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Human Rights Council adopts the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Belize, Chad, China and Malta

Human Rights Council
MORNING 

15 March 2019

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Belize, Chad, China and Malta.

Raineldo Urbina, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels, said Belize had reviewed all 124 recommendations and accepted 100, which they considered aligned with existing policies in the process of implementation or were in line with previous recommendations.  It noted 20 recommendations and reserved its position on 6.  The Government recognized the need for an independent human rights institute in line with the Paris Principles.  Belize noted the recommendations to extend an open invitation to Special Procedures but would continue to cooperate on a case-by-case basis. 

In the ensuing discussion, speakers recognized Belize’s efforts to improve its legal framework to promote human rights, the de facto moratorium on the death penalty, the commitment to increase access to reproductive health and education, and its ratification of various international human rights instruments.  Some delegations welcomed Belize’s Sustainable Development Growth Strategy 2016–2020, which contained policies aimed at the establishment of an administrative and legislative framework for development.  Belize was urged to continue strengthening its climate change strategies and to seek technical assistance for transitioning of the Office of the Ombudsman to an institution that complied with the Paris Principles.

Speaking were: Chile, Cuba, Iraq, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Tunisia, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Bahamas, Barbados, and Brazil.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: International Planned Parenthood Federation (in a joint statement with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education), Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland (in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association), and Association of World Citizens.

The President informed that of the 124 recommendations received, Belize had accepted 100 and noted 24.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Belize.

Djimet Arabi, Minister of Justice in Charge of Human Rights of Chad, underlined that Chad was committed to accept almost all of the recommendations, 195, which was consistent with Chad’s commitment to promote and protect human rights.  As for the nine noted recommendations, the Minister said that the Government continued to study their feasibility, in light of the security concerns in the Sahel region.  On the death penalty, the Government was committed to observing the moratorium.   The Minister stressed that Chad faced enormous challenges, namely terrorism, climate change and poverty.  

In the ensuing discussion, speakers welcomed the National Plan of Development 2017-2021 and the strategy on the reduction of poverty, as well as the measures taken to put an end to the recruitment of children in armed conflict.  They noted that Chad had achieved progress since the previous cycle in terms of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the National Gender Policy of 2016.  Speakers nevertheless urged Chad to prevent child marriage and to end the harmful effects of female genital mutilation, and they raised concern about the prohibition of the right to peaceful assembly and Internet censorship.

Speaking were: Togo, Tunisia, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Cuba and Egypt.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: International Service for Human Rights , Amnesty International, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, and Association of World Citizens.

The President informed that out of 204 recommendations received, Chad had accepted 195 and noted nine.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Chad.

Le Yucheng, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, reminded that most countries had recognized China’s progress in the field of human rights.  The country had achieved great economic progress with the world’s largest middle-income population, and it had lifted 740 million people out of poverty.  In 2020 it would achieve comprehensive poverty reduction.  In November 2018, the Chinese Government had adopted 30 new measures to promote human rights.  As for the reference to the so-called large-scale arbitrary detentions in Xinjiang, this constituted interference into China’s internal affairs.  The Deputy Minister reminded that thousands of terrorist acts had been orchestrated in Xinjiang due to the spread of religious extremism.  Accordingly, the authorities had taken a series of measures to prevent such extremism, and the training and education centres had proved to be effective. 

In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended China for accepting over 80 per cent of recommendations and for having lifted 700 million people in rural areas out of poverty.  They welcomed the priority given by China to promoting socio-economic development, poverty reduction, tackling terrorism, and strengthening international cooperation.  Some speakers noted the fact that China had provided no accountability for the death of several human rights defenders, which was a powerful indication of its deteriorating human rights environment.  Chinese authorities had reversed key legal gains, constricted space for independent civil society, and undertaken a campaign of arbitrary detention of Turkic Muslims. 

Speaking were Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan and Philippines.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: United Nations Association of China (in a joint statement with Cuban United Nations Association, National Association of Cuban Economists, and National Union of Jurists of Cuba, The), China Family Planning Association, Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, International Service for Human Rights (in a joint statement with CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation), China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Chinese Association for International Understanding, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture (CAPDTC), International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, and Human Rights Watch.

The Vice President informed that out of the 346 recommendations received, China had accepted 284 and noted 62.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of China.

Olaph Terribile, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva, informed that a human rights equality commission bill had established a commission solely answerable to the Maltese House of Representatives to ensure equality and non-discrimination.  In order to eliminate xenophobia, Malta was extending national legislation to combat incitement to racial hatred, hate crime and hate speech.  The conditions in reception centres for migrants had improved substantially and Malta had enacted legislation barring the detention of children and to provide necessary assistance to unaccompanied minors.   As for the assassination of Daphne Caruna Galizia, the Government supported recommendations to increase the protection of journalists and to strengthen the independence of media by enacting the Media and Defamation act in 2018.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers welcomed Malta’s acceptance of the recommendations on combatting violence against women, gender equality in employment, fighting xenophobia, and protection of children with disabilities, and its efforts to eradicate stereotypes and discrimination against migrants.  Some speakers voiced concerns about the state of freedom of expression following the assassination of Daphne Caruna Galizia, noting that the Government’s decision not to accept the recommendation of the public enquiry into her assassination was concerning.  Ongoing impunity and the harassment of other human rights defenders were worrying signs of a downplaying of the case as public officials continued to smear her memory with impunity.

Speaking were Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Philippines, Republic of Moldova, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Botswana, and China.    

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Alliance Defending Freedom, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopération Economique Internationale - OCAPROCE Internationale, Amnesty International, Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme, Association of World Citizens, and Article 19 - International Centre against Censorship, The.

The President informed that out of 157 recommendations received, Malta had accepted 122 and noted 27, while additional clarifications were sought on eight.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Malta.

The Council will next hold a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Belize

RAINELDO URBINA, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels, said Belize had a longstanding human rights based approach to development.   It had reviewed all 124 recommendations and accepted 100 which they considered aligned with existing policies in the process of implementation or were in line with previous recommendations.  It noted 20 recommendations and reserved its position on 6.  The Government recognized the need for an independent human rights institute in line with the Paris Principles.  On equality and non-discrimination, although the constitution guaranteed the protection of every person in Belize, the Government had developed an anti-discrimination bill, including discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.  On trafficking in persons, it had increased penalties and had created an anti-trafficking council.  Belize recognized the importance of combatting gender discrimination and pushed on with implementing its 2013 national policy on gender equality, pairing this with a multifaceted approach to health, gender-based violence and education for women.  The Government continued its investment in the areas of education, health and development and recognized that recommendations and actions on these areas would promote human rights

Belize noted the recommendations to extend an open invitation to Special Procedures but would continue to cooperate on a case by case basis.  Mr. Urbina confirmed that the death penalty had not been used for close to 35 years, but remained in the law books.  Given Belize’s limited human and financial resources, it had prioritized reporting on the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Chile recognized Belize’s efforts to bolster its legal framework to promote and protect human rights, as well as its ratification of various international human rights instruments.  Chile welcomed Belize’s acceptance of Chile’s recommendations to establish a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles, as well as to adopt specific legislation to sanction and prevent all forms of discrimination.

Cuba commended Belize’s active participation in the Universal Periodic Review, and its acceptance of Cuba’s recommendations on the implementation of a national strategic health plan, on continuous education, and on inclusive education for children with disabilities

Iraq took positive note of Belize’s acceptance of the three recommendations tabled by Iraq and commended its acceptance of the majority of the recommendations, expressing hope that it would implement them in line with its international obligations.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees welcomed the recommendations accepted by Belize that called for the protection of vulnerable persons, including victims of trafficking, survivors of violence, and children who had suffered human rights violations.  The acceptance of recommendations concerning prevention and resolution of statelessness was also welcomed.

Tunisia welcomed that Belize had accepted a large number of recommendations and its efforts to improve regulatory frameworks for human rights.  Efforts taken to combat violence against women and protect children were also noted.

United Nations Population Fund renewed its commitment to the Government of Belize to continue supporting the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.  The Fund would provide Belize with support in the development of a national adolescent health strategy and in public policies aimed towards gender equality and women’s empowerment

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) welcomed Belize’s open cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review, and appreciated its Sustainable Development Growth Strategy 2016–2020, which contained policies aimed at the establishment of an administrative and legislative framework for development.  Venezuela encouraged Belize to continue implementing policies aimed at the most disadvantaged groups.

Bahamas was pleased that Belize had supported the recommendation made by the Bahamas to consider establishing or strengthening a national process to assist in coordinating its reporting under various human rights instruments.  It encouraged Belize to continue strengthening its climate change strategies and called on the international community to support it in that endeavour.

Barbados welcomed the intention of Belize to establish a national human rights institution and appreciated that the transition from an Office of the Ombudsman to an institution that complied with the Paris Principles was made difficult by the lack of resources.  Barbados thus encouraged Belize to seek relevant technical assistance. 

Brazil remained convinced that Belize would continue its dialogue with the international community on the recommendations that it had not been able to accept.  It appreciated Belize’s positive achievements to ensure access to quality food and nutrition for children, the de facto moratorium on the death penalty, and reaffirmed its concern about the need to enhance women’s participation in political life. 

International Planned Parenthood Federation, in a joint statement with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, recognized the willingness of Belize to reform its health care delivery system to improve access for women, girls and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and to create environments, including a legal environment conducive to the full enjoyment of their rights.

Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland, in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association, welcomed progress but remained concerned that no deadline had been set to present an anti-discrimination bill to parliament and that nine years after accepting the recommendation to develop a human rights institute, no deadline had been set to conduct a feasibility study.

Association of World Citizens appreciated the acceptance of the establishment of a national human rights institute.  It urged Belize to officially abolish the death penalty and to increase the age of marriage to 18 for girls.  It applauded its focus to provide independent access to sexual and reproductive health education but regretted that 70 per cent of the victims of violence against women withdrew their complaints.

The President informed the Council that out of 124 recommendations, Belize had accepted 100 and noted 24.

RAINELDO URBINA, First Secretary at the Embassy of Belize in Brussels, thanked the delegations for their support and said that Belize would ensure implementation of recommendations.

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

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Chad

DJIMET ARABI, Minister of Justice in Charge of Human Rights of Chad, underlined that the Government had appreciated its participation in the thirty-first session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, and was pleased about the rising interest by Member States of the Council.  Chad was committed to accept and implement almost all of the recommendations, 195, which were consistent with Chad’s commitment to promote and protect human rights.  As for the nine noted recommendations, the Minister said that the Government continued to study their feasibility, in light of the security concerns in the Sahel region. 

On the death penalty, the Government was committed to observing the moratorium.  Since the adoption of the Penal Code in 2017, the death penalty had been abolished for most common law crimes, but it was kept for the crimes related to terrorism.  In November 2018, the authorities had held an expert workshop, which had proposed a reform of the Penal Code with respect to the death penalty.  The Minister stressed that Chad faced enormous challenges, namely terrorism, climate change and poverty.  It was working with international partners to deal with those challenges, namely with the G5 Sahel to fight terrorism.  Chad was feeling the full effects of climate change as the climate was becoming drier every year.  That natural phenomenon had worsened the vulnerability of its citizens.  Efforts taken by the Government had been significantly slowed down due to the economic crisis.  Accordingly, the authorities and its partners had adopted several projects in order to prop up the National Development Plan, which aimed to combat poverty.  The Minister further informed that following the initiation of the national political dialogue and discussions among political parties, the President Idriss Deby Itno had signed a decree for the establishment of the National Independent Commission and the next step was the launch of an effective electoral process.

Togo welcomed Chad’s review of all the recommendations made to it and in its follow up, its continued cooperation with the human rights mechanisms would strengthen the country’s development.  It was particularly pleased with Chad’s focus on the promotion of the rights of women and their empowerment, which included fighting against all forms of discrimination.
Tunisia welcomed that Chad had accepted the majority of the recommendations, including those that Tunisia had proposed.  Tunisia appreciated the efforts of Chad to set up a human rights framework and wished them full success.

Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) encouraged Chad to comply with the recommendations and was pleased that they had ratified the recommendation to develop a policy for women which fought against violence and discrimination against women in all its forms.  It wished them full success.

Afghanistan appreciated that Chad had accepted a large number of recommendations, including those made by Afghanistan on the finalization of the ratification of the Optional Protocols to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Algeria welcomed Belize’s National Plan of Development 2017-2021 and the strategy for the reduction of poverty.  Measures taken to put an end to the recruitment of children in armed conflict were welcomed.  Algeria’s recommendations were also accepted.

Angola commended the progress achieved by Chad since the last cycle in terms of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, translated into the ratification of major human rights international treaties, on equality and non-discrimination for women, on environmental challenges, and on the fight against terrorism.

Bolivia (Plurinational State of) welcomed the fact that the national report was the result of consultative work carried out by the Ministry of Justice and an inter-ministerial committee consisting of all relevant stakeholders.  Chad’s cooperation with the international human rights mechanisms of the United Nations was welcomed.

Botswana commended Chad for the plans for a national human rights commission, and the amendment of laws, policies and regulations to promote human rights, including the National Gender Policy of 2016, and the National Development Plan 2017–2021.  Botswana urge Chad to prevent child marriage and end the harmful effects of female genital mutilation.

Burkina Faso appreciated the progress made by Chad despite the national context marked by terrorist attacks and attempts of destabilization.  It congratulated Chad on the acceptance of the majority of recommendations, especially those relating to the death penalty.  Burkina Faso called on the international community to support Chad in the implementation of the accepted recommendations. 

Cameroon welcomed Chad’s interest in the recommendations made during the review, and noted with satisfaction the promulgation of the new Constitution, as well as efforts made by the authorities to strengthen the rule of law.  Cameroon encouraged Chad to continue cooperating with the United Nations human rights mechanisms.

China commended the constructive engagement of the Government of Chad in the Universal Periodic Review, and expressed hope that it would continue implementing the 2030 Agenda, and combatting poverty and terrorism in an effort to secure a safe life for its citizens.   
   
Cuba was pleased to note that Chad had accepted its recommendations and encouraged it to effectively implement the action plan to reduce poverty and promote development.

Egypt appreciated Chad’s accepting of most of the recommendations made by the Council, stating that this was a testament to its desire to cooperate with human rights mechanisms.  Egypt wished Chad lasting success.

International Service for Human Rights appreciated Chad’s acceptance of several recommendations to create a safe working environment for human rights defenders and encouraged it to lift bans on peaceful protests.  It urged the Government to guarantee and protect the freedom of expression and opinion and refrain from intimidating and arresting journalists.

Amnesty International called on the Government of Chad to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions.  Chad’s acceptance of recommendations to develop and adopt a law to recognize and protect human rights defenders was welcomed.

Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme said a notable regression in Chad had been noted since the last review, reflected in the prohibition of the right to peaceful assembly.  Citizens had been deprived of the Internet for 18 months, Internet censorship had been noted and WhatsApp and Twitter had been cut off.

Association of World Citizens said that there were many refugees from Sudan in Chad.  They had been sent back to Sudan and their leaders had been assassinated.   Preventive health for women was completely lacking so more funds were required for this important issue.

The President informed that of the 204 recommendations received, Chad had accepted 195 and noted 9.

DJIMET ARABI, Minister of Justice in Charge of Human Rights of Chad, provided clarifications on the concerns raised about bans on protests, stating that the freedom to demonstrate was recognized as a fundamental right in the constitution, but given the current circumstances in the region and the threat of terrorist attacks, the Government chose to limit the possibility of protest to reduce the risk of violence affecting civilians.  He emphasized that this was a matter of circumstances, not a political stance.  He also confirmed that persons who had been found guilty of carrying out torture had been condemned to 10 years of prison.  He confirmed that Chad was one of the few countries that did not have any human rights defenders or journalists in prison.

AHMAZ MAKAILA, Permanent Representative of Chad to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reminded the Council of the danger of politicization and of the importance of non-selectivity, stating that all humans were born free and in dignity.

DJIMET ARABI, Minister of Justice in Charge of Human Rights of Chad, reiterated Chad’s commitment to cooperating with the Universal Periodic Review process, adding that the recommendations received would be enshrined in a comprehensive reform of the judicial system.  Chad remained open to all partnership proposals.

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of China

LE YUCHENG, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, reminded that most countries had recognized China’s progress in the field of human rights, and expressed gratitude to all those who had taken part in China’s third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.  The Deputy Minister reminded that 2019 marked the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.  During that time, the country had achieved great economic progress for the world’s largest middle-income population, and had lifted 740 million people out of poverty.  In 2020, China would achieve comprehensive poverty reduction.  China faithfully upheld the principle of legality and the presumption of innocence, and shared the dividends of its own development with the world.  Such achievements would not have been possible without socialism, which was people centred, with development and the rule of law at its core.  In November 2018, the Chinese Government had adopted 30 new measures to promote human rights.  The Government had revised the Criminal Procedures Law, officially launched Internet Courts, created 13.6 million new jobs, and had held human rights consultations and dialogues with many countries.  China was happy to accept all the recommendations that were conducive to national conditions.  That was a clear testament of the Government’s willingness to uphold its international human rights commitments.  

The Deputy Minister noted that 62 recommendations were difficult to accept because they were either politically biased, based on inaccurate information, or not in line with national priorities.  Such was the recommendation on the abolition of the death penalty.  As for the reference to the so-called large-scale arbitrary detention, it constituted interference into China’s internal affairs.  The Deputy Minister reminded that several diplomats and journalists had visited the training and education centres in Xinjiang, including himself.  Located in the north-west border, with 24 million people, Xinjiang’s prosperity was key for the security and prosperity of the entire country.  China strongly opposed any terrorist acts, ethnic division and interference.  Thousands of terrorist acts had been orchestrated in Xinjiang due to the spread of religious extremism.  Accordingly, the authorities had taken a series of measures to prevent such extremism, and the training and education centres had proved to be effective.  The programme was preventive and it aimed to educate and rehabilitate the individuals influenced by the extremist ideology.  The centres offered courses on the national common languages, legal knowledge and practical skills.  The trainees signed agreements with the training centres, which safeguarded all of their basic human rights.  They could go home and receive visits by the family whenever they wanted.  The training programme was a special measure adopted by Xinjiang at a special time.  The programme would be gradually downsized.  Xinjiang had 24,000 mosques and the rights of ethnic and religious minorities were safeguarded.  In the past 24 months, no terrorist acts had taken place and the number of tourists visiting Xinjiang had soared, the Deputy Minister stressed.  No one could claim perfection when it came to human rights, and China would join hands with others to continue promoting human rights around the world, he concluded.

A representative of the Chinese delegation from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China noted that Hong Kong had been implementing its laws with full support from the central Government since 1997, namely its Bill of Rights.  Hong Kong was determined to safeguard the rule of law and freedom for long-term prosperity and stability.  The power of legal adjudication was vested in the Court of Appeal and Hong Kong ranked first in Asia in terms of judicial independence, and it was one of the safest cities.  Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China had ranked as the freest world economy for 25 consecutive years.  It would continue to promote the rights of all citizens under the One Country Two Systems principles. 

A representative of the Chinese delegation from Macao Special Administrative Region of China underlined that all residents of Macao were equal before the law, regardless of their origin, and that they were not subject to any discrimination.  Macao’s laws safeguarded the freedom of its residents and invoked directly the principles of international human rights instruments.   Macao Special Administrative Region of China had made progress in the protection of human rights, with the revision of its social security system and education outreach activities on human rights.  Macao had an independent commission to address human rights concerns. 

Mali welcomed important progress realized by the Chinese authorities in promoting economic, social and cultural rights through the implementation of the five-year plan on economic and social rights.  The third national action plan on human rights was welcomed as well as the law against family violence.

Mauritania welcomed the delegation of China and thanked them for accepting most of recommendations, 284 out of 346.  China’s attachment for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda was appreciated.  Efforts to promote the lives of its citizens were acknowledged, as well as the improvement of legal regulations.  China’s support to development countries was welcomed.

Mauritius thanked the delegation for accepting over 80 per cent of the recommendations, including those made by Mauritius.  The announcement of new measures for the protection of human rights, covering areas ranging from legislative measures, poverty reduction, health, and environmental protection, was noted. 

Mozambique noted the enormous achievements that China had made in human rights development.  It had lifted 700 million people in rural areas out of poverty.  China’s focus on peace and development in a holistic way was appreciated.

Myanmar noted that the Chinese Government had formulated multiple national human rights action plans in active response to recommendations by the Council on a comprehensive plan for human rights development.  The initiative on promoting human rights through peace, development, cooperation and equality complemented efforts to improve global human rights governance.

Namibia took note of China’s concept of human rights which put people at the centre and prioritized the right to development.  It was particularly pleased that China had accepted its recommendation to identify more crimes which should be abolished and encouraged further progress in this regard.

Nepal welcomed China’s fostering of a peaceful and stable environment for broad-based social and economic development.  It congratulated it on the remarkable progress made in ending poverty and raising the standard of living for the people throughout China, including Tibet and other rural areas with ethnic minorities.

Netherlands noted China’s enormous progress in advancing economic rights and lifting many people out of poverty.  Netherlands deeply regretted that China had rejected recommendations regarding access for United Nations mechanisms and called on it to issue a standing invitation to Special Procedures.

Nigeria commended China for its strong commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process and on the success of its economic policies to lift a large number of people out of poverty.  It recommended the adoption of the outcome report and wished China a successful implementation of the accepted recommendation.

Norway was looking to learn more on what measures China would put in place to ensure freedom of expression and create a safe environment for human rights defenders.  It was disappointing that recommendation to abolish the death penalty or to provide transparency on religious minorities in Xinjiang were rejected.

Oman commended China for its achievements in the human rights field, and for accepting the recommendations proposed by Oman.  Oman welcomed the model of respect for cultural diversity that China promoted within the international system.  The Council was advised to adopt the report.

Pakistan welcomed the establishment of an inter-agency working group to implement recommendations.  China’s announcement to undertake 30 new measures for human rights protection, which covered 10 areas, was welcomed. 

Philippines acknowledged the fact that China had accepted more than 80 per cent of the recommendations, including three tabled by the Philippines on the rights of persons with disabilities, the fight against illegal drugs, and strengthening migrant worker protection. 

United Nations Association of China, in a joint statement with Cuban United Nations Association, National Association of Cuban Economists, and National Union of Jurists of Cuba, The, appreciated the development progress made for all Chinese citizens, as well as the new measures to improve the judicial system.  Politically motivated accusations were counterproductive and did not contribute to the promotion of human rights.  The ways to achieve those values were diversified and no one had monopoly on them.

China Family Planning Association reminded that the number of civil society organizations had increased several times in past few years.  In 2016, China had adopted a law on regulating overseas non-governmental organizations, which had played a positive role in their relations with Chinese partners.

Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries stated that it had established friendly relations with over 500 international organizations.  Safeguarding social justice and fairness was paramount and having a safe home was the foundation of all.  Chinese people were leading a happy life.

International Service for Human Rights, in a joint statement with CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, said China’s approach to the Universal Periodic Review process was not cooperative, illustrated by its rejection of all recommendations to grant access to Xinjiang province.  It urged China to stop using the Universal Periodic Review as a fig leaf.

China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation said that since 2005 China’s foundation had been providing humanitarian assistance and they were willing to share their experience concerning poverty alleviation.  The reality in Xinjiang was different than what was represented by certain media outlets.

Chinese Association for International Understanding stated that all people in Xinjiang had access to the same rights and full development and lauded the positive impacts of inter cultural centres in the province.

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights stated that Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China had not been allowed to participate in the Universal Periodic Review process.  They were concerned about the ongoing repressive policies against Tibetans, and it was utterly cynical that China claimed recommendations calling for the protection of human rights as already implemented.

China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture (CAPDTC) stated that all Tibetans had freedom, and economic growth was strong with a gross domestic product of 140bn yuan, an increase of 9 per cent over previous years.  Over the years, the central Government and the autonomous Government of Tibet had worked together to preserve the Tibetan culture. 

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues congratulated China for its having implemented so many of the recommendations.  However, as long as China continued to oppress civil society and the most fundamental human rights, it made a mockery of the Universal Periodic Review process, and the United Nations treaty bodies. 

Human Rights Watch noted that the fact that China had provided no accountability in the death of human rights defender Cao Shunli in 2013, or of those of Liu Xiaobo, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, Yang Tongyan and Muhammed Salih Hajim, was a powerful indication of its deteriorating human rights environment.  Chinese authorities had reversed key legal gains, constricted space for independent civil society, and undertaken a campaign of arbitrary detention of Turkic Muslims. 

The President of the Council informed that out of 346 recommendations, China had accepted 284 and noted 62. 

LE YUCHENG, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, said he had listened very attentively to all the statements.  First, people had a fair judgment of their own and they spoke positively of China’s progress in the promotion of human rights.  Second, facts spoke louder than words.  China could accept all those well-intentioned recommendations, but not those that interfered into China’s judicial independence.  Some human rights issues in fact concerned judicial independence and sovereignty.  Some smeared that in Tibet there was a problem of freedom of religion and speech.  Today, in Tibet there were almost 2,000 religious sites and people in Tibet enjoyed a free and happy life.  The Deputy Minister reminded that in four decades since the economic opening, China had provided a decent life for 1.4 billion people.  The path of human rights protection with Chinese characteristics had produced remarkable results.  The Deputy Minister condemned the statement made by Human Rights Watch.  The remarks made by some delegation and non-governmental organizations regarding the training centres in Xinjiang represented a total distortion of facts and groundless accusations against China.  Those were matters of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.  Combatting terrorism was a matter of international cooperation.  Without China’s intervention, terrorism in Xinjiang would have spread elsewhere.

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

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Malta

OLAPH TERRIBILE, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva, was pleased to present Malta’s formal responses to the 157 recommendations received, of which 122 were accepted, 8 partially accepted, and 27 taken note of.  It had conducted extensive consultations across the Government and with civil society organizations in its efforts to set up a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles which was started in 2013.  A human rights equality commission bill had established a commission solely answerable to the Maltese House of Representatives to ensure equality and non-discrimination.  In addition to this, it had incorporated an Equality Bill which aimed to address all forms of discrimination in all spheres of life.  In order to eliminate xenophobia, Malta was extending national legislation to combat incitement to racial hatred, hate crime and hate speech. The conditions in reception centres for migrants had improved substantially.  It had enacted legislation barring the detention of children and to provide necessary assistance to unaccompanied minors.  The assassination of Daphne Caruna Galizia had been shocking and appropriate judicial action was ongoing.  In line with this, the Government had supported recommendations to increase the protection of journalists and to strengthen the independence of the media by enacting the Media and Defamation Act in 2018. 

The gender equality plan had increased the female employment rate by 14.5 per cent and measures to increase the representation of women in public office were being formulated, targeting 40 per cent representation.  It had ratified the Istanbul Convention on violence against women in 2014, and amended its legislation and policy through the adoption of the gender based violence and domestic violence act and was in the process of signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol on the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  It had intensified its efforts to combat human trafficking and had strengthened its national action plan and anti-trafficking strategy.  Major legislative and policy changes had improved the living conditions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  A gender wellbeing clinic had been established providing multi-disciplinary services to trans, intersex and genderqueer individuals.  The Government had enacted a series of legal acts to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Egypt noted the efforts undertaken in relation to the protection of asylum seekers and refugees, including that Malta did not detain pregnant women and minors.  They hailed the struggle against foreign hatred and human trafficking, and recommended the adoption of the report.

Iraq thanked Malta for its role in the Universal Periodic Review, and appreciated the acceptance of two recommendations submitted by Iraq.  They commended and praised Malta for having accepted a large number of recommendations and hoped these would be implemented.

Jordan called for reflection on the terrorist attack on mosques in New Zealand today.  Regarding the Review, they appreciated that 122 of 157 recommendations had been accepted, and thanked Malta for accepting Jordan’s recommendation on strengthening the protection of persons with disabilities, and those groups supporting them.

Philippines thanked Malta for having accepted the recommendation tabled by the Philippines on combatting trafficking in persons.  It encouraged Malta to continue making the necessary efforts to protect the rights of migrants in order to strengthen a culture of tolerance, diversity and non-discrimination.

Republic of Moldova commended Malta for its commitment to the protection of human rights, and for having accepted the recommendation tabled by the Republic of Moldova on the implementation of policies directed at improving access to health services and health education.

Tunisia welcomed the acceptance of the recommendations on combatting violence against women, gender equality in employment, fighting xenophobia, and the protection of children with disabilities. 

Afghanistan appreciated Malta’s efforts to eradicate stereotypes and discrimination against migrants, and commended Malta for agreeing to continue the implementation of the framework for education strategy for boys and girls from 2014 to 2024.

Botswana commended Malta for its continued efforts in advancing women’s rights, including through the ratification and domestication of the relevant conventions. 

China welcomed Malta’s constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review and expressed hope that the Government would continue to take measures to advance the socio-economic development of its citizens.  

Alliance Defending Freedom commended Malta’s continued commitment to uphold the right to life from conception until natural death.  They welcomed its rejection of recommendations to liberalize its abortion laws, and hoped it would continue to uphold the dignity of all members of the human family.

Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Coopération Economique Internationale - OCAPROCE Internationale hailed the legislative measures taken to protect the rights of children, women and persons with disabilities.  They recognized that the protection of the rights of the child was a priority for Malta, and urged the Government to further protect the physical and mental health of children.

Amnesty International stated that since the last review, thousands had drowned in their attempts to cross the Mediterranean into Europe, but Malta had done little to expand its search and rescue operations, and continued to refuse the disembarkation of migrants.  They deplored that Malta rejected recommendations on this issue.

Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme remained concerned about the inhumane treatment of African asylum seekers and migrants in Malta, particularly regarding its detention policy, and regretted its decision not to sign the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrants Workers and Members of their Families.  It also called on Malta to guarantee the rights of migrant women and unaccompanied minors, which were often violated.

Association of World Citizens was pleased that Malta had signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, but highlighted the need for specialized clinics where women could go to seek family planning.  It applauded Malta on accepting endangered migrants but wanted to ensure that they were neither criminalized nor detained and were able to seek asylum unabated.

Article 19 - International Centre against Censorship, The had increasing concerns about the state of freedom of expression following the assassination of Daphne Caruna Galizia, adding that the Government’s decision not to accept the recommendation on a public enquiry into her assassination was concerning.  Ongoing impunity and the harassment of other human rights defenders were worrying signs of a downplaying of the case and public officials continued to smear her memory with impunity.

The President informed that out of 157 recommendations, Malta had accepted 122, noted 27 and asked further clarification on eight.

Concluding Remarks

OLAPH TERRIBILE, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reiterated Malta’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review and noted that Malta took all the addressed concerns seriously.  Malta had introduced reforms to address corruption, independence of the national justice system, safeguarding of whistle blowers, and regulation of public appointments.  With respect to the investigation of the murder of Daphne Caruna Galizia, the Attorney General had mentioned a number of legal issues should a public inquiry be held in parallel to the criminal inquiry.  However, it was the Government’s view that a public inquiry could only be held once the criminal investigation was finalized. 

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

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