5 October 2020
Adopts Universal Periodic Review Outcomes of Guinea-Bissau and Guyana
The Human Rights Council this morning held an enhanced interactive dialogue with the Fact-finding Mission on Libya. It also adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Guinea-Bissau and Guyana.
Speaking in the interactive dialogue with the Fact-finding Mission on Libya were Finland on behalf of a group of countries, Kuwait on behalf of the Group of Arab States, European Union, Burkina Faso on behalf of the Group of African States, Jordan, Qatar, Germany, UN Women, United Nations Children's Fund, Belgium, France, Japan, Senegal, Iraq, Greece, Morocco, China, Australia, Iran, Switzerland, Netherlands, Venezuela, Malta, Spain, Russian Federation, Sudan, Ireland, United Kingdom, Egypt, Turkey, Mali, Chad, Tunisia, Italy and Eritrea.
Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental : Aman against Discrimination, The International Organisation for LDCs, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Amnesty International, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme, Next Century Foundation, International Institute for Rights and Development Geneva, Global Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Association Ma'onah for Human Rights and Immigration, and International-Lawyers.Org.
The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Guinea-Bissau and Guyana.
Speaking on Guinea-Bissau were Burundi, Cabo Verde, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Malawi, Mali and Mauritania.
Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations : Plan International, Elizka Relief Foundation, and Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme.
Speaking on Guyana were Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Bahamas, Botswana, Brazil, China, Cuba and Jamaica.
The non-governmental organizations Centre for Global Nonkilling also spoke.
The webcast of the Human Rights Council meetings can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s forty-fifth regular session can be found here.
The Council will meet at 3 p.m. to hear an address by Louise Mushikiwabo, Secrétaire-Générale de la Francophonie. It will then hear presentations of the report of the High Commissioner on Georgia and her report on Yemen, and the report of the Secretary-General on Cambodia. This will be followed by a general debate on technical assistance and capacity building.
Interactive Dialogue with the Fact-finding Mission on Libya
Oral Update by the Fact-finding Mission on Libya
MOHAMED AUAJJAR, Chair of the Fact-finding Mission on Libya , underscored the importance of the support of the Government of Libya and looked forward to having a constructive relationship with it. He thanked the civil society in Libya for its strong and principled call for accountability, which had proven critical. Noting that the mandate of the Fact-finding Mission on Libya was broad, he said this provided flexibility to consider a range of potential violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law committed by all parties in Libya since 2016. The establishment of a secretariat had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current financial situation of the United Nations and the related hiring freeze. The Fact-finding Mission on Libya had received reassurance that the Government of Libya would provide assistance and allow the Mission to travel to Tripoli and other areas under its territorial control. Stating that the Fact-finding Mission on Libya hoped to live up to its mandate, he stressed it would be critical that the extension of the mandate of the Mission beyond March 2021 be coupled with the provision of adequate programme budgets. He expressed hope that the Fact-finding Mission on Libya’ s work would lead to tangible outcomes and improvements of the human rights situation in the country.
Statement by the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya
STEPHANIE TURCO WILLIAM, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya , said there had been some positive developments, including in the peace process, and a de-escalation of the conflict. In June, as the Libyan Arab Armed Forces and their affiliates withdrew from Tripoli, they left behind booby-traps, mines and improvised explosive devices in their wake, causing further death and injury of civilians and endangering security personnel tasked with clearing these deadly devices. One of the starkest reminders of the horror of the Libyan conflict had been the discovery of mass graves. The United Nations called for a thorough and transparent investigation and for perpetrators to be brought to justice. Accountability for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law was the only way to ensure justice for these crimes as well as sustainable peace in Libya. Ms. Turco William added that the United Nations Mission in Libya called for the immediate closure of Ministry of Interior-managed migration detention centres as well as illegal detention facilities under the control of armed groups that were linked to trafficking of migrants and criminal networks that extorted money from the most vulnerable. In a country that was considered oil-rich, thousands were denied access to basic services, with water and electricity politicised by the parties to the conflict. The level of human suffering was simply unacceptable.
Statement by Concerned Country
Libya , speaking as a concerned country, said the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic was alarming and had put enormous pressure on an already fragile health care system. It was time for real solutions to be found. Libyans had not fully enjoyed their human rights for 50 years, and they saw democracy as the only way forward. They had made clear that they would not submit again to an authoritarian regime that would violate their human rights. They wanted to see successful disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and security sector reform programmes. The country’s resources were out of reach of Libyans and had become the cause of a proxy war. Noting that there was a second Berlin gathering in Libya organized by Germany, Libya called on those who had intervened in the country to give Libyans their rightful chance to rights, peace and security. For a decade now Libyans had extended their hands for international collaboration ; now, more collaboration and political will was needed to alleviate the suffering of Libyans and stop human rights violations. There was an opportunity for sustainable peace with dialogues taking place in various host countries.
Speakers reiterated the importance of the democratic track in Libya and stressed that it required technical cooperation. Welcoming the swift appointment of the members of the Fact-Finding Mission, some speakers stressed that it had an enormous task ahead of it, and that it was crucial that it be provided with the necessary funds, staff and time to implement its mandate. The High Commissioner should provide the technical assistance requested by the Government to bolster its human rights institutions. The deteriorating human rights situation and the faltering economy were sources of concern. All parties must invest in the conclusions of the Berlin Conference in order to ensure Libya’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence to the benefit of its people. Drawing attention to reports of harassment and intimidation of women in response to their public advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality, speakers urged the Libyan authorities to end impunity for gender-based violence. Other speakers called on all parties to protect children from all forms of violence ; to put an end to attacks on all civilian objects, including schools and hospitals ; and to provide safe and unhindered humanitarian access under all circumstances. The prolonged security crisis in Libya that had caused massive rights abuses and a humanitarian catastrophe was the consequence of external military intervention and other unlawful interferences.
STEPHANIE TURCO WILLIAM, Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya , said that she expected an expert on gender-based violence to be deployed shortly to assist the United Nations Mission in addressing this matter.
MOHAMED AUAJJAR, Chair of the Fact-finding Mission on Libya , reiterated his gratitude to the Libyan Government and those present. He reaffirmed that the Fact-finding Mission was deeply committed to fulfilling its mandate and would abide by the principles of objectivity, neutrality and impartiality.
TRACY ROBINSON, Member of the Fact-finding Mission on Libya , underlined the importance of addressing violations by all actors, and underscored the need to work toward gender equality, as it was critical to peace.
CHALOKA BEYANI, Member of the Fact-finding Mission on Libya , said the Fact-finding Mission would collect facts and evidence pointing to violations and their perpetrators, and share it with the International Criminal Court. A rights-centered peace process was critical and would be at the heart of the Fact-Finding Mission’s collaboration with the United Nations Support Mission in Libya.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Guinea-Bissau
Presentation by Guinea-Bissau
SOCORRO FLORES LIERA, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council , reading out a statement on behalf of FERNANDO MENDONÇA, Minister of Justice of Guinea-Bissau , said the Government had implemented the decree on the creation of the Office for the Recovery of Assets from Crime and the Administration of Proceeds from Criminal Activities, and revised the school curriculum regarding school-years one to six, with the inclusion of courses on human rights, citizenship, equity, gender and environmental law.
Speakers welcomed the progress achieved by Guinea-Bissau and urged the continued strengthening of health coverage and healthcare infrastructure, as well as the training of the workforce in this important area. They took note of strides taken to promote and protect the rights of migrant workers in the country by ratifying the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. It was regrettable that there were early marriages in Guinea-Bissau. Some speakers drew attention to the problem of female genital mutilation in the country. There were notable improvements in the health care system. Several speakers also underlined the efforts to fight against impunity and provide a legal aid system for victims of human rights violations.
The Vice-President of the Council informed that out of 197 recommendations received, 193 enjoyed the support of Guinea-Bissau and 4 were noted.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Guyana
Presentation by Guyana
NEVILLE TOTARAM, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations Office at Geneva , said many of the initiatives announced by the President of Guyana were already on stream or about to be implemented with budgetary allocations approved by the new Parliament. This would address many of the recommendations put forward during Guyana’s Universal Periodic Review.
Speakers welcomed the Green State Development Strategy Vision 2040 of Guyana that had been aligned with the goal of achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, while also reinforcing environmental protection, climate change and prevention of disasters. They recommended the adoption of a national suicide prevention plan. Speakers regretted that at the moment the recommendation to set up a national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles did not enjoy the support of the Government of Guyana and expressed hope that its merits would be re-examined in the future. The death penalty had no place in the future constitution of Guyana, speakers said.
The Vice-President of the Council informed that out of 199 recommendations received, 140 enjoyed the support of Guyana and 59 were noted.
NEVILLE TOTARAM, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Permanent Mission of Guyana to the United Nations Office at Geneva , said Guyana remained open to United Nations officials visiting the country, and was firmly committed to the Universal Periodic Review process, which was a continuation of the work the country had undertaken since its independence.
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