On the 30th of September and 1st October, the 48th Session of the Human Rights Council saw the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcomes from the 38th Session of the Working Group.
States that saw their review outcomes adopted are Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Paraguay, Denmark, Somalia, Seychelles, Latvia, Singapore, Estonia, Palau, Sierra Leone, Belgium and Solomon Islands.
During the UPR adoptions, 2758 recommendations were accepted in full of the 3315 delivered to States under Review during the 38th Session of the UPR Working Group.
At the adoption of the Namibia outcomes many progresses were welcomed such as the efforts put into migration management, the fight against human trafficking, the establishment of a national plan to combat gender-based violence. Nevertheless, the session highlighted the existence of policies that discriminate the LGBT community, including provisions criminalizing sodomy.
The government of Niger was commended for its intention to improve policies regarding social services, basic social care, rights to education and health. Nevertheless, the low level of education of girls was pointed out, which is partly due to the authorization of child marriages.
The Working Group encouraged Mozambique to continue its efforts in the area of human rights development, the fight against poverty, and the consolidation of democracy. Nevertheless, during the interactive dialogue, problems related to freedom of expression, imprisonment of journalists and human rights activities in the country were pointed out.
The establishment in Estonia of a national institution for the promotion and protection of human rights was welcomed by the UPR Working Group. However, the speakers pointed out their concern about the discrimination against migrants and minority groups in the country.
The commitment of Belgium government to reform the Federal Human Rights Institute and to implement a National Action Plan against Racism were welcomed by the Working Group. Nevertheless, the increase of incidents and serious physical attacks against ethnic minorities was pointed out by some speakers.
The Working Group congratulated Paraguay for having taken up almost all the recommendations. They encouraged the government to pursue these efforts in the implementation of environmental laws and to fight poverty. Nevertheless, concerns were raised regarding certain human rights violations in the country such as discrimination against indigenous and LGBTI people.
Denmark was praised for its progress in reducing violence against women, including amending the legal definition of rape. However, Recommending States raised the issues of racism in the country and the need to broaden the concept of 'Danishness' to be inclusive of all religions and beliefs.
The recent ratifications by the Somali government of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the development of a bill to criminalize all types of female genital mutilation, and the creation of a national action plan on ending sexual violence in conflict, were welcomed by the Working Group. Nevertheless, some speakers pointed out the need for Somalia to reform its penal code and Criminal Procedure Code in order to protect the freedom of belief and religion of its citizens.
The commitment of Palau government to fight violence against women, youth and children was welcomed by the Working Group, including its revision of the Palau National Code to increase the age of marriage from 16 to 18, in order to ensure greater legal protection for children from abuse.
The priority given to the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the efforts to improve the quality of life, the improvement of water, sanitation, hygiene and the efforts to improve the economic situation of women were welcomed by the Assembly. Nevertheless, the Solomon Island government was encouraged to also ratify the International Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.
At the adoption of the Seychelles outcomes many progresses were welcomed such as the establishment of a national human rights commission, policies to combat money laundering and corruption, efforts to combat climate change as well as progress achieved in areas of social justice, health, education and non-discrimination. Recommending States however noted the need to protect young people from gender-based violence and sexual abuse.
The Working Group noted the efforts made by the government of Latvia in the protection of minority rights, in the eradication of racism and hate speech. However, the Recommending States addressed some concerns regarding the rights of migrants, the right to seek asylum as well as the stigmatization of Asian descendants during the COVID-19 crisis.
The strengthening of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the protection of vulnerable groups, the cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms and the initiatives taken for the protection of the rights of the child, elderly persons and persons with disabilities, were welcomed by the Working Group. Nevertheless, Recommending States expressed concerns on the right to conscientious objection to military service that is not yet recognized in law and practice in Singapore.
Despite the adoption of the Gender Equality and Empowerment Policy and the Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Bill by the government of Sierra Leone, speakers pointed out that the country has not accepted certain recommendations on female genital mutilation.