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Human Rights Council holds general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms

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2019年3月13日

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON    

13 March 2019

Hears Address by Haitian Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Presentation of Reports of the Forum on Minority Issues, the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the Social Forum, and the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held a general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, after hearing the presentation of reports of the Forum on Minority Issues, the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the Social Forum, and the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures.  The Council also heard an address by Bocchit Edmond, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti.

Addressing the Council, Mr. Edmond said Haiti deplored all human rights violations wherever they took place, and condemned any unjustified attack or discrimination against minorities, particularly migrants.  The Government had been working to create an effective framework for the protection of human rights.  Unfortunately, efforts had been undermined in recent weeks by very violent protests called for by the opposition.  While it recognized that some of the demands of the demonstrators were justified, the Government had taken urgent measures in order to turn the situation around.

Presenting the report of the eleventh session of the Forum on Minority Issues, Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, said it was held on 29 and 30 November 2018, with the theme of statelessness: a minority issue.  The Forum had focused on four main panel discussions linking human rights issues of minorities to: root causes and consequences of statelessness affecting minorities; statelessness resulting from conflicts, forced population movements and migration; facilitation of birth registration, naturalization and citizenship for stateless minorities; and gender equality and citizenship for minority women and children. 

Martin Chungong, Chairperson of the Second Session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law and Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said the theme of the second session of the Forum was parliaments as promoters of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.  The Forum had discussed four key themes: parliaments as key actors for the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law; how parliaments could address the current global challenges to human rights, democracy and the rule of law; how parliaments could work with others; and enhancing the involvement of parliaments in international human rights mechanisms.
Aliyar Lebbe Abdul Azeez, Chairperson of the 2018 Social Forum and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the Social Forum had focused on the possibilities of using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights.  The Forum argued that sports and sporting events had to serve as a platform to promote human rights and more peaceful, inclusive, just and equitable societies.  One of the recommendations was that all stakeholders should respect human rights in the context of sports and guide their actions by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and core human rights treaties.  Athletes should be encouraged to stand up for human rights.  Planning and implementation of sport policies should include human rights assessment and due diligence dimensions. 

Dainius Pūras, Chairperson of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures,
presented the report of the twenty-fifth Annual Meeting of Special Procedures.  He said that Special Procedures faced challenges in implementing their mandate, particularly with regard to State cooperation, even though the number of States that had never received a state visit had gone down to 22 to date.  It was particularly concerning that some States categorically refused to cooperate with specific mandate holders or attempted to have the rapporteurs replaced.  True cooperation started with accepting a visit from the mandate holders, but then also included constructive engagement during the visit, respect for the terms of reference of the visit, and implementation of the recommendations issued.

In the general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, speakers supported and defended the integrity and independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  They called on the Council to act on early warnings by the Office and to respond to human rights violations by calling for accountability and independent human rights monitoring.  Speakers also recalled that key priorities of the Council, including the prevention of crises and conflicts, and securing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, were premised and dependent on achieving progress with the domestic implementation of States’ international human rights obligations and commitments.  Some speakers reminded that the Code of Conduct and the Manual of Operations comprised the fundamental guidelines for the work of mandate holders, adding that the comprehensive and inclusive discussions would be a good step to assess overlaps in the mandates, in line with efforts to strengthen coherence and coordination in the Special Procedures.  They noted that the reports on country visits should be balanced and constructive, taking into account the national circumstances.

Speaking were Philippines on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Romania on behalf of the European Union, Portugal on behalf of a group of countries, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Brazil on behalf of a group of countries, Australia on behalf of a group of countries, Romania on behalf of a group of countries, Angola on behalf of the African Group, Pakistan, India, Cuba, Tunisia, Togo, Austria, China, Japan, Cameroon, Uruguay, Mexico, Nepal, Luxembourg on behalf of a group of countries, Lithuania, Germany, Venezuela, Russian Federation, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Botswana, Azerbaijan, Maldives, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, Timor-Leste, Colombia, International Development Law Organization, Luxembourg and Ecuador.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor: Advocates for Human Rights, European Union of Public Relations, Minority Rights Group, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, International Service for Human Rights , China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS), Center for Environmental and Management Studies, Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture, International Association for Democracy in Africa, Edmund Rice International Limited, Canners International Permanent Committee, World Environment and Resources Council (WERC), Pan African Union for Science and Technology, African Regional Agricultural Credit Association, Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, United Schools International, Cuban United Nations Association, National Union of Jurists of Cuba, The, Amnesty International, Africa Culture International, American Association of Jurists, Japanese Workers’ Committee for Human Rights, Prahar, Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Inc, World Muslim Congress, Iraqi Development Organization, Alsalam Foundation, Organization for Defending Victims of Violence, International Muslim Women's Union, Verein Südwind Entwicklungspolitik, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association, United Villages , Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru”, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, Sikh Human Rights Group, Human Rights Watch (in a joint statement with International Service for Human Rights) , International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, World Jewish Congress, The International Organisation for LDCs, Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, Association pour l'Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi, ABC Tamil Oli, Solidarity Switzerland-Guinea, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, African Green Foundation International, Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH), Association of Mali Youth for Agriculture ASJAM, Association for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights (APWCR), United Nations Watch, Ingénieurs du Monde, Indian Council of South America (CISA), Association culturelle des tamouls en France, Alliance Creative Community Project, Active Solidarity for Family Development [SADF], African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters, International Career Support Association, Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples, Center for Africa Development and Progress, Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association, and Le Pont.

The Council will meet again on Thursday, 14 March at 9 a.m., to consider the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan, Malaysia, Central African Republic, Monaco, Belize, Chad, China and Malta.

Documentation

The Council has before it the Recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues at its eleventh session on the theme “Statelessness: a minority issue” - Report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues (A/HRC/40/71).

The Council has before it the Second session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law - Report of the Chair (A/HRC/40/65).

The Council has before it the Report of the 2018 Social Forum (A/HRC/40/72).

Presentation of Reports by the Forum on Minority Issues, the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, the Social Forum, and the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures

FERNAND DE VARENNES, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, introducing the report of the eleventh session of the Forum on Minority Issues, said it was held on 29 and 30 November 2018, with the theme of statelessness: a minority issue.  Some 600 participants were there representing States, civil society, treaty bodies, United Nations mechanisms and international organizations, and this represented a record number of participants.  This testified to the importance of the subject.  Statelessness was a minority issue globally, however, it was largely ignored.  The Forum had focused on four main panel discussions linking human rights issues of minorities to: root causes and consequences of statelessness affecting minorities; statelessness resulting from conflicts, forced population movements and migration; facilitation of birth registration, naturalization and citizenship for stateless minorities; and gender equality and citizenship for minority women and children.  The recommendations sought to address a wide range of situations faced by stateless persons and highlighted the responsibility of States to combat and prevent statelessness.  They emphasized the importance of fighting discrimination against minorities, and stressed the importance of the inclusion of minorities in decision-making processes.  Statelessness was not simply a phenomenon occurring worldwide, it was for millions of individuals who belonged to minorities the result of policies, practices and legislation that were inconsistent with human rights obligations.  There could be no eradication of statelessness without tackling its root causes. 

The recommendations also recognized the important role that the United Nations and civil society played.  States had to adhere to the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.  States had to register all children upon birth, irrespective of the migratory status of the parent.  One of the general recommendations called on States and the United Nations to designate an international day for the elimination of statelessness to raise further awareness.  In closing, Mr. de Varennes noted that the vast majority of over 10 million stateless people around the world were members of specific minorities that were targeted by discriminatory laws.

MARTIN CHUNGONG, Chairperson of the Second Session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law and Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, stated that Human Rights Council resolution 28/14 of 2015 established the Forum as a biannual platform to discuss those key issues.  In its resolution 34/41, the Council had decided the theme of the second session of the Forum would be “Parliaments as promoters of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, and it was held on 22 and 23 November 2018.  The Forum included representatives of States and other stakeholders, and discussed four key themes.  The first theme was parliaments as key actors for the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, which addressed the challenges that parliaments faced in fulfilling their functions in promoting key rights, and explored ways in which structural inequalities affected the capacity of marginalized groups to participate in parliamentary work.  Recommendations included parliaments providing human rights capacity-building projects, and introducing human rights into mainstream political discourse.

The second theme addressed how parliaments could address the current global challenges to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, where discussions focused on the restrictions of public freedoms, the use of hate speech, and attacks against journalists.  Conclusions included agreement that parliaments should work to fight back against populism and try to reconcile divisions within societies.  The third theme addressed how parliaments could work with others, and asked if there was room for further engagement.  Discussions considered existing practices to make parliaments more transparent, open and accountable, and looked at how they could interact with other State institutions.  They also considered cooperation between civil society organizations, the media and parliaments.  The fourth theme concerned enhancing the involvement of parliaments in international human rights mechanisms.  Discussions focused on measures to ensure a structural approach to engagement with parliaments, including as part of the Universal Periodic Review. Participants called for the implementation of numerous United Nations reports that called for the involvement of national parliaments.  Participants also considered examples of where national and regional parliaments had successfully strengthened human rights issues.  The Chairperson was confident that the Forum had met its objective to be a platform to promote dialogue and cooperation, and had produced concrete and actionable recommendations.

ALIYAR LEBBE ABDUL AZEEZ, Chairperson of the 2018 Social Forum and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva, presented the report of the 2018 Social Forum.  As requested by the Council’s resolution 35/28, the session had focused on the possibilities of using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights.  The Social Forum brought together over 300 participants, including sportswomen and sportsmen at the grassroots level and Olympic medallists.  It was a vibrant platform for a multi-stakeholder dialogue. The Forum argued that sports and mega sporting events had to serve as a platform to promote human rights and more peaceful, inclusive, just and equitable societies and international order.  Some of recommendations were that all stakeholders should respect human rights in the context of sports and guide their actions by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and core human rights treaties.  States were encouraged to use sport to contribute to human rights protection and achieve the 2030 Agenda.  Athletes should be encouraged to stand up for human rights.  Planning and implementation of sport policies should include human rights assessment and due diligence dimensions.  Decision-making bodies should ensure diversity, including by promoting gender-equality.  Migrants, including undocumented migrants should have their freedom of association and labour rights respected.  Relevant United Nations organizations should provide guidance on sports and human rights and actively engage with governments.  The Centre for Sport and Human Rights should map initiatives and disseminate good practices on the promotion of reconciliation, peace and understanding through sports, especially in conflict and post-conflict scenarios.   Sports-related reporting should adopt a human rights-based approach to data and human rights indicators should include support-related indicators.

DAINIUS PŪRAS, Chairperson of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, presented the report of the twenty-fifth Annual Meeting of Special Procedures, saying it was a valuable opportunity to explain what the system had achieved this year in terms of visits, themes addressed and contributions to standards setting.  The aim of the report was to highlight the opportunities that engaging with Special Procedures would offer on a variety of issues.  Special Procedures sent 655 communications to countries and other actors, they conducted 84 visits in all regions of the world and submitted 181 reports.  These addressed a wide range of human rights issues and showcased how Special Procedures could contribute to other United Nations processes.  Several reports focused on migration related issues, on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and on new technologies and their impact on human rights.

Special Procedures faced challenges in implementing their mandate, particularly with regard to State cooperation, even though the number of States that had never received a state visit had gone down to 22 to date.  It was particularly concerning that some States categorically refused to cooperate with specific mandate holders or attempted to have the rapporteurs replaced.  True cooperation started with accepting a visit from the mandate holders, but then also included constructive engagement during the visit, respect for the terms of reference of the visit, and implementation of the recommendations issued.  The report called on the Human Rights Council to find ways of making non-cooperation costlier for States and to provide a space to share best practice and examples of successful cooperation.  It was of serious concern that a number of mandate holders had been subjected to public and personal attacks for carrying out their work.  Regrettably, issues of intimidation and reprisals against those who engaged with the mandate holders continued to be received.  The report contained more information on State cooperation with Special Procedures and as this was an evolving process, comments and discussions were welcomed on the issue.

The enhancement of engagement of Special Procedures with other United Nations entities was a priority.  Special procedures could be a strategic resource in bringing human rights issues to the table, including in contributing to move the prevention agenda of the United Nations or the Sustainable Development Goals forward.  Special Procedures were often the first to bring human rights issues to light and could open the door for further engagement.  Channels of communication with various parts of the United Nations had been consolidated.  He called on the Council and other human rights bodies to do better in demonstrating that the human rights system had added value for other United Nations bodies.  It was understood that criticism of Special Procedures, their mandate, their process and their recommendations was part of the job and in some circumstances demonstrated their impact, however, it was the hope that this report would help to shed light on the functioning and purpose of Special Procedures and on how States and the United Nations could best interact with this body.  An open discussion with States from 22 to 24 May in Geneva would allow States to engage with Special Procedures and focus on sharing positive experiences.

Statement by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti

BOCCHIT EDMOND, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Haiti, said that the discussions held at the Human Rights Council and its conclusions were of crucial importance.  For that reason, any decision taken by this Council had to be objective and based on universally recognized principles of international law.  Haiti was the Co-Facilitator of the informal group of small island developing States, and was happy to promote the interests and express the position of this group of countries concerning climate change and its impact on the enjoyment of human rights.  Haiti deplored all human rights violations wherever they took place, and condemned any unjustified attack or discrimination against minorities, particularly migrants.  It welcomed the adoption in Marrakesh of the Global Compact on Migration and called on the international community to ensure it could be implemented in full. 

The Government of Haiti had been working to create an effective framework for the protection of human rights.  Unfortunately, efforts had been undermined in recent weeks by very violent protests called for by the opposition.  The protestors had mainly decried the problem of high prices and the problem of corruption.  The police had had difficulty preventing loss of human life and preventing many people being wounded in the course of the demonstrations.  Several police officers had been killed, two burned alive, and there had been extensive damage to the basic infrastructure.  The Government deeply regretted the loss of human life among the civilian population and among the police force.  It knew that it needed to return Haiti to peace and stability.  While it recognized that some of the demands of the demonstrators were justified, it had taken urgent measures in order to turn the situation around, inter alia by reducing price increases of basic commodities.  It had also been working to re-establish public trust and confidence in Haiti’s institutions and it intended to fight corruption further.  In addressing the political crisis, the Government had announced a national dialogue, which was the only way to reach a solution.  The Government asked the international community at large to provide their support to achieve this.

In response to the Universal Periodic Review recommendations, Haiti had appointed a Minister for Human Rights, who worked directly under the Prime Minister.  The Government had also improved access to justice, built new prisons, and substantially increased the budget of the Ombudsman’s office by 50 per cent.  A bill on legal aid was currently in parliament, and a review of the penal code was also underway.  Mr. Edmond put on record his country’s intention to spare no effort to improve the living conditions of all citizens of Haiti, inter alia by promoting and defending their rights.  It would continue to give priority to national dialogue, which was the best, if not the only way to settle all differences peacefully. 

General Debate on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Philippines, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, reminded that the Code of Conduct and the Manual of Operations comprised the fundamental guidelines for the work of mandate holders, and added that the comprehensive and inclusive discussions would be a good step to assess overlaps in the mandates, in line with efforts to strengthen coherence and coordination in the Special Procedures.  The Association noted that the reports on country visits should be balanced and constructive, taking into account the national circumstances. 

Romania, speaking on behalf of the European Union, supported and defended the integrity and independence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  It called on the Council to act on early warnings by the Office and to respond to human rights violations by calling for accountability and independent human rights monitoring.  The European Union remained deeply concerned about continued reports of intimidation and reprisals against individuals and members of civil society who cooperated with the Council and its human rights mechanisms.

Portugal, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, recalled that key priorities of the Council, including the prevention of crises and conflicts, and securing progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, were premised and dependent on achieving progress with the domestic implementation of States’ international human rights obligations and commitments.  The group informed the Council of important recent developments and future events with respect to strengthening the implementation agenda. 

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that all human rights should be treated equally in the work of the Special Procedures and the reports issued should be balanced and take into account the perspectives of governments, national circumstances and existing challenges, while generalizations should be avoided.  The Organization urged the Special Procedures to put emphasis on the impact of anti-Muslim discourse and the rights of women, children and people with disabilities.

Brazil, speaking also on behalf of Peru, Chile, Argentina, Guatemala and Colombia, recognised the role of Special Procedures in promoting and protecting human rights.  In accordance with the Code of Conduct and Operations Manual, the Special Procedures should act with impartiality and integrity.  They should identify good practices, underscore achievements, and enable technical assistance and cooperation with other countries.  States should engage in open, constructive dialogue with governments, civil society and the mandate holders.

Australia, speaking also on behalf of Canada, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland, underscored the importance of upholding the independence of Special Procedures.  They were concerned about reports of threats, harassment, intimidation and reprisals of those who engaged with Special Procedures.  They called on other States to grant access and engage with Special Procedures.

Romania, speaking on behalf of a group of countries representing the core group in relation to resolution 34/41 on parliaments as promoters of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, expressed their gratitude to the High Commissioner and to Mr. Chungong for their work and the smooth functioning of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.  They urged all members to adopt the recommendations put forward.  The third forum would take place later this year and would focus on equal justice for all, a necessary element for democracy and human rights protection.

Angola, speaking on behalf of the African Group, stated that the principles of universality and impartiality should underpin the work of all human rights bodies, and should be carried out in a constructive and non-politicized manner.  Furthermore, it was important that the Council acted within its mandate.  Technical assistance and capacity building should be prioritized, and assistance to States should be provided with their consent.  The African Group asked the Office of the High Commissioner to ensure the appointment of staff on the basis of gender balance and equitable geographic representation.

Pakistan said that the focus of the dialogue on minorities and statelessness was very pertinent.  Pakistan had always opened its doors to those fleeing persecution.  It had hosted 5 million Afghans at the height of that crisis, and was currently hosting 400,000 Rohingyas.  Special Procedure mandate holders were invited to visit Pakistan to observe the situation on the ground.  The work of human rights bodies should be guided by the principles of transparency, objectivity and accountability.

India underlined the importance of choosing mandate holders based on equitable geographical representation, and representing different legal systems.   Mandate holders had to be independent and must avoid polarization, as underlined in their Code of Conduct.  They should avoid the naming and shaming approach in countries that they visited and avoid sweeping statements.  The concerned country should receive the report first, prior to issuing of press releases.

Cuba reaffirmed that the Social Forum was a unique body within the United Nations system to discuss matters in a collaborative way.  The Forum offered an ideal setting to hear the voices of the non-governmental organizations.  Cuba enjoyed a high level of cooperation with Special Procedures and reiterated its call to mandate holders to adhere to their Code of Conduct.  Mandate holders should not promote the agendas of certain countries.

Tunisia welcomed the second session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.  The Forum offered an opportunity to exchange best practices on the role of parliamentarians in promoting human rights.  The role of the Special Procedures was underlined as they helped ensure the promotion and protection of human rights.  Since 2011, Tunisia had received 18 mandate holders.  It condemned any violence against the Special Procedure mandate holders as well as reprisals against persons who cooperated with them.

Togo welcomed the holding of the second session of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, and stressed that human rights, democracy and the rule of law were mutually reinforcing.  Parliamentarians were tasked with preventing the violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Human rights training was organized on a regular basis for the parliamentarians in Togo.  Togo encouraged treaty bodies to consider synergies amongst themselves, especially when countries had to report to several treaty bodies simultaneously.

Austria commended the Special Rapporteur on minority issues for his informative report on the activities of the Forum on Minority Issues, which helped understand the nature of challenges faced by minorities.  Austria was aware that statelessness largely affected members of minorities, and that statelessness almost always prevented the enjoyment of the full range of rights.  Pluralism and diversity were a source of social development, and thus Austria granted full protection to minorities.

China attached importance to the constructive role of Special Procedures in the promotion and protection of human rights.  In recent years, China had received several visits by Special Procedure mandate holders, and it had extended several invitations to them.  China believed that Special Procedures should behave in line with the Code of Conduct and should respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States, use reliable information, and engage in constructive dialogue with Governments. 

Japan believed it was critical that human rights bodies met the high expectations of the international community.  Unfortunately, there were certain instances when these were not met.  To address this, some changes were needed, such as setting longer deadlines for responding to Special Procedures.  The duplication of work should be avoided and steps should be taken to avoid overlap.  Mandates should be amended as appropriate.  Such changes could be addressed during planned reviews.

Cameroon addressed references to the Anglophone linguistic minority in the country.  Through quirks of geography, Cameroon had more than 240 linguistic groups, and it had seen early linguistic and ethnic mixing.  This had led to an early sense of national belonging, as such ideas of origin had blurred.  All of this indicated that it was not possible to make reference to an Anglophone minority, ethnically speaking, so they wondered what ethnic group was referred to by this. 

Uruguay noted the importance of strengthening cooperation between States and Special Procedure mandate holders, as well as the ability of mandate holders to work with States.  Uruguay welcomed the annual meeting of the Special Procedure mandate holders.  It was convinced of the utility of the incremental stepping up of the work of the treaty bodies.  The proposed early warning system would be beneficial and Uruguay supported its adoption.  

Mexico was cooperating with Special Procedures as they were an independent tool in the international human rights system.  It was one of 18 States that had received five or more visits.  Special Procedures had to carry out their work impartially.  It was essential for Special Procedures to help countries improve their problems through capacity building and sharing of best practices.  Mexico carried out strategic actions for civil registering of indigenous persons. 

Nepal believed that the Forum on Minority Issues and the Social Forum had become important platforms for inclusive dialogue and participation.  Discrimination was prohibited in Nepal and no citizen was deprived of the right to obtain citizenship.  Nepal was resolved to ensure inclusive development, equality, prosperity and social justice.  The Government had adopted policies for ensuring the uplifting of minorities and marginalized communities.

Luxembourg, speaking on behalf of a group of countries, reiterated their serious concern about reprisals against human rights defenders and journalists that had been engaging with the United Nations system.  Reprisals targeting women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons were alarming.  All States and the United Nations, including the Council, were called on to take interventions to remedy such situations.

Lithuania reiterated its full support for the Special Procedures that played a crucial role in upholding human rights worldwide.  It called on all States to cooperate with Special Procedures and to issue open invitations to all mandate holders.  It applauded the efforts of the Coordinating Committee for Special Procedures to enhance the coordination of work by conducting joint missions and joint reports.

Germany said that the independence of all human rights mechanisms was paramount and it remained concerned about the increasing acts of intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders.  It was particularly shocked by the Egyptian Government’s reprisals against persons who engaged with Leilani Farha, Special Rapporteur on the right to housing.  Germany called for the immediate end of all acts of intimidation.

Venezuela said Special Procedure mandate holders should base their work in accordance with the Code of Conduct and their reports should be impartial, non-politicized, and without double standards.  Venezuela was concerned about the growing practice of publishing press communiques without prior consultation with the concerned States.

Russian Federation regretted the strengthening of a very worrying trend in the work of the Human Rights Council, with some parties undermining the principles of the Code of Conduct.  Special Procedures openly demonstrated a lack of cooperation with Governments, and they made loud and unfounded public statements, which was unacceptable.  The Russian Federation thus called for an open discussion on clear guidelines for the work of Special Procedures. 

El Salvador noted that its Constitution enshrined a form of republican government that was democratic and representative.  The rule of law was defined as the obligation of all citizens to comply with and respect laws.  El Salvador called on everyone, including Governments, the international community, civil society, and the United Nations human rights system to accept a vision of complementarity of concepts of democracy, rule of law, and human rights. 

Costa Rica stressed the need for having a universal system of protection for human rights.  Together with the Universal Periodic Review, Special Procedures constituted an essential element for the prevention of violations of human rights and mass atrocities.  Costa Rica called for respect of the independence of mandate holders, and for maintaining constructive dialogues among States. 

Maldives said that small developing island States like Maldives were presently dealing with a backlog in periodic reporting to treaty bodies, not because of a lack of commitment, but due to the limited human resource capacity and expertise.  Submitting more than 15 reports, on optional protocols, core conventions and the Universal Periodic Review, within a period of 10 years required considerable capacity.

Azerbaijan said that a robust system of Special Procedures guided by the principles of transparency, equality, impartiality and inclusion was an important tool of the Human Rights Council.  A broader outreach by mandate holders was crucial for discharging their mandate.

Botswana said that the Special Rapporteur on minority issues had confirmed Botswana’s diverse ethnic and linguistic make-up and political stability as well as the low levels of corruption and the good human rights record.  Kgotla system, which preceded the colonial period, was the foundation of democracy in Botswana, which helped explain why the modern system of democracy was able to take root and flourish in Botswana.

Ireland firmly believed that for the multilateral system to function effectively, the contribution of civil society and their engagement with mandate holders was of critical importance.  Ireland therefore echoed High Commissioner Bachelet’s concerns about reprisals against human rights defenders cooperating with United Nations human rights bodies and processes.  It called on all States to take appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of acts of intimidation.

Sri Lanka highlighted the importance and power of the intersection of sports and human rights - as when it came to sporting idols, all ethnic and religious differences were forgotten, even in Sri Lanka which had been ravaged by racial tensions for the last 30 years.  Empowering women and girls in sports remained a priority and investments in sports could help drive national and international policies against the scourge of drugs.

Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Gulf said providing sufficient funds to reach the goals of the Council was important and stressed the responsibility of the Special Procedure mandate holders to fulfil their tasks according to established rules by abiding to their commitment to the Code of Conduct and guaranteeing their objectivity.  Reports presented to the Human Rights Council were the foundation of addressing human rights issues, and any attempt to undermine their independence or transparency should be avoided.

Timor-Leste noted that the promotion and protection of human rights could only be ensured when the rule of law and the separation of powers were implemented.  Those principles were guaranteed in Timor-Leste’s Constitution.  The will of the people and the respect for the dignity of human persons were essential for Timor-Leste’s democratic State and they served as barometers of its legitimacy. 

Colombia guaranteed the independence of Special Procedures and human rights mechanisms.  It reiterated that human rights were upheld in Colombia.  Strengthening the mechanisms and procedures of the human rights system ensured the strengthening of the democracy of States.  It contributed to the prevention of intolerance, discrimination, lack of guarantees, and abuse of power.  

International Development Law Organization welcomed the opportunity to participate in the plenary of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, helping to identify ways in which parliamentarians could interact with other State institutions, offering concrete examples in which parliamentarians and the judiciary complemented each other for the protection of human rights and the rule of law, while respecting the separation of powers and their independent roles. 

Luxembourg was strongly attached to the independence of Special Procedures, which was essential to guarantee the integrity and efficiency of their work.  Their work was indispensable for the smooth operation of the Council.  Luxembourg urged all States to cooperate in full and in good faith with the Special Procedures.  It appreciated the work of the Special Procedures to incorporate human rights in other areas of the United Nations’ work, including in the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda.

Ecuador reminded that it was part of the group of States that had since 2013 tabled resolutions on the contribution of parliaments to the work of the Council and to the Universal Periodic Review.  It welcomed the work of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.  Ecuador urged for a more cross-cutting integration of human rights in all areas of the work of States, including their legislatures.

Advocates for Human Rights recalled that the Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender equality had received 35 communications since the establishment of the mandate, including 20 in 2018 alone.  The organization called attention to the widespread violations of rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in Côte d’Ivoire and Chechnya, Russian Federation.  It urged the Council to put an end to atrocities against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons in Chechnya and Côte d’Ivoire.

European Union of Public Relations noted that religious minorities in Pakistan were subjected to threats and systematic violence, including detention and imprisonment.  The Pakistani Government defended its anti-blasphemy laws to quell the increasing disruption of the peace, but that did not justify excessive use of force.  The anti-blasphemy laws limited the exercise of minorities’ right to exercise their religion freely.  Regrettably, the Pakistani authorities were reluctant to bring their laws into line with international standards.

Minority Rights Group, in a joint statement, was pleased to see the strong legislative and administrative recommendations made in the report of the Special Rapporteur on minorities to ease the access to civil rights for minorities.  It supported the recommendation to collect and disaggregate data on stateless persons in order to better inform decision makers.  In Mauritania, the descendants of slaves were victims of structural discrimination in terms of access to civil registration, leading to the risk of statelessness.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada deplored the widespread, systematic and grave human rights violations against lawyers and human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia and China, which were members of the Human Rights Council.  It reminded the Council that under some circumstances, systematic arbitrary detentions could constitute crimes against humanity.  The organization thus called for the suspension of Council membership for significant non-compliance by its Member States.

International Service for Human Rights noted that Guatemala was facing a grave crisis in its struggle to promote the rule of law and accountability, following decades of conflict.  If passed, the National Reconciliation Law would lead to impunity for grave internationally recognized crimes, including genocide and torture.  Convictions could be overturned and the important drive against impunity would be reversed. 

China Society for Human Rights Studies (CSHRS) called on all Governments and non-governmental organizations to abandon their political bias, and to adopt an objective, non-selective and non-political approach, with a view to considering and solving various human rights issues through cooperation and dialogue.  International human rights bodies and mechanisms should adhere to the subsidiarity principles in evaluating human rights situations, in line with the specific conditions and circumstances in each country.   

Center for Environmental and Management Studies noted that instead of accelerating its peace programmes, Pakistan was actually moving backwards.  The organization drew attention to Pakistan’s dysfunctional policies and targeting of citizens due to their culture and religious beliefs.  The attitude of the Sunni majority towards religious minorities left no doubts about their fanaticism.  Brutality against the Shia Muslims was worrying, especially because it was not reported. 

Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture said that Israel was torturing the Palestinian people, and that the Council’s mechanisms were not holding Israel accountable.  Human rights violations were codified, including arbitrary detention and detention of children.  The absence of follow-up mechanisms made the lives of Palestinians even worse.  The Council should seek to protect Palestinians against the occupying power.

International Association for Democracy in Africa called attention to the suffering of minorities in Pakistan.  The attitude of inclusion and tolerance was one of the main preconditions for establishing a democratic and progressive society.  But the existence of religious fundamentalism and cultural prejudice in Pakistan did not allow it to be a democratic society.  The suffering and sustained discrimination against the Ahmadis laid bare Pakistan’s hypocrisy. 

Edmund Rice International Limited reminded that during its Universal Periodic Reviews in 2008, 2012 and 2017, Argentina had received and accepted repeated recommendations to appoint an Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents, but it had not yet done so.  The organization called on the Government of Argentina to urgently establish and appoint an Ombudsperson for Children and Adolescents and thus ensure the protection of their rights.

Canners International Permanent Committee regretted that Pakistan boasted the value of nationalism while claiming to be a democracy.  Pakistan had demarcated ethnic and Christian minorities, and it even punished the so-called non-mainstream Muslims, such as the Shia, Ahmadi, Hazari and Baloch people, for not complying with orthodox Islam.  The statistics of forced disappearances, sectarian violence and persecution of minorities were increasing.

World Environment and Resources Council (WERC)believed that Pakistan had made extremist thoughts its ideology.  The State had made the lives of Pakistani Christians sorrowful, for a crime they did not commit.  Intolerance and bias towards Christians was rife, despite them comprising only one per cent of the population.  They held few positions of power, and lived on the margins of poverty, with poor access to health, education and sanitation.

Pan African Union for Science and Technology raised the issue of abductions of Pashtuns in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region in Pakistan.  The Pashtun Protection Movement emerged to preserve the rights of Pashtuns, and since its creation, it had exposed the propaganda that Pakistan had initiated in the name of the war on terrorism.  Since the September 11 attacks, 75,000 Pashtuns had been killed, whereas many had disappeared and were thought to be held in internment centres.

African Regional Agricultural Credit Association highlighted the increasing intolerance and exclusion of religious minorities in Pakistan, which had been robbing its minorities of their basic human rights.  Claiming that it was an Islamic nation, Pakistan had defied the possibility of multiculturalism and safeguarding the rights of minorities.  Pakistan had been excluding people who differed from the mainstream ideology, fuelling unrest and unease in society.

Commission to Study the Organization of Peace regretted the plight of ethnic and religious minorities in Pakistan, which had lost all signs of being a democratic nation.  Its failure to protect the minorities within its borders raised a severe humanitarian concern.  Pakistan threatened them with death, coercion and intimidation.  Granting human rights to ethnic and religious minorities was a stepping-stone to reaching development and growth.

United Schools International stated that Pakistan had failed to uphold the rights of its religious minorities.  Islamic ideals were now pervasive in its political and cultural space, in flagrant disregard for the original ideals set out by the country’s founding fathers.  Minorities faced discrimination in every aspect of their life, including in education and employment, and were subjected to attacks by radical Islamic groups.    

Cuban United Nations Association shared its experience of cooperation with human rights mechanisms through organized meetings between Special Procedures and civil society.  The organization had also contributed to the work of treaty bodies, and the Universal Periodic Review process, noting that it had not been discriminated against in any way.  The organization had also been involved in the preparation of Cuban national reports.

National Union of Jurists of Cuba, The said that it had been involved in the work of treaty bodies with full freedom of expression and on an equal footing.  They were involved primarily when the Cuban Government was reporting, including to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  It had been engaged in exchanges with various Special Rapporteurs. 

Amnesty International reminded that Special Procedures had sent communications to 95 countries, out of which 34 had failed to respond to two or more communications.  Of those, 13 were members of the Human Rights Council.  A lack of timely and substantive response to Special Procedures not only undermined the integrity of the Council, but it was also incompatible with the Council membership.  The Council should request speedy updates from those States.

Africa Culture International was revolted that modern slavery, including amongst children, continued to exist in the twenty-first century.  According to the International Labour Organization, 215 million children were involved in work in 2010, whereas UNICEF had estimated that figure at 150 million in 2014.  Modern slavery affected children in the worst ways, such as in drug trafficking and recruitment in armed conflict.  Modern slavery had to be wiped out.

American Association of Jurists pointed out the illegality of the election of a number of parliamentarians in Morocco.  Those acts were the expression of the annexation of Western Sahara, despite the fact that Morocco was supposed to negotiate with the Polisario Front in good faith in order to reach a just settlement with the Sahrawi people.  The organization urged Morocco to comply with international law and United Nations resolutions concerning the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara.

Japanese Workers’ Committee for Human Rights complained that the Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corporation had breached broadcasting ethics in 2018 in a report on human rights activists in Ryukyu, labelling them as terrorists.  Journalist and human rights activist Sugok Shin had been the victim of online harassment as a result.  In its Universal Periodic Review, Japan had been urged to adopt the Hate Crime Act. 

Prahar noted that India was disrespectful of the important human rights mechanisms, as it had ignored the reports of the Universal Periodic Review and mandate holders on minorities, amongst others.  India had not acted on the recommendations in those reports.  The situation in the northeast of the country was worsening as the Government was pushing through its Citizenship Amendment Bill, which threatened indigenous communities with extinction.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Inc spoke of the plight of Bahraini human rights activist Ahmed Alwadaei, who had participated in numerous sessions of the Human Rights Council and who had been subjected to harassment, threats and arbitrary detention.  His family was also currently arbitrarily detained.  The organization called for their immediate release and for compensation to be made.

World Muslim Congress drew attention to the reprisals against human rights defenders in occupied Kashmir.  The organization condemned the attacks by the Indian occupying forces on photographers and journalists while they performed their work.  Journalists and students had been arrested for having published their views on the Indian occupation online.  

Iraqi Development Organization expressed concern about the difficulty for non-governmental organizations to obtain a consultative status at the Human Rights Council.  Some non-governmental organizations came from countries that violated human rights, or that were engaged in military interventions in other countries, or countries that were imposing embargo on other countries.  That matter had to be examined.

Alsalam Foundation drew attention to Bahrain’s continued refusal to cooperate with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, in particular with the Special Procedures.  Arbitrary detention, torture and unfair trials were rampant in Bahrain.  One such example was Mohamed Merza Moosa, a gold medalist who had been subjected to torture due to his participation in protests in 2001.  He had been convicted by the National Safety Court and sent to prison.

Organization for Defending Victims of Violence reminded that the United States officials had claimed that the toughest ever sanctions on Iran’s oil, shipping and banking would not hurt the people.  However, Iran based non-governmental organizations had publically denounced that as a lie.  The sanctions imposed limited access to food and medicine, and they endangered thousands of lives, including those of patients with chronic diseases.

International Muslim Women's Union emphasized that freedom of expression was paramount to human freedom.  However, in India freedom of expression was restricted in Kashmir.  Journalists had been prevented from reporting on that region for 29 years.  Female journalists were especially targeted by the Indian authorities, in a deliberate attempt to prevent the reporting of facts on the ground.  The organization was alarmed at the ongoing detention of human rights defenders in Kashmir.

Verein Südwind Entwicklungspolitik stated that according to official statistics from the Government of Iran, around 50,000 stateless people existed in the Sistan and Baluchistan provinces.  No statistics existed for those forced to migrate to city slums, due to lack of water in their home villages.  Discrimination against minorities in Iran was not limited to statelessness, but also extended to those active in civil society and who were charged with establishing illegal groups. 

Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association expressed their concern about the violation of human rights in Somalia, and the failure of the Government to implement the recommendations by United Nations mechanisms.  Somalia had asked the United Nations’ representative to leave the country.  The organization called on Somalia to ratify the Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, and the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

United Villages spoke about the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which highlighted the ban on various newspapers and the blocking of freedom of movement for journalists in Jammu and Kashmir.  The organization lamented the fact that no changes had been made since the issuing of the report and that the recommendations had not been implemented.  The Committee to Protect Journalists had slammed authorities of Jammu and Kashmir for violence against journalists, proving that there was a direct threat to free press in the region.

Indian Movement “Tupaj Amaru” noted that the mandate of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples did not extend far enough and that it did they have the capacity to deal with large-scale abuses.  The organization further stated that Armenians living in Western Armenia had suffered a genocide and that they continued to fight for their existence as the region of Western Armenia was still under Turkish occupation.

Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme welcomed the fact that statelessness had been the focus of the report of the Special Rapporteur on minority issues.  The organization called attention to the plight of the Uighurs in China, and Rohingya in Myanmar, as well as to the expulsion and expropriation of lands of several indigenous groups in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon and Gabon without compensation by multinational corporations.

Sikh Human Rights Group urged the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights to consider new and creative approaches and mechanisms to guarantee that diversity was inclusive not only through the human rights regime, but more broadly in States as well.  There were countries with solid human rights policies and affirmative action, but there were also countries that did not have the necessary institutions to implement diversity policies.  Sometimes there were tensions between the cultures of majority and minority. 

Human Rights Watch, in a joint statement with International Service for Human Rights, welcomed the incoming Council Members’ pledge, delivered by Fiji on behalf of 10 Council members last week, which recognized the responsibility of members to cooperate with the Council and its mechanisms.  For the Council to be effective, credible and relevant, all its 47 members had to be committed to the promotion of human rights.  How could States accused of systematic human rights be candidates for Council membership?

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues observed that Egypt had featured frequently in reports of the United Nations Secretary-General since 2010 and that it continued to insufficiently respond to Special Procedures’ communications.  Egypt had been abusing anti-terrorism laws to suppress civil society and human rights defenders.  It was thus shocking that Egypt was part of the core group of countries that supported the resolution that would extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

World Jewish Congress expressed concern that Israeli athletes had been prevented from participating in sports in certain countries.  The World Para Swimming Championships in Malaysia had had to be relocated as Israeli athletes were prevented from participating.  The spirit of international sports competition was about putting aside politics and discrimination.  Therefore, the organization asked the Council to condemn those actions, stressing that sports should be free from politics.

The International Organisation for LDCs stated the Baha’i had been forced to practice their faith in secret in Yemen, due to persecution.  The organization called for an end of discriminatory practices based on religion or belief, as per the words of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.  In 2018, the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen had concluded that the Houthis had committed war crimes against the Baha’i community.  

Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation said the Tamil people of northern Sri Lanka had been facing great discrimination since the end of the armed conflict.  The United Kingdom had provided 6.6 million USD to assist Tamils affected by the war.  However, that money had been spent on the military forces.  In addition, United Nations reports had found credible information on cases of abduction, rape and torture by the Sri Lankan security forces.  The organization thus urged the Council to monitor the situation.

Association pour l'Intégration et le Développement Durable au Burundi appealed to the United Nations to strengthen the Human Rights Council, and especially the branch of Special Procedures.  The organization further requested that India abide by its commitments because it had not yet responded to any of the 12 communications from the Special Rapporteur on the rights of human rights defenders, and it had not submitted its report on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.  In light of increasing caste-based violence, those reports should be submitted as a matter of priority.

ABC Tamil Oli highlighted the great physical and mental health issues faced by the refugees in Manus Island and called on Australia to find a durable solution for all refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea outside of those countries.  The organization thanked New Zealand for having offered them safety. 

Solidarity Switzerland-Guinea stated that the Gulf crisis had affected the rights of many minorities in the Gulf States, and had trapped in a crisis in which had no stake.  Virtually all the rights of Qataris had been violated, especially the right to education.  Thousands of students had been forced to leave their universities, following decisions of deportations from the four blockading countries.  How could those students be guaranteed their right to education?

Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII welcomed the summary report on the 2018 Social Forum.  Sport and Olympic ideals could be a means to promote education, health, development and peace around the world.  When children and adolescents were allowed and guaranteed practicing sports and its values, sport combatted discrimination among people and helped build more peaceful and inclusive societies.

African Green Foundation International noted that a former Tamil minister was breaching the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  He had passed a law that prevented the resettlement of Singhalese in northern Sri Lanka.  Additionally, the removal of all Buddhist statues in the north of the country constituted a crime against humanity and a crime of apartheid.

Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH) said that 120 States were in principle ready to host any mandate holder, regardless of the thematic area.  While that was welcome, full implementation of that principle was yet to be seen.  It was simply too easy not to respond to the visit request, or to ignore the request, as seen by numerous cancelations.  Country visits should be seen as an opportunity for countries to engage in a dialogue with the United Nations system. 

Association of Mali Youth for Agriculture ASJAM reminded that Tamils lived under the occupation of the genocidal Sri Lankan armed forces, whose concentration in the north-east of the country had dramatically increased from 170,000 in 2009 to 400,000 nowadays.  Those forces were engaged in commercial activities, such as property development and business ventures.  The organization called on the Council to nominate a Special Rapporteur to investigate these actions.

Association for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights (APWCR) stated that in Indian-occupied Kashmir human rights defenders were under constant threat from the Indian authorities.  Despite calls and condemnation from international organizations, numerous cases of detention and false imprisonment of civilians and journalists were taking place.  Those defenders were punished for trying to publicize the truth about siege by the Indian state in southern Kashmir.

United Nations Watch stated that the Council was persistent in its targeting of Israel as a human rights abuser.  It regretted that the agenda of targeting Israel had not stopped, despite the Council having committed to an agenda of reform.  The organization stressed that impartiality had to be a key principle that underpinned the work of the Council, urging it to uphold its own principles.

Ingénieurs du Monde suggested that the Council should convene more regular special sessions for urgent crisis requiring the Council’s attention in order to be more effective.  Convening with support of a minimum of 16 Member States would make that possible.  Special sessions should have been convened in response to Iran’s actions against protesters, China’s treatment of the Uyghur, and Venezuela’s actions against the opposition.

Indian Council of South America (CISA) was concerned that in Peru the lands and territories of various indigenous communities were being given by the Government to mining companies by way of concessions.  The populations were being displaced forcibly, and were forced to leave their land, their houses destroyed and roads were cut off.  

Association culturelle des tamouls en France noted that delayed justice had resulted in denied justice in Sri Lanka.  The legal acts adopted by Sri Lanka regarding missing persons, reparations and enforced disappearances lacked implementation mechanisms.  Unless time limits or sanctions were levied against Sri Lanka, it would continue to commit crimes against humanity with impunity.

Alliance Creative Community Project reminded that provinces in India had been organized in line with linguistic principle in order to protect the social and cultural identity of different groups.  However, the Indian Government was nowadays making demographic changes and pushing Hindi speaking people into Tamil speaking areas.  Illegal preferential treatment was given to Hindi-speaking candidates when applying for jobs, at the expense of Tamil candidates. 

Active Solidarity for Family Development (SADF) spoke about the mass grave in Mannar in Sri Lanka where 300 skeletons had been exhumed.  The Sri Lankan Government had not followed any formal procedure to identify the victims.  The authorities had refused to interview the relatives of the disappeared people regarding that mass grave.  Mannar was not the only place where there were mass graves.

African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters recalled that women were the most vulnerable group in any society.  In Indian-occupied Kashmir that was particularly true as girls were kidnapped and brutally raped.  They were knocking for justice everywhere, but no justice had been rendered.  Women were living as half-widows as they did not know whether their husbands were alive.

International Career Support Association criticized the statement of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea regarding forced labourers and sex slaves during the Second World War.  Those were not forced labourers, and the mentioned women worked as prostitutes.  The organization rejected the victim-centred approach and instead called for a fact-based approach to investigate those allegations.  It called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return all abductees it had taken from Japan.

Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples drew attention to the threat of stripping a large number of Kurds of their Turkish nationality because of their activities to defend the rights of their people.  It also called attention to cruel and inhumane treatment of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkish prisons.  The organization thus called on the Council’s mechanisms to focus on the situation of Kurdish political prisoners in Turkish jails.

Center for Africa Development and Progress stated that the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report on Sri Lanka had outlined the key crimes committed against the Tamils and Muslims by the Sri Lankan military.  Transitional justice had remained a distant dream and Tamils were unable to lead normal lives under tough militarization and the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act.  Sri Lanka should be referred to the International Criminal Court without any delay.

Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association called on States to undergo some introspection when reports of Special Procedures criticized the status of human rights in their countries.  The organization regretted that India had closed its doors for introspection and that it remained resistant to hearing the plight of its minorities, indigenous people, Dalits and women.

Le Pont drew attention to the situation of Kurds throughout greater Kurdistan.  Over 3,000 Kurdish Yazidi women remained missing and thousands more had been forced into sexual slavery by ISIS.  Kurds were denied their linguistic rights throughout Turkey and Iran, although they deserved access to the same rights as everyone else.

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