The Human Rights Council today adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the Republic of Moldova, South Sudan, Haiti and Sudan.
Federico Villegas, President of the Human Rights Council, said the Council had now concluded the adoption of all Universal Periodic Review outcomes of States considered during the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, with the exception of the adoption of Myanmar, which the Council agreed to postpone until the General Assembly decided on the representation of Myanmar in the United Nations. The 100 per cent participation in the mechanism had been maintained, and the review process had seen an increased engagement of States, at the highest level of the Government, and of other stakeholders – even during the worst period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Universal Periodic Review was the most fundamental tool for the international community, and today all countries had seen that this mechanism was a roadmap in all countries for the development of human rights.
Speaking in the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Moldova were Tunisia, United Nations Women, United Nations Population Fund, Tanzania, Venezuela, Viet Nam, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Morocco and Nepal.
Also speaking were World Jewish Congress, International Federation for Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists, Advocates for Human Rights, Amnesty International, United Nations Watch, Ingenieurs du Monde, and Association pour la défense des droits de l’homme et des revendications démocratiques/culturelles du peuple Azerbaidjanais-Iran.
Speaking in the Universal Periodic Review of South Sudan were Germany, India, Kuwait, Lesotho, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal and Mali.
Also speaking were East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Lutheran World Federation, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Interfaith International, Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association, and Elizka Relief Foundation.
Speaking in the Universal Periodic Review of Haiti were Egypt, Germany, India, Jamaica, Libya, Madagascar, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Africa and South Sudan.
Also speaking were Centre pour les Droits Civils et Politiques – Centre CCPR, Edmund Rice International, Center for Global Nonkilling, Interfaith International, Recontre Africaine pour la defense les droits de l’homme, United Nations Watch, Ingenieurs du Monde, and Association pour la défense des droits de l’homme et des revendications démocratiques/culturelles du peuple Azerbaidjanais-Iran.
Speaking in the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan were Lesotho, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Somalia.
Also speaking were Action Canada for Population and Development, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, International Service for Human Rights, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, International Bar Association, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Meezaan Center for Human Rights, Villages Unis, and Maat for Peace, Development and Human Rights Association.
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 fiftieth regular session can be found here.
The Council will next meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 5 July, to hold an interactive debate with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance.
Consideration of Universal Periodic Review Outcome of the Republic of Moldova
TATIANA MOLCEAN, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the 185 recommendations accepted by the Republic of Moldova served as an important assessment of the State’s maturity with respect to its human rights. The Government was developing a new general human rights policy document for the next five years dedicated to the implementation of the accepted Universal Periodic Review recommendations. The Republic of Moldova would continue to accede to and ratify various international instruments. It had deployed efforts to strengthen national human rights institutions, including the finalisation of the amendment to the law on the People’s Advocate, increasing the functionality of the Ombudsman specialising in the protection of children’s rights. A new strategy would address the challenges in the justice system, including the integrity of justice sector stakeholders, the underdeveloped legal culture, and corruption.
Women’s participation in the decision-making process had been strengthened with the minimum quota of 40 per cent women representation; 40 women were elected to parliament after the July 2021 elections. The rights of persons with disabilities were a cross-cutting priority. New legislation had been adopted on the establishment and payment of compensation for transportation services for persons with disabilities. Human rights and free movement along the Nistru River continued to be a central issue, and the human rights situation in the transnistrian region had been brought to the attention of external partners. More than half a million refugees had entered the Republic of Moldova since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Ukrainian refugees were offered shelter, transport, medical screening, food and water, psychological, social and legal assistance, and education services.
Speakers welcomed the establishment of a national human rights institute in the Republic of Moldova. They commended efforts made in advancing women’s equality and gender parity in such challenging times, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the refugee crisis. The gender chapter of the public expenditure and financial accountability assessment was appreciated. The Governmental Commission on Equality should be re-established, and it should be allowed to make Governmental bodies responsible for ensuring gender-mainstreaming in their policies. The efforts of the Government to ensure that the human rights of all were secure were appreciated. Some speakers said the Republic of Moldova had been one of the first countries in the European region to adopt a national programme on reproductive rights. Focus should be made on the most vulnerable groups, such as young women, and ensuring access to services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and victims of rape. Violence against women should be addressed to a greater extent to ensure its elimination.
The Universal Periodic Review showed the Republic of Moldova’s commitment to the cause of human rights, speakers said, noting the measures taken to reduce poverty and ensure the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups, with the creation of multi-sectoral groups to cover their needs. The measures taken to protect and promote the rights of the Republic of Moldova’s ethnic minority population and to eliminate all forms of discrimination were also appreciated. The legislative, social and policy measures outlined in the report amply reflected the Government’s commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights, including during the pandemic. The Government should take effective steps to implement the recommendations on unilateral coercive measures. The Government was commended for accepting the majority of the recommendations received. Efforts should continue to ensure the independence of members of the judiciary and the judiciary system, including the judiciary disciplinary system, and to ensure that these were not only on paper, as had happened in the past. Efforts to ensure that none suffered from arbitrary disappearance should be reinforced.
TATIANA MOLCEAN, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the interest and active participation of delegations that had engaged in this cycle of the Universal Periodic Review were appreciated. Non-governmental organizations had accomplished remarkable work and supported the Government in implementing all human rights policies. The Government of the Republic of Moldova remained committed to strengthening national tools for implementing all recommendations. This cycle had given the State an opportunity to map the progress made so far at implementing all human rights, including economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights.
The evolution of the situation in the Republic of Moldova since the evaluation in January was being converted into concrete actions, and the recommendations would be included in national policy documents and further implemented. The role of the People’s Advocate, the Equality Council and the preventive mechanism would be strengthened. The Government would accelerate its efforts to ensure that the justice sector and the anti-corruption authorities were strengthened. The legal framework on the selection of judges and prosecutors would be streamlined. The Government was committed to building a just society based on the rule of law, according to international standards.
The Vice President of the Council noted that out of 209 recommendations, the Republic of Moldova had accepted 186 and noted 22. It had also provided clarification on one recommendation.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Moldova.
Consideration of Universal Periodic Review Outcome of South Sudan
GARSIANO MOGGA ELIA WAJA, Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of South Sudan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that during the review in February 2022, South Sudan received 258 recommendations in total, out of which 222 recommendations had been accepted and 36 were noted. Some recommendations were examined and noted because these recommendations were not priorities, or were in conflict with the national laws, government policies or customs and traditions of the peoples of South Sudan. These recommendations covered such topics as sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, which were in conflict with South Sudan’s policies, laws, customs and traditions and therefore could not be accepted. Ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court was not a priority for the Government. The priority of the Government of South Sudan was to obtain peace and stability through the implementation of the Revitalised Peace Agreement.
Recommendations on the abolition of the death penalty were noted because the death penalty was present in domestic law as a punishment in accordance with South Sudan’s current penal laws. Recommendations on violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law were noted because the killing of humanitarian workers in the country was not a policy of the Government and was deemed as a criminal act. Recommendations on the implementation of anti-corruption mechanisms were noted because the Revitalised Government of National Unity was not looting, but managing the wealth of the country. With technical assistance and capacity building support from international and regional partners, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, all the accepted recommendations would be fully implemented.
Some speakers commended South Sudan’s latest steps in implementing the Revitalised Peace Agreement and for accepting most recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review. South Sudan was commended for institutional reforms of the justice sector, and for all efforts made by the country to protect the rights of women and children. South Sudan’s commitment to human rights mechanisms was recognised, including through its accession to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. South Sudan’s political openness was welcomed, as well as its strengthening of the transitional constitution and the inclusion of freedoms. Some speakers noted the establishment of legislation on juvenile and gender-based violence. South Sudan’s efforts to build its human rights institution were acknowledged. Speakers also acknowledged that South Sudan was working to overcome challenges, and the country was encouraged to strive towards political stability.
A number of speakers expressed concern that essential political issues in South Sudan remained unresolved, stating that violence in the country must be stopped. The level of gender-based violence was a concern, with women and girls particularly vulnerable. Speakers expressed regret about South Sudan’s inability to stop all forms of enforced disappearances, and ensure accountability for all human rights violations. South Sudan was called on to accede to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Concern was also raised about the arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders and journalists. It was imperative to create an environment for safe and fair elections. Speakers urged South Sudan to develop a human rights action plan, and accept all recommendations proposed. Authorities in South Sudan were also urged to combat gender-based violence, work towards abolishing the death penalty, and continue to embark on reforms within the security sector.
GARSIANO MOGGA ELIA WAJA, Charge d’Affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of South Sudan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked the Universal Periodic Review secretariat and the members of the troika for their rock-solid support during the review. He also extended appreciation to the delegations present for their constructive dialogue and their engagement. Gratitude and thanks also went to those who had worked to make the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review a success. The recommendations that enjoyed the support of the Government would be fully implemented.
The President of the Council noted that out of 258 recommendations received, 222 enjoyed the support of South Sudan, and 36 were noted.
The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of South Sudan.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Haiti
BERTO DORCE, Minister of Justice and Public Security of Haiti, said that Haiti had accepted 205 recommendations and 16 had been noted, out of 221 made. The 16 recommendations noted were justified, either because they went against Haitian culture, or they were already implemented, or because the legal provisions were already provided. Haiti had been requested to adopt a normative framework to protect human rights defenders; Haitian legislation already contained legal provisions to combat these attacks and when such acts were committed, investigations were carried out and the perpetrators punished in accordance with the law. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Haiti were not persecuted or penalised because of their sexual orientation. Despite the difficult situation in the country, progress had been made, including the publication of the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2020, with the Government agreeing to postpone their implementation until the commission created by Prime Minister Ariel Henry had assessed them.
Significant efforts had been made to restore the security situation, including more than 5,000 arrests for kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms, murder, and drug trafficking. Police had intensified anti-gang operations and increased the presence of preventive patrols and fixed points on the streets. A process of control and presence of civil servants had been launched to fight corruption. A new system had been launched in conjunction with the World Bank, in the fight against poverty, to lay the foundations for an effective social protection system in Haiti. Mr. Dorce said that the Government wished to see better implementation of the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review and would begin with the popularisation of the 205 recommendations from the fortieth session. Haiti would work together with the international community to implement the recommendations.
Some speakers commended the Government of Haiti’s cooperation with human rights mechanisms. Its commitment to submit the periodic reports and combat violence against women were also commended. Efforts to combat impunity and corruption were also positive. Strengthening the security forces was important for improving the situation of the citizens of Haiti. The draft Penal Code, which would strengthen the rights of victims of sexual violence, had been postponed, which was not a positive development. The review process had seen active engagement, and the adoption of many recommendations was a positive step. The new Code of Criminal Procedure would come into effect later this year. The progress made to protect and promote the human rights of all within the borders of Haiti was noted, with the Government redoubling its efforts in this regard.
Haiti should continue to cooperate with the High Commissioner and all treaty bodies on any capacity building and technical assistance that it required, one speaker urged. Attention should be paid to food security and to developing food and educational services for the vulnerable. Haiti was commended on the adoption of the third national plan to fight violence against women and girls, showing its commitment to its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. Haiti should overcome the challenges posed by child labour, including child slavery in the context of domestic labour. Haiti was commended on the implementation of the Strategic Development Plan, and was encouraged to strengthen the reform of the judicial institutions. New measures to improve domestic legislation in the area of rights and freedoms and in fighting human rights violations, including in national law enforcement, were commended. Some speakers said that the implementation of all recommendations would allow Haiti to overcome the obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights for all. Haiti should implement further policies to reduce inequality. The economic situation, which had worsened considerably during the pandemic, impeded the Government’s ability to ensure the security of all. Free and fair elections should be organised as soon as possible.
The President of the Council said that out of 221 recommendations received, 205 enjoyed the support of Haiti, and 16 were noted.
BERTO DORCE, Minister of Justice and Public Security of Haiti, thanked the Universal Periodic Review secretariat and the 82 countries that had read the national report and made recommendations afterwards. Haiti was committed to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and the international universal human rights system. The Haitian State, represented by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, would do its best to implement the 205 recommendations accepted during the review. The implementation of the recommendations could not be achieved without the help of international partners. Haiti would count on the cooperation that had existed for several years between the Haitian Government and the United Nations, through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Haitian Government remained open to any support, including any cooperation programmes aimed at capacity building, as well as awareness-raising workshops and training activities.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Haiti.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Sudan
HASSAN HAMID HASSAN, Permanent Representative of Sudan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Sudan had presented its third report under the Universal Periodic Review, reflecting the efforts to apply the recommendations arising from the previous Review, and the efforts to protect and promote human rights in all aspects, as reflected in the subsequent report. Sudan had taken care to organise all necessary means to ensure the successful visits of mandate holders. It had lifted the state of emergency, freed political prisoners, and created an environment of political consensus. Sudan’s cooperation with the Human Rights Council showcased its commitment to human rights, and it would continue its national and international efforts to support these. The Universal Periodic Review mechanism was one of the most effective means to this end, making it possible to develop human rights in Sudan and elsewhere. Sudan was undergoing a period of transition marked by challenges and difficulties of all kinds: economic, social, political, and, of course, the debt burden, but this did not prevent it from working to promote human rights. Eighty per cent of the recommendations made had been accepted or were already implemented, and others would be.
BUTHAYNAH MOHAMED ELTAYIB ELTOUM, Advisor, Human Rights Department, Ministry of Justice of Sudan, said the Government had examined the recommendations presented. Following broad consultations with all stakeholders, Sudan had accepted 244 recommendations, and had begun to implement these. Thirty-nine recommendations were rejected for constitutional and legal reasons. The Government was continuing its efforts for institutional and legal reforms, as indicated, and was continuing its efforts to ratify international human rights conventions. It was also working to ensure that its legislation was aligned with international and regional conventions to which it was party. Some recommendations made during the previous cycle were now accepted.
Efforts were being made to combat female genital mutilation and harmful stereotypes. Regarding the democratic transition, there was now a new national dialogue under the auspices of the African Union in order to prepare for the next general elections. Sudan was committed to achieving peace and stability in the Darfur region and all conflict zones, and had signed the Juba Agreement. Sudan was committed to protecting civil society and to allow it to support human rights and aid with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as enhancing efforts to respond to the pandemic.
Some speakers commended Sudan for progress made on acceding to international instruments. They appreciated Sudan’s legislative measures to ensure effective recourse in response to the violation of rights, including criminalising and punishing female genital mutilation, and penalising human trafficking. The Sudanese Government was praised for its transparency, participation, and commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process. It was encouraging that Sudan had accepted the majority of recommendations, and speakers appreciated the enhanced dialogue, which reflected Sudan’s commitment to human rights. Sudan was taking steps towards establishing an independent national human rights commission, and it was believed that the measures taken to strengthen national capacity would lead to tangible results. Sudan was commended for steps taken to implement economic reform. The country was also commended for adopting the Convention against Torture and for abolishing all forms of corporal punishment,
Some speakers urged Sudan to redouble efforts to address abuses by State authorities and to address armed tribal conflict in the country. Speakers also called on the Sudanese Government to take measures to allow the country to commit to a democratic transition and to revoke the state of emergency. It was regretful that protesters in Sudan were subject to excessive use of force. Some speakers called on the Government to release all civilians detained as a result of the coup, and to free all political prisoners who had been detained without grounds. Sudan was urged to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and to end the targeting of women protesters. A campaign needed to be put in place to target the rising levels of racism within the country. Violence against children was also an issue of concern and child marriage was still in practice in Sudan; the country was urged to strengthen mechanisms to prevent violence again children. The political crisis following the coup raised legal questions regarding the legitimate representatives of the State during the Universal Periodic process, and it was regretful that there was a lack of a civilian-led transition to make decisions on the Universal Periodic Review outcome.
HASSAN HAMID HASSAN, Permanent Representative of Sudan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, repeated his thanks to the troika countries for their great role, as well as to the human rights mechanisms that provided technical assistance and had a positive impact in helping Sudan fulfil its human rights obligations. With regard to the freedom of expression, the Government was dedicated to protecting and promoting it in the context of the provisions of the Constitution. The police forces of the Sudan were of the people, belonged to the people, and protected the property of the people, and would also protect the next Government, to which all aspired, and thus any aggression towards them was an aggression against all, and went against the principles of the revolution which protected freedom and justice. With regard to the recommendations which had not been accepted, these went against traditions and culture of the country, as well as the Constitution. Human rights could only prosper under the auspices of a democratically elected Government, and the appropriate messaging should be sent to all parties to immediately start the preparatory processes, so that this could begin soon.
The President of the Council said that out of 283 recommendations, 244 enjoyed the support of Sudan, and 39 were noted.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan.
Remarks by the President
FEDERICO VILLEGAS, President of the Human Rights Council, said the Council had concluded the adoption of all Universal Periodic Review outcomes of States considered during the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, with the exception of the adoption of Myanmar, which the Council agreed to postpone until the General Assembly decided on the representation of Myanmar in the United Nations. The 100 per cent participation in the mechanism had been maintained, and the review process had seen an increased engagement of States, at the highest level of the Government, and of other stakeholders – even during the worst period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of recommendations received and those accepted by States had grown further during the third cycle, with States taking concrete steps to implement them at the national level. To highlight a few: States had ratified additional human rights treaties, increased reporting to treaty bodies, and committed to making standing invitations to Special Procedure mandate holders. More national human rights institutions and national mechanisms for the prevention of torture had been set up, as well as national mechanisms for implementation, reporting and follow-up. The Universal Periodic Review had also determined an increase in measures to professionalise the police, correctional officers, judges, lawyers and prosecutors, and had led to revisions of penal and procedural codes and the abolishment of capital punishment.
Looking forward, the President said that the fourth cycle would be an opportunity to enhance the implementation of recommendations in nationally-owned processes – with the growing participation of national human rights institutions and civil society organizations. When the Council was created, there was a year of discussions, where all States considered that something had to be done to ensure that all States could put forward the state of their human rights to be considered by the international community, and this was why the Universal Periodic Review was created. The Universal Periodic Review was the most fundamental tool for the international community, and today all countries had seen that this mechanism was a roadmap in all countries for the development of human rights.