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Human Rights Council adopts outcomes of Universal Periodic Review of Micronesia, Lebanon, Mauritania and Nauru

Human Rights Council
MIDDAY

16 March 2016

The Human Rights Council today adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Micronesia, Lebanon, Mauritania and Nauru.

Jane J. Chigiyal, Permanent Representative of Micronesia to the United Nations, said that the Government of Micronesia had accepted 63 out of 95 recommendations, whereas the remaining 32 recommendations would form part of a working plan that would involve a lot of public awareness activities, reassessment of Micronesia’s human and institutional capacities to harmonize its policies, and mainstream a people centred approach.

In the ensuing discussion speakers welcomed Micronesia’s work towards completing its National Gender Policy, ratification of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and commitment to developing socio-economic strategies and plans.  They urged it to take concrete and rapid measures to address domestic violence issues and gender inequalities.

Speaking in the discussion were Fiji, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, China, Cuba, and Estonia.  Also taking the floor were United Nations Watch, and United Schools International. 

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

Najla Riachi Assaker, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Lebanon was making efforts despite the challenges of terrorism and migrants.  Lebanon’s commitment to all human rights procedures and mechanisms was reiterated, as cooperation was considered part of Lebanon’s ongoing commitment by way of improving the human rights situation.  Lebanon was a unique model for diversity and cohabitation, and protected freedom of expression, as reflected in the large number of media outlets and civil society organizations prospering in the country. 

Speakers commended Lebanon’s positive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and welcomed its efforts to promote and protect human rights.  The acceptance by Lebanon of the recommendation to formally criminalize torture was welcomed.  Speakers commended Lebanon’s efforts to combat terrorism and to accommodate refugees despite challenges, and encouraged Lebanon to continue its efforts to address discrimination against women and against Palestinian refugees.  

Speaking were Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belgium, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Egypt, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, and Malaysia. 

United Nations Watch, Arab Commission for Human Rights, COC-Netherlands, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Action Canada for Population and Development, International Association for Democracy in Africa, Amnesty International, Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development, and Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture also spoke. 

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

Cheikh Tourad Abdel Malick, Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Action of Mauritania, reiterated the importance of the Universal Periodic Review in the promotion of human rights.  Out of 200 recommendations, the Government of Mauritania had accepted 136, rejected 58 and would look into six recommendations.  The rejected recommendations ran counter to the Constitution.  Mauritania had accepted the majority of recommendations to protect the human rights of women and children, and it had implemented a number of strategies to that end.  It worked to fight maternal mortality and that was a focus of its health policy.  In the field of education, many programmes had been adopted, especially to help poor and rural populations.

In the ensuing discussion speakers supported Mauritania’s full commitment to the Universal Periodic Review, welcomed the acceptance of the recommendation regarding the separation of minors from adults in places of detention, and appreciated measures taken by Mauritania to promote sustainable development.  However, they regretted that the recommendation on the abolition of the death penalty and others on slavery were not accepted. 

Speaking in the discussion were: Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Yemen, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Belgium, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, and Djibouti.

The National Human Rights Commission of Mauritania took the floor, as did the following non-governmental organizations: United Nations Watch, Comité international pour le respect et l’application de la Charte Africaine de droits de l’homme et des peoples, Arab Commission for Human Rights, Minority Rights Group, Indian Council of South America, International Humanist and Ethical Union, African Development Association, Victorious Youths Movement, Amnesty International,  Association Jeunesse Action Développement, and Agir en faveur de l’environnement.

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

Filipo Masaurua, Senior Government Lawyer on Human Rights and Gender at the Department of Justice and Border Control of Nauru, noted that Nauru was committed to ensuring the incorporation of international treaties into national laws.  It would continue to seek assistance from United Nations agencies, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and regional partners for the fulfilment of its human rights obligations.  Nauru supported recommendations relating to women’s rights, the rights of the child, persons with disabilities, and climate change.  It also noted those on decriminalizing sexual behaviour between consenting adults, and the abolition of the death penalty.

In the ensuing discussion speakers welcomed positive developments in Nauru since its last Universal Periodic Review and its strides to become a party to the core human rights treaties.  At the same time they encouraged Nauru to intensify efforts to implement and guarantee human rights for asylum seekers, particularly for women and girls who were at risk of gender-based violence, and to consider constitutional amendments to abolish the death penalty. 

Speaking were Fiji, Maldives, Pakistan, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, and Cuba.
Also taking the floor were: Edmund Rice International Limited, International Service for Human Rights, Franciscans International, International Association for Democracy in Africa, Amnesty International, and International Lesbian and Gay Association.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Nauru.

The Council will meet at 3 p.m. to consider the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Rwanda, Nepal and Austria.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Micronesia

The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Micronesia (A/HRC/31/4).

The Council has before it  an addendum to the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Micronesia:  views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review (A/HRC/31/4/Add.1).

JANE J. CHIGIYAL, Permanent Representative of Micronesia to the United Nations, said that the Government of Micronesia had accepted 63 out of 95 recommendations, whereas the remaining 32 recommendations would form part of a working plan that would involve a lot of public awareness activities, reassessment of Micronesia’s human and institutional capacities to harmonize its policies, and mainstream a people centred approach.  Such an approach would take into consideration Micronesia’s internal process on treaty ratification/accession, and implementation, and Constitutional reform.  The Government continued to believe that it had to take ownership of the process to ensure that it lived up to its commitments and to ensure that the process was sustainable.

Fiji welcomed Micronesia’s work toward completing its National Gender Policy, and urged the country to take concrete and rapid measures to address domestic violence issues and gender inequalities.  

Nigeria noted Micronesia’s progress made despite challenges faced, and commended the country for ratifying the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict as well as the determination of the Government to implement its human rights obligations.

Pakistan noted Micronesia’s commitment to developing socio-economic strategies and plans, and acknowledged the country’s commitment to continuing its engagement with human rights instruments.

Sierra Leone commended Micronesia for supporting most of the recommendations in the report, as well as their ongoing efforts to protect the rights of the child.  Sierra Leone encouraged the Government of Micronesia to raise the minimum age of consent to 18.

Venezuela said Micronesia had shown it could live up to its commitments, noting the country’s ratification of several international human rights instruments as well as the country’s approval of a law against trafficking.

China welcomed Micronesia’s constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review process and its acceptance of most of the recommendations.  The international community was encouraged to provide Micronesia with necessary support.

Cuba recognized the progress made by Micronesia, including for persons with disabilities, combatting trafficking and acceding to international  human rights instruments.  It encouraged Micronesia to continue working on gender issues and on climate change. 

Estonia commended the constructive, open and transparent engagement of Micronesia during its Universal Periodic Review, and positively noted its commitment to tackle gender discrimination, but regretted that recommendations on violence against women had not been accepted. 

United Nations Watch commended Micronesia’s human rights record and noted its exemplary record within the United Nations General Assembly, particularly its opposition to selectivity, politicization and double standards. 

United Schools International said that Micronesia worked to protect human rights, with laws providing effective remedies despite some challenges related to corruption.  Micronesia had developed regulations to encourage foreign investment.  

The President said that out of 95 recommendations received, Micronesia accepted 63, while 32 were noted. 

JANE J. CHIGIYAL, Permanent Representative of Micronesia to the United Nations, in concluding remarks, thanked the Council for the opportunity to present her report.   She noted that when speaking about human rights, the Government had to talk about the greatest challenge for Micronesia, which was the adverse effects of climate change.  That issue should also be part of the implementation of the right to development.

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Lebanon

The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Lebanon (A/HRC/31/5).

The Council has before it  an addendum to the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Lebanon:  views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review (A/HRC/31/5/Add.1).

NAJLA RIACHI ASSAKER, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Lebanon had received 219 recommendations and had accepted 60 per cent of them.  The country was making efforts despite its difficult circumstances, in particular the challenges of terrorism and the unprecedented number of migrants and exiles.  Lebanon’s commitment to all human rights procedures and mechanisms was reiterated, as cooperation was considered part of Lebanon’s ongoing commitment by way of improving the human rights situation.  The difficult situation in the region and the challenges faced had had undeniable negative impacts on attempts to improve the human rights situation in the country.  Lebanon was a unique model for diversity and cohabitation.  That kind of coexistence was what the international community needed.  She had noted the report of the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion and worship, which had been an important matter because it had identified religious freedom in the country.  Indeed, the Lebanese Constitution enshrined the principles of human rights, having incorporated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into the preamble. 

The Constitution also enshrined the right to freedom of expression and many other rights, which she enumerated, which were enjoyed by the Lebanese people.  That freedom was reflected in the large number of media outlets in Lebanon.  All of them were free to express their views; Lebanon had acceded to a large number of instruments in that regard.  Organizations were prospering in Lebanon, and they played an ever-more visible role in promoting the aspirations of the Lebanese Government, including its aspirations for a widespread human rights culture.  Lebanon had never closed its doors to an exile or a migrant although the country had not signed the Refugee Convention and despite the fact that the country had limited resources.  Lebanon found itself facing a strong Europe which could not deal with the flow of refugees, and yet Lebanon had to cope.  The country was working to respect the Refugee Convention in practice even if it had not ratified it.  That provided a push to live up to human rights challenges.  

Afghanistan appreciated Lebanon’s strong commitment to spread the culture of human rights through education and awareness-raising campaigns.  It further appreciated the attention given by Lebanon to the protection of refugees despite the challenges it faced. 

Albania was satisfied by Lebanon’s implementation of a human rights programme, and welcomed Lebanon’s efforts to address the refugee crisis.  It encouraged Lebanon to implement recommendations and to ratify additional international human rights treaties. 

Algeria congratulated Lebanon’s progress to strengthen women’s rights, the right to education, and its plan to criminalize torture.  It appreciated that Lebanon had accepted recommendations by Algeria. 

Armenia commended Lebanon for accepting a significant number of recommendations, including those made by Armenia, indicating its commitment to promote human rights and diversity within the country. 

Belgium welcomed that Lebanon had accepted the recommendation to criminalize torture, but regretted that the recommendation to abolish the death penalty for all crimes had not been accepted.  Belgium encouraged Lebanon to address discrimination against women and refugees from Palestine.

China welcomed Lebanon’s engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process, and progress achieved for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.  It called on the international community to support Lebanon’s efforts to address terrorism and the refugee crisis. 

Côte d’Ivoire welcomed the interest paid by Lebanon to all the recommendations expressed in the Universal Periodic Review.  Lebanon was encouraged to continue cooperating with all human rights mechanisms.

Cuba recognized the progress made by Lebanon on human rights, and welcomed the adoption of the national plan on integrating persons with disabilities, as well as plans to take steps on domestic violence.  Cuba was happy that its recommendation on helping poor families had been accepted.

Egypt commended the cooperation of Lebanon with human rights mechanisms and the acceptance of 128 recommendations.  Egypt appreciated the importance that Lebanon, which was hosting a huge number of Syrian and Palestinian refugees, paid to the respect of human rights.

Gabon welcomed Lebanon’s commitment to follow up on the recommendations it had accepted.  Efforts to improve the country’s institutional framework were appreciated.  The rights of migrants, and combatting trafficking and torture in places of detention were emphasized.

Indonesia was honoured to be a member of the troika on Lebanon.  It appreciated Lebanon’s commitment to redouble its efforts to establish an independent human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles.  Indonesia wished the Government of Lebanon success in implementing all the accepted recommendations.

Iran said that Lebanon had actively participated in the Universal Periodic Review’s process, which demonstrated the respect Lebanon had for the work of the Council.  The Government of Lebanon was clearly committed to the promotion and protection of human rights. 

Iraq commended Lebanon for abiding by international human rights commitments, welcoming the measures taken by the country in the context of freedom of press, expression, religion, belief, and many more.

Jordan noted that the majority of recommendations, including those submitted by Jordan, had been accepted, and added that Lebanon was facing an important crisis and had a heavy burden to carry with regard to Syrian refugees.

Kuwait said that with its great intellectual diversity, Lebanon, despite its economic and political challenges, managed to host Syrian refugees, which made the country a shining example of the promotion and protection of human rights in that regard.

Libya thanked Lebanon for having participated actively in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and expressed appreciation for the country’s acceptance of most of the recommendations.

Malaysia thanked Lebanon for its intervention and government efforts to improve the situation of human rights in the country.  Lebanon was encouraged to continue to promote and protect human rights.

United Nations Watch said that the report did not reflect Lebanon’s human rights record.  Palestinians continued to be discriminated against.  Hezbollah remained a terrorist group that participated in slaughters in Syria.  The victims of terrorism and abuse around the world objected to this report. 

Arab Commission for Human Rights welcomed Lebanon’s acceptance of recommendations to accede to additional international human rights instruments and to criminalize torture.  It called on Lebanon to establish a national mechanism for torture prevention, and regretted the non-acceptance of recommendations to improve the situation of Palestinians. 

Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland, in a joint statement with, International Lesbian and Gay Association, said that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons were arrested and discriminated against.  There was a total lack of political will to address the rights of such persons.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex refugees faced even higher risks. 

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom said that the status of women’s political participation in Lebanon was appalling by international standards.  The Government of Lebanon was urged to develop a national action plan for Security Council resolution 1325.

Action Canada for Population and Development noted that while Lebanon had accepted recommendations calling for the promotion of gender equality, it had not accepted specific recommendations related to domestic violence, rape, adultery, abortion, inheritance and nationality, among others. 

International Association for Democracy in Africa stated that the structure of government in Lebanon was based on the constitutional principle of separation between the executive, the legislative and the judicial branches.  The authorities could not shoulder the overwhelming burden of refugees alone, as international support remained insufficient.

Amnesty International was disappointed that Lebanon had rejected recommendations to enforce the Law on the Protection of Women and Family Members from Domestic Violence, and to criminalize marital rape.  Lebanon’s rejection of the recommendation to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention was also regrettable.

Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development noted that until today Lebanon had not withdrawn its reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  Provisions which were discriminatory towards women remained in the law on personal status and the Penal Code.

Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture regretted that Lebanon had not accepted the recommendation on the abolition of the death penalty.  The rubbish on the roads of Beirut was not a consequence of the presence of Syrian refugees, but rather of the failure of the Lebanese Government to do its job.

The President said that out of 221 recommendations, Lebanon had accepted 128 while 91 were noted.  Additional clarification on two recommendations was provided.

NAJLA RIACHI ASSAKER, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Lebanon would work on enhancing and promoting rights in close cooperation with all organs and international organizations in the field of human rights, foremost amongst them the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner.  Lebanon was fully committed to human rights, especially freedom of expression, which was in the constitution and other laws of the land.  She noted that some of the non-governmental organizations had made reference to the fabric of Lebanese society.  Defining Hezbollah as a terrorist group was not within the mandate of the Universal Periodic Review, which had to be far from any politicization.  The Working Group was thanked for efforts made in the context of the report, as well as the countries which had reiterated their support today.

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Mauritania

The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Mauritania (A/HRC/31/6).

The Council has before it  an addendum to the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Mauritania:  views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review (A/HRC/31/6/Add.1).
 
CHEIKH TOURAD ABDEL MALICK, Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Action of Mauritania, reiterated the commitment of the Government to work with the Universal Periodic Review and highlighted the role of that mechanism in the promotion of human rights.  Out of 200 recommendations, the Government of Mauritania had accepted 136, rejected 58 and would look into six recommendations.  The recommendation on discrimination in the field of education was of utmost importance.  The Government did not see any barriers to ratifying the International Labour Organization convention on work conduct.  One of the recommendations was rejected because the current Law on Nationality did not allow women to grant nationality to their children automatically.  The rejected recommendations ran counter to the Constitution.  Mauritania had adopted eight out of 40 recommendations under the title of ratification of international treaties.  The 32 recommendations were not accepted mostly because there were a lot of repeated recommendations, such as the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Mauritania had accepted the majority of recommendations to protect human rights of women and children, and it had implemented a number of strategies to that end.  It was taking measures to adopt a law on violence against women.  The law on labour prohibited child labour under the legal age.  As for health, it worked to fight maternal mortality and that was a focus of its health policy.  In the field of education, many programmes had been adopted, especially to help poor and rural populations.  Two funds had been established for vulnerable population, namely health insurance for those working on the sea and the elderly.  The Government had adopted an action plan to combat all forms of slavery and a law in September 2015 to criminalize slavery.  It had also criminalized trafficking in persons and migrants. 

National Human Rights Commission of Mauritania welcomed the decision of the Government to accept 142 out of 200, or 70 per cent of recommendations.  The majority of the recommendations were included in the report of the Working Group.  Mauritania was on the path to stabilize the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

Togo supported Mauritania’s full commitment to the Universal Periodic Review, and welcomed the acceptance of the recommendation regarding the separation of minors from adults in places of detention.  It was regrettable that the recommendation on the abolition of the death penalty was not accepted.

Tunisia expressed its appreciation to Mauritania for its cooperation with the Working Group.  Tunisia recommended that the Council adopt the report on Mauritania.  

United Arab Emirates highly appreciated measures taken by Mauritania, especially on economic, social and cultural rights and on promoting sustainable development.  It was hoped that Mauritania would continue efforts to strengthen human dignity and the rule of law.

Venezuela positively underscored that Mauritania had ratified the majority of international human rights treaties.  Its National Human Rights Commission had an “A” status, in line with the Paris Principles, which was commendable.

Yemen expressed appreciation for the efforts made by Mauritania on human rights, despite the difficulties that country was facing.  The fact that Mauritania had accepted a large number of recommendations was a sign of the Government’s commitment in that regard.

Algeria said that Mauritania’s commitment to protect and promote human rights was visible at several levels.  Algeria wished the best to Mauritania and recommended that the report be adopted.

Angola congratulated the delegation of Mauritania for having accepted a large number of recommendations.  It appreciated that it had ratified several international human rights conventions, and that it had joined the mechanisms of the African Union Charter of Protocols. 

Bahrain appreciated the report presented by Mauritania and hailed the particular attention that the Government of Mauritania had accorded to the Universal Periodic Review.  It welcomed its efforts to provide health care coverage and protect women, as well as the attention given to children and compulsory education.

Belgium noted that Mauritania should give more attention to the death penalty and abolish capital punishment.  There should be commutation of all prison sentences.  It was hoped that Mauritania would accept the recommendation on freedom of expression and human rights defenders.  It called on the Government to implement all the recommendations.

Botswana noted with appreciation that Mauritania had accepted the majority of the recommendations, adding that it could do more to address implementation challenges with international cooperation and capacity building.  It reiterated Mauritania’s call for technical assistance and support in order to promote human rights.

Burundi welcomed the different measures that Mauritania had adopted to protect human rights, especially the rights of the child.  It praised its cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, and recommended that its Universal Periodic Review  outcome be adopted unanimously.
 
Chad commended Mauritania for the completion of the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.  Mauritania had a legal and institutional framework which was continuously improving, including fighting against slavery and torture.

China welcomed Mauritania’s constructive engagement and was pleased to see its recommendation on combatting poverty accepted.  The international community should continue to provide support to Mauritania.

Republic of Congo was pleased that Mauritania had accepted most recommendations and hailed its commitment to promote human rights, in spite of facing major challenges, mostly of an economic and climate nature.  The Republic of Congo called upon the international community to increase its assistance to Mauritania.

Côte d’Ivoire remained convinced that the implementation of the recommendation would contribute to the reinforcement of measures leading to the full enjoyment of human rights.  Mauritania was encouraged to continue cooperating with human rights mechanisms.

Cuba appreciated that Mauritania had accepted its recommendation on the eradication of the legacy of slavery and contemporary forms of slavery.  Mauritania’s progress in the field of human rights was recognized, including accession to different human rights treaties.

Djibouti welcomed the efforts of the Government of Mauritania to promote and protect human rights, especially those related to the combat against racial discrimination in all its aspects. 
 
United Nations Watch drew attention to the issues of slavery, racism and torture in Mauritania.  The country had ratified the relevant international conventions but it had never honoured them.  Despite the 40 recommendations on slavery, the Head of State had publicly denied the existence of slavery in the country. 

Comité international pour le respect et l’application de la Charte Africaine des droits de l’homme et des peuples welcomed the implementation of the many recommendations by Mauritania, such as the fight against extreme poverty and universal education.  However, slavery was still an issue in the country and deserved to be emphasized.  The fight for human rights in Africa could only succeed with the involvement of grass root organizations.

Arab Commission for Human Rights welcomed Mauritania’s acceptance of the recommendations on fighting discrimination in education.  However, it voiced concern that Mauritania refused the implementation of recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and it called on the Government of Mauritania to implement a national mechanism to fight torture.  

Minority Rights Group welcomed that Mauritania had accepted recommendations pertaining to combatting violence against women, but regretted the fact that it had refused to abolish some discriminatory legislation.  Efforts by Mauritania to combat slavery had not led to any change for the victims, as no prosecution had taken place.  

Indian Council of South America, in a joint statement with, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale - OCAPROCE Internationale, commended the fact that Mauritania had revised its Constitution to affirm cultural and linguistic diversity and to designate slavery and torture as crimes against humanity.  Mauritania should construct a viable roadmap towards addressing the issue of slavery. 

International Humanist and Ethical Union remained deeply concerned about arbitrary arrests of anti-slavery campaigners in 2014.  The case of Cheihk Ould Mohamed M’Kheitir, who was sentenced to death for apostasy, was particularly concerning.  Mauritania should cease its harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment of activists and remove the crime of apostasy from its legislation. 

African Development Association welcomed the adoption by Mauritania of a national strategy to combat discrimination against women and of programmes for the economic empowerment of women, and measures to ensure free and compulsory education.  The international community should support Mauritania’s efforts to combat trafficking. 

Victorious Youths Movement, in a joint statement with, Action internationale pour la paix et le développement dans la région des Grands Lacs, welcomed the creation of the National Tadamoun Agency to put an end to slavery, the programme to fight youth unemployment, and the strategy to fight poverty.  In view of Mauritania’s efforts, the international community should strengthen its cooperation with that country.  

Amnesty International was concerned that there was a significant gap between the letter of the law defining slavery as a crime against humanity and its implementation in practice.  Mauritania, while committed to investigate allegations of torture, had rejected a recommendation to do so through an independent process.

Association Jeunesse Action Développement welcomed the organized return of more than 24,000 Mauritanians repatriated from Senegal, with the help of the United Nations Refugee Agency.  Mauritania was encouraged to continue efforts on strengthening national unity and combatting extremist discourse. 

Agir en faveur de l’environnement recommended that the Government of Mauritania strengthen the capacity of civil society in promoting and protecting human rights, and accelerate the adoption of the law on gender-based violence.  Technical and financial support to Mauritania ought to be provided to eradicate the legacy of slavery. 

The President said that out of 200 recommendations, 140 enjoyed the support of the country, while 60 did not. 

CHEIKH TOURAD ABDEL MALICK, Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Action of Mauritania, said that Mauritania had had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty for decades.  Slavery had been abolished in Mauritania, and it was not clear why some parties continued to say that that phenomenon persisted.  The fight against the vestiges of slavery were well underway.  Some militants in Mauritania, referred to by certain speakers, had been detained as a result of court rulings.  Mauritania reaffirmed the importance attached to the Universal Periodic Review, and thanked the Working Group, the National Human Rights Institution and the civil sector for their contributions.  Mauritania would continue to consider the recommendations which had not been accepted. 

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Nauru

The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Nauru (A/HRC/31/7).

The Council has before it  an addendum to the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Nauru:  views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review (A/HRC/31/7/Add.1).

FILIPO MASAURUA, Senior Government Lawyer on Human Rights and Gender at the Department of Justice and Border Control of Nauru, said that Nauru supported the recommendations on the ratification of core human rights instruments and would hold consultations and awareness programmes in that regard.  Nauru was committed to ensuring that the treaties it ratified were incorporated into national laws.  Nauru would continue to seek assistance from United Nations agencies, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and regional partners for the fulfilment of its human rights obligations, and was holding discussions on the establishment of a national human rights institution.  Nauru supported recommendations relating to women’s rights.  The Nauru Women’s Plan of Action aimed at improving the quality of women’s lives and eliminating violence against them.  A dedicated Division of Child Protection Services had been established in 2015 to provide stronger, consistent and efficient technical, policy and support services on children’s issues.  Nauru supported recommendations related to persons with disabilities, and was discussing the development of stand-alone disability legislation.  The Government also supported recommendations relating to climate change. 

The Government noted recommendations made with regards to decriminalizing sexual behaviour between consenting adults, and reiterated that it was a Christian State and could as such maintain religious doctrines.  Further, such behaviour was not criminalized when done in private.  Nauru also noted the recommendation to abolish the death penalty, and would continue its work towards the removal of this sentence from its Constitution.  The Government would work to ensure that recommendations made with regards to the right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to peaceful assembly and association were enjoyed.  It would need to further consult on Section 244A of the Criminal Code before amending it.  The judiciary in Nauru was independent and functioning.  Protection and support was provided for refugees currently in Nauru, and unaccompanied minors were under the guardianship and protection of the Minister of Justice and border control officials.  They were afforded the same treatment as other Nauruan children in relation to education, health, sports and other related activities.   Additionally, protection of women from gender violence was provided through the Nauru Police Force with support from the Australia Police Force and other service providers.  Concluding, he called for technical and financial assistance for the implementation of recommendations.
 
Fiji thanked Nauru for having addressed the recommendations made by Fiji and acknowledged its commitment to ensure that the human rights dimension was added to the ongoing work on climate change.  However, it urged Nauru to intensify efforts to implement and guarantee human rights for asylum seekers, particularly for women and girls who were at risk of gender-based violence. 

Maldives appreciated the support of Nauru on both its recommendations, noting that Nauru’s commitment to furthering the rights of persons with disabilities was encouraging.  The Government’s steps to create stand-alone disability legislation was also encouraging.

Pakistan commended the Government of Nauru for having accepted the majority of the
recommendations and it appreciated that it had made efforts to promote and protect the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities.

Samoa welcomed positive developments in Nauru since its last Universal Periodic Review and its strides to become a party to the core human rights treaties.  It encouraged Nauru to continue efforts in areas of public awareness programmes, and training of public officials on the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. 

Sierra Leone noted that in spite of various financial and technical constraints, the Government of Nauru had consistently demonstrated its willingness to cooperate with the international human rights mechanisms.  However, it expressed hope that Nauru would consider constitutional amendments to abolish the death penalty.

Venezuela underscored the positive manner in which the Government had considered legislative reforms.  It noted the attention that Nauru had given to vulnerable groups, despite economic difficulties. 

Cuba recognized the priority given by the Government of Nauru for the protection of persons with disabilities, youth and women.  In spite of challenges, Nauru had accepted the overwhelming majority of the recommendations.

Edmund Rice International Limited, in a joint statement with, Franciscans International, expressed concern about the Australian-run offshore detention facilities in Nauru, having received allegations of physical and sexual abuse occurring in certain facilities, which should be closed.

International Service for Human Rights said that over the last three years, the Government of Nauru had denied requests from Special Procedures and censored the Internet, among other moves, which coincided with Australia’s opening of a major immigration detention centre.

Franciscans International said that the responsibility to protect Nauru’s citizens from climate change belonged to the international community as well as Nauru’s Government, which was recommended to support the call for the establishment of Special Procedures on climate change and human rights.

International Association for Democracy in Africa spoke about Nauru’s societal structure and economy, noting that education was a national priority in the country, as well as the fact that the Constitution of the country afforded women formal equality before the law.

Amnesty International expressed concern about Nauru’s refusal to grant access to international monitors, including Amnesty International and independent journalists.  The safety and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers was of deep concern.

International Lesbian and Gay Association said the existence of criminalising laws was a breach of international human rights law, calling on Nauru to be true to both its Christian values and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and end the criminalisation of same-sex acts.    

The President said that Nauru had accepted 80 out of 108 recommendations and took note of the 28 remaining ones.

FILIPO MASAURUA, Senior Government Lawyer on Human Rights and Gender at the Department of Justice and Border Control of Nauru, thanked the President of the Human Rights Council, delegations and representatives of non-governmental organizations for their comments. 

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

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