On the 16th and 17th of March, the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council saw the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcomes from the 36th Session of the Working Group.
States that saw their review outcomes adopted are Belarus, Libya, Malawi, Panama, Mongolia, Maldives, Andorra, Honduras, Bulgaria, Marshall Islands, United States of America, Croatia, Liberia and Jamaica.
During the UPR adoptions, 2373 recommendations were accepted in full of the 3103 delivered to States under Review during the 36th Session of the UPR Working Group.
At the adoption of the Panama outcome many issues were raised and the SuR was advised to take action to uphold the right to life of all, including the unborn. The rights of sex workers were another untreated topic, denied on the basis of prejudice, discrimination or stigma, especially because of the non-recognition by Panama of sex work as work. Sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination were as well raised as issues not addressed by the SuR.
The Mongolian Government's commitment to protecting the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, and the commitment to implement activities towards the protection of LGBTQI+ individuals, were both welcomed. Regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, there was a lack of will to implement newly adopted laws and to influence societal attitudes and prejudice, according to the speakers. Mongolia must also do more to protect human rights defenders, reduce poverty, raise the standard of living and strengthen the healthcare system, advised the speakers.
Efforts to ensure gender equality and address climate change were two recurrent subjects during the review. Maldives’ efforts towards those were welcomed by the speakers, as well as the country’s efforts in containing and responding to COVID-19. Other speakers were concerned by the non-acceptance of any recommendations on freedom of religion or belief were, remarking the lack of accountability in relation to attacks on journalists and human rights defenders as well.
Concerning Belarus’ review many speakers regretted that recommendations concerning the ongoing human rights crisis in the country had not been accepted, creating a fertile ground for further Human Rights violations.
Speakers hope the Libyan crisis will be solved through political solutions, highlighting the impressive progress made by the country despite the situation. Ensuring the end of human slavery, forced labor and human trafficking, and to investigate war crimes is a priority, as well as calling to an end the torture of migrant and refugees in detention centers. Speakers called on Libya to repeal discriminatory laws and credibly investigate human rights violations, especially against women human rights defenders.
The United States had accepted all recommendations relating to combatting racial discrimination, xenophobia, incitement of hatred, systemic racism and reforming the criminal justice system. The speakers welcomed the administration’s efforts to tackle the issues of racial discrimination and the rights of minorities, though considering police brutality still alarming and devastating. Calling the USA to stop arms transfers to countries violating international law was another topic highlighted during this last outcome.
During the Item 6 General Debate, UPR Info took the floor to present a statement on the subject of raising awareness about women rights and the consequences of the pandemic on girls, encouraging States during the review to take action to end all form of discrimination, focus on ESC rights and achieve gender equality. See our full statement or watch the webcast here.