AFTERNOON 16 March 2021
The Human Rights Council this afternoon adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Panama, Mongolia, Maldives, Andorra and Honduras.
The following civil society organizations took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Panama: Centre for International Environmental Law, Alliance Defending Freedom, Action Canada for Population and Development, International Lesbian and Gay Association, Centre for Global Nonkilling, and Asociacion HazteOir.org.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mongolia were United Kingdom, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Botswana, China, Cuba, India, Iraq, Nepal, Pakistan, Russian Federation and Tunisia.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mongolia: Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, International Service for Human Rights, Amnesty International, and United Nations Watch.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Maldives were Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations Population Fund, Vanuatu and Venezuela.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Maldives: Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, International Humanist and Ethical Union, British Humanist Association, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Action Canada for Population and Development, and Alliance Defending Freedom.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Andorra were India, Namibia, Nepal, Russian Federation, Tunisia, Venezuela, Burkina Faso, China and Cuba.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Andorra: International Service for Human Rights, Centre for Global Nonkilling, Campagne Internationale pour l'Abolition des Armes Nucléaires, and Amnesty International.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Honduras were Brazil, Cuba, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Libya, Marshall Islands, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Oman and Russian Federation.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Honduras: Centre for Reproductive Rights Inc., Peace Brigades International, Save the Children International, Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, Article 19 - International Centre Against Censorship, Action Canada for Population and Development, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Amnesty International, International Lesbian and Gay Association, and Advocates for Human Rights.
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-sixth regular session can be found here.
The Council will next meet at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 17 March to continue with the consideration of the outcome documents of Bulgaria, Marshall Islands, United States, Croatia, Liberia and Jamaica that were examined during the thirty-sixth session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group.
The consideration of the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Panama started in a previous meeting and a summary can be found here.
Speakers encouraged Panama to uphold the right to life of all, including the unborn. The rights of sex workers had been systematically denied because of prejudice, discrimination, stigma and double standards, and mainly because of the non-recognition by the State of sex work as work. Speakers urged the protection of the life and dignity of sexual minorities; it was urgent to design policies and create legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Speakers recommended that the human right to peace be enshrined in the Constitution, and that Panama ratify without further delay the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Some speakers recalled that the Constitution and the civil code defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, adding that sexual education was "gender indoctrination".
The President of the Council informed that out of 181 recommendations received, 146 enjoyed the support of Panama, while 35 had been noted.
ERIKA MOUYNES, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Panama, said Panama's Government maintained a firm and unequivocal interest in strengthening human rights compliance at the national level. The Universal Periodic Review process would continue to be a vital part of this work. The work to achieve full respect for human rights was far from over, and the Government would continue to work tirelessly to achieve it. The promotion and protection of human rights was a priority for the Panamanian Government.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Panama.
The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Mongolia (A/HRC/46/9).
ENKHTAIVAN DASHNYAM, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, stated that out of 190 recommendations received, Mongolia had accepted 170 and noted 20. Mr. Dashnyam was pleased to inform the Council that some of the recommendations had already been implemented. Most of the supported recommendations were in the process of implementation or concurred with the broader policy objectives of the Government of Mongolia. With regards to the 20 noted recommendations, some required further study and Mongolia would examine and give consideration to the recommendations, where feasible, at an appropriate time in the future. The Government of Mongolia was currently developing a plan of action on the implementation of the accepted recommendations.
KHUNAN JARGALSAIKHAN, Human Rights Commission of Mongolia, commended the Government's commitment with regards to the protection of human rights. At the same time, it was still concerned about the absence of an independent body to investigate instances of torture. Mr. Jargalsaikhan called on the Government to criminalise all forms of discrimination, and work towards the legal recognition and protection of same sex couples. The prohibition of the death penalty had been a significant step.
Speakers welcomed the Mongolian Government's commitment to implement activities aimed at protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals. Speakers also commended the Government's commitment to protecting the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls. Combatting and preventing torture and promoting children's rights were two other areas in which Mongolia's progress was noted by speakers. The promotion of economic development, reduction of poverty, raising the standard of living and strengthening the healthcare system should remain priority areas for the country. Some speakers said that regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, there was a lack of will to implement newly adopted laws and to influence societal attitudes and prejudice. Mongolia must also do more to protect human rights defenders.
The President of the Council informed that out of 190 recommendations received, 170 enjoyed the support of Mongolia, while 20 had been noted.
ENKHTAIVAN DASHNYAM, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said he was grateful that many member and observer States had welcomed Mongolia's progress and achievements. Mongolia recognised that there was still room for improvement. The Government would exert every effort to implement the recommendations that it had accepted and would give them full consideration in carrying out further legal reforms.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mongolia.
The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Maldives (A/HRC/46/10) and the Addendum (A/HRC/46/10/Add.1).
ASIM AHMED, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva, recalled that at the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, Maldives had highlighted the remarkable achievements made in the areas of judicial reform and governance, social protection and rights of vulnerable groups, and protection of migrant workers' rights, as well as efforts undertaken in establishing rights-oriented law enforcement services and the commitment of the Government in ensuring the unhindered promotion and protection of fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution. Maldives was extremely grateful to all Member States and other stakeholders for their positive acknowledgement and support of its achievements during the review process. Since the review, the Transitional Justice Act had been enacted and the Ombudsperson's Office under the Act had been established. The new Police Act was expected to enhance internal governance of the police force and enable a community-oriented approach to service provision.
Speakers noted that Maldives' efforts to ensure gender equality were commendable. The work aimed at adopting holistic measures to build climate resilient infrastructure and mobilising international climate finance to address climate change was welcomed. Speakers were particularly pleased by the country's efforts in containing and responding to COVID-19. Measures taken to achieve gender parity in the judiciary were also noted by speakers, who hoped ongoing judicial reforms would result in broader access to justice. Speakers expressed gratitude to the Government for its high-level engagement at the Nairobi Summit. Other speakers were concerned that none of the recommendations on freedom of religion or belief were accepted, also noting the lack of accountability in relation to attacks on journalists and human rights defenders. Civil society had limited space to operate as Islam was used to justify killings and discrimination, while gender-based violence and homophobia thrived.
The President of the Council informed that out of 259 recommendations received, 187 enjoyed the support of Maldives, while 67 had been noted. Additional clarification had been provided on 5 recommendations.
ASIM AHMED, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva, acknowledged the important role played by civil society, pledging to continue to engage with civil society actors towards a truly meaningful, inclusive and participatory process. COVID-19 had highlighted many fault-lines, but as a result Maldives had increased investment in those areas. The rights of vulnerable groups, freedom of expression, political activities and basic rights would not be hindered.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Maldives.
The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Andorra (A/HRC/46/11).
JOAN FORNER ROVIRA, Chargé d'affaires of Andorra to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said some of the recommendations received in the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review were related to the ratification and accession to some international human rights conventions. It was an exercise of responsibility to understand that becoming a party to any international convention required a thorough analysis of national legislation in relation to the provisions of that international convention and the State's ability to bear with the commitments made. As regards the creation of a national human rights institution, the Ombudsman (Raonador del Ciutadà) was the main body, together with the Tribunals, guaranteeing human rights in the country. The creation of a new institution responsible for ensuring respect for human rights could lead to a duplication of powers and an excessive economic burden. Andorra had already implemented some recommendations stemming from past Universal Periodic Review recommendations, such as submitting its first national reports to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Speakers were pleased that Andorra had accepted the recommendation to bring the Act on Equal Treatment and Non-Discrimination in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. They regretted that Andorra had not accepted recommendations regarding the ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and noted the need to improve the conditions of detention in the country's penitentiary institutions. Andorra was one of the few countries in Europe, and indeed in the world, that had a draconian total ban on abortion. Speakers requested that Andorra set ambiguities aside by signing and ratifying the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a matter of urgency. Some speakers were concerned that the Government had merely noted recommendations on protecting human rights defenders. They were extremely concerned that a woman, Vanessa Mendoza Cortés, faced defamation charges after speaking about women's rights, including their right to safe abortion, before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
The President of the Council informed that out of 104 recommendations received, 60 enjoyed the support of Andorra, while 38 had been noted. Additional clarification had been provided on 6 recommendations.
JOAN FORNER ROVIRA, Chargé d'affaires of Andorra to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanking Cuba for their contribution, noted that the national plan for children was currently under consideration. He felt very sorry for Ms. Mendoza but Andorra had to respect the judicial process, and if she felt threatened she should go to the police. Andorra reaffirmed its will to respect human rights.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Andorra.
The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Honduras (A/HRC/46/12).
JACKELINE ANCHECTA, Acting Minister of Human Rights of Honduras, informed the Council that none of the 223 recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review were rejected, with 203 recommendations accepted and 20 noted. Regarding the advances made as a result of the recommendations during the third cycle, Honduras had intensified its battle to combat all forms of violence against women and girls. It would be conducting the first diagnostic of the National Protection System to protect human rights defenders and journalists. It had also opened the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and had begun the process of developing a Migration Policy. An inter-institutional space had been created to jointly respond to human rights violations in the context of business activities.
Speakers noted the significant reduction of homicides in Honduras. They urged Honduras to continue working towards the prevention of juvenile violence and hoped the country would soon overcome the difficulties it faced as a result of COVID-19. The fact that Honduras had accepted the vast majority of the recommendations was welcomed. Speakers were concerned that institutional and legislative obstacles hindered the fulfilment of sexual and reproductive rights of women. The independence of the judiciary must be protected. Honduras was one of only six countries that fully criminalised abortion. Agrarian policies did not focus on rural women. Human rights defenders and civil society faced systemic violence, with journalists harassed and killed with impunity.
The President of the Council informed that out of 223 recommendations received, 203 enjoyed the support of Honduras, while 20 had been noted.
LEINY GUERRERO HERRERA, Councillor at the Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reiterated Honduras's commitment to, and appreciation of, the Universal Periodic Review, and thanked the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Honduras.
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