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Human Rights Council adopts outcomes of Universal Periodic Review of Uganda, Timor-Leste and the Republic of Moldova

Human Rights Council

AFTERNOON

16 March 2017

The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda, Timor-Leste and the Republic of Moldova.
 
Christopher Onyanga Aparr, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that the recommendations Uganda had accepted were being integrated into the draft National Action Plan on Human Rights.  This was an important tool that formed a broad policy framework to guide the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.  Uganda underscored that the partnerships between Uganda and the international community on the implementation of the National Action Plan would be in accordance with the Second National Development Plan 2015/16-2019/20.
 
The Uganda Human Rights Commission urged the Government to expeditiously implement recommendations resulting from the annual review of the human rights situation, and to address the remaining challenges to addressing human rights violations that occurred during the election cycle.  The Commission further urged the Government to address the underlying causes of the real or perceived discrimination and ethnic tensions.
 
Speakers welcomed the establishment of the national plan of action for the implementation of the commitments undertaken under international and regional human rights instruments, and praised efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, including criminalization of female genital mutilation.  It was noted with concern that laws on criminal defamation were still enforced to stifle freedom of expression, and that despite the de facto moratorium, more than 200 people remained on death row in Uganda.
 
Speaking were Angola, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Cuba, Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, India and Kenya.
 
The following non-governmental organizations spoke: Article 19-International Centre Against Censorship, Advocated for Human Rights, Action Canada for Population and Development, International Humanist and Ethical Union, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, Lutheran World Federation, and Human Rights Watch.
 
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda.
 
Marciano Octavio Garcia Da Silva, Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Timor-Leste accepted 146 of the 154 recommendations it had received and had already implemented 14 while 118 were in the process of being implemented.  A National Plan on gender-based violence and an Action Plan on children had been adopted, while the new Civil Registry Law would ensure that all children were registered at birth.  The presidential elections would take place in 2018, and for the first time, nationals abroad would be able to vote.
 
The Human Rights and Justice Ombudsman of Timor-Leste recognized the progress in the promotion and protection of human rights, which, in the face of historic and current challenges facing a young nation should not be under-estimated.  Still, efforts alone were not enough, especially in light of the rising inequalities within the society, which meant that a large number of people still did not enjoy their human rights.
 
Speakers welcomed the efforts to advance economic, social and cultural rights, notably to provide housing for vulnerable populations, and in combatting torture and ill-treatment, achieving gender equality, fighting child labour and protecting children’s rights.  Speakers urged Timor-Leste to adopt policies to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation, to continue to develop its health services, and to enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
 
Speaking were Venezuela, Algeria, Angola, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Cabo Verde, China, Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Maldives, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea and Sudan. 
 
Also taking the floor were Amnesty International, Action Canada for Population and Development, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, American Association of Jurists, and International Volunteerism Organization for Women, and Education and Development–VIDES (joint statement).
 
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Timor-Leste.
 
Eduard Serbenco, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, said that a new human rights policy had been drafted and reiterated the commitment of the Republic of Moldova to strengthen the independence of the Ombudsman and the Equality Council.  Special attention would be paid to the national preventive mechanism so that torture and ill-treatment could be eradicated.  The Republic of Moldova had signed the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention last month, and its draft strategy on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence was ongoing public consultations.  Other important strategic policy initiatives addressed gender equality, social inclusion of persons with disabilities, and the consolidation of interethnic relations.
 
Tudor Ulianovschi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reiterated the importance which the Government attached to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism as one of the most successful State-driven processes of the United Nations system. 
 
Speakers took positive note of the efforts by the Republic of Moldova to protect the rights of the child, strengthen its legislative framework to combat torture, reduce youth unemployment, and eliminate stigmatization of persons with disabilities.  They urged the country to consider the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families and the International Labour Organization Convention 189 on domestic workers.  Some speakers criticized widespread domestic violence in the Republic of Moldova, and the treatment of human rights defenders in Transnistria. 
 
Speaking were Maldives, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Romania, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Albania, Bulgaria, Council of Europe, Estonia, Georgia, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Libya and Lithuania. 
 
The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Advocates for Human Rights, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, and Asociatia Obsteasca “Promo-LEX”.
 
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Moldova.
 
At 9 a.m. on Friday, 17 March, the Council will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, commemorated on 21 March, by holding a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.  At noon, the Council will consider the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Haiti and South Sudan.  Then starting 2 p.m., the Council will continue the general debate on human rights bodies and mechanism, and will hold its general debate on the Universal Periodic Review.
 
Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda
 
CHRISTOPHER ONYANGA APARR, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Uganda had accepted the majority of recommendations it had received during its Universal Periodic Review.  Due attention had been given to 18 recommendations, whose examination required more time because of their legal and other implications.  The accepted recommendations were being integrated into the draft National Action Plan on Human Rights, which would be adopted by the Cabinet in due course. 
 
Uganda had noted several recommendations, which was because they were either imprecise or would pose legal or other challenges for the country.  The National Action Plan was an important tool that formed a broad policy framework to guide Uganda in the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.  Uganda underscored that its partnerships with the international community on the implementation of the National Action Plan would be in accordance with the Second National Development Plan 2015/16-2019/20.
 
Uganda Human Rights Commission stated that the implementation of recommendations resulting from the annual review of the human rights situation should be done expeditiously.  The Commission reiterated that the Government should ratify and domesticate numerous instruments, including the Convention on Enforced Disappearances, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, among others.  There were still remaining challenges to addressing human rights violations that occurred during the election cycle, and the Commission urged the Government to address them.  The Commission further urged the Government to address the underlying causes of the real or perceived discrimination and ethnic tensions.  The Commission would continue to provide technical support and to monitor the implementation of recommendations that had been adopted.
 
Angola took positive note of Uganda’s harmonization of its national legislation with international instruments in order to improve access to justice by vulnerable populations, and to improve access to education by girls at secondary and university levels.  Angola also welcomed the progress made in the area of justice, namely the criminalization of female genital mutilation.
 
Belgium welcomed Uganda’s effort to strengthen the juvenile justice system and the appointment of judges to specialized juvenile courts.  However, it regretted that Uganda had not accepted the recommendation to broaden and strengthen access to sexual and reproductive health services to women and girls.  Belgium also invited Uganda to reassess its position regarding the death penalty.
 
Botswana appreciated Uganda’s adoption of a national action plan on human rights and measures taken to protect the rights of vulnerable groups, including women and children.  It encouraged Uganda to make a concerted effort to eliminate female genital mutilation altogether.
 
Brazil appreciated the balanced and authoritative intervention by the representative of Uganda, in which he had addressed several sensitive and relevant human rights issues.  Even though the recommendation on decriminalizing same-sex relations made by Brazil had not enjoyed the support of Uganda, Brazil acknowledged Uganda’s openness and frankness regarding that challenge.   
 
Burundi welcomed the approach of Uganda to development based on human rights and the firm will to improve the human rights situation as seen through the willingness to establish national plan of action for the implementation of the commitments undertaken under international and regional human rights instruments.  Burundi noted efforts to prevent violence against women and girls, including criminalization of female genital mutilation.
 
China welcomed the efforts of Uganda to protect the human rights of women and combat violence against women.  China appreciated the prioritization of actions to overcome poverty and to protect the most vulnerable, including women, children, elderly and persons with disabilities.  China also welcomed the efforts to strengthen the rule of law and access to justice.
 
Republic of the Congo called for technical assistance by the international community to support the efforts of Uganda and the implementation of all the recommendations it had accepted.  The Republic of the Congo recommended the adoption of the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda.
 
Cuba acknowledged Uganda’s progress in human rights, including mainstreaming regulations to combat child labour.  Uganda was thanked for having accepted Cuba’s two recommendations, which included stepping up the fight against corruption.
 
Democratic People's Republic of Korea took note of the report of the Working Group and commended Uganda for its continued commitment to human rights.  The Democratic People's Republic of Korea welcomed Uganda’s acceptance of many of the recommendations, including that made by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. 
 
Djibouti thanked Uganda for the presentation and thanked the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review.  Djibouti encouraged Uganda’s Government to strengthen human rights in the country and recommended that the Council adopt the report.
 
Egypt thanked Uganda for the excellent presentation as a response to the recommendations the Government had received.  Egypt valued Uganda’s acceptance of the majority of recommendations, including that made by Egypt.  Egypt recommended the adoption of the report of the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda.
 
 Ethiopia appreciated the fact that Uganda had accepted its recommendation on the implementation of the second five-year national development plan and the economic rights of people.  It further commended Uganda for having taken meaningful action in finalizing a draft National Action Plan on Human Rights.
 
Ghana commended Uganda’s cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and for having instituted progressive legal frameworks on the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.  It urged Uganda to take steps to investigate and bring to justice security personnel found guilty of allegations of torture against persons in custody.
 
Haiti regretted that Uganda had only noted the three recommendations made by Haiti, namely on the establishment of a sufficient number of courts and legal aid centres for migrants, revision of the minimum salary, and adoption of a law on food and nutrition.
 
India appreciated Uganda’s receptive and constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review.  It was encouraging that Uganda had accepted as many as 148 recommendations. 
 
Kenya was pleased that Uganda had accepted the four recommendations made by Kenya and noted that Uganda had started policy, legal and administrative reforms which involved police, prisons and the judiciary.  Those reforms should enable Uganda to implement the recommendations it had accepted.
 
Article 19-International Centre against Censorship regretted that Uganda had not implemented the recommendations from its first cycle of Universal Periodic Review to review laws that violated rights to freedom of expression, and to peaceful assembly and association, and bring them in line with international standards.  Laws on criminal defamation were still enforced to stifle freedom of expression.   
 
Advocates for Human Rights noted progress in the rule of law and recognized the de facto moratorium on the death penalty, but, despite the progress, as of March 2016, 208 people remained on death row.  The countries that had made recommendations on the abolition of the death penalty should closely monitor the implementation, and Uganda should take additional steps toward the progressive abolition of the death penalty.
 
Action Canada for Population and Development noted that the recommendations to combat discrimination and stigmatisation of persons with disabilities, persons with albinism and on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity did not enjoy the support of Uganda.  Uganda should honour its commitments made in the Abuja Declaration to increase expenditure on health, including strengthening sexual and reproductive health education in the curricula.
 
International Humanist and Ethical Union was disappointed at Uganda’s rejection of some recommendations, adding that the climate was often hostile to non-governmental organizations.  Same-sex conduct remained criminalised, and there were attacks on supporters of abortion and sexual reproductive rights. 
 
CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation expressed concerns over the attacks on the independent media and journalists and restrictions placed on the freedom of expression.  The Government of Uganda was called on to work closely with civil society and other stakeholders to fully implement recommendations accepted during Uganda’s latest review.
 
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues welcomed Uganda’s acceptance of the majority of the second cycle recommendations.  The Government of Uganda was encouraged to continue dialogue and cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, to cooperate with treaty bodies and to report in a timely manner.
 
Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme deplored the discrimination and social stigmatization of persons with disabilities, persons with albinism, and same-sex relationships between consenting adults.  A formal moratorium on the death penalty with the aim of the abolition of capital punishment should be adopted.
 
Lutheran World Federation commended the Government of Uganda for its refugee-friendly policies, and raised some of the challenges faced by refugees with respect to access to justice, child rights, right to education, rights of persons with disabilities and women’s rights.  It called on Uganda to continue working closely with national stakeholders in the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations.
 
Human Rights Watch noted that, despite creating a nominal framework to address human rights issues, many of Uganda’s commitments remained unfulfilled.  In practice, the Government showed limited commitment to protect freedom of expression, association and assembly for its citizens.  State violence, including torture and extrajudicial killings, occurred without investigation. 
 
CHRISTOPHER ONYANGA APARR, Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations Office at Geneva, underlined Uganda’s commitment to implementing the Universal Periodic Review recommendations and emphasized that a lot of work was ongoing to review various legislation in order to adapt them to the Constitution and international obligations.  All stakeholders would be involved in the process of the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations.  As for the rights of refugees, the situation on the ground was self-evident.  Uganda had some of the best refugee policies in the world.  It was noted that the bottom-up consultative mechanism, involving both State and non-State actors, had been useful in gathering views of a wide array of stakeholders.  It was helpful in building consensus and ownership of the final outcome.  Secondly, the multi-disciplinary technical committee had facilitated a more structured approach to the Universal Periodic Review process.  Thirdly, the involvement of various stakeholders in a more consultative manner had enhanced the transparency of the process.  Fourthly, Uganda’s Universal Periodic Review had taken place after the adoption of the Second National Development Plan, which had been prepared based on the principle of human rights approach to development.  Fifthly, the Government had encouraged those partners who had extended support to the Government to ensure that such support had gone into those areas prioritized by the Government.  Finally, the Universal Periodic Review process had also contributed to building capacity among stakeholders, and identifying capacity gaps.  It was hoped that any assistance from the international community during implementation should be complementary and channelled into those areas specifically identified by the Government.  Technical assistance was an important factor without which the ultimate objective of the Universal Periodic Review could not be achieved.
 
The Vice President said that according to the information provided, out of 226 recommendations that Uganda had received, it supported 148 and noted 78.
 
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Uganda.
 
Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Timor-Leste
 
MARCIANO OCTAVIO GARCIA DA SILVA, Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste to the United Nations Office at Geneva, acknowledged the mechanism of the Universal Periodic Review as an important pillar in the development of human rights in Timor-Leste.  Of the 154 recommendations received, 146 enjoyed Timor-Leste’s support, while 8 recommendations were noted.  Of the accepted recommendations, 14 had already been implemented and 118 were in the process of being implemented.  Timor-Leste had already adopted a National Plan on gender-based violence, as well as an Action Plan on children.  A new Civil Registry Law would ensure that all children were registered at birth.  Timor-Leste would hold presidential elections in 2018, and for the first time, nationals abroad would be able to vote.  Access to justice was a fundamental right that faced a number of obstacles, and it was the obligation of the State to educate its citizens in that important area so they were informed of their rights.  Timor-Leste was working with local and international partners to strengthen its judicial system and highlighted the existence of mobile courts.  It was with a deep feeling of gratitude for United Nations support that Timor-Leste was presenting its report, and the country reiterated its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and to working with the Council and other United Nations mechanisms.
 
Human Rights and Justice Ombudsman of Timor-Leste recognized the progress made in the promotion and protection of human rights for all in the country, which in the face of the historic and current challenges facing a young nation should not be under-estimated.  Still, efforts alone were not enough, especially in the light of the rising inequalities within the society, which meant that a large number of people still did not enjoy their human rights. 
 
Venezuela welcomed the cooperation of Timor-Leste with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, and its efforts to advance economic, social and cultural rights, notably to provide housing for vulnerable populations.
 
Algeria commended the results achieved by Timor-Leste in the promotion and protection of human rights, notably in combatting torture and ill-treatment, achieving gender equality, fighting child labour and protecting children’s rights. 
 
Angola congratulated Timor-Leste for having accepting the majority of recommendations, especially for having prioritized social protection policies in rural areas and those pertaining to girls.  Angola expressed hope that the upcoming elections would promote democracy and stability.
 
Brazil noted positively the acceptance of Brazil’s recommendation on the promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, and the right to health.  It encouraged Timor-Leste to promote gender equality and to adopt policies to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation.
 
Brunei Darussalam commended Timor-Leste for the large majority of recommendations it had accepted, including the recommendation put forward by Brunei Darussalam to ensure that people continued to have access to healthcare services, especially in rural areas.
 
Cabo Verde said new and numerous measures were being prepared or were anticipated and their entry into force would bring about significant progress.  Timor-Leste was commended for having accepted so many of the recommendations made to them, and the country was encouraged to continue along the path of progress.
 
China welcomed Timor-Leste’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review and for accepting China’s recommendations which included continuing to develop its health services.  China urged the international community to provide technical assistance to assist Timor-Leste in protecting human rights.
 
Cuba congratulated Timor-Leste for its commitment to human rights and its achievements in the areas of health and education.  Recommendations made by Cuba had been accepted by Timor-Leste, and Cuba supported the approval of the Universal Periodic Review report for Timor-Leste and wished the country success in achieving its objectives.
 
Indonesia welcomed Timor-Leste’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights through judicial strengthening.  Indonesia commended Timor-Leste for accepting all of its recommendations, including adopting an integrating national human rights action plan.  Indonesia supported the adoption of the outcome document.
 
Iraq said that Timor-Leste had presented an excellent report and was glad to see Timor-Leste had accepted Iraq’s recommendations, including on persons with disabilities and submitting reports to treaty bodies.  It was hoped that the Council would adopt the outcome report.
 
Lao People’s Democratic Republic was pleased to note the continued efforts by the Government of Timor-Leste to promote and protect human rights.  Timor-Leste was commended for the progress made on the promotion of the rights of vulnerable groups, including women, children and persons with disabilities. 
 
Malaysia welcomed the commitment of the Government of Timor-Leste to bring about progress and development for its people.  Malaysia was encouraged by Timor-Leste’s efforts to continue to take a balanced approach to all aspects of human rights, paying particular attention to those in the most vulnerable situations. 
 
Maldives appreciated that Timor-Leste had accepted two recommendations made by Maldives, namely to continue efforts to improve access to health care services, and to finalize the creation and facilitate the functioning of a national council for persons with disabilities.  It welcomed the commitment of Timor-Leste to combat gender-based violence through a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach.
 
Nicaragua welcomed the fact that Timor-Leste had already made progress in implementing the recommendations.  It called on the Government to pay particular attention to the rights of the most vulnerable groups, namely women, children and persons with disabilities.
 
Pakistan welcomed Timor-Leste’s establishment of the National Directive Commission to develop a national action plan for children, and legislation such as the Law against Domestic Violence.
 
Philippines commended Timor-Leste for having accepted the Philippines’ recommendations regarding the ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Domestic Workers Convention, and to provide adequate funding and human resources to its national human rights institution.  It also welcomed the adoption of national action plans on children, gender-based violence, rights of persons with disabilities, and mental health. 
 
Republic of Korea thanked Timor-Leste for its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process, and commended the country’s efforts in building a nationwide health services network.  The Republic of Korea appreciated that Timor-Leste had issued a standing invitation to all Special Procedure mandate holders.
 
Sudan thanked Timor-Leste for its presentation and commended the Government for its promotion and protection of human rights.  Sudan noted that Timor-Leste had accepted the majority of the recommendations, including those made by Sudan. 
 
Amnesty International regretted the lack of justice, truth and reparation for women and girls who suffered sexual and gender-based violence by members of the Indonesian security forces and their auxiliaries, as well as Timorese men, during the Indonesian occupation and the independence referendum.
 
Action Canada for Population and Development, speaking on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative, said many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were subjected to high levels of violence and discrimination.  The Government was urged to amend its penal code and to implement rights-based training of police and other law enforcement authorities to allow them to respond to victims of crimes without discrimination.
 
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development regretted the Government of Timor-Leste’s explanation that its media law was in line with international standards.  Timor-Leste was called upon to amend the media law in line with international standards.  It was appreciated that Timor-Leste had accepted 146 of the 154 recommendations it had received.
 
American Association of Jurists commended Timor-Leste for its efforts in building an inclusive and democratic society.  Timor-Leste was recommended to ratify the international instruments to which it had not yet acceded, and to implement the children’s and human rights’ national action plans.  The dialogue with the treaty bodies should be strengthened.
 
International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES, in a joint statement with Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, noted with deep concern that further efforts were required to fully ensure women’s and children’s rights.  Corporal punishment, particularly in the education system, was still present, and women and girls were often victims of violence in their own families, for which effective measures had to be adopted. 
 
MARCIANO DA SILVA, Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Timor-Leste was committed to the Universal Periodic Review process.  The country recognized that the present non-governmental organizations had ensured that the consultation process was robust and valid.  Timor-Leste prided itself of being a country with a strong civil society that helped the Government in the advocacy of citizens’ rights. 
 
The Vice President of the Council said that out of the 154 recommendations, 146 enjoyed the support of Timor-Leste, while eight were noted.
 
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Timor-Leste. 
 
Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Moldova
 
EDUARD SERBENCO, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, said that the fact that the Republic of Moldova had received 209 recommendations during its Universal Periodic Review represented an assessment of the State’s maturity in respecting its human rights obligations.  Following the completion of the second National Human Rights Plan 2011-2014, the Government had drafted its new human rights policy; a Human Rights Secretariat would be created to coordinate the implementation of the new National Human Rights Plan and other international and regional human rights recommendations. 
 
Mr. Serbenco reiterated the commitment of the Republic of Moldova to strengthening the independence of the Ombudsman and the Equality Council and would pay particular attention to the national preventive mechanism so that torture and ill-treatment could be eradicated.  Last month the Republic of Moldova had signed the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention and its draft strategy on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence was ongoing public consultations.  Other important strategic policy initiatives addressed gender equality, social inclusion of persons with disabilities, and the consolidation of interethnic relations.  The new Prison System Development Strategy 2016-2020 would address challenges in detention conditions and establish a progressive system of punishment execution. 
 
Mr. Serbenco then addressed the recommendations that the Republic of Moldova could not accept, including developing an anti-discrimination strategy, protection from forced hospitalization in psychiatric institutions, and the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
 
TUDOR ULIANOVSCHI, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed appreciation for the interest of delegations in engaging with the delegation of the Republic of Moldova in the last phase of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.  He reiterated the importance which the Government attached to that mechanism as one of the most successful State-driven processes of the United Nations system.  During 2017 the Republic of Moldova would be evaluated in five treaty bodies: the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Committee against Torture. 
 
Maldives noted the efforts by the Republic of Moldova on the protection of the rights of the child.  Maldives also welcomed the Republic of Moldova’s efforts to strengthen its legislative framework to combat torture and its commitment to create a new national human rights action plan.  It was appreciated that the Republic of Moldova had accepted the recommendation on the protection of the human rights of persons with disabilities.
 
Pakistan commended the Government of the Republic of Moldova for accepting the majority of the recommendations.  Pakistan welcomed the ratification of human rights instruments and the adoption of the strategy on inclusive diversity by the Republic of Moldova.  Pakistan also appreciated the work of the National Councils for Persons with Disabilities and for Children.   
 
Paraguay was confident that the accepted recommendations would contribute in the further application of international human rights standards in the Republic of Moldova.  In that regard, Paraguay welcomed the adoption of policies which would reduce youth unemployment and stigmatization of persons with disabilities.  The efforts of the Government in promoting freedom of religion were recognized.   
 
Philippines noted the Republic of Moldova’s intention to come up with a new general human rights policy document that would integrate recommendations from international structures.  Philippines hoped that the Republic of Moldova would continue the process towards the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Migrants and Their Families and the International Labour Organization Convention 189.
 
Romania commended the Republic of Moldova for its participation in the Universal Periodic Review process, and was pleased that it had accepted both recommendations made by Romania.  Those recommendations concerned cooperation with civil rights organizations, particularly human rights defenders, and the promotion of human rights in Transnistria. 
 
Sierra Leone welcomed the efforts of the Republic of Moldova to uphold human rights standards, notably with respect to combatting trafficking in persons and the 2016 Law on the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Crimes.  It encouraged the Republic of Moldova to consider establishing an independent national human rights institution.
 
Sudan appreciated the Republic of Moldova’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review and its development of a strategy on inclusive diversity.  It welcomed the fact that the Republic of Moldova had accepted the majority of recommendations, including the four made by Sudan.  
 
Venezuela welcomed the readiness of the Republic of Moldova to provide additional information.  It appreciated that the Republic of Moldova’s national education system provided specialized assistance to children with disabilities, and that it had overcome obstacles from the previous Universal Periodic Review cycle.
 
Albania appreciated that the Republic of Moldova had accepted the recommendation to punish hate crimes and harassment against minorities and vulnerable groups.  Albania recognized that due attention would be paid by the Government to the rights of migrants and their families.
 
Bulgaria encouraged the Government of the Republic of Moldova to further promote the linguistic rights of minorities and strengthen the unity between various population groups in the country.  Bulgaria noted positively the fact that combatting violence against women and domestic violence remained a priority for women.  The Government was encouraged to sign the Istanbul Convention.
 
Council of Europe voiced concern over the ineffective functioning of the judicial system, which not only needed to curb corruption and receive adequate funding, but also have its judges shielded from undue political influence.  Another challenge was the discrimination of vulnerable groups, marked by the absence of strong anti-discrimination legislation.
 
Estonia commended the commitment of the Republic of Moldova to continue to strengthen gender equality and the empowerment of women, including by accepting the recommendation to ratify the Istanbul Convention.  Estonia was delighted that the Republic of Moldova had accepted recommendations to ratify the Kampala Amendments to the Rome Statute. 
 
Georgia noted the Republic of Moldova’s acceptance of the majority of recommendations and encouraged the country to vigorously pursue the implementation of the recommendations.
 
Iraq thanked the delegation of the Republic of Moldova for its engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process and for accepting Iraq’s recommendation which was for a framework against torture, asking the Republic of Moldova to continue to complete its ratification of human rights instruments.
 
Kyrgyzstan appreciated the engagement of the Republic of Moldova with the Universal Periodic Review process and thanked the country for accepting four recommendations made by Kyrgyzstan, which would enhance the effectiveness of the protection of women and children’s rights and well-being.
 
Libya welcomed the delegation of the Republic of Moldova and its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and commended the efforts of the Republic of Moldova in accepting many recommendations, including those recommended by the Libyan delegation.
 
Lithuania congratulated the Republic of Moldova for its successful outcome of the Universal Periodic Review process, and noted that the country had accepted the vast amount of recommendations.  Those included recommendations to ratify human rights instruments.  Freedom of the media was a fundamental value, and the fight against corruption was key for a democratic society.
 
Advocates for Human Rights remained concerned about widespread domestic violence in the Republic of Moldova, which continued to be a systematic problem in the country.  It called on the Government to identify the specific actions that it would take and the funds that it would commit to implement each of the supported recommendations.  It urged the Government to continue working with civil society and to incorporate the recommendations into their laws to hold perpetrators of gender-based violence accountable.
 
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues was disappointed that the issue of the extensive use of pre-trial detention had not been addressed.  Abusive use of pre-trial detention in the Republic of Moldova remained a serious problem.  Courts routinely failed to provide relevant and sufficient reasoning to support detention awaiting trial and limited themselves to abstract restatements of legal grounds of detention.
 
Asociatia Obsteasca “Promo-LEX” noted that human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society activists in Transnistria had been subjected to intimidation and harassment, including judicial detention.  It reiterated the appeal of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders to the Republic of Moldova to ensure the security of human rights defenders operating in Transnistria, and their protection against retaliation, pressure and any other arbitrary action.
 
EDUARD SERBENCO, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, stressed that the Republic of Moldova valued the Universal Periodic Review exercise and all the recommendations provided.  He thanked all the delegations for their encouragement.  The Government was very grateful to all international organizations helping the Republic of Moldova to become a member of the European Union.  Mr. Serbenco thanked representatives of non-governmental organizations, especially those who had spoken today, since their contributions to the development of the Republic of Moldova were valuable.
 
The Vice President of the Council said that out of 209 recommendations, the Republic of Moldova supported 190 and noted 15.
 
The Council then accepted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Moldova.  
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