UNOG - United Nations Office at Geneva

09/20/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/20/2018 05:53

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OUTCOMES OF TURKMENISTAN, BURKINA FASO, CABO VERDE, AND GERMANY

20 September 2018

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, and Germany.

Ahmetyar Kulov, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to United Nations Office at Geneva, said that most of the 191 recommendations received were in line with the national human rights agenda, which enabled the acceptance of 172 or 90 per cent of the recommendations. Some recommendations that were not accepted included the ratification of the International Labour Organization convention on indigenous and tribal peoples, recommendations that contradicted with the prevailing views of civil society, the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service, the removal of criminal penalties restricting freedom of opinion and expression, the inclusion of a ban on censorship in the constitution, the establishment of a time-bound national plan of action to address forced labour in cotton farming, and the review of provisions regarding compulsory HIV testing.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers welcomed Turkmenistan's acceptance of a large number of recommendations, including to cooperate with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, promote gender equality, combat violence against women, and strengthen the provision of healthcare in rural areas. Little effort, however, had been put in ending the persistent use of torture and ill-treatment in prisons, and investigating the still open cases of enforced disappearances. The use of forced labour continued, particularly during the annual cotton harvest, during which public and private sector workers were all in the fields picking cotton under the Government's orders.

Speaking were China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, Germany, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Oman, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and Iran.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Anti-Slavery International, Center for Global Nonkilling, Amnesty International, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, Human Rights Watch and CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

The Vice President of the Human Rights Council said that out of 191 recommendations, Turkmenistan had accepted 172 and noted 19. The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Turkmenistan.

Bessolé René Bagoro, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion of Burkina Faso, informed that the Government had adopted a new criminal code which would abolish the death penalty. The authorities had not accepted 12 recommendations because they did not correspond to the socio-cultural and economic situation of Burkina Faso. Concerning local security initiatives, Burkina Faso would streamline them and ensure that they were more efficient and respected human rights. The Government had also elaborated the National Action Plan 2019-2023 to implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, the lack of resources, climate difficulties and socio-cultural issues hampered certain efforts by the Government to grant all of its citizens the enjoyment of their human rights.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers extolled Burkina Faso's continued commitment and cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. They commended it for the adoption of new human rights laws and the ratification of a number of international human rights instruments, which was a testament of its commitment for upholding fundamental freedoms. Speakers welcomed the adoption of the law to prevent torture, the creation of the National Human Rights Commission, the High Council for National Reconciliation and Unity, the National Council for Social Dialogue, and the National Dialogue for Childhood, as well as the country's efforts to combat terrorism both nationally and internationally. Other speakers pointed out to the existing inequalities in education between boys and girls, and the high number of early pregnancies affecting girls and impeding their human rights.

Speaking were Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Haiti, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco (in a joint statement with International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development VIDES), Plan International, Inc, International Service for Human Rights , Amnesty International, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation and United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation.

The Vice President of the Human Rights Council said that out of 204 recommendations, Burkina Faso had accepted 184 and noted 20. The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Burkina Faso.

Maria de Jesus Veiga Miranda, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reaffirmed her country's commitment to promote, protect and respect human rights for all. It considered the Universal Periodic Review process to be a major achievement of the international community in advancing human rights. Many of the 144 accepted recommendations were already being implemented. Out of the 15 noted recommendations, one did not reflect the national reality; it concerned the ratification of the International Labour Organization's convention no. 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples. Cabo Verde had established a national coordination mechanism for the elaboration of reports, follow-up and implementation of the recommendations in 2017, and it had adopted the Second National Plan to Combat Gender-Based Violence (2015-2018).

In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended Cabo Verde for its efforts to protect human rights, particularly the revision of the Penal Code to criminalize trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation of children and slavery. They noted with appreciation that Cabo Verde had accepted the recommendations on the reduction of pre-trial detention and on the protection of women's and girls' rights to education and health. Some speakers, however, reminded that Cabo Verde still had not adopted a specific law on violence against women, adding that the scale of domestic violence and sexual exploitation of women was wide ranging. They voiced concern about patriarchal views on the role of women and girls, and the high number of early pregnancies. They called for the strengthening of investigations connected to trafficking in persons.

Speaking were Iraq, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Venezuela, Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, China, Côte d'Ivoire, Portugal, and Brazil.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation, and Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme.

The Vice President of the Human Rights Council said that out of 159 recommendations, Cabo Verde had accepted 144 and noted 15. The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Cabo Verde.

Michael von Ungern-Sternberg, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that many of the recommendations received focused on fighting racism and Islamophobia and better integration of people of foreign descent into society and the job market, women's rights and increasing equal opportunities for women on the job market, furthering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights, improving children's and youths' rights, legal improvements regarding the right to privacy, and improving health rights. In 2013 Germany had been criticized for not guaranteeing enough lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights. Accordingly, in 2017, the Bundestag had adopted a law allowing same sex marriage, and third gender would be recognized soon. As for gender equality, the authorities would soon draft an inter-ministerial equality strategy, while there was a law in place for more women in leadership positions. As for the gender wage gap, transparency about the wage structure was needed and steps were being made in that regard.

Also taking the floor was the German Institute for Human Rights, which underlined that the Government had to identify concrete measures to address areas of concern. One of those areas was combatting racism. The organization called on the Government not to feed racist stereotypes in the country's immigration policies, to honour inclusive education, and to fight against structural discrimination in education. In the field of security legislation, the Institute regretted the Government's rejection to allow independent legal review.

In the ensuing discussion, some speakers remained concerned about a number of human rights violations in Germany, especially about the rise of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. They were also worried about hate crimes and attacks against refugees and asylum seekers, particularly women and girls, and about the unsatisfactory living conditions of the minorities who faced discrimination in the labour market. Speakers also reminded that Germany continued to approve arms transfers that could be used in acts that constituted violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Other speakers welcomed Germany's constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review, and the adoption of a National Plan against Racism, which was expanded to include homophobia and transphobia.

Speaking were Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Angola, and Bolivia.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: German Institute for Human Rights, International Lesbian and Gay Association, United Villages , Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILF), FIAN International , Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l'homme, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches and European Coordination for Association and Individues for the Freddom of Conscience.

The Vice President of the Human Rights Council informed that out of 259 recommendations received, Germany had accepted 209 and had noted 50. The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Germany.

Next, the Council will proceed with the adoption of Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Azerbaijan, Tuvalu, Colombia, and Djibouti.

Opening Remarks

CRISTÓBAL GONZÁLEZ-ALLER JURADO, ­Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, in his opening remarks, said that the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review provided the opportunity to take stock of developments that had occurred during the previous reviews, in particular with regard to implementation and follow-up processes. The Vice-President underlined the important role of national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations in this process. Recalling the Council resolution 16/21 in which the Council had strongly rejected any act of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperated with the United Nations in the field of human rights, Mr. González-Aller Jurado urged all States to prevent and ensure adequate protection against such acts.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Turkmenistan

AHMETYAR KULOV, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, said that as a result of the Turkmenistan Universal Periodic Review last May, the country had received 191 recommendations, 98 of which were accepted during the thirtieth Working Group session and 90 had been taken back for further consultations with relevant national institutions. The majority of the recommendations were in line with the human rights agenda of Turkmenistan and were related to the ratification of international treaties and the implementation of the international human rights instruments that had been ratified by Turkmenistan. Considering the recommendations, the Turkmen side supported 74 out of 90 recommendations and did not accept 16. In all, Turkmenistan accepted 172 recommendations for further implementation, representing approximately 90 per cent of all recommendations. Some recommendations that were not accepted included the ratification of the International Labour Organization convention on indigenous and tribal peoples, recommendations that contradicted with the prevailing views of civil society, the right to conscientious objection to compulsory military service, the removal of criminal penalties restricting freedom of opinion and expression, the inclusion of a ban on censorship in the constitution, the establishment of a time-bound national plan of action to address forced labour in cotton farming, and the review of provisions regarding compulsory HIV testing. The Government of Turkmenistan would spare no effort to implement the recommendations, which it accepted with a view to respect, protect and promote human rights in Turkmenistan.

China commended Turkmenistan for accepting China's recommendations and hoped that it would continue its efforts on education, social protection, health and poverty reduction, for the betterment of its people.

Democratic People's Republic of Korea said that the interactive dialogue with Turkmenistan was a useful opportunity to learn about the efforts to promote and protect human rights in the country, and welcomed the acceptance of many recommendations, including those presented by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Egypt welcomed the adoption of the new Constitution in Turkmenistan, especially the articles concerning the protection of human rights, and the national action plan for gender equality, which aimed to strengthen the participation of women in economic, social and cultural life. Egypt was pleased by the acceptance of the recommendations to strengthen the provision of healthcare in rural areas.

Germany encouraged Turkmenistan to take all necessary steps to implement the recommendations it had accepted and then raised concern that little effort had been put in ending the persistent use of torture and ill-treatment in prisons, and investigating the still open cases of enforced disappearances. Germany reiterated the need for judicial reform and prison reform and encouraged Turkmenistan to accept a visit by the Working Group on enforced disappearances.

Honduras encouraged Turkmenistan to strengthen the efforts to protect adolescents from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and also the efforts to prepare them for adult life. Turkmenistan should continue to invest further efforts in improving the human rights situation in the country.

Iraq was pleased that Turkmenistan had agreed to deploy more efforts to support the situation of persons with disabilities and to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, and urged the Council to adopt Turkmenistan's report.

Libya welcomed Turkmenistan's efforts to improve national legislation. The State's new 2016 Constitution included a chapter taking into account international law. Libya wished Turkmenistan every success in the implementation of its recommendations.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees appreciated Turkmenistan's strong commitment and proactive efforts to preventing and eradicating statelessness. They also commended the steps taken to grant citizenship to stateless people, including Turkmenistan's support of the recommendation aimed at ensuring birth registration without discrimination for all children born in the country.

Oman noted the conclusions of the Universal Periodic Review for Turkmenistan, emphasizing a debate that took place in an open dialogue with the country under review. Oman also thanked Turkmenistan for adopting their recommendations.

Russian Federation hoped that in the next national report they would see the implementation of reforms carried out in the field of healthcare as well as rural medical institutions. Russian Federation also looked forward to the creation of new jobs in Turkmenistan, particularly, the creation of employment for persons with disabilities.

United Arab Emirates valued Turkmenistan's efforts to promote human rights on a national level. The measures that Turkmenistan had adopted were proof of their continuing efforts in that field to bring about equality and opportunity for all citizens.

Iran appreciated Turkmenistan's cooperation with human rights, including the Council and its mechanisms, particularly on the subjects of healthcare and education. Iran encouraged the Government to continue to address human rights in the field of healthcare as well as for persons with disabilities.

Anti-Slavery International raised concerns about the continued use of forced labour in Turkmenistan, particularly during the annual cotton harvest, during which public and private sector workers were all in the fields picking cotton under the Government's orders. Pressure to meet the quotas led to forced labour of children, who had to work alongside adults, under strict supervision of police and security forces.

Centre for Global Nonkilling noted with great pleasure that Turkmenistan had accepted to ratify the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Amnesty International welcomed Turkmenistan's acceptance to cooperate with the United Nations human rights mechanisms, promote gender equality, combat violence against women, and provide information to the families of disappeared persons about the whereabouts of their loved ones. Reports of torture and ill-treatment continued, and Turkmenistan, unfortunately, had not committed to ending the practice of enforced disappearance.

Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik urged Turkmenistan to provide adequate training to its border police to avoid the killing of Iranian fishermen on the Caspian Sea, and raised concern that the planned division of this body of water under the Caspian Sea Convention would lead to the use of this resource for short-term profit, in contradiction with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Human Rights Watch welcomed that Turkmenistan had accepted many of the recommendations made by almost 20 States, including those related to enforced disappearances. However, Turkmenistan also believed that because a disappeared person had been sentenced by a court, it could not be considered as disappearance. In fact, this was the essence of enforced disappearances. There was no media freedom in Turkmenistan.

CIVICUS- World Alliance for Citizens Participation welcomed the Government's engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and the release of journalist Saparmamed Nepeskuliev. Since its last review, Turkmenistan had not implemented any of the 27 recommendations made relating to civic space. There were 112 forcibly disappeared persons, who had been targeted for their political opposition and their civil society work.

The Vice President said that out of 191 recommendations, 172 were accepted and 19 were noted.

AHMETYAR KULOV, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Turkmenistan to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, in his concluding remarks, thanked delegations for their comments and questions. As for the remark of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, a work plan was in place, which would implement recommendations to resolve statelessness. Those activities served as proof of good cooperation with the United Nations agencies to protect human rights. There were other work plans for human rights, rights of the child and gender equality, and the Government was cooperating with the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations' Population Fund.

The Council then adopted theUniversal Periodic Review outcome of Turkmenistan.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Burkina Faso

BESSOLÉRENÉBAGORO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion of Burkina Faso, said that during the interactive dialogue, Burkina Faso had received 204 recommendations, accepted 163, noted eight, and deferred 33 recommendations. The 33 that were deferred pertained to the abolition of the death penalty; the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty; the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the ratification of the Optional Protocol to theConventionon the Rights of the Childona communications procedure; the fight against local security measures and the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence.

After the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review report, the Government had held national consultations to determine their support of 21 recommendations. Certain actions had already been taken, illustrated by the adoption of a new criminal code which would abolish the death penalty. The 12 that were not accepted had to do with the fact that they did not correspond to the socio-cultural and economic situation of Burkina Faso. Concerning local security initiatives, Burkina Faso would streamline them, ensuring they were more efficient and respected human rights. Outreach efforts had also been put in place to integrate respect for human rights in their actions as well as ameliorate their collaboration with defence and security forces. After the final appraisal of the final document from the Human Rights Council, the Government had organised sessions that benefitted private and public actors through restitutions. Those restitutions allowed them to identify pertinent actions to begin implementing the accepted recommendations. The Government had also elaborated a national action plan 2019-2023 to put the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. However, a lack of State resources, climate difficulties and socio-cultural issues hampered certain efforts by the Government to grant all of its citizens the enjoyment of their human rights.

Egypt welcomed the efforts made by the Government in the sphere of human rights and reforms adopted in the legal domain as well as concerning the rule of law. Progress made in the sphere of women's rights was recognized as well as the impact of the national education strategy. Burkina Faso's ongoing efforts to combat terrorism and radicalism were acknowledged, including specialized groups for combatting armed groups in the region.

Ethiopia commended Burkina Faso for accepting many recommendations, including Ethiopia's recommendation aimed at advancing the economic empowerment of women and girls through the creation of income-generating activities, and implementing access to education for all through strengthening infrastructure in urban and rural areas. Burkina Faso was encouraged to take all measures to fully implement accepted recommendations.

Gabon thanked the delegation for its presentation and welcomed that Burkina Faso had accepted a large number of recommendations. The commitment by Burkina Faso to combat damaging practices such as female genital mutilation was encouraged and the Government was urged to continue efforts in this area.

Haiti warmly welcomed the delegation. The decision of Burkina Faso to take into account recommendations made by Haiti was welcomed. One recommendation was on amending the law envisaging the reservation of electoral positions for women and the other was on consulting in order to enable better provisions for alimentary security.

Honduras welcomed that Burkina Faso had accepted recommendations made by Honduras to adopt measures to combat trafficking in human beings, to ensure women's sex education and free health services, to redouble efforts to eradicate female genital mutilation and other damaging practices, and to revise its regulation to protect the rights of migrant workers. It supported all actions by Burkina Faso to implement the recommendations.

Iran noted that during the review, three recommendations were provided by Iran and they were supported by Burkina Faso. The Government was encouraged to continue its endeavours to combat human trafficking, particularly in women and children, and to develop and implement concrete policies to ensure that women and girls with disabilities had easy access to justice, education and the healthcare system.

Iraq commended Burkina Faso for having accepted its recommendations and called on the Human Rights Council to adopt Burkina Faso's Universal Periodic Review outcome.

Kenya voiced satisfaction that Burkina Faso had accepted the majority of the recommendations, and that it had set up relevant national action plans. Kenya encouraged Burkina Faso to continue implementing the recommendations in order to improve the future for all in that country.

Libya thanked Burkina Faso for its efficient participation in the Universal Periodic Review and the implementation of the 2015 law on sanitary safety, as well as efforts to fight terrorism both nationally and internationally.

Madagascar noted with satisfaction that Burkina Faso had accepted a significant number of recommendations. In terms of economic and financial steps, and efforts to combat terrorism, Burkina Faso had made considerable progress. Madagascar strongly urged Burkina Faso to continue promoting human rights, and it called on the international community to lend every possible assistance in that endeavour.

Niger welcomed the steps taken by Burkina Faso to strengthen its legislative and administrative framework, namely the adoption of the law to prevent torture, and the creation of the National Human Rights Commission, the High Council for National Reconciliation and Unity, the National Council for Social Dialogue, and the National Dialogue for Childhood.

Nigeria extolled Burkina Faso's continued commitment and cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, and commended it for the adoption of new human rights laws, as well as the ratification of a number of international human rights instruments. That was a testament of its commitment to upholding fundamental freedoms.

Saudi Arabia expressed satisfaction with Burkina Faso's spirit of cooperation with the Council's mechanisms, and with the fact that it had strengthened economic and social development. It urged Burkina Faso to redouble efforts at all levels.

Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, in a joint statement with International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development VIDES welcomed the attitude of Burkina Faso on children's rights. There were still shortfalls in the realization of women's rights and forced marriage existed. There were inequalities in quality of education for boys and girls, as well as their access to education. The Government had to continue awareness raising and eradicate violence against women. The minimum age of 18 for marriage had to be established legally.

Plan International. Inc said it had been active in Burkina Faso since 1976 promoting children's rights. One of the priority areas was addressing the high number of early pregnancies affecting girls and impeding their human rights. Recommendations urging the Government to combat the high prevalence of early pregnancies were welcomed. The Government had recently revised the Criminal Code prohibiting persons in charge of education to have sexual relations with minor students.

International Service for Human Rights said that Burkina Faso was one of three countries in Africa, alongside Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, to have adopted a specific human rights defenders' protection law. Adoption of the new National Human Rights Commission law and the election of its members was welcomed. The newly established Commission had to comply with the Paris Principles. Burkina Faso had to ensure the full implementation of the defenders' law.

Amnesty International welcomed acceptance of the adoption of a large number of recommendations, including investigating allegations of human rights violations by all parties, both government officials and self-defence groups, to hold the perpetrators to account, and to end impunity. Adoption of the new Penal Code was welcomed, effectively striking off the death penalty from the list of punishments for ordinary crimes.

Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme congratulated Burkina Faso on the abolition of the death penalty, establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, and adoption of the law on human rights defenders. Burkina Faso was a rare country giving appropriate attention to freedom of the press. The Government was encouraged to continue its efforts in spite of economic difficulties. The Government was asked to work on bringing former President Compaore to justice.

CIVICUS- World Alliance for Citizens Participation welcomed the passing of a new law in Burkina Faso on the protection of human rights defenders in June 2017. However, since the last review, Burkina Faso had only partially implemented one civic space recommendation received during its second cycle review. A new law on freedom of association allowed authorities to delay the granting of legal personality in order to conduct a 'morality' test on the applicant if deemed necessary.

United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation said that in connection to land rights in Burkina Faso, there were serious human rights violations to social peace in the country. Over 400 inhabitants had been thrown off their lands and self-defence groups were responsible for numerous accounts of torture. They were responsible for the death and suffering of hundreds of civilians. The Agency asked the Council to adopt a resolution to force Burkina Faso to end the policy of collective punishment against its civilians.

The Vice-President of the Council said that of the 204 recommendations, 184 had support and 20 had been noted.

BESSOLÉ RENÉBAGORO, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Civic Promotion of Burkina Faso, in his closing remarks, said that certain non-governmental organizations did not have a full grasp of the real situation in the country, and they should not be the spokespersons of the opposition. Mr. Bagoro expressed his surprise at certain remarks made by non-governmental organizations. The President of Burkina Faso, he explained, was no longer the head of the Supreme Council so the nominations of magistrates were carried out without his influence. Mr. Bagoro also asked United Towns Agency to revise their position to be more objective. Burkina Faso was coming out of 27 years of dictatorship and they had made great efforts to meet international standards; non-governmental organizations should not speak out as opposition. He invited the organization to go to the country and carry out an investigation. With regard to a statement by Amnesty International, he encouraged them to analyse the facts of the case to draw their conclusions. In addition, he noted that the new Criminal Code had a new definition of marriage to ensure that forced marriages would be criminalised. Furthermore, Burkina Faso was one of the top countries in West Africa in terms of press freedom. He finished by inviting non-governmental organizations to visit the country and carry out objective investigations and studies.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Burkina Faso.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Cabo Verde

MARIA DE JESUS VEIGA MIRANDA, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reaffirmed her country's commitment to promote, protect and respect human rights for all. It considered the Universal Periodic Review process to be a major achievement of the international community in advancing human rights. Ms. Veiga Miranda also reiterated her country's commitment to continue to strengthen its cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms through, among others, a standing invitation to all Special Procedure mandate holders. She informed that the national working group composed of all institutions had carefully examined all the recommendations. Cabo Verde had accepted 144 recommendations, and it had noted 15. Many of the recommendations were already being implemented.

Turning to the 15 recommendations that had been noted, Ms. Veiga Miranda explained that one recommendation did not reflect the national reality. That was the recommendation to ratify the International Labour Organization's Convention No. 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples. Moving on the remaining 14 recommendations that had been noted, Ms. Veiga Miranda reminded that Cabo Verde had established a national coordination mechanism for the elaboration of reports, follow-up and implementation of the recommendations in 2017. The Government had also adopted the Second National Plan to Combat Gender-Based Violence (2015-2018), which contained measures to counter trafficking of women and girls, and it foresaw specific programmes to assist and protect victims of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The authorities had passed a special law against gender-based violence in 2011. The situation was identical when it came to criminalization and punishment of prostitution of children between the age of 16 and 18. Finally, on the recommendation to incorporate the principle of equal pay for work of equal value between men and women in labour laws, Ms. Veiga Miranda noted that the principle was already contained in article 62 of the Constitution and article 16 of the Labour Code.

Iraq welcomed the delegation of Cabo Verde and congratulated them on their report. The recommendation of Iraq on reducing the salary gap between men and women had been accepted. Cabo Verde was wished success in implementing the recommendations and the Council was invited to adopt the report.

Madagascar warmly welcomed the delegation and congratulated it for the presentation of its report. Cabo Verde had affirmed its commitment to the promotion of human rights by accepting the majority of the recommendations. Actions led by the Government in preventing and combatting child labour were acknowledged. The Government was encouraged to continue in its efforts to consolidate the rule of law.

Nigeria commended Cabo Verde for their protection of human rights, particularly for the establishment of national human rights mechanisms concerning preventing and combatting child labour. The Council was invited to adopt the report.

Senegal welcomed the second national plan on human rights and citizenship, and measures envisaged for the establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights and Citizenship in line with the Paris Principles. Senegal also welcomed Cabo Verde's national plan for combatting trafficking in human beings and the national plan of action for the prevention and elimination of child labour.

Venezuela welcomed Cabo Verde's efforts to follow up on its human rights commitments. Cabo Verde attached great importance to education and combatting discrimination in schools. Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was welcomed, as well as the adoption of the second national plan on human rights and citizenship.

Algeria welcomed measures taken to promote human rights, especially the adoption of the second national plan on human rights and citizenship, and steps taken to implement 144 recommendations, including two made by Algeria on combatting trafficking and steps to combat statelessness.

Angola commended Cabo Verde for improving human rights in the country in the area of justice as well as allowing for provisions to better its citizens enjoyment of economic and socio-cultural rights.

Botswana commended Cabo Verde for the revision of its Penal Code to criminalise trafficking in persons, the sexual exploitation of children, and slavery. Botswana noted with appreciation that Cabo Verde had accepted its two recommendations on the reduction of pre-trial detention and on the protection of women's and girls' rights in regard to education and health access.

Burkina Faso asked Cabo Verde to double its efforts to overcome obstacles to
achieving human rights in the country. They noted that significant progress had been achieved, particularly with respect to healthcare access. They asked the international community to help them achieve success.

China appreciated Cabo Verde's constructive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process and thanked them for accepting China's recommendations. China was pleased to see Cabo Verde's efforts in improving living standards as well as efforts to guarantee the rights of vulnerable groups.

Côte d'Ivoire warmly welcomed the delegation of Cabo Verde and urged the Government to effectively implement measures that would guarantee access to human rights for all its citizens.

Portugal gave a special mention to the approval of the national human rights and citizenship plan with the aim of fostering a human rights culture in the public sphere, as well as the establishment and reinforcement of multiple national action plans on areas such as immigration, gender equality, gender violence, prevention of child labour and combatting trafficking in persons.

Brazil appreciated the decision of Cabo Verde to accept the two recommendations presented by Brazil. They also encouraged Cabo Verde to explore synergies and complementarities between the implementation of the recommendations that resulted from the Universal Periodic Review and measures necessary to realise all the Sustainable Development Goals.

United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation reminded that Cabo Verde still had not adopted a specific law on violence against women, adding that the scale of domestic violence was high. In addition, Cabo Verde was still a transit country for trafficking in women and girls. Sexual exploitation of women was still wide ranging. The organization thus called on the international community to place particular emphasis on ending domestic violence and trafficking in women and girls.

Rencontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l'homme noted that Cabo Verde was one of the most advanced African countries in terms of the threshold of social protection. Nonetheless, the organization remained concerned about marital violence and patriarchal views on the role of women and girls, as well as about the high number of early pregnancies. The organization also urged to strengthen investigations connected to trafficking in persons.

The Vice President of the Human Rights Council said that out of 159 recommendations, Cabo Verde had accepted 144 and noted 15.

MARIA DE JESUS VEIGA MIRANDA, Permanent Representative of Cabo Verde to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks, thanked all delegations for taking the floor to express their support. On behalf of Cabo Verde, all Members of the Council and the United Nations States were thanked for their cooperation in efforts to implement all recommendations. It was clear that Cabo Verde was already on the road ahead to protect and promote human rights, and there was a firm commitment to continue on this road. For that reason, all recommendations would be implemented. The reason why the Government had only noted and not accepted some recommendations was because it was believed that those measures were already implemented. As for concerns expressed by the non-governmental organizations, all legal provisions concerning gender equality and violence against women were in line with international standards. Indeed, cultural stereotypes concerning the different roles of men and women existed and this was addressed through the education system, like in many other countries. In conclusion, the troika was thanked for their excellent work and support throughout the process.

The Council than adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Cabo Verde.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Germany

MICHAEL VON UNGERN-STERNBERG, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed sincere appreciation to all delegations for participating and making recommendations and to the troika from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kyrgyzstan and the United States for facilitating the review process. The Universal Periodic Review was one of the biggest achievements of the Council, achieving twice 100 per cent participation from all the United Nations Member States. On 8 May, Germany had undergone its third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, led by the Human Rights Commissioner of the Federal Government and Member of the German Bundestag. The Government had carefully reviewed 259 recommendations. Due to the distribution of competences across different levels of government in the federal system, full consideration across all levels of government, including in the Lander was not possible. Some recommendations, in particular those with direct implications for Lander level had been noted for further consideration. Germany considered that in a number of cases, current German law and practice already reflected the content of recommendations, so there was no need for additional action. Some recommendations formulated inaccurate assumptions or assertions, which might have led to the decision to note the recommendation.

Out of the 259 recommendations, 209 had been accepted and 50 noted. Many recommendations focused on fighting racism and Islamophobia and better integration of people of foreign descent into society and the job market, women's rights and increasing equal opportunities for women on the job market, furthering lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights, improving children's and youth' rights, legal improvements regarding the right to privacy, and improving health rights. During the second cycle in 2013, there had been criticism that Germany was not guaranteeing enough lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex rights. In 2017, the Bundestag had adopted a law allowing same sex marriage, and the third gender would be recognized soon. The draft law amending the data to be entered in the birth register was intended to give intersex persons the additional option of choosing 'miscellaneous'. The Transsexuals Act was to be revised. On gender equality, an inter-ministerial equality strategy would be drafted soon and there was a cornerstone law for more women in leadership positions. As for the gender wage gap, transparency about the wage structure was needed and steps were being made in that regard.

Recently, Germany had recognized that it had a non-deniable problem with racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. This September, right-wing extremists took to the streets in Chemnitz in Saxonia and in Kothen in Saxony-Anhalt. What had happened there was a disgrace. The events were followed by an intensive public debate. The centre and left wing parties and civil society organized counter-demonstrations and both the Bundestang and Chancellor Merkel had made clear that such behaviour was unacceptable. In Chemnitz, accelerated law suits had begun against those who had displayed the Hitler salute. Germany was not the only country facing rising threatening nationalism and a joint international effort to defend pluralistic democracy was needed.

German Institute for Human Rights underlined that it was important for the Government of Germany to identify concrete measures in certain areas of concern. One of those areas was combatting racism. The organization called on the Government not to feed racist stereotypes in the country's immigration policies. The authorities also needed to honour inclusive education and to fight against structural discrimination in education. In the field of security legislation, the Institute regretted the Government's rejection to allow independent legal review. It expected the Government to engage with all states of the federation regarding relevant laws, and to present a plan on specific measures in consultation with civil society.

Iran remained concerned about a number of human rights violations in Germany, especially about the rise of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. It was also worried about hate crimes and attacks against refugees and asylum seekers, particularly of women and girls, and about the unsatisfactory living conditions of the minorities who faced discrimination in the labour market.

Iraq positively noted Germany's acceptance of its recommendations regarding the fight against racism, reduction of the salary gap between women and men, and the improvement of the situation of migrants in the labour market. Iraq trusted that Germany would implement those recommendations.

Kenya thanked Germany for its constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review, and commended it for the work undertaken to implement the received recommendations. Kenya welcomed Germany's adoption of a National Plan against Racism, which was expanded to include homophobia and transphobia.

Madagascar noted with satisfaction the high number of recommendations accepted by Germany, and the adoption in 2017 of a National Plan against Racism. It encouraged Germany to continue and intensify efforts to fight against discrimination and racial profiling.

Morocco commended the progress achieved by Germany to abide by international norms. It appreciated Germany's promotion of gender equality and its fight against domestic violence. It also welcomed the measures taken by Germany to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and the rights of the child, as well as the special attention given to the theme of migration and refugees, and efforts to optimally integrate migrants. Morocco encouraged Germany to further fight against racism and xenophobia.

Pakistan welcomed the delegation and thanked Germany for accepting the majority of recommendations, including one out of three made by Pakistan. The Government's policy towards refugees was welcomed, including the possibility of equal opportunities.

Philippines commended Germany for amending its National Action Plan against Racism to include homophobia and transphobia. The country was urged to continue efforts at promoting gender equality. The situation concerning children was worrying and the Government's firm commitment to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child was welcomed. Concern was expressed that migrants in irregular situations had limited access to basic social services, and hope was expressed that this would be addressed.

Romania joined previous speakers in congratulating Germany on its presentation which was another strong reassurance of its commitment to human rights protection, both nationally and internationally. Germany had supported the recommendations made by Romania, for which it was appreciated.

Serbia noted with appreciation the efforts made by Germany to promote and advocate fundamental human rights, with a special effort on the fight against discrimination, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and welcomed concrete national action plans that tackled those issues. Germany had supported the majority of the recommendations, including three made by Serbia.

Sri Lanka was pleased that Germany had accepted 209 out of 259 recommendations, including two made by Sri Lanka. Germany's continued efforts in combatting racism and discrimination were welcomed, including the National Action Plan against Racism and other measures such as enhanced training provided to German police. Legislative interventions were welcomed as well as on the establishment of the monitoring office of the German Institute of Human Rights to oversee the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Sudan welcomed the delegation and congratulated it on the presentation of the report. Sudan affirmed that the Universal Periodic Review was the main human rights mechanism. Sudan appreciated that Germany had accepted many recommendations and the Council was called to adopt the report.

Angola commended Germany for its open collaboration with the Council as well as the frank exchange of views with Member States. It was commendable how Germany was responding to new challenges. The Council was called on to adopt the report.

Bolivia valued the participation of Germany at the session of the Universal Periodic Review. It was pleasing that they had accepted the recommendations of Bolivia on the fight against discrimination, racism and racial prejudice in rural areas, as well as on protection of farmers. The Council was called on to adopt the report.

International Lesbian and Gay Association welcomed the fact that Germany was working on a bill to introduce a third gender category for intersex and binary persons. However, that category was not inclusive of all those persons who self-identified as such, and it would thus exclude around 300,000 such persons in the country.

United Villages welcomed the measures that Germany had taken regarding domestic violence, but regretted that it had not implemented the recommendations of international human rights mechanisms regarding dangerous substances and people of African descent.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILF) reminded that in 2017 Germany had continued to approve arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Egypt despite clear risks that German arms could be used in acts that constituted violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The organization called on Germany to fully and immediately stop arms transfers to all members of the coalition involved in the Yemen conflict, and to any country where there was a clear risk that those arms might be used to violate international human rights law.

FIAN International welcomed the intention of the German Government to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, but it was concerned that the legal process was taking too look. Germany should sign and ratify it without delay. The organization was also worried that Germany did not protect people living in rural areas from corporate interests. Germany should also uphold its climate change obligations.

Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme congratulated Germany for its support to immigrants in Fortress Europe and its engagement in supporting the African Union's Agenda 2036 in its fight against poverty on the African continent. Following the fifth European Union-Africa summit in November 2017, Germany had provided financial support to help African migrants held hostage in Libya. The presence of hatred and racial discrimination in areas where migrants lived was regretted.

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of Churches appreciated the efforts made by the German Government to improve the participation of civil society in conducting the Universal Periodic Review. The self-critical approach by the German delegation in its oral presentation in May was welcomed. However, Germany's commitment to human rights standard setting could be better, especially concerning migrant workers.

European Coordination for Association and Individues for the Freddom of Conscience said that despite protests, a member of the Church of Almighty God had been deported back to China from Germany. The Church of Almighty God was one of the largest and fastest growing new religious movements in China and it was listed by the Chinese Government as a banned group. Any member returned to China would be sent to jail and probably tortured, so Germany had committed an act of refoulement.

The Vice President said that out of the 259 recommendations received, 209 had been accepted and 50 noted.

MICHAEL VON UNGERN-STERNBERG, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked all speakers who took the floor. Encouraging remarks were noted as well as constructive criticism, which would be taken into account. Implementation of commitments was stressed, and indeed this was the key. Recommendations that were only noted had not meant those recommendations were rejected. As explained in the introductory part, there were various reasons why they were noted but of course they would be considered and taken into account.

The Council than adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Germany.

For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC/18/141E

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