GENEVA (15 June 2016) - The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to health and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons.
In his concluding remarks, Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health, said that traditions and values, while often useful, could also be used as a pretext to violate rights. In terms of measures to improve the health of adolescents, the common denominator was the recognition of their rights: the right to information, freedom of expression and opinion, protection from violence, the right to dignity, and the right to bodily integrity.
In her concluding remarks, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, said her main recommendation was that if it was true that trafficking was not a mere possibility but a systemic outcome of conflict situations, it was important that all humanitarian actors were aware of the risk of trafficking and ready to act. She added that States should identify opportunities to detect trafficking cases in reception and detention centres where migrants were kept, and that access to remedies should not be made conditional on residence or migration status or cooperation with police authorities.
Both Special Rapporteurs made their presentations on Tuesday 14 June. A summary of their presentations can be found here.
In the interactive dialogue, speakers agreed that States had to adopt national health policies that were tailored to the needs of adolescents, and to take initiatives for the prevention of sexually transmissible diseases and early pregnancies, and for the promotion of healthy lifestyles. Several speakers underlined the need for the cultural specificities of each State to be taken into account when designing such policies. Many underlined the importance of early investment and resilience-building activities, which could positively influence the health of adolescents on the long term, and stressed the importance of sexual and reproductive health education. Speakers also noted the positive impact of promoting sport activities on health.
On the issue of trafficking in persons, speakers stressed the particular vulnerability of persons in conflict and post-conflict situations, particularly women and children. They reaffirmed States’ responsibilities to combat, identify and prevent trafficking and to protect victims, but noted the importance of United Nations and humanitarian agencies also playing a role in that regard. Speakers also noted the high vulnerability of migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, and regretted that restrictive migration policies only increased the risks for them to be subjected to trafficking in persons.
Speaking were European Union, Dominican Republic on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Portugal on behalf of the core group on the resolution on the right to health (Portugal and Brazil), Belarus on behalf of the Geneva Group of Friends united against human trafficking, South Africa on behalf of the African Group, Republic of Moldova, Germany, Russian Federation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Egypt, Armenia, Sierra Leone, Italy, Estonia, Cuba, India, Costa Rica, Greece, New Zealand, Indonesia, Austria, Georgia, United Arab Emirates, Ecuador, Slovenia, Australia, Monaco, Iran, Malaysia, United States, Philippines, Uruguay, China, Mexico, South Africa, Maldives, Botswana, Belarus, Argentina, Pakistan, Nepal, Lithuania, Switzerland, Kuwait, Venezuela, Algeria, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Sovereign Order of Malta. United Kingdom, Serbia, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Panama, El Salvador, Thailand, Sudan, Morocco, Honduras, Republic of Korea, France, Togo, International Organization for Migration, Israel, Viet Nam, United Nations Population Fund, Iraq and Djibouti.
Nigeria, Paraguay and Jordan spoke as concerned countries.
Also speaking were the following national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations: Centre for Reproductive Rights, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, Friends World Committee for Consultation, International Lesbian and Gay Association (joint statement), Defence for Children International (joint statement), Action Canada for Population and Development, Africa Culture Internationale, Freedom Now, Comité International pour le Respect et l'Application de la Charte Africaine, Iraqi Development Organization, Conseil international pour le soutien à des procès équitables, Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII, Asian Legal Resource Centre, and World Barua Organization.
The Council is holding a full day of meetings today. At 5 p.m., it will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers and the Independent Expert on international solidarity.
Statements by the Concerned Countries
Nigeria, speaking as a concerned country, stated that the international community was aware of Boko Haram’s mindless destruction; the fight against it was one between democracy and anarchy. Consistent progress was being made in anti-terrorism operations. The Government had adopted a human rights based approach in order to meet the needs of local communities affected by the conflict. It included local governance and citizens’ engagement and community security and justice, among others. Every Nigerian enjoyed the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Emergency education was provided for internally displaced children, and de-stigmatization programmes were also underway. Nigeria was firmly committed to rescuing the abducted Chibok girls and conducting anti-terrorist operations in line with international standards. The Nigerian military had never used nor would it ever use child soldiers. What was happening in Nigeria was terrorism and not a simple insurgency.
Paraguay, speaking as a concerned country, said that the Special Rapporteur’s report had overlooked many positive actions taken by the Government. Structural challenges hampering access to health were highlighted in the report. An implemented framework for transparency for the Government made it possible to improve protection and access to health for women and girls. People were encouraged to report abuse, and efforts were underway to reduce maternal mortality. Education and prevention protocols had been developed, which was a long and evolutionary process. The issue of violence against women was of serious concern to the Government, with a particular focus on indigenous and pregnant women. Paraguay’s national programmes to fight poverty were being implemented with a high level of inter-sectorial cooperation. An ongoing challenge was to ensure that those programmes were effective and human rights based, while meeting the pressing needs of the people. Primary healthcare was one of the Government’s priorities in 2016-2017.
Jordan, speaking as a concerned country, reiterated its firm commitment to combatting trafficking, noting that trafficking was a challenge of the modern world. Jordan had taken major steps forward in combatting trafficking through awareness-raising and by prosecuting those committing such crimes. The country had established a special department within the police and was determined to combat trafficking, including those who exploited labourers. Civil society’s activities against trafficking were coordinated with the Government initiatives, and preventive efforts had been stepped up. Concerning promoting awareness of such crimes identified in the report, Jordan’s commitment to cooperation with all human rights mechanisms and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur was emphasized.
Clustered Interactive Dialogue
European Union asked what practical measures States should take to train adequate personnel on adolescents’ right to health. The European Union called on all countries to recognize the vulnerability of women and children to trafficking in conflict situations. Dominican Republic, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, recognized the need to ensure the universality of quality healthcare, and underlined the positive contribution of sports to the right to health. The Community would continue to provide an enabling environment to young people for the realization of their right to health. Portugal, speaking on behalf of the core group on the resolution on the right to health (Portugal and Brazil), underlined the importance for the Human Rights Council to tackle the issue of health and human rights, and asked how best to prevent mental health problems. Belarus, speaking on behalf of the Geneva Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking, highlighted the specific vulnerability to trafficking faced by those in conflict situations, and called upon all States to work against trafficking in coordination with relevant stakeholders. The 2030 Agenda presented an opportunity for States to review their legislation on combatting trafficking in persons. South Africa, speaking on behalf of the African Group, welcomed the inclusion of universal health coverage in the 2030 Agenda, and underlined that universal access to vaccination was a crucial element of the right to health. South Africa stressed the importance of international cooperation for realizing the right to health. Republic of Moldova underlined States’ responsibility to identify and protect victims of trafficking, but noted the importance for United Nations and humanitarian agencies to also engage in combatting trafficking. The Republic of Moldova raised the case of territories in situations of conflict and beyond the reach of the State.
Germany was strongly committed to combatting human trafficking. Strong prevention mechanisms and access to assistance and remedies for victims were both needed. There was a worrying lack of awareness regarding the nature and the scale of mental health problems among adolescents in a number of countries. What were the best practices of including mental well-being in adolescents in national health policies? Russian Federation agreed with the concern over the violations of the right to sport for women and children, but did not understand recommendations related to the needs of lesbian, gay and transgender persons. Recommendations to States to encourage people to engage in sports and physical exercises were welcome, but there was no mention of the financial resources needed for that or the role of international cooperation. Bosnia and Herzegovina still unfortunately had to deal with both domestic and international trafficking. Accordingly, various political and legal documents, strategies and action plans had been created and implemented thus far. The Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees granted funds for victims of trafficking through coordination with the civil sector, thus providing direct support to the victims.
Belgium believed that the right to participation and the right to non-discrimination were fundamental to realizing adolescents’ right to health. How could those topics be concretely addressed within the human rights based approach? Weak or non-existent justice systems failed to prosecute perpetrators of human trafficking, which was why one of Belgium’s priorities was combatting impunity. Egypt said that efforts in different settings needed to continue to provide health care services to all adolescents. The Special Rapporteur had included controversial topics such as same-sex relationships and what could be seen as promoting abortion. Egypt believed that a variety of factors created an environment conducive for trafficking, including poverty, natural disasters and economic crises. Armenia highlighted the importance of national and international efforts in combatting the challenge of trafficking in human beings. Peacekeepers and humanitarian personnel had an important role to play in that regard. During the previous decade, Armenia had successfully implemented four action plans for combatting trafficking, which were now focused on prevention measures and strengthening institutional capacities.
Sierra Leone remarked that adolescent girls remained the most vulnerable of the population, as one third of pregnancies and maternal deaths occurred in this age group. The practice of trafficking women and children for labour and sexual exploitation was not new, but what was unprecedented was the sheer scale and number of persons trafficked as a result of economic or conflict-driven problems. Italy asked about the most appropriate measures to target early marriage as a form of trafficking of women and children in conflict and post-conflict situations and to integrate victims back into the society. Estonia stressed the importance of good regional and sub-regional cooperation in order to adequately address trafficking of refugees and migrants in conflict and post-conflict situations. There must be no impunity for crimes committed in conflict and Estonia stressed the importance of the International Criminal Court for situations where States were unable or unwilling to address them.
Cuba sufficiently met the health needs of its adolescents who had free access to basic health services, including mental and reproductive health, but Cuba disagreed with the Special Rapporteur on his recommendation concerning drug and alcohol abuse. Cuba agreed that increasingly restrictive migration policies, the lack of channels for regular migration, and the lack of access to labour markets for migrants were the underlying causes of exploitation of migrants. India stressed that the lack of safe and legal migration options exacerbated the vulnerability of those fleeing conflict situations, and also stressed the importance of making healthy choices from early ages. National efforts to prevent and address trafficking in persons could not keep up with the reality on the ground, said Costa Rica, noting the increasing number of migrants being forced to use illegal migration routes where they were exposed to various forms of exploitation and abuse. Greece said it was in the spotlight of the refugee and migration crisis; despite its limited financial situation, it had undertaken measures, including by promoting laws and policies, to protect refugees and migrants from trafficking.
New Zealand said that States should adopt or integrate a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for all adolescents, ensure the provision of age-appropriate, comprehensive and inclusive sexuality education as part of the curriculum, and repeal laws criminalizing against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Indonesia presented its domestic efforts for achieving the right to health, and for promoting sports activities. Indonesia reiterated its commitment to combat trafficking, noting that it had enacted a national policy in that regard, with a focus on prevention and the protection of victims. Austria said that it had been affected by a massive influx of refugees, and explained that it had adopted specific measures for the protection of unaccompanied minors, who were highly vulnerable to trafficking. Austria was conducting regular training to all relevant staff on early identification of trafficking victims, and was elaborating a national referral mechanism for child victims of trafficking. Georgia highlighted the importance of women’s participation in conflict resolution and post-conflict efforts, and explained that it had included gender issues in the training for its peacekeeping operations. Due to foreign military occupation, the protection of women’s rights remained a challenge in some parts of Georgia. United Arab Emirates welcomed the fact that the recommendations by the Special Rapporteur on the right to health took cultural backgrounds into account. It presented national initiatives for providing health services to adolescents. Ecuador said that restrictive migration policies and lack of political will on the part of developed countries had increased the vulnerability of migrants and asylum seekers to trafficking in persons. Ecuador had policies and programmes relating to access to health for adolescents. Slovenia said that, nationally, it sought to address the health risk of sedentary life through promoting equal access to public sports facilities and sports education. Slovenia also reaffirmed its attachment to sexual and reproductive rights.
Australia had a comprehensive national response to the crimes of trafficking in persons and slavery which aimed to tackle the root causes of exploitation, while in March 2016 it had launched its International Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery at a meeting of the Bali Process. Monaco stressed the importance of healthy lifestyles and exercise in saving millions of lives lost to preventable causes and said it paid particular attention to preventing the use of drugs by adolescents. Iran said that all initiatives to address mental, physical and sexual health of adolescents must be designed in accordance with international human rights standards. Iran also said that war and armed conflict created new targets and incentives for traffickers. Malaysia had implemented the adolescent health policy and national action plan through various programmes, and adolescents also participated in many activities on healthy lifestyles. Strategic collaboration between countries must be enhanced to overcome the crimes of trafficking in persons. United States agreed that anti-trafficking strategies must be comprehensively integrated in humanitarian strategies and asked about ways to raise the awareness of the humanitarian community about trafficking in persons. Philippines took note of the large movement of migrants and refugees across the borders in search of safety and expressed its support for the call by the Special Rapporteur – especially to humanitarian and peacekeeping communities - for the early identification of victims of trafficking in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Uruguay said that it had designed specific policies for ensuring access to health services for adolescents, including sexual and reproductive health, with the aim of reducing the rate of pregnancies among them. Uruguay had dedicated programmes for combatting and preventing trafficking in persons, and would put together a draft law on this issue with the support of the International Organization for Migration. China reiterated its attachment to the promotion of peace and tolerance through sports and through hosting Olympic Games. In order to address the root causes of trafficking, the international community should strengthen its efforts for the resolution of conflicts through political dialogue and development cooperation. Mexico said that it had a comprehensive healthcare system for minors, which included reproductive healthcare services. Mexico called for a paradigm shift to consider the drug problem as a health issue. Mexico supported the positive role of sports in combatting diseases. South Africa said that it had recently adopted a national strategy for the health of women and adolescents, and was promoting health improvements among adolescents and youth. South Africa agreed that non-communicable diseases could be preventable through sports and a healthy lifestyle. Maldives underlined the importance of Governments to formulate and implement action plans that were well-funded and monitored, and that aimed at reinforcing protective factors within adolescents, their families and communities. Maldives presented its Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2013, and its National Anti-Human Trafficking Action Plan which addressed prevention, victim protection, criminal prosecution and international cooperation in this field.
Botswana said that one of the challenges was ensuring confidential access to sexual and reproductive health for adolescents, while at the same time catering to the protection of adolescents, which was the primary duty of parents. Botswana was very concerned about the high number of children recruited into military services in conflict situations and asked about the prosecution rates for this crime, especially on trafficking charges. Belarus agreed that the issue of human trafficking in conflict contexts was extremely gendered, and asked the Special Rapporteur on the right to health what he meant by proposing the decriminalization of drug control policies and how it fit into the international drug control regime. Argentina guaranteed to its adolescents the right of protection from danger, care without discrimination, the right to be heard, and the right to see a doctor with parents or alone. Pakistan had launched a hallmark health initiative to provide access to health to cashless poor workers. Human trafficking was a serious crime and Pakistan had made concerted efforts to protect people from this crime, and to support victims. Nepal agreed that there was a link between human trafficking and conflict and said that, as a country which had emerged from conflict, its Constitution prohibited trafficking in persons and there was a national plan of action in place to combat the crime. Lithuania concurred that States needed to urgently adopt policies and make their health system responsive to the needs of adolescents and asked about the changing role of family, school and media in educating adolescents on reproductive health. What possible international measures could be taken to combat human trafficking, especially of women and children, by extremists and terrorist groups, including for purposes of sexual slavery and as human shields?
Switzerland said it was important for the international community to recognize trafficking as a factor in conflicts, noting that Switzerland was a destination country, also noting in response to the Special Rapporteur on the right to health that in the future, it was going to be vital for synergies in the United Nations system to be used. Kuwait noted that its constitution stipulated that people were equal before the law without discrimination on the basis of sex or any other factor, also noting that the country was keen on protecting the rights of migrant workers, having adopted a law against human trafficking in 2013. Venezuela said there was a need to respect adolescents so as to meet their needs, noting that they currently faced many issues, including recruitment into militias and criminal gangs, which was aggravated by the capitalist system. Algeria thanked the Special Rapporteur for the interest he had shown in the right to health in Algeria, noting that it would be counterproductive to impose a standard on a society which it did not hold with, particularly norms related to specific values of cultural specificity. Ethiopia said that the country’s success was due to the implementation of a framework that focused on the centrality of poverty alleviation. Trafficking in persons was the worst form of human rights violations, and Ethiopia had established an anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling task force. Saudi Arabia said that the right to health was one of the fundamental rights promoted by its Kingdom, adding that health services were free without any discrimination. It was strange that the Special Rapporteur on health had called for decriminalizing drug use, and he was asked to delete that, as Saudi Arabia was opposed to anything in conflict with its religion, Islam.
Kyrgyzstan said that restrictive migration policies increased risks of trafficking, and supported further international cooperation on that issue. The creation of national plans for the implementation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325 was highly relevant to combat sexual abuse and trafficking in the context of conflict situations. Turkey said that it had become a destination country for human trafficking, and that it had adopted several measures to address this situation, including steps taken to reduce the particular vulnerability of Syrian children and ensuring their access to education facilities. It called for strong international solidarity to reach all Syrian children. Sovereign Order of Malta said that human trafficking was a complex phenomenon, which required the engagement of all stakeholders, including civil society organizations and religions. United Kingdom said that early investment and resilience-building could positively influence the long-term health of adolescents. Health services that were not tailored to the specific needs of adolescents were not efficient. Serbia said that it had introduced a wide range of initiatives for the identification of victims and the prevention of trafficking in persons, in collaboration with civil society organizations. Serbia supported the work by the Special Rapporteur on the issue of trafficking for the purpose of organ removal. Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that human trafficking was a global problem, and underlined the need to address its root causes with a gender perspective, and to provide support to the victims. Studies on human trafficking had been conducted in the Organization’s Member States, and had showed the need for enhanced collaboration among them. Panama agreed that States must ensure that health services take into account adolescents’ right to health, and underlined the need for indicatives to prevent the consummation of tobacco and the spread of sexually transmissible diseases.
El Salvador agreed with many points made by the Special Rapporteur in his report on adolescence and health and stressed that national values and cultures must also be taken into consideration. All States must extend protection to all their citizens, including those who left the country; safe migration flows must be established. Thailand reiterated its commitment to continue implementing the provisions of the Bali Process and to address forced labour in the country. How could countries protect people from trafficking in conflict situations if basic humanitarian needs were not as yet met? Sudan asked about best practices to ensure teenage health and said that in 2014 it had adopted a law against human trafficking and had also set up a national commission to combat this crime. Morocco believed that the development of sports was a major step in building healthy and democratic societies and it had revised its legal framework to encourage people to practice physical and sports activities. Morocco paid particular attention to combatting trafficking and stressed the importance of interaction with international and regional mechanisms. The health of adolescents was a priority in Honduras. Could the conclusion in the report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons be applied to situations of general violence and displacement due to activities of organized crime?
Republic of Korea expressed belief that the international community should have a strong monitoring mechanism in place against trafficking in persons, and on the topic of health, concurred with the view that vulnerable groups should be able to enjoy sports and that States should provide safe spaces for all to participate in sports. France said that far too limited progress had been made in terms of teenage health, noting also that it was up to each State to provide a proper environment for their adolescents, including comprehensive sex education. France was in favour of decriminalizing homosexuality and abortion all over the world. Togo said that on the topic of health, the emphasis domestically was on the implementation of a national plan against maternal and neonatal mortality. On human trafficking, Togo agreed that prevention and prosecution were effective means of combatting the phenomenon. International Organization for Migration welcomed the international community’s interest in the problem of trafficking in women and children during conflict, and highlighted the urgent need to recognize trafficking as a serious crime. There was an urgent need for the humanitarian and donor community to provide a coordinated response. Israel expressed its deep concern at trafficking in persons against a backdrop of conflict and war, noting that Israel had established a national anti-trafficking unit. Viet Nam said the country had achieved the majority of health-related Millennium Development Goals, adding that health was at the centre of Viet Nam’s public policies, and that it was the responsibility of the whole society.
United Nations Population Fund said that Governments, societies and families had to invest in the health of adolescents. Child birth was still the leading cause of death in the developing world, the Fund said, underlining the importance of providing sexual and reproductive education and of more investment in girls’ education and empowerment. Iraq said that its Constitution guaranteed the fight against trafficking in persons, and explained that “Da’esh” had sexually enslaved Yazidi women and girls. These crimes were being documented by the Iraqi Government, with a view to ensure accountability. Djibouti agreed with the need to establish mechanisms to guide people towards assistance services, designed for victims or potential victims of human trafficking.
Center for Reproductive Rights welcomed the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation urging States to introduce a legal presumption of competence that an adolescent seeking preventive or time-sensitive health goods and services, including sexual and reproductive health services, as the requisite capacity to access such good and services. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas underlined the specific risks faced by marginalized groups and their vulnerability to trafficking, and called on States to address the structural causes of inequalities. Friends World Committee for Consultation underlined the importance of providing healthcare to persons in detention, and called for the universal implementation of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known as the Mandela Rules.
International Lesbian and Gay Association in a joint statement with Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland; and Swedish Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights – RFSL, said that States must remove all barriers to participation in sports by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, such as poorly regulated changing rooms, uncomfortable clothing and others. Defence for Children International in a joint statement with Make mothers Matter – MMM; and Consortium for Street Children, The, said that when tackling the world drug problem, States and other stakeholders should, inter alia, provide prevention, harm reduction and dependence treatment services to adolescents and young children, and seek alternatives to punitive and repressive drug control policies. Action Canada for Population and Development agreed that root causes of challenges that adolescents faced in accessing health services with privacy and confidentiality included gender stereotypes and unequal power relations, patriarchal and heteronormative practices and values, and the absence of comprehensive sexuality education. Africa Culture Internationale urged States in line with article 5 of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to change social culture that led to the feeling of superiority of men over women, and to combat all forms of violence against women and children. Freedom Now noticed a disturbing trend of denial of medical treatment and access to health to prisoners of conscience by governments, including in Viet Nam and Uzbekistan. The realization of the right to health remained a challenge around the world, while new challenges such as climate change seriously affected the situation of public health in many African countries, said Comité International pour le Respect et l'Application de la Charte Africaine des Droits de l'Homme et des Peuples. Iraqi Development Organization called attention to the situation of sickle cell anaemia patients in Bahrain who were in great need of pain because of limited access to morphine, and to the grave situation of such persons in detention.
Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l'Homme expressed concerns about the situation of prisons in Bahrain, with prisoners being deprived of medical treatment, especially those suffering from diabetes, and being subjected to humiliation and discrimination. Associazione Comunita Papa Giovanni XXIII said that States should establish safe and legal channels of migration in order to prevent the exploitation of human trafficking by smugglers, and referred to a humanitarian corridor project conducted in collaboration with the Italian Government, allowing legal entry for international vulnerable migrants. Asian Legal Resource Centre expressed concerns about human trafficking in several Asian countries, and the lack of policies there to ensure appropriate protection for the victims. China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation said that China had made significant progress in the reduction of poverty, which was one of the root causes of trafficking. It described projects aimed at improving access to health and education services in rural areas. The United Nations should promote the use of technologies in combatting trafficking. World Barua Organization referred to children who were victims of trafficking in the north of India, with the involvement of police and armed forces there. The Council should encourage India to invite the Special Rapporteur on trafficking, and to withdraw its armed forces from the region.
DAINIUS PURAS, Special Rapporteur on the right to health, in concluding remarks, thanked the authorities in Paraguay and Nigeria and expressed hope that Nigeria, with the support of the international community, would be able to overcome the tremendous challenges to rehabilitate victims of Boko Haram, but also to strengthen the institutional structure in this part of the country and sustain structures that were crucial to sustaining peace and stability. Paraguay had made significant progress in the area of health and the Special Rapporteur hoped that his recommendations to address violence against women and increase access to health for the poor and excluded populations would be taken into consideration. The Special Rapporteur welcomed the agreement by the delegations on the importance of investing in adolescent health and said that their “acting out” behaviour was not a reason to medicalize them but a miscommunication between generations. There was a lot to do for adolescents, a huge group of 1.2 billion individuals, and the concern was that many opportunities were being lost in this regard.
Mr. Puras underlined that traditions and values, while often useful, could also be used as a pretext to violate rights, for example the concept of traditional family values, which was sometimes contradictory with human rights norms and standards, as it was used to justify acts against the wellbeing of children, including various forms of violence against women, girls and children in general. The cost of leaving adolescents behind was too high, especially in the context of the 2030 Agenda. In terms of measures to improve the health of adolescents, the common denominator was the recognition of their rights: the right to information, freedom of expression and opinion, protection from violence, the right to dignity, and the right to bodily integrity. The mandate took seriously the violation of rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, including adolescents, and said that it was detrimental to societal health and cohesion. The Special Rapporteur stressed that models based on excessive hospitalization and medicalization must be replaced with systems centred on prevention and full participation by adolescents.
MARIA GRAZIA GIAMMARINARO, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, in concluding remarks, said that her expanded report to the General Assembly in October would be an opportunity to better focus on how the international community could step up its efforts in the field of prevention of trafficking in persons in conflict and post-conflict situations. That was crucial when national capacities were weakened. Domestic servitude was an aspect of trafficking which was often overlooked. In response to questions, she urged the European Union, as the destination of the vast majority of Syrian refugees, to look better into those issues, first of all the planned relocation of asylum seekers which had been very modestly implemented so far. Among that population there was a very high risk of trafficking. Anti-trafficking policies in place in the European Union countries seemed to fail when a large influx of migrants was involved. Her main recommendation was that if it was true that trafficking was not a mere possibility but a systemic outcome of conflict situations, it was important that all humanitarian actors were aware of the risk of trafficking and ready to act.
Another suggestion was for better cooperation between humanitarian and development actors. Having been asked about the role different actors could play, she said that the private sector could work to prevent labour exploitation, which should be addressed in a zero-tolerance level in all the United Nations operations. She noted that she had undertaken work to engage with selected big companies to discuss with them how to prevent labour exploitation. The question had been asked how States could provide access to remedies and support to victims. Her recommendation was to identify opportunities to detect trafficking cases in reception and detention centres where migrants were kept. Access to remedies should not be made conditional on residence or migration status or cooperation with police authorities. In response to questions on how to improve the fight against impunity, she said that national legislation provided for patterns for prosecution. Another idea was how to improve capacity to bring cases before the International Court of Justice. On a question on which synergies existed between the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on migrants and the Special Rapporteur on trafficking, she said work was being done to improve that aspect, for example on the topic of fraudulent labour recruitment.
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