Human Rights Council Adopts Universal Periodic Review Outcomes of Federated States of Micronesia, Lebanon, Mauritania

OHCHR

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the Federated States of Micronesia, Lebanon, Mauritania, and Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of the Federated States of Micronesia were Russian Federation, Tunisia, United Nations Population Fund, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, China, Cuba, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Nepal, and New Zealand.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Micronesia: World Jewish Congress, and Centre for Global Nonkilling.

Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Lebanon were Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, and Saudi Arabia.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Lebanon: Ensemble contre la Peine de Mort, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES, International Commission of Jurists, Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture, Advocates for Human Rights, CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International.

Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mauritania were Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, and Namibia.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mauritania: Ensemble contre la peine de mort, Minority Rights Group International, Centre for Global Nonkilling, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, Defence for Children International, British Humanist Association, International Humanist and Ethical Union, Advocates for Human Rights, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association, and Coordination Nationale des Associations des Consommateurs.

Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Saint Kitts and Nevis were Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, India, Morocco, Nepal, Russian Federation, Tunisia, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Saint Kitts and Nevis: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Centre for Global Nonkilling, Advocates for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, and United Nations Watch.

Speaking on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Saint Kitts and Nevis were Barbados, Botswana, Brazil, Cuba, Guyana, India, Morocco, Nepal, Russian Federation, Tunisia, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela, and Viet Nam.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor on the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Saint Kitts and Nevis: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, Centre for Global Nonkilling, Advocates for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, 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 12:20 p.m. to continue with the consideration of the Universal Periodic Review outcome documents of Australia, Saint Lucia, Nepal, Oman, Austria, Rwanda, Georgia, Sao Tome and Principe and Nauru.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of the Federated States of Micronesia

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on the Federated States of Micronesia (A/HRC/47/4) and addendum (A/HRC/47/4/Add.1).

Presentation by the Federated States of Micronesia

BRENDY CARL, Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Federated States of Micronesia, stated that every human life, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, culture or ideology, was equally important and precious to Micronesia.  Hence, he highlighted the importance of working collaboratively, including the Sustainable Development Goals in Micronesia’s work, as well as in recommendation responses.  Micronesia had appraised all the recommendations provided by Member States and would be working towards addressing them within the context of its resources and capacity.  Like every other nation, State, island and atoll worldwide, they were experiencing challenges posed by climate change impacts and risks which were being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Micronesia was committed to working with partners and stakeholders to ensure that the recommendations on issues such as the National Human Rights Institution and State Family Protection Laws were enacted.

Discussion

Speakers appreciated Micronesia’s progress since its last Universal Periodic Review cycle, in particular its accession to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Other positive areas included prioritising gender equality, ensuring safe and dignified lives, and improving sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls.  Speakers congratulated Micronesia for its acceptance of a large number of recommendations, including recommendations to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  It was important to continue strengthening measures to prevent and confront human trafficking, and protect victims, particularly women and girls.  Speakers from small island developing countries expressed their solidarity with Micronesia.  They particularly welcomed the instalment of a coordinator on violence against women.

The President of the Council informed that out of 154 recommendations received, 141 enjoyed the support of Micronesia, while 13 had been noted. 

Concluding Remarks

LEONITO BACALANDO, JR., Chief of Law and Assistant Attorney General, Department of Justice of the Federated States of Micronesia, said the Universal Periodic Review had given Micronesia the opportunity to have a national dialogue as a nation, examine its human rights laws, regulations and policies, and identify areas to improve.  It was undeniable that Micronesia was not immune to challenges and vulnerabilities associated with human rights protection, including in particular, institutional weaknesses.  On this note, Micronesia was working very hard in order to remove or to minimise these weaknesses and vulnerabilities; and for this reason, Micronesia wished to propose to its partners an increased level of collaboration and capacity building assistance that was fitting to its national experiences.  Micronesia recognised the importance of the Universal Periodic Review as a tool to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals and Targets.

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Lebanon

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Lebanon (A/HRC/47/5) and an addendum (A/HRC/47/5/Add.1). 

Presentation by Lebanon

SALIM BADDOURA, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations Office at Geneva, recalled that Lebanon and its people were facing exceptionally difficult circumstances.  They faced a political, economic and financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, while still suffering from a refugee crisis, which had led it to host more than one million displaced Syrians, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.  Reiterating its commitment to the Universal Periodic Review, Lebanon recalled that, on August 4, 2020, it had witnessed a huge explosion that had completely destroyed the port of Beirut, costing life and causing displacement.  Serious discussions were underway regarding the adoption of a law banning underage marriage.  A bill had been adopted to recognise marital rape as a form of domestic violence, and another one was being considered which would criminalise this practice.  Lebanon was updating its National Human Rights Plan through a transparent participatory process that included representatives from all relevant government agencies, Parliament, and Lebanese civil society bodies.

Discussion

Speakers welcomed Lebanon’s efforts to uphold human rights despite the numerous economic and financial challenges it faced, which the pandemic had exacerbated.  Some speakers urged Lebanon to address the threat posed by Hezbollah, which they called a terrorist organization, by disbanding and disarming it as well as all militias and terrorist entities.  Speakers expressed appreciation for the death penalty moratorium as well as Lebanon’s efforts to foster human rights training and education.  There were still 82 people on death row, however, and Lebanon should take new steps towards full abolition.  Lebanon should enable Palestinian refugees to own property, complete the Nahr Al-Bared Camp reconstruction, and facilitate the return of refugees.  Some speakers said that while the Government acknowledged the multiple crises that Lebanon was grappling with, it had failed to mention that it was the Lebanese authorities’ corruption and their deliberate lack of effective policy action that had contributed to and prolonged these crises.

The President of the Council informed that out of 297 recommendations received, 179 enjoyed the support of Lebanon, while 93 had been noted.  Additional clarification had been provided on 25 recommendations. 

Concluding Remarks

SALIM BADDOURA, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the United Nations Office at Geneva, recalling that Israel was an occupying force, said Lebanon was not taking part in this meeting to hear moralising statements from an occupying power whose history was full of violations, including against the Lebanese people.  The qualification of Hezbollah as a terrorist party was unacceptable.  Lebanon had heeded the calls for improvements in various areas, including the fight against corruption.  The Government had made serious efforts to ensure that there was a democratic space for expression in these difficult circumstances.

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Mauritania

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Mauritania (A/HRC/47/6) and an Addendum (A/HRC/47/6/Add.1).

Presentation by Mauritania

CHEIKH AHMEDOU SIDI, Commissioner for Human Rights, Humanitarian Action and Relations with Civil Society of Mauritania, noted that 201 recommendations, more than 75 per cent of the total recommendations issued to Mauritania, had been accepted, while the other 65 recommendations were taken into account.  The recommendations that did not enjoy the support of Mauritania contradicted the provisions of the constitution.  Mauritania intended to continue the de facto moratorium on death penalty cases, which had been in place since 1987.  The recommendations related to abolishing the death penalty, decriminalising homosexuality and consensual sexual relations between people of the same sex, decriminalising apostasy, and the punishment of adultery were not supported as they violated the provisions of the country’s constitution.  Mauritania was preparing a consultative workshop to share the results of the Universal Periodic Review with civil society, and a national action plan to implement the 201 accepted recommendations.

AHMED SALEM OULD BOUHOUBEYN, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Mauritania, recalled that the Commission was an independent body established by the constitution, and worked in keeping with the relevant instruments.  There was positive cooperation between the Government, the Commission and the Human Rights Office.  Mr. Bouhoubeyn expressed hope that this would continue.  It was important to accelerate recommendations on human rights defenders.  Regarding trafficking, the 2020 law was noted, but its implementation should similarly be accelerated.

Discussion

Speakers welcomed Mauritania’s efforts to protect and promote human rights, welcoming its acceptance of a large percentage of recommendations.  Improvements at the legislative level were noted.  Mauritanian efforts to combat trafficking in persons and implement its poverty reduction programmes despite the COVID-19 pandemic were particularly welcomed by speakers.  Mauritania was encouraged to pursue efforts to promote its economic development programme and civil society initiative.  The prohibition of all forms of discrimination, improving the participation of women in politics, and the establishment of the National Observatory for the rights of women and girls were encouraging.  Other speakers expressed deep regret that Mauritania had not accepted any of the recommendations relating to the abolition of the death penalty, also calling on the Government to swiftly ratify the Genocide Convention and the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The President of the Council informed that out of 266 recommendations received, 201 enjoyed the support of Mauritania, while 65 had been noted. 

Concluding Remarks

CHEIKH AHMEDOU SIDI, Commissioner for Human Rights, Humanitarian Action and Relations with Civil Society of Mauritania, noted that Mauritania would do its utmost to implement all accepted recommendations, and would be scrutinising those it took note of.  Cooperation with international human rights mechanisms was of high importance for the Government.  Mauritania had achieved significant progress, particularly since President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani took office, establishing an open dialogue with the international community.

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Saint Kitts and Nevis

Documentation

The Council has before it the Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review on Saint Kitts and Nevis (A/HRC/47/7) and an Addendum (A/HRC/47/7/Add.1).

Presentation by Saint Kitts and Nevis

KAYE BASS, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, said that the Government had announced in April 2020 a $ 120-million COVID-19-related stimulus package.  It remained cautious in its national response to the pandemic to ensure limited disruption in services to people living with non-communicable diseases.  Despite the mandated lockdowns, and loss of face-to-face instruction, the Ministry of Education had been able to allay concerns of parents by introducing technologies that enabled students to access classes online.  Saint Kitts and Nevis remained steadfast in addressing the needs of persons living with disabilities.  The Government had also adopted and implemented a slew of initiatives and programmes with children as the focus, such as programmes to curb child abuse.  Climate change posed an existential threat to the people of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and  it had already had an adverse impact on the full enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to life, right to food, right to health, right to adequate health, right to safe drinking water, right to work and most importantly the right to development.

Discussion

Speakers commended Saint Kitts and Nevis’ accession to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Extending solidarity following the havoc wreaked by hurricane Elsa, they welcomed efforts to protect children and people with disability, as well as the strategy to adapt to climate change.  Speakers also welcomed the implementation of the national housing programme to improve the standard of living of citizens of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the launch of the Social Security COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.  Saint Kitts and Nevis was encouraged to strengthen multi sectoral response to gender-based violence.  It was noted that progress had been made on the poverty reduction plan, which benefited vulnerable women.  St.  Kitts and Nevis had only noted several important recommendations, and not taken action toward acceding to the protocol on the status of refugees.  The Government was urged to decriminalise same sex relations between adults.  It was further urged to establish a national human rights institution in the country, in line with the Paris Principles.  Abolition of the death penalty was also urged.

The President of the Council informed that out of 165 recommendations received, 69 enjoyed the support of Saint Kitts and Nevis, while 96 had been noted. 

Concluding Remarks

KAYE BASS, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Aviation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, underscored the commitment of St.  Kitts and Nevis to its human rights obligations.  Noting the country’s economic and environmental vulnerability, she warned that pandemic recovery would be slow, and called on the international community to partner with St.  Kitts and Nevis in building a more sustainable future. 

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Link: https://www.ungeneva.org/en/news-media/meeting-summary/2021/07/conseil-des-droits-de-lhomme-examen-periodique-des-etats-federes

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