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Human Rights Council adopts outcomes of universal periodic review of Kyrgyzstan and Guinea

AFTERNOON

24 June 2015

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Kyrgyzstan and Guinea.

Ulan Djusupov, Permanent Representative of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that out of 196 received recommendations, Kyrgyzstan had accepted 139, rejected 28 and took 29 for consideration, of which 11 had been accepted and 18 had been noted. Kyrgyzstan regularly received Special Procedure mandate holders and was working on adopting a National Action Plan for the implementation of their recommendations. Its laws ensured protection from discrimination for all people within its territory and under its jurisdiction, on the grounds of sex, gender, ethnicity, language, and others. The current legislation did not violate the rights of sexual minorities. The legislation on limiting propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations was currently being considered, and the legislation on foreign agents was being considered by Parliament. An enormous amount of work had been done to bring domestic legislation in line with international obligations and to improve mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

Speakers in the discussion commended Kyrgyzstan for the progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights, especially of women and children, and persons with disabilities, and for its efforts to formulate a national development strategy and to reduce poverty. Other speakers criticized restricting freedom of expression as it was discussing the bill on foreign agents and on sources of foreign funding. It was regrettable that Kyrgyzstan rejected the recommendations to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Two deeply problematic bills pending before parliament, an anti-gay “propaganda” bill and a “foreign agents” bill, would seriously curb freedom of association and expression and blatantly flout the obligation to ensure non-discrimination.

Mr. Djusupov, in concluding remarks thanked Member States for their constructive comments. He noted that Kyrgyzstan attached great importance to the Universal Periodic Review as an effective mechanism for advancing human rights, and that it aimed to further improve human rights in the country, in line with international standards and obligations.

Speaking on Kyrgyzstan were Belarus, China, Cuba, Ghana, India, Kuwait, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Albania.

The following civil rights organizations also took the floor: World Organization against Torture, Human Rights Watch, Article 19, COC Nederland, Amnesty International, and Verein Südwind Entwicklungspolitik.

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

Diaby Khalifa Gassama, Minister of Human Rights and Public Freedoms of Guinea, said 194 recommendations had been made to Guinea during its Universal Periodic Review. Those relating to the justice and security reforms would continue to be implemented and strengthened. As for recommendations pertaining to gender discrimination and gender violence, Guinea would continue undertaking social, normative and institutional reforms to better protect women and hold perpetrators accountable. Regarding reconciliation, the Government had just launched national consultations to define a coherent roadmap for an inclusive and consensual reconciliation. It also continued efforts to ensure Guinea’s National Human Rights Institution’s conformity with the Paris Principles. Despite the Government’s commitment, the international crisis and the Ebola virus meant that Guinea needed international support for the fulfilment of its human rights obligations. Guinea noted recommendations relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and to the death penalty. This position was not definitive, as sensitization campaigns would be conducted and a parliamentarian debate on the death penalty would be arranged.

Speakers in the ensuing discussion welcomed Guinea’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, as seen by the creation of a ministerial department in charge of human rights, acceleration of the process of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and its accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. They also appreciated the steps taken by Guinea to promote and protect human rights in the context of the Ebola outbreak, and called on the international community to provide technical assistance to Guinea in order to improve its efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights. At the same time, civil society organizations noted that the rule of law in Guinea remained weak and that key investigations into atrocities were still not complete. Progress in most of those cases was hampered by inadequate resources and the failure of members of security services to respond to judicial summons.

The issues of female genital mutilation, conjugal rape, abortion and military justice also remained problematic.

Speaking on Guinea were Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Venezuela, Albania, Botswana, Burkina Faso, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kuwait, and Mali.

The following civil rights organizations also took the floor: Human Rights Watch, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Amnesty International and Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme.

The Council then adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Guinea.

The Council will reconvene on Thursday, 25 June, at 9.m. to consider the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain and Lesotho.

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Kyrgyzstan

ULAN DJUSUPOV, Permanent Representative of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that out of 196 received recommendations, Kyrgyzstan had accepted 139, rejected 28 and took 29 for consideration, of which 11 had been accepted and 18 had been noted. Turning to the recommendations rejected by Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Djusupov said concerning issuing a standing invitation to Special Rapporteurs, Kyrgyzstan regularly received Special Procedure mandate holders and was working on adopting a National Action Plan for the implementation of their recommendations. In relation to recommendations to review the legislation contrary to international standards on discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, Kyrgyzstan said that its laws ensured the protection from discrimination for all people within its territory and under its jurisdiction, on the grounds of sex, gender, ethnicity, language, and others, and said that the current legislation did not violate the rights of sexual minorities. The legislation on limiting propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations was currently being considered, and the legislation on foreign agents was being considered by Parliament. The main principle of freedom of information was to be objective and to disseminate information independently, which required journalists to verify information received. In 2013, the Coordinating Council for Human Rights had been established and Kyrgyzstan was working actively with Special Rapporteurs and had recognized the competence of the Committee on the Rights of Children and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to receive individual communication from citizens. An enormous amount of work had been done to bring domestic legislation in line with international obligations and improve mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Kyrgyzstan was looking at establishing an integrative mechanism for the recommendations received by the human rights bodies and mechanisms, including those received during the Universal Periodic Review, and those received from Special Procedure mandate holders.

Belarus welcomed the delegation of Kyrgyzstan and commended its responsible approach during the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review process, which allowed the country to successfully move towards the improvement of the promotion and protection of human rights.

China commended Kyrgyzstan on its participation in the Universal Periodic Review in a constructive manner, and for having adopted China’s recommendation to continue striving to reduce poverty. Kyrgyzstan had done a lot to improve women’s participation and economic development.

Cuba congratulated Kyrgyzstan on the effective implementation of the recommendations made during the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, and commended its efforts to formulate a national development strategy and to improve the rights of persons with disabilities.

Ghana welcomed the fact that its recommendations on gender policies were adopted, and encouraged Kyrgyzstan to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It hoped that the Government would consider establishing a national centre for the prevention of torture, and encouraged it to adopt necessary measures for good governance and the rule of law.

India commended Kyrgyzstan for the receptive and constructive manner in which it had participated in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and welcomed its acceptance of many recommendations, including those made by India.

Kuwait welcomed the efforts of Kyrgyzstan to implement the recommendations emanating from the Universal Periodic Review, and in particular the setting up of the Coordinating Council for Human Rights, and welcomed the recommendations made by Kuwait concerning the rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.

Russia noted that Kyrgyzstan had adopted most of the recommendations made to it during the Universal Periodic Review process and appreciated the efforts of the Government to further strengthen the human rights protection system, including by bringing the national legislative system in line with its international human rights obligations.

Sierra Leone commended Kyrgyzstan for taking on board a large number of recommendations and welcomed the efforts to protect citizens from child and early marriages, and that the Government was consistently working to strengthen the role of the judiciary and to ensure the rule of law.

Tajikistan noted Kyrgyzstan’s willingness to cooperate with international human rights mechanisms and to adopt relevant acts in the combat against terrorism and extremism, in line with human rights standards.

Venezuela said that Kyrgyzstan had exhibited a total commitment to cooperation with human rights mechanisms, and had made progress in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Viet Nam commended Kyrgyzstan for the progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights, especially of women and children. It commended Kyrgyzstan’s adoption of a large number of recommendations. The acceptance of other recommendations would improve its overall human rights situation.

Afghanistan welcomed Kyrgyzstan’s adoption of a significant number of recommendations, including the recommendation of Afghanistan to accelerate the process of bringing the status of the Ombudsman in full conformity with the Paris Principles.

Albania was pleased that Kyrgyzstan had accepted the majority of recommendations and encouraged the Government to improve living conditions and ill-treatment of detainees, set up the National Action Plan to combat violence against women and children, and establish a procedure for birth registration.

World Organization against Torture said that Kyrgyzstan was not an exception in restricting freedom of expression as it was discussing the bill on foreign agents and on sources of foreign funding. It was regrettable that Kyrgyzstan rejected the recommendations to pass legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Human Rights Watch said that there was an increasing concern about the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan, where many abuses persisted and were not addressed by the Government. Two deeply problematic bills pending before the parliament – an anti-gay “propaganda” bill and a “foreign agents” bill, would seriously curb freedom of association and expression and blatantly flout the obligation to ensure non-discrimination.

Article 19 said that blocking of websites online had to be authorized by a court decision. Proposed amendments offered vague definitions of “extremism” and “terrorism” which could lead to overly broad interpretation, threatening freedom of expression. Kyrgyzstan was urged to withdraw the draft law on non-traditional sexual relationships, which would criminalise any positive coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex issues.

COC Nederland stated that the violations of the basic rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were on rise in Kyrgyzstan, and the currently proposed amendments would make the situation worse. Even the Ministry of Justice had recommended to Parliament to withdraw the bill as it ignored the Constitution. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people needed to be protected and treated as equal citizens.

Amnesty International was concerned about the ever-increasing limitations on freedom of expression in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan’s acceptance of the recommendations on combatting torture were welcomed. It was disappointing that Kyrgyzstan had rejected guidelines to increase the recruitment of minority groups in police and security forces. The prisoner of conscience Azimjan Askarov should be immediately released.

Sudwind regretted that Kyrgyzstan missed the opportunity to ratify and fully align its national legislation with all obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and the refusal of enacting specific legislation to prohibit discrimination against persons based on sex, race, colour, religion and sexual orientation. Nevertheless, Sudwind appreciated the fact Kyrgyzstan accepted 139 recommendations.

The President of the Council said out of 196 recommendations, 150 were supported, while 46 were noted.

ULAN DJUSUPOV, Permanent Representative of Kyrgyzstan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked Member States for their constructive comments. Kyrgyzstan attached great importance to the Universal Periodic Review as an effective mechanism for advancing human rights. It aimed to further improve human rights in the country, in line with international standards and obligations, including in the civil society and government sector. It would continue to cooperate with the relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms and would continue to engage in constructive dialogue.

The Human Rights Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Kyrgyzstan.

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Guinea

DIABY KHALIFA GASSAMA, Minister of Human Rights and Public Freedoms of Guinea, said 194 recommendations had been made to Guinea during its Universal Periodic Review. The Government had decided to conduct broad consultations and awareness raising on these recommendations, and had consulted with a variety of stakeholders before deciding its position concerning them. After long debates, the Government’s position had been communicated to civil society during a workshop. This method of work had been welcomed by civil society organizations, which expressed their support for the implementation of accepting recommendations. A Follow-up and Evaluation Committee had been established for that purpose, and included representatives of the Government and civil society.

The Government accepted recommendations relating to the events of 28 September, and reiterated its commitment to ensure that justice was provided for the victims. Recommendations relating to the justice and security reforms would continue to be implemented and strengthened. Regarding recommendations pertaining to gender discrimination and gender violence, Guinea would continue undertaking social, normative and institutional reforms to better protect women and hold perpetrators accountable. Regarding reconciliation, the Government had just launched national consultations to define a coherent roadmap for an inclusive and consensual reconciliation. The Government was also continuing its efforts to ensure Guinea’s National Human Rights Institution’s conformity with the Paris Principles. Despite the Government’s commitment, the international crisis and the Ebola virus meant that Guinea needed international support for the fulfilment of its human rights obligations. Guinea noted recommendations relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and to the death penalty. This position was not definitive, as sensitization campaigns would be conducted and a parliamentarian debate on the death penalty would be arranged.

Niger welcomed Guinea’s commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights, as seen by the creation of a ministerial department in charge of human rights. Guinea was committed to combatting discrimination and violence. Guinea was also continuing its efforts to reinforce the rule of law and protect individual and collective liberties and the fight against impunity.

Rwanda was pleased that its recommendations on accelerating the process of ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women had been accepted by Guinea. The Government was commended for its firm engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.

Senegal noted that Guinea had shown true desire to promote human rights. A national steering committee for justice reform had been established, which was a welcome step in promoting the rule of law. Guinea had also undertaken steps on promoting the fight against discrimination of women.

Sierra Leone welcomed the establishment in Guinea of a new and unprecedented Ministry which was responsible for the protection of human rights and public liberties. Guinea had been unfaltering in the efforts to eradicate the Ebola virus disease and Sierra Leone supported their call for technical, political and institutional assistance to meet their human rights obligations and commitments.

South Africa welcomed the positive developments in the country since the first Universal Periodic Review and the strides Guinea had taken, including giving impetus to economic and social development and the efforts in the fight to bring an end to the Ebola epidemic.

Sudan appreciated the steps taken by Guinea to promote and protect human rights in the country, especially after the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in 2014. Sudan wished Guinea all the success in the implementation of accepted recommendations.

Togo congratulated Guinea on the remarkable process made in implementing recommendations adopted in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review. Togo recommended the adoption of the report and asked that the international community assist Guinea in implementing further recommendations.

Venezuela noted the progress made by Guinea in the promotion and protection of the rights of women, and had taken steps to promote family-friendly policies. Venezuela recognized the efforts of Guinea in fulfilling its human rights commitments, despite the difficulties.

Albania welcomed the results achieved by the Government of Guinea, especially when it came to the establishment of a Ministry responsible for the protection of human rights. Guinea had also been successful in combating all forms of discrimination against women.

Botswana commended Guinea for taking steps to address violations of human rights and to end impunity, and its accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It encouraged Guinea to continue efforts to ensure the protection of women and children.

Burkina Faso congratulated Guinea on its transparent participation in the Universal Periodic Review. Despite the Ebola outbreak, it had made significant efforts to build a viable society that respected human rights. Burkina Faso encouraged Guinea to reach the best possible level of implementation, and called on the international community to provide the necessary aid.

China commended Guinea for its constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review and for accepting the majority of the recommendations. It also praised its efforts to end prejudices against women, and to enhance capacity to deal with Ebola and other major health issues.

Côte d’Ivoire welcomed Guinea’s interest in the recommendations made to it, and encouraged Guinea to continue its efforts to meet the challenges it faced and implement recommendations. It called on the international community to provide support to Guinea.

Cuba commended Guinea’s efforts to reduce hunger and poverty, and underlined the importance of the international community supporting Guinea in the field of access to health. Cuba expressed support to Guinea in implementing recommendations from its Universal Periodic Review.

Djibouti encouraged Guinea to continue its human rights and democratic consolidations, and encouraged the international community and the High Commissioner for Human Rights to support Guinea in implementing recommendations.

Ethiopia commended Guinea for its continuous engagement with the Council and the Universal Periodic Review mechanisms. It was good that Guinea had accepted recommendations to provide effective training that built the capacity of the armed forces, police and other security forces on human rights.

Ghana stated that the appointment of a Minister responsible for human rights and public liberties was a commendable step in the right direction. Guinea was urged to consider the recommendations concerning the ratification of core United Nations human rights treaties.

Kuwait welcomed the commitment of Guinea in connection with the human rights conventions and the Universal Periodic Review. There had been legislative amendments which should help protect vulnerable groups and improve the respect of all human rights.

Mali commended Guinea on its cooperation with the Human Rights Council mechanisms, and on making efforts to adopt the previous recommendations. It called on the international community to provide technical assistance to Guinea to ensure that it became a more human rights based society.

Human Rights Watch noted that Guinea had made progress in addressing serious human rights violations. However, the institutions that upheld the rule of law remained weak and key investigations into atrocities were still incomplete. Progress in most of those cases was hampered by inadequate resources and the failure of members of security services to respond to judicial summons.

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues welcomed the commitments made by the Government within the Universal Periodic Review, and the measures taken to improve the judiciary and bring it into line with international standards. However, female genital mutilation, conjugal rape, abortion and military justice remained problematic.

Amnesty International welcomed efforts by Guinea to protect human rights despite challenges resulting from the Ebola outbreak. Ahead of the Presidential election of 2016, continuing impunity for human rights violations by police forces remained of concern. The authorities had to act immediately to end excessive use of force and impunity, and repeal or amend laws which restricted freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme welcomed efforts by Guinea, namely reforms of the justice and army sectors, the penal code, the civil code, and the mining code. It expressed concerns however at political violence and social tensions, ethnic hatred and racism growing in Guinea. It also expressed concerns over continued impunity for the main perpetrators of the 2006, 2007 and 2009 massacres. It finally urged Guinea to guarantee freedom of expression and of association.

The President of the Council said that out of 194 recommendations received, Guinea had accepted 179 and noted 15.

DIABY KHALIFA GASSAMA, Minister of Human Rights and Public Liberties of Guinea, in concluding remarks, said that Guinea had always been aware of how difficult the process of the implementation of some of the recommendations would be. The Government was not trying to justify or excuse any human rights violations, especially since some were committed by Guinean citizens against their compatriots. Guinea had an enormous challenge facing it: building institutions able to get at grips with the country’s international obligations. Guinea had to work on the structural challenges it faced. In the fight between tradition and the modern world, two different societal models, those obsessed with tradition needed to be combatted. The Government needed to fight against the pretentious elites who sometimes thought that they were speaking on behalf of victims. Stocks of the history needed to be taken through the national reconciliation process, and victims deserved to receive justice; the culture of impunity ought to be defeated. The country also needed to turn around the trend of violence. Guinea needed the support of the international community in those regards.

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