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Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogue with Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on Sale of Children

Human Rights Council 
AFTERNOON

8 March 2016

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a clustered interactive dialogue with Juan Ernesto Mendez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

Mr. Mendez said his report assessed the applicability of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in international law to the unique experiences of women, girls and lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons, who were at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment when deprived of liberty, both within criminal justice systems and in other contexts such as immigration detention, medical establishments and drug rehabilitation centres.  He spoke about his country visits to Georgia, Brazil, Mauritania and Ghana. 

Brazil, Georgia and Ghana spoke as concerned countries.  The Public Defender of Georgia also spoke. 

Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio said her third thematic study focused on the demand for sexual exploitation of children and stressed that States had the obligation to prosecute perpetrators and address the underlying causes that facilitated the sexual exploitation of children.  States must adopt extraterritorial jurisdiction over these crimes in order to deal adequately with the often international nature of demand for sexual exploitation of children.  She spoke about her country visits to Armenia and Japan.

Armenia and Japan spoke as concerned countries.  

In the ensuing discussion on torture, many delegations expressed concerns that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in detention faced particular risks of torture, and asked what safeguards could be put in place to prevent such practices.  Other countries regretted that the report of the Special Rapporteur on torture set a hierarchy among victims of torture, went beyond the internationally agreed definition of torture, and attempted to advance controversial terms such as sexual orientation and gender identity.

On the discussion relating to the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, delegations detailed initiatives taken domestically to ensure compliance with human rights law.  Delegations also observed that punishing sexual crimes against children was not enough, and that the root causes had to be addressed while efforts to combat impunity had to be strengthened. 

The following delegations participated in the clustered interactive dialogue: European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Dominican Republic on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Italy, Algeria, Venezuela, Ecuador, Paraguay, United States, Portugal, Israel, Estonia, Denmark, Uruguay, Tunisia, Sierra Leone, Monaco, Botswana, Switzerland, Iran, El Salvador, China, Czech Republic, Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Albania, Cuba, Egypt, Spain, Luxembourg, Panama, France, Republic of Korea, Chile, United Kingdom, Latvia, Croatia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Ukraine, Fiji and Togo.  The Council of Europe and the United Nations Children’s Fund also took the floor. 

The National Commission of Human Rights of Morocco took the floor, as did the following non-governmental organizations: Association for the Prevention of Torture, Alsalam Foundation, International Lesbian and Gay Association, World Organization against Torture , Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, Canners International Permanent Committee, Pan African Union for Science and Technology, and Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, in a joint statement.

Armenia, Egypt and Azerbaijan spoke in right of reply.

The Council will conclude its interactive dialogue with Mr. Mendez and Ms. de Boer-Buquicchio at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, 9 March, and will then start a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on privacy and on freedom of religion. 

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment (A/HRC/31/57).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment: observations on communications (A/HRC/31/57/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment: follow-up report (A/HRC/31/57/Add.2).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment - Mission to Georgia (A/HRC/31/57/Add.3).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment - Mission to Brazil (A/HRC/31/57/Add.4).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment - Mission to Georgia - comments by the State (A/HRC/31/57/Add.5).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment - Mission to Brazil - comments by the State (A/HRC/31/57/Add.6).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (A/HRC/31/58).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - Mission to Japan (A/HRC/31/58/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - Mission to Armenia (A/HRC/31/58/Add.2).

The Council has before it an addendum to the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - Mission to Japancomments by the State (A/HRC/31/58/Add.3).

Presentation of Reports by Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

JUAN ERNESTO MENDEZ, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, noted that country visits were an important part of his mandate, and that unlike in the past when he had had many difficulties in obtaining invitations, in 2016 he had received several invitations.  Regrettably, his visits to Bahrain, Guatemala and Thailand had not materialized due to indefinite postponements by their respective governments, whereas his request to visit the United States had been pending for five years over the terms of reference in order to obtain access to all places of detention.  Mr. Mendez expressed hope that President Obama’s pledge to reform the criminal justice system regarding the practice of prolonged indefinite solitary confinement would be implemented without delay.  He called on the United States administration to investigate and ensure full accountability for human rights violations in the planned closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre, and if inmates were transferred to any other detention facility that the conditions would fully comply with the “Nelson Mandela Rules.” 

Mr. Mendez said his report assessed the applicability of the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in international law to the unique experiences of women, girls and lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons.  Traditionally there was a failure to apply a gendered and intersectional lens to the torture and ill-treatment framework, or to account for the impact of entrenched discrimination, patriarchal, heteronormative and discriminatory power structures and socialized gender stereotypes.  Gender stereotypes played an important role in downplaying the pain and suffering that certain practices inflicted on women, girls and lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons.  It was crucial that the torture protection framework be interpreted against the background of the human rights norms that had developed to combat discrimination and violence against women.  Women, girls, and lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons were at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment when deprived of liberty, both within criminal justice systems and in other contexts such as immigration detention, medical establishments and drug rehabilitation centres.  On top of this, women and girls in detention were at particular risk of sexual assault by male prisoners and prison staff, including rape, insults, humiliation and unnecessary strip and invasive body searches.  Lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex persons were disproportionately subjected to practices that amounted to torture and ill-treatment for not conforming to socially constructed gender expectations.

Speaking of his country visits, Mr. Mendez said he was encouraged by visible and quantifiable effects of the implementation of reforms in Georgia to prevent and punish torture in prisons.  He encouraged the Government to respond to various challenges related to the consolidation of reforms, notably the designing and launching of an independent and effective framework for investigating, prosecuting, punishing and remedying cases of torture and ill-treatment.  As for his visit to Brazil in August 2015, he noted that significant progress had been made on paper, but that implementation was lagging far behind.  Impunity remained the rule rather than the exception.  As for Mauritania, Mr. Mendez observed that torture and ill-treatment occurred frequently enough to merit the Government’s attention and commitment.  Allegations had to be thoroughly investigated and where evidence confirmed allegations, perpetrators had to be brought to justice.  Speaking of his follow-up visit to Ghana in October 2015, Mr. Mendez called for the urgent ratification of the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture and the establishment of a national preventive mechanism, and ensuring impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of torture. 

MAUD DE BOER-BUQUICCHIO, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, said that apart from thematic studies, communications and awareness-raising activities, an essential tool to fulfil her mandate was country visits, and she urged Member States that had not yet done so to respond favourably to her visit requests.  Engagement and partnership with civil society and child protection non-governmental organizations were also crucial for her mandate.  Turning to her third thematic study focusing on the demand for sexual exploitation of children, she stressed that States had the obligation to prosecute perpetrators and address the underlying causes that facilitated the sexual exploitation of children.  States must adopt extraterritorial jurisdiction over these crimes in order to deal adequately with the often international nature of demand for sexual exploitation of children.  There had been a common misconception to focus only on those who directly abused and exploited children.  Yet, those who ensured that the demand was satisfied or worse who fostered it were at the heart of the sexual exploitation of children and had to be held accountable.  Furthermore, there were certain enabling factors which facilitated sexual exploitation of children and required long-term efforts in order to be reversed.  It was the responsibility of States to adopt and implement effective strategies based on a three-pronged approach.  Firstly, prevention was necessary to address the majority of underlying factors of the demand as well as to dissuade individuals from committing such heinous crimes.  Secondly, it was essential to deal with existing offenders by ensuring accountability, which also addressed the underlying factor of impunity.  Impunity, she said, comforted perpetrators and potential offenders in their actions and created a general social tolerance for the sexual exploitation of children.  Lastly, to be able to prevent reoffending, evidence and results-based rehabilitation programmes were needed. 

Turning to her 2015 visit to Armenia, she commended progress in combatting trafficking in persons, reducing the placement of children in residential care, and limiting intercountry adoptions as a last resource, and called on the Government to speed up legislative reforms and to ensure the right to care, recovery and reintegration of child victims.  On her visit to Japan, she commended considerable progress in combatting the sale and sexual exploitation of children, but remained highly concerned about the sexual commodification of children and gender stereotyping promoted by commercial activities involving children, and by the production and availability of “chakuero” or child erotica. 

Statements by Concerned Countries

Brazil, speaking as a concerned country, said that Brazil did not condone torture, but its perpetuation was still a part of Brazilian reality.  Torture’s current existence was a result of the historical process of violence, starting with the decimation of indigenous peoples, and the exploitation of slave labour, and reaching its peak during the civil-military dictatorships in the twentieth century with the institutionalization of torture.  A 500-year old culture could not be changed overnight.  According to the Special Rapporteur’s report, Brazil needed to progress by changing its drug policy and fighting institutionalized racism, among other issues.  The country was making progress, he said, enumerating measures already taken, the most important of which was human rights education which had the potential to create a culture focused on peace.

Georgia, speaking as a concerned country, said that the report did not cover the situation in Georgia’s two regions which remained under Russian occupation, and welcomed the willingness of the Rapporteur to visit those regions.  Regrettably, he had been blocked from entering those regions.  In terms of the shortcomings identified in the Special Rapporteur’s report, Georgia’s Government had already taken steps to address some of those challenges.  Laws had been revised and the standard of penitentiary healthcare had been developed.  Georgia remained committed to cooperating with the Special Rapporteur on torture as well as other Special Procedures in order to ensure the effective promotion and protection of human rights. 

Public Defender of Georgia emphasized improvements in the penitentiary system, which were reflected in the report.  The number of prisoners had been reduced, a better healthcare system had been created, and the number of prisoners’ deaths had decreased.  But several problematic issues remained despite general improvements to the system.  They included the lack of an independent investigative mechanism to investigate alleged crimes by law enforcement officials.  A lack of a comprehensive and effective rehabilitation programme was another challenge for the system, as was prisoners’ lack of contact with the outside world, which remained problematic.  Immediate action-oriented responses from the Government were required.

Ghana, speaking as a concerned country, appreciated the observation of the Special Rapporteur that Ghana’s invitation to him constituted a good practice and an example for other States to follow.  Ghana remained committed to taking the necessary legislative measures to bring the definition of torture as a criminal offence in line with its treaty  obligations under the Convention against Torture as soon as possible.  It had also taken the  necessary steps to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture.  It had taken measures to decongest overcrowded prisons, improve healthcare delivery to inmates, check violence and indiscipline in prisons, and improve the food quality, facilities for family visits, education and general living conditions.  The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice wished to correct the erroneous impressions in the Special Rapporteur’s report that its officials had informed the Special Rapporteur that the Commission did not receive complaints  of torture or other ill-treatment by the police. 

Armenia, speaking as a concerned country, noted that it was deeply committed to the protection of the rights of the child, and in particular to the implementation of the relevant Convention that was ratified in 1993, as well as the Optional Protocols on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on the participation of children in armed conflict.  Armenia had adopted the Law on the Rights of the Child in 1992 and in 2013 it had introduced amendments to comply with international obligations, notably in the Family Code, the Penal Code and the Employment Code.  Armenia would also integrate the rising risks of cybercrime and sexual exploitation of children within the framework of information and communications technologies into its national laws and mechanisms.

Japan, speaking as a concerned country, stated that many children still faced serious conditions, such as sexual exploitation.  Japan had been and would be implementing measures against the sexual exploitation of children, including the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.  It fully shared the importance of prevention, accountability of perpetrators, rehabilitation of perpetrators, and the role of the private sector in tackling the demand for the sexual exploitation of children, and was implementing concrete measures to that end.  Regrettably, the Special Rapporteur’s findings contained inaccurate and insufficient statements on the actual situation in Japan and on Japanese culture, as well as arguments that were not based on objective information.  The Government had compiled its comments on the points that had been not been reflected in the Special Rapporteur’s report.

Interactive Dialogue

European Union asked Mr. Mendez to expand on his suggestion that specialized child and gender units should be developed to address the needs of girls in detention.  The European Union asked Ms. De Boer-Buquicchio to say more about the positive role that the private sector could play in curbing demand for child exploitative services.  Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, expressed deep concern over reports that 10,000 refugee children from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq had disappeared while entering Europe.  Concern was expressed at the casual manner in which the report on torture equated ill-treatment with torture, which was a concept that should not be diluted.  Dominican Republic, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, agreed on the need to adopt approaches to tackle demand, and that programmes for rehabilitation should be based on human rights principles.  Italy paid tribute to the memory of all victims of torture, including the young Italian researcher Giulio Regeni who was tortured to death in Egypt by unknown murderers a few weeks ago.  Algeria said it was up to States to fight demand for sexual exploitation of children.  On the report of Mr. Mendez, Algeria said that violence against women was a form of torture that should be banned and combatted.  Venezuela reviewed cases of domestic unrest which had resulted in persons being put on trial, noting that the country had a State policy to combat torture, consistent with its legal order.  The same could not be said about the cruel and repressive past.
 
Ecuador reminded that it was party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and that it had in place a national mechanism for the prevention of torture through the framework of the Public Defender’s Office.  That mechanism was comprised of multidisciplinary experts from the fields of law, social work and sociology.  Paraguay said it had established a national mechanism against torture and ill-treatment, which was one of the clearest expressions of its political will.  As for sexual exploitation of children, Paraguay asked about the best practices to prevent such crimes and cut the demand for child sexual exploitation.  United States agreed that sharply reducing demand was critical to eradicating sexual exploitation of children and asked the Special Rapporteur how faith-based communities could contribute to those efforts.  It also asked the Special Rapporteur whether he had identified or recognized particular mental health issues of girls in detention.  Portugal welcomed the gender dimension of torture and ill-treatment as the focus of the Special Rapporteur’s report.  As for the demand for sexual exploitation of children, it noted that underlying social factors and the opportunistic nature of sex tourism all concurred in the perpetuation of such crimes.  Israel accorded great importance to the protection of children and had formed a collaborative action plan to improve ways to tackle child prostitution, which included the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including ministries and relevant official bodies.  Estonia said it had in place national strategies with action plans on the prevention of violence, including sexual offending and exploitation of children.  As for torture and ill-treatment, sharing expertise would help better address human rights violations and eliminate different forms of abusive practices of women, girls, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. 

Denmark attached great importance to the global fight against torture.  It expressed concerns that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in detention faced particular risks of torture, and asked what safeguards could be put in place to prevent such practices.  Council of Europe said that it had a long experience in monitoring places of detention and preventing torture through the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and noted that this Committee had recently visited Georgia and had issued findings on impunity and the lack of investigation there.  Uruguay said that it had established a specialized unit to investigate cases of human rights violations during the military dictatorship, including cases of torture and ill-treatment.  Uruguay had also made efforts to improve detention conditions, including for women and children.  Tunisia regretted the inclusion of controversial issues within the report of the Special Rapporteur on torture, which would impede the universal support for his mandate.  Tunisia said that the pornographic industry was a catalyst for the demand of child pornography and sexual abuse.  Sierra Leone said its legislation prohibited torture, child marriage and the death penalty.  It was crucial for States to work together to deter and prevent child sexual exploitation.  Sierra Leone stressed the importance of accountability for perpetrators.  Monaco said that punishing sexual crimes against children was not enough, and that the root causes had to be addressed while efforts to combat impunity had to be strengthened. 
 
Botswana noted that the sale and prostitution of children was on the rise, and progressive nations should work together more than ever before to address those crimes.  It was inhuman to commit such crimes against children, who were in the most vulnerable and impressionable stage of their lives.  Switzerland supported the Special Rapporteur’s focus on the gender dimension of torture and ill-treatment.  It welcomed the inclusion of the question of the particular vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in detention.  Iran stated that migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers were facing particular dangers along migration routes all over the world.  While it strongly condemned torture and ill-treatment, Iran noted that the focus on the vulnerability of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in detention was misplaced.  El Salvador welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations to implement concrete actions in order to eliminate and eradicate the demand for sexual exploitation of children.  To that end, El Salvador had worked to improve its legal framework and assistance and rehabilitation programmes for victims.  China stated that it would continue to reinforce its legal systems to address torture and ill-treatment.  It would also continue to crack down on sexual exploitation of children through various programmes, international cooperation and exchange of good practices.  Czech Republic agreed that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment when deprived of their liberty.  It asked the Special Rapporteur to share some good examples of State activities to systematically and successfully protect their rights in detention.  

Saudi Arabia reiterated that it was one of first countries to support human rights, which was a duty imposed by Sharia.  Torture  and ill-treatment were prohibited and forced testimonies were inadmissible.  Russian Federation said that the Special Rapporteur on torture had violated his mandate in addressing gender related aspects.  It was regrettable that only one round of consultation had been carried out in Washington.  The Special Rapporteur was distorting the definition of torture.  Albania strongly condemned all forms of torture or mistreatment, and agreed with the need to combat stereotypes and discrimination, and to address the grave vulnerability of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.  Cuba said that reducing demand that generated sexual exploitation was necessary for States.  Cuba regretted the tendency of the Special Rapporteur on torture to go beyond his mandate, and stressed the importance of Special Procedures to abide by their code of conduct.  United Nations Children’s Fund said that addressing demand was critical to address sexual exploitation, and called upon States to establish comprehensive strategies in that regard, and to adopt legal frameworks to hold perpetrators accountable.  Egypt regretted that the report of the Special Rapporteur on torture set a hierarchy among victims of torture, went beyond the internationally agreed definition of torture, and attempted to advance controversial terms such as sexual orientation and gender identity.  On sexual exploitation, Egypt underlined the importance of paying attention to abuses by non-State armed groups. 

Spain congratulated the Special Rapporteur for looking at the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, asking Mr. Mendez to expand on prevention mechanisms against torture that could be used more widely.  Luxembourg said that as torture in some countries was the result of dysfunctional judiciary systems, which priorities should be focused on to overcome gaps?  Panama expressed concern at the existence of factors such as discrimination and impunity, which created an enabling environment which accepted such violations.  France asked which measures were necessary to promote the work of Interpol, also noting that the Rapporteur had stressed the need to raise awareness of penitentiary staff, asking which measures could be taken in that area?  Republic of Korea shared the views of the Special Rapporteur that women, girls and sexual minorities were at particular risk of torture and ill-treatment when deprived of liberty.  On the sale of children, it noted that targeting financial proceeds addressed the motivation of crimes by depriving human traffickers and intermediaries of illegal profit.  Chile said that regarding the situation of pregnant women and mothers of breastfeeding children, how could the international community ensure effective protection of women in that situation?

United Kingdom said that its Modern Slavery Strategy, the Tackling Child Sexual Exploitation Action Plan and the Serious Organized Crime Strategy all aimed to ensure that action was taken to tackle child abuse.  The United Kingdom asked what measures should be taken to advocate for further ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  Latvia said that it was currently implementing its National Strategy for the Prevention of Trafficking in Human Beings for 2014-2020, and asked how to address the underlying causes of sexual exploitation.  What role could the media play in that regard?  Croatia said that it was of the utmost importance for all States to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure.  Ratification of this text was under way in Croatia.  How could the information and communications technologies’ industry participate in efforts to identify perpetrators of sexual abuse?

Bangladesh said that sexual exploitation of children had become a global problem.  How could States enforce media responsibility when it came to sexualizing children?  Any crime related to the sexual exploitation of children should not get any leeway.  It was evident that with the wide-spread use of the Internet, sexual exploitation of children online was taking on another dimension.  Thailand recognized the importance of protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons from violation and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Thailand continued to disseminate knowledge on the Convention against Torture and the Optional Protocol to concerned government agencies, centrally and regionally.  Nigeria agreed that the absence of accountability for crimes against children had led to the proliferation of such crimes.  The international community was urged to work together with the view of arresting those unfortunate trends.  The deliberate emphasis on a single controversial subject and allowing it to dominate the entire report on torture did not enjoy Nigeria’s support as it negated the essence of the dialogue.   

Pakistan said that, over the years, it had made efforts to prohibit torture in all its forms and currently a law was being formulated by Pakistan’s Parliament on the prohibition of torture.  The National Policy Academy included human rights education in its curriculum with particular focus on the prohibition of torture, and a number of awareness-raising campaigns had taken place.  Costa Rica agreed that women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons deprived of liberty were doubly vulnerable.  Female genital mutilation and forced and early marriages could constitute torture or cruel and inhumane treatment.  Ukraine stated that credible data was documented that Russian-backed illegal armed groups and self-proclaimed authorities enjoyed a high level of impunity for illegal detention, torture and ill-treatment, targeting local residents, including Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian servicemen.  Ukraine believed that the situation in the occupied territories of Ukraine merited Mr. Mendez’s attention.

Fiji recognized that much work was required domestically to review police procedures at police stations and during informal arrests and detentions.  Work was also required to train police officers, lawyers, prosecutors and judges on the rights of persons in custody, including those with disabilities, of various sexual orientations, children and women and girls.  Togo noted that the right to physical and mental integrity was a fundamental right guaranteed by Togo’s Constitution.  The new Penal Code of 24 November 2015 integrated the Convention against Torture into the national legal framework, and criminalized torture and other acts of ill-treatment. 

National Commission of Human Rights of Morocco stated that the Government of Morocco had ensured that prevention was integrated into the Commission’s structure and work.  It had drafted a bill on the mechanisms to fight torture and ill-treatment and established national training for relevant stakeholders.

Association for the Prevention of Torture welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s focus on gender perspectives of torture and his report on Brazil, where he stressed that the implementation of safeguards and institutional reforms was lagging far behind, and his report on Georgia, where he underlined that reforms had to be consolidated.  Alsalam Foundation, in a joint statement, said the situation in prisons in Bahrain had not improved.  New reports of torture of political dissidents had been received.  Prisoners were forced to confess and did not receive the necessary health assistance. International Lesbian and Gay Association, in a joint statement with Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland; and  Swedish Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights – RFSL, said that not only should States take action to prohibit, prevent and redress torture and ill-treatment, but they should also address them at a fundamental level, through education and awareness raising about the root causes of attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.  World Organization against Torture voiced deep concern over retrogressive developments witnessed worldwide and welcomed the efforts of the Special Rapporteur to underline the cross-cutting dimension of torture and ill-treatment to many human rights violations suffered by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.  

Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos said that in Mexico, torture was a recurrent practice, adding that out of thousands of complaints of torture, most of them were attributable to military personnel.  Canners International Permanent Committee said that militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria were selling abducted Iraqi children in markets as sex slaves, and killing other youth, including by crucifixion or burying them alive.  Pan African Union for Science and Technology said that millions of workers in Pakistan were held in conditions of contemporary forms of slavery, a significant portion of whom were child labourers. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, in a joint statement with Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, in a joint statement, said it was systemic oppression which caused cumulative disadvantage over a person’s life course, rendering people vulnerable to trafficking.  Perpetrators preyed on the most vulnerable.


Right of Reply
 
Armenia, speaking in a right of reply, said that protecting children and civilians and pursuing accountability in times of conflict was the responsibility of any Government,  However, that was not the case with Azerbaijan.  The international community had called on Azerbaijan to accept establishing a mechanism for investigations of gross violations of humanitarian law, including targeting children in borderline Armenian villages.  The Azerbaijani Government seemed to have no respect for human life.

Egypt, speaking in a right of reply, referred to the murder of an Italian citizen by unknown perpetrators in Egypt.  An investigation had been promptly opened and was being conducted in cooperation with the Italian authorities.  The Government of Egypt was committed to identifying the murderers and bringing them to justice.

Azerbaijan, speaking in a right of reply, regretted that Armenia continued to spread false information at the Human Rights Council.  Azerbaijan had provided some numbers to show the suffering of children in Azerbaijan, whose human rights were grossly violated by Armenia’s actions in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.  Armenia should withdraw from the occupied areas.

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For use of the information media; not an official record

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