Nicaragua of the majority of the recommendations made, including the recommendations by Algeria on measures to improve the quality of education and health services, and the allocation of additional resources for policies for children. Angola was pleased to see Nicaragua’s enhanced cooperation with mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights through the ratification of the main human rights instruments. It wished the Government every success in implementing the recommendations agreed to. Belarus said the second review had confirmed the determination of the Government of Nicaragua to take comprehensive measures to improve the national system for human rights. It wished Nicaragua every success in implementing the recommendations and recommended that the Council adopt the report.

Bolivia congratulated Nicaragua on the progress made in education, health and access to water and sanitation. China appreciated the progress made in economic recovery and the protection of civil and political rights. It thanked Nicaragua for the adoption of its recommendations on poverty alleviation and increased input in education. China called on the international community to continue to provide constructive support to Nicaragua. Cuba said Nicaragua’s commitment was clear, particularly in sustained economic growth, poverty reduction, employment quality, and the protection of women and children. Ecuador recognized Nicaragua’s efforts in the area of the empowerment of women, and its commitment to introducing human rights education. Iran commended Nicaragua for its efforts on economic development, employment and poverty reduction, and welcomed the adoption of recommendations concerning the right to health and the increase of the budget for education. Malaysia appreciated the transparency and commitment of Nicaragua during the Universal Process Review, and its continuous efforts to ensure poverty eradication, employment, economic growth and education. It thanked Nicaragua for its acceptance of its recommendations concerning the improvement of education, health and social services.

Morocco congratulated Nicaragua for its work to meet its international human rights obligations by submitting all requested reports to treaty bodies and urged it to pursue its efforts to consolidate democracy and the rule of law. Russian Federation thanked Nicaragua for the information provided, as it had accepted all recommendations made by Russia, and stressed Nicaragua's significant progress in addressing extreme poverty, malnutrition, access to drinking water and others. It suggested the adoption of Nicaragua's report. Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco in a joint statement with International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development (VIDES International) stressed the human rights situation of women and children as well as people living in rural and indigenous areas of Nicaragua, noting they were still subject to discrimination and lack of health services and education. Shortcomings in education and job opportunities for the youth, together with their insufficient participation in decision-making, caused a lack of confidence in institutions and impaired human rights. World Organization against Torture in a joint with International Federation for Human Rights Leagues statement said that some human rights violations remained unaddressed in Nicaragua. There were obstacles to the independence of the judiciary, with undue influence exerted by the President and his family, which was hostile to freedom of expression and human rights altogether. Institutional violence against women also remained an issue. Save the Children International welcomed Nicaragua's efforts to protect children's rights to education and protection from violence, whilst recalling the issue of violence against women and adolescents. It urged the Government of Nicaragua to provide special protection for women and girls, to review legislation on violence against women on strengthening victims' rights and fighting impunity of perpetrators, to ensure therapeutic abortion in a safe and legal manner, and to ratify the Third Optional Protocol to the Committee of the Rights of the Child on a communications Procedure.

Franciscans International said that Nicaragua was one of the countries of South America with the highest rate of unregistered births. The implementation of recommendations in this matter would require the adoption of a new legal framework by Nicaragua, as a human right and as a way to combat discrimination. Action Canada for Population and Development in a joint statement welcomed Nicaragua’s acceptance of recommendations regarding the enhancement of the protection of the rights of women, including sexual and reproductive health. It was concerned about Nicaragua’s refusal to decriminalize abortion and urged it to review its position on this matter. United Nations Watch was deeply concerned about widespread violations of the rights of women, including their sexual and reproductive rights, and detainees. Nicaragua was urged to immediately investigate allegations of abuse by police forces and hold perpetrators accountable. Lutheran World Federation in a joint statement said that Nicaragua continued to violate the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling that urged it to ensure political participation for indigenous populations. Indigenous populations were victims of persecution and land grabbing by non-indigenous people. Indigenous peoples also experienced segregation, demarcation and social exclusion.

CARLOS ROBELO RAFFONE, Permanent Representative of Nicaragua to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks expressed thanks to all countries that had congratulated Nicaragua in a constructive spirit. Nicaragua was ready to continue to stand by the Universal Periodic Review process, as well as to implement recommendations to the extent possible. Nicaragua wished to offer better opportunities for its people.

Out of 209 received, Nicaragua supported 161 and noted 48.

The Council the adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Nicaragua.

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on a draft United Nations declaration on the right to peace A/HRC/27/63

Presentation by the Working Group on a Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace

CHRISTIAN GUILLERMET FERNANDEZ, Chairperson Rapporteur of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on the Draft United Nations Declaration on the Right to Peace, said that a second text of the declaration had been submitted. It introduced new elements, such as the role of women and the importance of sustainable development in the prevention of armed conflicts. The second text highlighted the existing link between the right to life and peace and sustainable development. States therefore needed to adopt measures to ensure that life could be lived in dignity. Respect for human rights would lead to world peace and to that end Mr. Fernandez appealed that all world conflict be resolved through the respect of human rights. He asked for consent on the adoption of the text so that a real culture of peace could prevail in international relations.

The second text was the result of an extensive collaboration with civil society, academia, and delegations. In its work, the Working Group was guided by the principles of transparency, consensus and objectivity. Despite divergent views on the concept of peace and its status in international law, all parties participated in a constructive manner. Mr. Guillermet Fernandez recommended further inter-session consultations and another session to finalize the final text.

General Debate on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

ALBERTO PEDRO D'ALOTTO, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, said on the issue of reprisals and intimidation and human right instruments, including the Universal Periodic Review, he wished to take this opportunity to note the Council’s position that any act of reprisal against anyone or any organization cooperating with the United Nations was inacceptable and irreprehensible and must be denounced. He called on all countries to continue to make contributions to future consideration of this matter in the Council and in the United Nations in general.

Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the European Union supported the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in mainstreaming and advancing the human rights agenda globally. It expressed concern about new and reliable reports on intimidation, harassment, arrests, lengthy prison sentences and death of individuals cooperating with the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms and said the United Nations should prevent such reprisals through a more effective approach, such as through strengthening treaty bodies as they played a key role in rendering international human rights operative.

Latvia, speaking on behalf of a group of 64 States, said more than 160 countries had been visited by at least one Special Procedure mandate holder, noting however that such mandates had occasionally been called into question. Founding documents of the Council underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation between States and Special Procedures. Whilst the commitment receive Special Procedures was voluntary, the group encouraged States to issue standing invitations whilst respecting Special Procedures' working methods to allow them to work independently and effectively.

Costa Roca, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, thanked the Chairperson Rapporteur for presenting the report of the Working Group and for the constructive approach adopted, stating its agreement on the need to eliminate the threat of the use of war, as well as to promote the Programme of Action on a Culture of Peace, displaying the awareness of nations of that region of the key importance of peace. The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States drew attention to the role of civil society to that end and would submit a resolution with the aim of convening the third session of the Working Group to finalise the preparation of the draft Declaration on the Right to Peace.

Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the report by the Inter-Governmental Working Group on the Right to Peace. Civil wars occurred in all parts of the world and undermined the United Nations Charter and the principles of international law. The African Group looked forward to engaging constructively with all stakeholders on the issue of the right to peace, taking into account the relevant international norms. The African Group would support the adoption at this session of a resolution on the right to peace.

Ireland welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, and condemned acts of reprisals against civil society activists collaborating with United Nations human rights mechanisms. The report of the Secretary-General served as a clear reminder that the United Nations’ response to reprisals had not been effective and coordinated enough. Ireland noted the balanced approach by the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Right to Peace, but did not believe that such a right existed under international law and hoped that future negotiations would take the diversity of views on the matter into consideration.

Costa Rica welcomed the fact that the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Right to Peace had chosen a balanced approach in his report. Costa Rica believed it essential that all areas were taken into account when discussing the right to peace, with a human rights approach and a holistic vision based on the United Nations Charter, and strengthening the principles of mutual understanding and dialogue. It was essential that all made an effort to further develop this concept, and to ensure that dialogue led to consensus, which would ultimately benefit victims around the world.

United States emphasized the importance of States’ commitment to creating an enabling environment for civil society and encouraged all States to work together and with relevant regional, United Nations, and civil society mechanisms to this effort. When civil society organizations were not permitted to share their point of view or felt they must censor themselves out of fear of what might happen to their staff, the Council’s work and credibility suffered.

Venezuela said it had actively participated in the debate in the second session of the Working Group on the Right to Peace. It was unfortunate that some States did not support the initiative of elaborating a declaration on the right to peace. The right to peace was a human right and a right of all peoples, as embodied in the United Nations Charter. The universal principles of employment of peaceful measures to solve conflicts, solidarity, self-determination and respect for territorial integrity was the only way to achieve full development.

Indonesia attached significance to the issue of the right to peace and underlined the importance of this right in national, regional, as well as international contexts. The right to peace was stated in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Declaration on Human Rights. The absence of peace would obstruct the promotion and protection of human rights as well as development. Furthermore, in conflict situations, the right to peace was important to guide all parties to peaceful settlement of disputes.

Cuba welcomed the report of the Working Group. It said peace was a fundamental requirement for the promotion and protection of human rights for all. The right of peoples to peace also included the obligation of all States to end their international disputes in a manner that would not endanger international security. For that reason, the use of violence in the pursuit of political objectives should be rejected because only peaceful political solutions could guarantee a stable and democratic future for all the peoples of the world.

Germany strongly condemned all cases of reprisals, threats, intimidation, violence, harassment and attacks against individuals and civil society. Germany stressed that the efforts of the Human Rights Council, including through the adoption of the Resolution 24/24 in September 2013, represented a necessary step towards the fulfilment of the responsibility to defend human rights. Germany would continue to support those efforts and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society.

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