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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OUTCOMES OF CZECH REPUBLIC AND ARGENTINA

Continues General Debate on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms
15 March 2018

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the Czech Republic and Argentina.  It also continued its general debate on human bodies and mechanisms.

Jan Kara, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said his country took the Universal Periodic Review mechanism very seriously.  Czechia had accepted 178 out of 201 recommendations received, including all those aimed at the eradication of discrimination against the Roma.  Other reforms that had been undertaken included the abolition of forced sterilization and the establishment of a procedure with multiple safeguards that made enforced, non-consensual sterilization impossible.  The Czech Republic was determined to go well beyond words and strive for the effective implementation of recommendations accepted. 

In the ensuing discussion, speakers lauded the wide range of recommendations accepted by Czechia.  Speakers said they would closely follow the implementation of recommendations.  The protection of minority rights was identified as a priority.  Some speakers urged Czechia to act swiftly to improve the situation of migrants and improve conditions in immigration centres.

Speaking were Sierra Leone; Afghanistan; Bahrain; Egypt; Estonia; Honduras; Iran; Philippines; Russian Federation; and Albania.

Also taking the floor was the non-governmental organization Coordination des Associations et Particuliers pour la Liberte de Conscience.

The Vice President of the Council said that of 201 recommendations proposed, 178 were supported, and 23 were noted by Czechia.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Czechia.

Marcelo Cima, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that the Universal Periodic Review had shown that it was a valuable tool to strengthen national protection systems for human rights.  Mr. Cima reminded that during the current cycle Argentina had received 175 recommendations, all of which had been carefully analyzed by relevant bodies.  Argentina had for the first time adopted a National Plan on Human Rights 2017-2020, which focused on inclusion, non-discrimination and equality, public security and non-violence, memory, truth, justice and reparation policies, and universal access to rights and civic culture. 

In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended Argentina’s acceptance of the majority of recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review outcome.  Argentina’s commitment to the plan of action for the prevention of violence against women would bring about the promotion of the rights of women and girls.  Argentina’s adoption of a national human rights plan was lauded as a positive step toward the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. 

Speaking were Brazil; Chile; China; Egypt; Ghana; Honduras; Iran; Madagascar; Philippines; Sierra Leone; Albania; Algeria; and Armenia.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Edmund Rice; International Limited; Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiare di Don Bosco; Action Canada for Population Development; Amnesty International; Human Rights Watch; American Association of Jurists; International-Lawyers.Org; and Auspice Stella.

The Vice President said that of 188 recommendations proposed, 175 were supported, and 13 were noted by Argentina.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Argentina.

In the general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, speakers noted the relevance of the Social Forum and Forum on Minority Issues as platforms for engagement with civil society organizations.  With the marginalization of minorities on the rise, speakers called for the creation of comprehensive education programmes to ensure social inclusion.  Delegations urged Special Procedures and mandate holders to uphold their code of conduct.  States voiced concerns over funding imbalances among mandate holders and called for equal support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Mandate holders must engage with States in a way that promoted frank dialogue and cooperation and avoided duplication of work.

Speaking were the delegations of Cuba; China; Ukraine; Venezuela; Mexico; Qatar; Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Indonesia, on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations; Pakistan; Brazil; Russian Federation; Austria; Maldives; Ireland; Azerbaijan; Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf; and Syria.

Also speaking were the following non-governmental organizations: Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Inc; Drepavie; Iraqi Development Organization; International Service for Human Rights; Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development; Alsalam Foundation; European Union of Public Relations; Canners International Permanent Committee; Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation; Centre for Environmental and Management Studies; Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture; International Association for Democracy in Africa; United Schools International; Réseau International des Droits Humains -RIDH- (in a joint statement with Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Asociacion Civil; Dominicans for Justice and Peace Order of Preachers and Peace Brigades International Switzerland); International Buddhist Relief Organization; Committee to Study the Organization of Peace; World Environment and Resources Council; International Muslim Women’s Union; Amnesty International (in a joint statement with International Service for Human Rights) and, Pan African Union for Science and Technology.

The Council started its general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms on Wednesday, 14 March and a summary can be seen here.  The general debate will be concluded at a future date.


The Council is holding a full day of meetings today.  It will next consider the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Gabon, Ghana and Peru.


General Debate on Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Cuba stated that the Social Forum was a unique space within the United Nations providing a platform for the active participation of civil society organizations.  Discussions at the Forum related to HIV/AIDS were very relevant and States must reflect on the outcomes and recommendations outlined in the report.  Cuba concluded by asserting that efforts to promote and protect human rights must respect the sovereignty of States.

China said it had always cooperated with mandate holders, including by hosting visits by several Special Rapporteurs.  Still, United Nations mandate holders must keep to the code of conduct for Special Procedures and mandate holders.  They must engage in constructive dialogue with Member States.  China was paying particular attention to the rights of ethnic minorities and was prepared to share its best practices by participating in the Social Forum.

Ukraine was working closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Ukraine spared no effort in cooperating with the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms and looked forward to welcoming the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.  Effective and efficient activities of the Special Procedures played an essential role in the implementation of the Council’s mandate.

Venezuela voiced its support for the work of the Human Rights Council’s mechanisms.  There were concerns over imbalances in resource allocations among mandate holders.  All mandate holders must receive equal support from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Venezuela asked all mandate holders to act in an impartial way and pursue frank dialogue and cooperation.  Venezuela was also concerned over the publishing of press releases by Special Procedures without consulting States.

Mexico welcomed the recommendations of the Forum on Minority Issues focusing on minority youth and their participation in public life.  States should promote multiculturalism and put in place practical measures to combat incitement to hate, radicalization of any type, intolerance, and discrimination.  Mexico asked the Special Rapporteur on minority issues to share any special measures that constituted good practices at the international level to effectively investigate and prosecute related crimes. 

Qatar noted that the credibility of the Human Rights Council entirely depended on the integrity of its mechanisms and Special Procedures.  The unilateral coercive measures taken against Qatar were indiscriminate and disproportionate and had led to violations of human rights.  It expressed astonishment that the Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures had still not taken any action in that regard, and had not addressed the issue of accountability.  Qatar called on the Council and Special Procedures to act rapidly and seriously to account for the range of violations.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, noted that the work of the Council should always be guided by the principles of impartiality, objectivity, neutrality and non-politicization, and it should treat all human rights on an equal basis.  There was a need for full transparency and funding for Special Procedures’ mandate holders, and they must conduct their work in line with their code of conduct.  Regrettably that had not been the case in many reports.  Such practices diminished the trust in Special Procedures.

Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the Association of South East Asian Nations, stressed that it was important to strengthen Special Procedures through working in accordance with their code of conduct and by confining their work to their mandate.  A comprehensive review of each mandate was needed to avoid duplication of work.  Special Procedures should take into account the views of Governments and countries’ specific contexts, and exercise neutrality and independence in their work.  The proliferation of mandates should be seriously reviewed.

Pakistan said the Forum on Minority Issues provided stakeholders with the opportunity to share best practices.  Minority youth participation in public life must be promoted and hate speech must be targeted.  Pakistan was driven to establish an inclusive society and minority groups were ensured participation in legislative offices.  Pakistan agreed that fulfilling the right to health was one of the largest challenges facing the international community.  It also noted that the Universal Periodic Review must remain a State-driven practice.

Brazil recognized the important role of Special Procedures in strengthening national human rights policies.  Brazil maintained an active dialogue with Special Procedures and extended them an open invitation.  When dealing with alleged human rights violations, communications and press notes must emanate from reliable sources.  Mandate holders must seek balanced and constructive engagement with Member States and facilitate the exchange of technical assistance.

Russian Federation said certain States were using the denial of visas for civil society organizations as a political tool.  Russia called on the United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to protect equal and open conditions to members of civil society organizations.  Turning to the Social Forum, Russia stressed that considering “sexual minorities” as more vulnerable than children and women was wrong and counterproductive.

Austria noted that the Forum on Minority Issues promoted dialogue and cooperation among all stakeholders.  The promotion and protection of minorities led to the stability of States.  Yet minorities continued to face increasing marginalization, including through an increase in hate speech.  Minority youth faced multi-faceted exclusion and marginalization that could result in radicalization.  Comprehensive education programmes must be developed to engage minority youth.

Maldives said that in order to continue working towards the objectives set as a global community, input from all States, large and small, was vital.  Reporting mechanisms under the Universal Periodic Review, Special Procedures and Working Groups and the additional new procedures had put a strain on many countries, which had resulted in a backlog in reporting.  While this Council was continually evolving to meet new challenges, the current working methods needed to adapt greater transparency, accountability and participation towards every Member State. 

Ireland reiterated its longstanding support for the Special Procedures, noting that through their independence and expertise, the various mandate holders made immensely valuable contributions to the Council’s work, both on thematic issues and country-specific situations.  It encouraged all States to issue a standing invitation to them.  Ireland also took note of the mandate holders’ ongoing discussions regarding acts of intimidation and reprisal against those cooperating with the United Nation on human rights and with Special Procedures in particular.

Azerbaijan believed that without prejudice to the independent character of mandate holders and of their judgments and assessments, being vocal about problems observed in the methodology of conducting business by mandate holders was crucial in order to help them effectively fulfil their mandate.  In this context, it flagged a few of the obvious problems, such as continuous practice by certain mandate holders of generating urgent appeals for cases that did not meet conditions necessitating urgency.

Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf held the human rights mechanisms in very high regard, and notably the Special Procedures.  Strengthening this mechanism involved the commitment of the mandate holders, including non-selectivity, impartiality, adhering to the rules of procedural conduct, consultation procedures and practices.  The Council must appeal to mandate holders to build close relationships with States, based on trust.  Also required was equal representation of various legal systems, which meant members of Arab States had to be equally represented.

Syria thanked the Secretariat for all items submitted under item 5.  It noted the importance of minorities issues, which must be a platform for a real debate and not a platform for politicization for States hiding behind the pretence of protecting minority rights.  All this had to be pursuant to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, in particular paragraph 4 of article 8 of this Declaration.  The credibility of the Forum on Minority Issues was called into question.

Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain Inc drew attention to constant attacks on human rights activists in Bahrain.  Any individual who cooperated with United Nations bodies had been attacked.  Those who had managed to circumvent the travel ban had suffered reprisals, as had been members of their families.  Such reprisals were unacceptable under any circumstances.

Drepavie welcomed the presentation of the Social Forum, highlighting the issue of anaemia.  According to the World Health Organization, some 300,000 to 500,000 children were born annually with anaemia in Africa and had no access to adequate medication.  The Council should redouble efforts to ensure universal healthcare. 

Iraqi Development Organization called for more interaction between Special Procedures and the Yemeni authorities, and urged the Yemeni authorities to ensure access by Special Procedures to the country to document the human rights violations in that country.  It reminded of the many civilian victims of the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, many of them children.

International Service for Human Rights noted that the Council and its Members States should adopt a zero-tolerance approach to all acts of intimidation and reprisals against human rights defenders.  The organization thus called on the Council to seek information on State action to prevent and ensure accountability for cases of reprisals, and assess State compliance with their human rights obligations.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development Forum-Asia said regional human rights bodies were important to the work of the Human Rights Council.  Still, the Association of South East Asian Nations Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights had failed to respond to crises in the region.  The Commission had failed to act in the face of violence in Myanmar and the shrinking democratic space in Cambodia.

Alsalam Foundation raised concerns over the human rights standards of certain Human Rights Council members.  States were called on to uphold the highest standards of the promotion of human rights.  Saudi Arabia was failing to uphold those standards as it carried out torture and executions.  The Council must work with integrity and could not do so with a rights violator in its ranks.

European Union of Public Relations said the promotion and protection of the rights of minorities required efforts to defend them from discrimination.  In Pakistan the conditions of minorities, namely Christian minorities, was of particular concern.  Christians were being murdered over unfounded blasphemy allegations and no Pakistani Government had the spine to deal with such radicalism.

Canners International Permanent Committee said persons belonging to minorities must not be denied the right to practice their culture and religion.  Pakistan’s treatment of minorities was completely unethical.  Religious minorities were suffering gross human rights abuses as the State used Islamic symbols and rhetoric to consolidate its rule.  Non-Muslim groups were facing increased discrimination.

Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation deplored Sri Lanka’s abysmal human rights record.  Meeting with Tamil victims on the ground was a story that provided some meaningful difference, notwithstanding the ongoing violence.  The Government last week, however, had failed to keep a simple promise, to release a list of those who had disappeared under arrest.  It called on the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to further inquire into the whereabouts of the disappeared.

Centre for Environmental and Management Studies said one of the basic aims of the United Nations as proclaimed under the Charter was to respect and promote the fundamental rights and freedoms for all without discrimination based on any kind.  Shia Muslims in Pakistan had become hostages in a situation described as slow motion genocide.  Incidents included burning of mosques.

Khiam Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture expressed concern regarding Israel’s non-compliance with United Nations resolutions, blatantly disregarding them and undermining their credibility.  The Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights had reasserted that Israel’s occupation was a crime against humanity and peace.  It condemned Israel’s violation of international laws, destruction of land and homes, and detentions.

International Association for Democracy in Africa drew attention to the situation of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan, who were subjected to systematic persecution by the State.  Since the introduction of the anti-blasphemy laws in 1984, some 250 Ahmadis had been killed because of their religious beliefs.  The discrimination was evident in the passport application form which required all Muslims to sign a declaration that they considered the Ahmadis as infidels. 

United Schools International noted that education should contain values of peace, non-violence, tolerance, and respect for human dignity.  Promoting the exchange of knowledge and information on human rights education was key to offsetting extremism.  The Pakistani education system promoted discrimination and even hatred towards religious minorities.

Réseau International des Droits Humains -RIDH- in a joint statement with Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Asociacion Civil; Dominicans for Justice and Peace Order of Preachers and Peace Brigades International Switzerland, reminded that since September 2011, the Special Procedures had been submitting regular reports on communications to States.  Those reports had not been subject to any discussion in the Council.  The organization therefore urged the Council to provide additional time for debate on those reports by Members States.

International Buddhist Relief Organization noted that Sri Lanka had experienced some of the most brutal forms of terrorism.  The United Nations Charter prohibited any interference into the internal affairs of countries.  Human rights bodies were there to protect human rights of people, yet they were used to penalize those who had defeated human rights violators.

Committee to Study the Organization of Peace stressed the relevance of consulting indigenous people in processes that affected their life.  In Balochistan, indigenous populations were being denied their rights to food and water.  Pakistan was oppressing the voices of political dissidents in the region through brutal violence and by targeting places of worship.

World Environment and Resources Council called attention to the plight of the Muhajir people in Pakistan.  The group was being denied its basic rights and was facing crushing oppression.  Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances were common and some were detained under false pretences.  Pakistani minorities were facing regular oppression.

International Muslim Women’s Union lauded the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ vocal support for education programmes.  The Human Rights Council must protect populations under occupation, including in Jammu and Kashmir.  The Union condemned the killing of civilians in the region and appealed to the Council to protect those individuals.

Pan African Union for Science and Technology said women human rights defenders stood for the rights of all and were integral to human rights mechanisms.  Pakistan remained one of the most dangerous countries in the world and was characterized by a shrinking space for civil society.  Pakistan also held an ambiguous position with regard to women human rights defenders.

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities expressed gratitude for cooperation with Special Procedures.  However, a number of issues had to be improved, including greater flow of communication, and an interactive dialogue with Council.  There was an active need to stop reprisals by State or non-State actors. 

Amnesty International, in a joint statement with International Service for Human Rights was deeply concerned about attacks and reprisals against Special Procedures’ mandate holders, including by Member States of the Human Rights Council.  This had happened in Burundi, Eritrea and the Philippines, where Special Rapporteurs had been accused of witchcraft, of causing evil deeds, of terrorism, and of violence.  These attacks constituted an attack on the Council itself and Amnesty called upon the Council to call upon its Member States to uphold the rules and regulations in this regard. 

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of the Czech Republic

JAN KARA, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said his country took the Universal Periodic Review mechanism very seriously.  All recommendations were closely examined by the relevant line ministries.  Furthermore, the Office of the Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had hosted an inter-ministerial roundtable with civil society representative looking back at the recommendations received and discussing possible future action for their implementation.

The Czech Republic had accepted 178 out of 201 recommendations received, including all those aimed at the eradication of discrimination against the Roma.  The Government was committed to discontinuing such discrimination in line with the Roma Integration Strategy 2015-2020.  Other reforms that had been undertaken included the abolition of forced sterilization and the establishment of a procedure with multiple safeguards that made enforced, non-consensual sterilization impossible.  In addition, surgical castration of a sex offender was legally possible only if the treatment of options had failed or could not be applied, and was subject to free and informed written consent of the patient.  Surgical castration of prisoners and detainees was prohibited.  During the three cycles of the Universal Periodic Review, the Czech Republic had accepted 365 out of a total of 399 recommendations.  It was well aware that this was a continuous process, the most important part of which unfolded outside of the Human Rights Council.  Until a recommendation was translated into tangible improvement on the ground, commitments of States were but words.  The Czech Republic was determined to go well beyond words and strive for the effective implementation of recommendations accepted. 

Sierra Leone welcomed Czechia’s reforms of the Penal Code, which forbade the spread of hate speech and incitement to hate.  However, Sierra Leone regretted that Czechia had not ended the obligation of detainees to pay for their undocumented stay in the country.  The country should ensure that their detention policies complied with the principle of non-refoulement.

Afghanistan appreciated the acceptance of Czechia of its recommendation to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children,
child prostitution and child pornography.

Bahrain thanked Czechia for its constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review and its launch of a new campaign against hate violence.  The full implementation of the current Penal Code was key to address such problems.  At the same time, Bahrain urged Czechia to adopt effective strategies to streamline work with the Ombudsman.

Egypt reminded that it had made five recommendations to Czechia regarding the reform of the Penal Code and the fight against hate violence, pay differentials between men and women, protection of asylum seekers, family reunion, and the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of Migrants and Members of their Families. 

Estonia commended Czechia for its constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review process.  Estonia welcomed Czechia’s acceptance of a wide range of recommendations and its efforts to address gender inequality.  Estonia said corporal punishment of children was unacceptable and voiced disappointment that Czechia did not accept recommendations on the matter.

Honduras noted the recommendations accepted by Czechia in terms of protecting vulnerable populations.  Czechia was urged to reconsider its position on migrant workers and to devote more attention to issues related to human trafficking.

Iran said one of its recommendations on the revision of the criminal code in terms of racial discrimination had been accepted.  Czechia was encouraged to address discrimination against minorities and improve the situation in immigration centres.

Philippines congratulated the large number of recommendations accepted by Czechia and noted its appreciated efforts to continue working on the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Philippines called on all Member States to do the same.

Russian Federation welcomed the adoption by Czechia of all Russian recommendations.  The violation of rights of ethnic minorities and people with disabilities were targeted by those recommendations and Russia would carefully follow their implementation.

Albania welcomed the Czech delegation and congratulated it for its commitment to complying with human rights standards.  It appreciated the ratification of the country of almost all international instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.  It was happy to note that all recommendations, including those by Albania on xenophobia, patients, and training of staff supervising health services, had been adopted.  It recommended that the Council adopt the report of the Czech Republic.

European Coordination for Association and Individues for the Freddom of Conscience said currently a religious minority was undergoing trials under unacceptable conditions in the Czech Republic.  The evidence gathered against this religious minority was questioned.  The Government of the Czech Republic had refused to heed concerns in this regard.

The Vice President said that of 201 recommendations proposed, 178 were supported, and 23 were noted.

JAN KARA, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said he had duly taken note of the observations.  This was not a time to respond to all remarks, but he did promise that all concerns would be reflected in his country’s briefing for the Council in 2019 and the mid-term report due in 2020.  He expressed thanks for the words of appreciation by speakers and the recommendations for the adoption of the report.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review Report of Czechia.
                     
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Argentina

MARCELO CIMA, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, noted that the Universal Periodic Review had shown that it was a valuable tool to strengthen national protection systems for human rights.  Mr. Cima reminded that during the current cycle Argentina had received 175 recommendations, all of which had been carefully analyzed by relevant bodies.  The Government had received three additional reports, namely on national policies regarding discrimination, xenophobia and racism, on the rights of women and children, and on the progress made. 

As a federal State, Argentina continued to bolster its national reporting system; it was strengthening regional, sub-regional and international mechanisms for human rights, ensuring the federal penitentiary system, and enforcing the United Nations rules for the minimum standards of treatment of detainees.  In terms of voluntary obligations, Argentina would focus on the National Plan onr Human Rights, the Ombudsman and the prevention of torture, building the historical memory and search for truth.  It would put in place development policies that were human rights-based, as well as mechanisms for inclusion and integration to reduce poverty.  The Government would also put in place measures to combat institutional violence.  Argentina had for the first time adopted a National Plan on Human Rights 2017-2020, which focused on inclusion, non-discrimination and equality, public security and non-violence, memory, truth, justice and reparation policies, and universal access to rights and civic culture.  In terms of other advances, Argentina had implemented the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture. 

Brazil commended Argentina for its participation in the Universal Periodic Review cycle.  Argentina had shown that it was committed to an open and constructive dialogue in the human rights sector.  Brazil welcomed the announcement of the National Plan on Human Rights and urged Universal Periodic Review recommendations to be included in the Plan.  Argentina was also urged to ensure all prisoners had their human rights guaranteed regardless of gender or sexual identity.

Chile welcomed progress made by Argentina in the promotion and protection of human rights.  Noting Argentina’s acceptance of the majority of recommendations, Chile stressed the relevance of recommendations on strengthening the role of women.  Argentina’s commitment to the plan of action for the prevention of violence against women would bring about the promotion of the rights of women and girls.

China noted Argentina’s participation in the Universal Periodic Review process and its acceptance of China’s recommendations.  Guaranteeing the right to health was a priority, as was combatting violence against women.

Egypt thanked Argentina for its active participation during the consultation process.  Egypt highly valued Argentina’s acceptance of the majority of recommendations.  Argentina was urged to continue strengthening cooperation with relevant treaty bodies.

Ghana welcomed Argentina’s decision to embrace, entrench and strengthen democratic values in the country, and noted in particular the creation of the National Plan on Human Rights.  It welcomed the decision to prioritize the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous communities through the incorporation of cultural pluralism as a fundamental part of the new human rights paradigm, and remained confident that Argentina would continue to carry through policies aimed at achieving truth, justice and memory of the violations perpetrated against its citizens during the military dictatorship.

Honduras regretted that Argentina has not given its support to the recommendations made by Honduras regarding the establishment of an Ombudsman for the protection of the rights of children, as well as a comprehensive policy against discrimination against women, indigenous peoples and people of African descent.  It hoped that Argentina would examine this position in the future.  It reiterated its wishes to Argentina for a successful implementation of the recommendations received in this and previous cycles.

Iran remained concerned about a number of issues in the country, especially with regard to the continuation of the xenophobia, Islamophobia and stigmatizing discourse expressed by officials and politicians in Argentina.  During the twenty-eighth session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group, three recommendations had been provided by Iran, which had been accepted by Argentina.  Iran looked forward to the implementation of these recommendations in due course, and recommended the adoption of the report.

Madagascar welcomed Argentina’s willingness to take up most of the recommendations made during the last Universal Periodic Review session.  It encouraged the Government to continue its efforts to consolidate the rule of law and uphold human rights in the country.  It invited the Council to adopt this outcome and wished the country a successful implementation of the recommendations received.

Philippines supported Argentina in its commitment to continue working on the promotion and protection of the human rights of its people.  It called on all Member States to support the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Argentina.

Sierra Leone was pleased to note that its recommendations on addressing persistent cultural discrimination against people of African descent and indigenous people, and on the need to criminalize xenophobic discourse by public officials and politicians had enjoyed the support of Argentina.  It was also pleased to note that Sierra Leone’s recommendation on combatting human trafficking had been accepted.

Albania appreciated Argentina’s efforts to uphold human rights norms at home.  New norms implemented by Argentina were welcomed, and the fact that the Government had accepted most of the recommendations, including two recommendations by Albania dealing with prisons, particularly imprisonment of young mothers, and a new law on anti-discrimination.  The Council was advised to adopt the repot.

Algeria welcomed the efforts of Argentina to promote and protect human rights, particularly when it came to the protection of minors and indigenous people.  Argentina’s positive reaction to the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review was welcomed, including the recommendations of Algeria, and the Council was advised to adopt the report.

Armenia warmly welcomed the positive engagement of Argentina with the Universal Periodic Review and its work toward the prevention of genocide at the international level.  Argentina was wished success with the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations.

Edmund Rice International Limited, in a joint statement, said in 2005, Argentina had passed a law which on paper had guaranteed very high standards for the protection of children; however, this had not been reflected in reality.  Many of the provisions of the law had not been implemented.  Argentina had to develop an effective complaint process which would guarantee victims a more efficient system of reporting abuse.

Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiare di Don Bosco, in a joint statement, said recommendations on increasing educational infrastructure in rural areas was a sign of progress.  Still, education services for indigenous children were lacking.  Use of force by police against children and youth also remained a concern.

Action Canada for Population Development said Argentina had received various recommendations on sexual rights, including police abuse.  These recommendations showed weaknesses in Argentina in terms of international obligations in that area.  The organization called for equal employment opportunities for the transgender community.

Amnesty International regretted that 13 important recommendations were not accepted by Argentina.  Amnesty welcomed the fact that Congress would discuss the decriminalization of abortion and stressed that women must not face criminal sanctions when seeking an abortion.  Amnesty welcomed the State’s acceptance to protect migrants from discrimination, regardless of their migration status.

Human Rights Watch noted that during its 2014 Universal Periodic Review, Argentina had made efforts to address women’s legal access to reproductive health.  In Argentina, abortions remained illegal and in some cases women and girls were prosecuted for seeking abortions.  Human Rights Watch welcomed signs of progress and sincere discussion to discuss the decriminalization of abortion.

American Association of Jurists said there had been violations of the economic, social and cultural rights of all by the executive in Argentina.  A bill approved by Parliament had had an egregious effect on pensioners’ savings.  These and other policies had provoked protests by the population.  The Government had also supported a police officer who had shot someone in the back, killing him.

International-Lawyers.Org was concerned that the balance of rights was not easy but necessary.  It was concerned about the police’s use of force during mass demonstrations.  It called for the authorities to guarantee freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, as well as expression.  It urged the Government to implement the rights in this direction.

Auspice Stella said there was no democracy in Argentina.  Hundreds of Mapuche people were persecuted and their situation since the European invasion continued.  Mapuche families had been slaughtered in concentration camps.  They had been offered as slaves to families of European descent.  Their land had been sold to Benneton that owned nearly 1 million hectares.  Anyone who claimed return of this land was persecuted.  Families continued to fight for justice.

The Vice President said that of 188 recommendations proposed, 175 were supported, and 13 were noted by Argentina.

MARCELO CIMA, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked all delegations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Concerning the comments received, they were all noted.  There was no persecution of persons of African descent.  As for the issue of abortion, it had been submitted to the Congress and the debate was underway.  When it came to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights, Argentina was the leader on all resolutions on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights in the Council.  The promotion of gender equality was a State priority, as already stated by the President and Vice-President.

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


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC18.046E