MORNING 2 October 2023
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Romania, Mali and Montenegro.
Concerning Romania, the Vice-President of the Council said out of the 251 recommendations received, 208 enjoyed the support of Romania, and 29 were noted. Additional clarification was provided on another 14 recommendations.
The outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Romania was adopted.
Speaking in the discussion on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Romania were India, Indonesia, Maldives, Malaysia, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Tanzania, Venezuela, Algeria, China and Ethiopia.
Also speaking were Humanists International, International Planned Parenthood Federation, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association, and Human Rights Watch.
Concerning Mali, the Vice-President of the Council said out of the 275 recommendations received, 219 enjoyed the support of Mali and 52 were noted. Additional clarification was provided on another four recommendations.
The outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mali was adopted.
Speaking in the discussion on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mali were
United Nations Women, United Kingdom, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, United Nations Population Fund, Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Algeria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Chad, Gabon, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Libya.
Also speaking were Anti-Slavery International, Advocates for Human Rights, Elizka Relief Foundation, United Nations Watch, Interfaith International, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme, and International Trade Centre for Development.
On Montenegro, the Vice-President of the Council said out of the 247 recommendations received, 226 enjoyed the support of Montenegro, and 21 were noted.
The outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Montenegro was adopted.
Speaking in the discussion on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Montenegro were Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Russian Federation, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine, Burkina Faso, Albania, Belgium, Cameroon, China, Croatia and Venezuela.
Also speaking were Alliance Defending Freedom, World Jewish Congress, 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 fifty-fourth regular session can be found here.
The Council will reconvene this afternoon at 3 p.m. to continue the consideration and adoption of the outcome documents of the other States examined during the forty-third session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group.
Consideration of Universal Periodic Review Outcome of Romania
Romania said the State had received a total of 251 recommendations. The concerns and encouragements expressed during the inter-active dialogue confirmed Romania’s previously identified priorities, thus helping the country to further advance the promotion and protection of human rights at the domestic level and reinforce the inter-institutional debate on this subject. They also provided a valuable mapping of issues of importance for Romania’s partners – United Nations member and observer States and non-governmental organizations. Romania decided to support in full 208 recommendations. Of the 43 remaining recommendations, Romania considered it could partially support 14, with 29 recommendations noted.
Romania decided to note some of the recommendations urging it to ratify certain conventional instruments; committing to ratification would prejudge the position that the legislator would take in the process of ratification. However, the legislative procedure was advancing. Romania also noted the recommendations on amending the legal framework on anti-discrimination and on adopting a national comprehensive strategy on inclusion and diversity. Preventing and combatting trafficking in persons was also a theme that gathered a significant number of recommendations and a topic Romania was very dedicated to. The past two years had been fundamental in shaping a new and robust institutional architecture against trafficking in human beings, steered by strategic leadership, driven by effective coordination, and equipped with the necessary tools to respond to the complex realities on the ground.
In the discussion, some speakers congratulated Romania for accepting recommendations to protect migrant ethnic groups, and to address ethnic-based gaps in health insurance; and for strengthening measures against violence against women, including femicide. Speakers also commended the State’s measures to promote women’s empowerment and took positive note of the national strategy for combatting sexual violence. It was appreciated that Romania was improving access to health services to reduce maternal mortality, and accelerating the reform of its education system. Romania had also made efforts in the fight against poverty, illustrated by the implementation of the national strategy for social integration and poverty reduction 2022-2027.
Some speakers said they appreciated Romania’s commitment to continue its full cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, aimed at improving the promotion and protection of human rights in the country, especially for vulnerable groups such as women, children and persons with disabilities. It was hoped that Romania would further consider ratifying the Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, to further ensure the protection of this group. The Romanian authorities were urged to pay particular attention to the protection of the rights of migrants and refugees. One speaker expressed concern about discrimination in Romania against ethnic minorities and the rise of xenophobia, racism and nationalism in the country. It was hoped the recommendations would be adopted and enable Romania to overcome the gaps in human rights.
A number of speakers said they were pleased with the Government’s responses during Romania’s fourth Universal Periodic Review process, which enhanced its commitment to human rights. They welcomed Romania's continued involvement in the process and its constructive interaction with the Council’s mechanisms. The Council was requested to adopt the universal periodic report of Romania by consensus, and speakers wished Romania full success in implementing the accepted recommendations.
The Vice-President of the Council said out of the 251 recommendations received, 208 enjoyed the support of Romania, and 29 were noted. Additional clarification was provided on another 14 recommendations.
Romania said the State took the recommendations made in May very seriously and would treat in a similar manner the comments and views expressed here today. They would be taken back to the authorities to inform Romania’s subsequent policies and programmes on advancing human rights domestically. As already indicated in the national report and during the review, the Romanian Government formally adopted the national strategy for preventing and combatting anti-Semitism, xenophobia, radicalisation and hate speech and its action plan, which aimed to equip Romanian authorities and society as a whole with the necessary tools for preventing and sanctioning the facts associated with these scourges. Also recently, the Government decided to present before the Parliament a draft law amending the legal framework on the foreigners’ status, thus implementing judgments of the European Court of Justice and of the Constitutional Court on the freedom of movement and residence for the same-sex spouses of Romanian citizens having contracted marriage in another European Union Member State. Romania had heard all recommendations and would give them due consideration, as it continued its steadfast efforts to advance the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Romania.
Consideration of Universal Periodic Review Outcome of Mali
Mali said at the Universal Periodic Review process, Mali received 275 recommendations made by States. The process of addressing these recommendations took place through an internal consultation organised by each ministerial department for an in-depth analysis of the recommendations, and through the organization of a round table in August 2023 that brought together ministerial departments and civil society organizations, to summarise internal consultations and propose positions for each of the recommendations to the Government. Out of 275 recommendations received by Mali, 219 were accepted; 53 were noted; and 3 were accepted and noted. Some accepted recommendations had already been implemented, including those relating to Mali's ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which Mali ratified in 2005.
Recommendation 56 was being implemented through a National Mechanism for the Preparation of Initial and Periodic Reports, which was established in 2009, and the National Directorate of Human Rights, created in 2023. In the context of security sector reform, Mali had developed a national security sector reform strategy with an action plan 2022-2024. In this framework, Mali created new police stations, the national guard, police brigades and military camps in new regions and new detention centres. Recommendation 62 related to the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism against Torture, and was being handled by the National Human Rights Commission.
Several recommendations were noted because of certain social and cultural realities in the country. Gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation and child marriage, fell under the work of Government organizations, civil society organizations, and partners of the United Nations system that handled prevention. There was also a one-stop centre which comprehensively engaged in this work. Regarding the death penalty, no sentence had been carried out since 1980. Mali had subscribed to the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the moratorium on the death penalty since 2008.
National Human Rights Commission of Mali commended the Government for its favourable position on the 219 accepted recommendations. The Commission encouraged the Government to review its position regarding certain recommendations which were rejected, including on the death penalty; gender-based violence, particularly female genital mutilation; and the revision of the Family Code. The Commission would work in collaboration with civil society and other mechanisms to implement the pertinent recommendations. The defence and security forces were encouraged to respect international humanitarian law. The Commission called on the State to implement the accepted recommendations.
Some speakers welcomed the efforts made by Mali to advance gender equality, peace and sustainable development, and to promote and protect human rights. In the context of increasing attacks by jihadist groups, violations of the 2015 ceasefire and a deteriorating humanitarian situation, addressing human rights and protection concerns in Mali had never been more important. Mali’s engagement during its Universal Periodic Review process and the Transitional Administration’s stated commitment to international human rights law were welcomed; however, these commitments were not being put into action, one speaker said.
Mali should strengthen community-based programming on gender responsive prevention of violent extremism, support reinsertion of former female combatants and women associated with former combatants into communities of return, promote access to justice for women survivors of sexual violence, and provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons. It should also strengthen the political participation of women in elections, promote gender parity in decision-making at all levels, promote female leadership and entrepreneurship, and ensure the rights of survivors of sexual violence in conflict-affected regions, female political leaders, social activists, and human rights defenders. The Government of Mali’s adoption of a national sanitation and water policy and action plan and its action on solid waste were appreciated: progress towards the achievement of an adequate standard living and good land management were essential to peace and security.
The Vice-President of the Council said that out of the 275 recommendations received, 219 enjoy the support of Mali, and 52 were noted. Additional clarification was provided on another four recommendations, indicating which parts of the recommendations were supported and which parts were noted.
Mali thanked everyone for their constructive contributions, which would help Mali make greater headway in the promotion and protection of human rights and to tackle the challenges in this area. A lack of security was the main factor behind human rights violations in Mali. Therefore, it was important to intensify stabilisation efforts, to promote a return to peace and an end to the human rights violations. Mali remained committed, despite the challenges, for the return to constitutional order and to the proper organization of the next general elections, which would be free, fair, transparent and inclusive. Mali's partners were urged to listen more and show objectivity when analysing the situation in the country, to better help Mali achieve stabilisation. Mali was ready to cooperate with the various international and regional human rights mechanisms.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mali.
Consideration of Universal Periodic Review Outcome of Montenegro
Montenegro said the Universal Periodic Review was a well-functioning mechanism for addressing the human rights situation in all countries, and Montenegro therefore viewed it as a cherished opportunity to deepen the national debate on human rights and generate momentum for their further empowerment through an open and forward-looking exchange with relevant domestic stakeholders and international partners. From that perspective, Montenegro had continued to constructively cooperate with the Human Rights Council, its Special Procedures and other United Nations human rights mechanisms. It had also continued to work resolutely on the systematic protection and promotion of the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in the country and also abroad.
In total, 247 recommendations were addressed to Montenegro, out of which 226 recommendations were accepted; this spoke volumes about Montenegro’s genuine commitment to the further advancement of human rights policies and practices, thereby improving the living standard and equal opportunities for all its citizens. In general, Montenegro would continue its efforts to fully implement judicial reform to ensure independence, integrity, accountability, and impartiality of the judiciary; to combat corruption and organised crime; to strengthen the anti-discrimination legislation and policies; to effectively address gender-based violence and to enhance gender equality; to combat human trafficking; and to protect and promote children's rights, as well as the rights of vulnerable and marginalised persons, including persons with disabilities, minorities, older people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer plus persons.
Significant efforts would be further invested in eradicating gender-based violence, by advocating and upholding the principle of "zero tolerance" towards violence against women and domestic violence, and effectively addressing key challenges in the implementation of national legislation and international obligations.
In the discussion, some speakers appreciated the efforts made by Montenegro in combatting violence against women and domestic violence, as well as efforts made in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women. This included the adoption of a national plan for the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the National Gender Equality Strategy 2021–2025. Montenegro had also established a taskforce and committee to review policies to fight gender-based violence and had committed to investigating cases of gender-based violence and providing support to victims. Speakers also noted the measures taken by Montenegro to adopt a national strategy for the promotion of equality and protection against discrimination of persons with disabilities, and the measures taken to improve the position of persons with disabilities in all areas of life. The Government’s efforts to tackle reported cases of discrimination, racist violence, and hate speech against minorities and ethnic groups, was also applauded.
Montenegro was urged to work towards the introduction of an integrated system to further improve the protection of children from all forms of violence, including the establishment of a State shelter for children and young victims of trafficking. The Montenegro authorities were encouraged to strengthen legislation to promote the protection of migrants and refugees, including through the ratification of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, to ensure effective prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of crimes against migrants. The country should also seek to strengthen its legislative framework regarding the promotion and protection of human rights. Some speakers said they remained concerned at human rights violations in Montenegro, including acts of torture against persons in detention, violence against women and girls, and discrimination against minority groups, among others.
Montenegro was commended for accepting most of the recommendations put forth in the review and for their constructive engagement. Speakers wished the Government of Montenegro every success in their determination and commitment to implement the accepted recommendations and further improve the human rights situation on the ground. It was recommended that the Council adopt the outcome of Montenegro’s Universal Periodic Review by consensus.
The Vice-President of the Council said out of the 247 recommendations received, 226 enjoyed the support of Montenegro, and 21 were noted.
Montenegro said it appreciated the comments and recommendations and would take them home for further reflection and consideration. There was no doubt that the participation of both domestic and international stakeholders was vital for the Universal Periodic Review process to have a real impact on the ground, with the principles of universality and inclusivity at its core. Montenegro would continue its proactive and constructive role in the Human Rights Council with the aim of strengthening the respect and protection of universal human rights everywhere and for everyone, including in the Universal Periodic Review process. It would also cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and all other human rights mechanisms.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Montenegro.