9 July 2021
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Georgia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Nauru.
At the beginning of the meeting, Justin Viard, Permanent Representative of Haiti to the United Nations Office at Geneva, took the floor to deplore the events of 7 July, when several heavily armed individuals had assassinated the President of Haiti in his residence. This was a serious attack on the right to life and the dignity of the Haitian people. The police and the armed forces were hard at work to identify the culprits and punish them according to the law. The President had been a fervent defender of human rights, especially the rights of the weakest. He had launched State reforms, started the fight against corruption and started building infrastructure.
The Council then held a minute of silence at the invitation of the Permanent Representative of Haiti.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Georgia were Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tunisia, UN Women, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela, Viet Nam, and Afghanistan.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Georgia: World Jewish Congress, Human Rights House Foundation, Action Canada for Population and Development, Ingenieurs du Monde, International Catholic Child Bureau, and International Lesbian and Gay Association.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Sao Tome and Principe were Russian Federation, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Botswana, Brazil, China, Côte d'Ivoire, and Cuba.
The following civil society organization also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Sao Tome and Principe: Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme.
Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Nauru were Venezuela, Viet Nam, China, Cuba, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Russian Federation, Tunisia, and Vanuatu.
The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Nauru: World Jewish Congress, Centre for Global Nonkilling, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and United Nations Watch.
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-seventh regular session can be found here.
The Human Rights Council will next meet at 11.30 a.m. to hold an interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s oral presentation on Ukraine and the interim report of the Secretary General on human rights in Crimea, followed by an interactive dialogue on the Independent Expert’s oral update on the situation of human rights in the Central African Republic.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Georgia
Presentation by Georgia
ALEXANDER MAISURADZE, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, took the floor to introduce the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
KHATUNA TOTLADZE, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, noted that Georgia had received 285 recommendations, carefully reviewed them, including through a transparent process with the involvement of Parliament, and extended support to 257 recommendations. Georgia had not accepted recommendations from the occupying power and those States supporting illegal occupation, rejecting 19 recommendations in this respect. Recently, Georgia had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Georgia had accepted all recommendations related to cooperation with human rights mechanisms, as well as all recommendations on promoting equality and combatting discrimination and hate crimes. The Government of Georgia had elaborated the State Strategy for Civic Equality and Integration for 2021-2030 and its Action Plan for 2021-2022, which would be adopted next week. Ms. Totladze drew the Council’s attention to continuous violations of human rights in Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation.
Speakers commended Georgia’s acceptance of most of the recommendations and welcomed the adoption of the code on the rights of the child and the advancement of gender equality through the 2017 constitutional reform. They encouraged the Government to seize new opportunities offered through Generation Equality to accelerate transformative change for women’s empowerment. Some speakers said the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia were recognised as independent by the Russian Federation and other countries, and should not therefore be covered by the report. Others said that the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia had been relegated to vassal regions, unable to freely administer their own elections and pushed into patterns of economic dependency because of the geopolitical ambitions of foreign powers. Speakers recommended that Georgia identify best practices in policy protection for human rights defenders, and ensure an effective investigation into the case of Afgan Mukhtarli. Several speakers expressed dismay at violence directed at protesters during the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community on 5 July during the Tbilisi pride march. Fifty journalists had been beaten by homophobic groups and the police had done little to stop the violence. Turning to abortion, speakers said the mandatory five-day waiting period contradicted the World Health Organization recommendations and violated women’s right to bodily autonomy.
The President of the Council informed that out of 285 recommendations received, 257 enjoyed the support of Georgia, while 28 had been noted.
ALEXANDER MAISURADZE, Permanent Representative of Georgia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that the Ministry of Internal Affairs constantly cooperated with the organisers of Tbilisi Pride Week and no incidents had taken place during the first two events. On 5 July, police officers were mobilised to operate in emergency mode to ensure public safety. The Government was initiating an investigation into all allegations of violence, with multiple suspects already detained. With regards to the comments of the Russian Federation - its military presence in the occupied presence was illegal. It was an occupying power, and hence all the responsibilities over the occupied territory rested with the Russian Federation. Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia were integral parts of Georgian territory.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Georgia.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Sao Tome and Principe
Presentation by Sao Tome and Principe
IVETE DA GRAÇA DOS SANTOS LIMA CORREIA, Minister of Justice, Public Administration and Human Rights of Sao Tome and Principe, noted that out of the total number of 161 recommendations, 148 were accepted and 13 were noted, answering some of the questions that were submitted by Germany, Slovenia, Fiji, Liechtenstein, United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Over the past five years, many measures had been developed for the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. As part of broader legislative reforms, Sao Tome and Principe had revised and created new laws that protected the best interests of children. The country had also developed a series of actions together with United Nations and civil society partners to address the rise of domestic violence due to COVID-19. Despite the limitations faced by Sao Tome and Principe, it had developed, in cooperation with United Nations actors and civil society, various policies to honour its commitments in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Speakers noted that despite difficulties, significant progress had been made by Sao Tome and Principe with regards to providing citizens with free primary education, access to basic health care and good social security. Enrolment rates of 98 per cent in primary education and the significant reduction in child mortality were commended by speakers. The adoption of legislation aimed at combatting domestic violence and violence against women and girls was highlighted as an important step. Sao Tome and Principe was encouraged to continue pursuing its cooperation with United Nations mechanisms. Efforts made in collaboration with local civil society were also welcomed. Despite Sao Tome and Principe’s commitment to adopt the national plan for the protection of children, child labour, commercial and sexual exploitation, and trafficking of children remained issues, as speakers called on the Government to further implement preventive measures.
The President of the Council informed that out of 161 recommendations received, 148 enjoyed the support of Sao Tome and Principe, while 13 had been noted.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Sao Tome and Principe.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Nauru
Presentation by Nauru
JANMAY UDIT, Secretary for Justice and Border Control of Nauru, said all the recommendations received had been considered by Nauru in a very constructive way. Nauru was greatly indebted to Member States for assisting it in continuing with its work on progressing the enhancement of human rights. All recommendations, whether accepted or not, would be considered by the Republic over a period of time. Nauru’s ultimate goal was to ensure that its human rights obligations were all given their appropriate legislative and administrative framework. This was necessary for a small nation to prosper and succeed as human rights, no doubt, were needed for the benevolence and livelihood of the society. There were certain constraints which at this point in time required Nauru to note some recommendations. The recommendations that Nauru had accepted would be adapted into the Universal Periodic Review Recommendation Implementation Plan for dissemination to relevant government departments and agencies for necessary action.
Speakers, welcoming Nauru’s acceptance of the majority of recommendations, noted the efforts of the Government to reduce poverty and establish a national human rights institution in line with the Paris Principles. The national strategy on climate change was also welcomed by speakers, as was the Government’s decision to work towards ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Speakers congratulated Nauru for accepting the recommendation concerning the ratification of the Convention on Genocide. Prohibitively high visa fees for foreign journalists and existing immigration regulations had the effect of obstructing access to media and civil society. Speakers regretted that with no legal support, limited health care and uncertainty about their resettlement, many refugees suffered from chronic anxiety, leading children as young as 11 years old to attempt suicide and self-harm.
The President of the Council informed that out of 156 recommendations received, 132 enjoyed the support of Nauru, while 24 had been noted.
JANMAY UDIT, Secretary for Justice and Border Control of Nauru, said Nauru took note of the concerns raised and the comments made this morning. Nauru ensured the dignity of refugees, who were held only briefly before being resettled. Mr. Udit rejected the claims made by China this morning.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Nauru.