UPR Outcomes at the 53 Session of HRC: Highlights
On the 6th, 7th and 10th July, the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council the adoptions of the outcome reports for the 42nd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place.
The Outcome Reports of Czech Republic, Argentina, Gabon, Ghana, Peru, Guatemala, Benin, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Pakistan, Zambia, Japan and Sri Lanka were adopted. Overall, 2,720 recommendations were supported by the States under Review, that is 77% of acceptance rate (Total of recommendations: 3,517).
States are according more attention to the implementation of UPR recommendations. Zambia, for example, launched the national mechanism for implementation, reporting and follow-up in June 2023, Gabon and the Republic of Korea committed to the submission of mid-term reports. The UPR also contributes to strengthening national protection mechanisms, Switzerland for example established the national human rights institution in May 2023 and Gabon informed about the reorganisation of the National Human Rights Commission.
Highlights of the Adoptions
Out of 242 recommendations, the Czech Republic supported 207. Czechia has recently approved the proposal to ratify the Istanbul Convention and prepared an amendment to expand the NHRI’s mandate. The country also reported its implementation efforts through national strategies and action plans in the domain of extremism and hatred, trafficking in persons, gender equality, social inclusion, and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities among others.
Argentina supported 271 recommendations. The country undertook a voluntary commitment in relation to crimes against humanity committed during the last civilian military dictatorship by aiming to broaden the scope of investigation and punishment. Argentina also aims to eliminate institutional violence and promote support to the victims. Furthermore, the country intends to promote the dialogue and resolution of territorial claims made by the indigenous people.
Out of 259 recommendations received, Gabon supported 230. Since the review in January, Gabon has implemented and is currently implementing supported recommendations on issues related to, amongst others, human rights within detention facilities, the freedom of expression, assembly, and association, rights of women, child, and migrant workers, and gender equality. The country committed to submitting a mid-term report and drafted a law to reorganise the national human rights commission.
Ghana supported 261 recommendations concerning issues related to the death penalty, protection of women and girls against violence, protection of journalists and human rights defenders amongst others. The country supported nearly 30 recommendations on the death penalty and is amending the Constitution to allow the abolition. In addition, Ghana is currently in the process of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which was one of the supported recommendations.
Peru supported 190 recommendations. The country announced that all recommendations related to the investigation into social protests are supported. In this regard, Peru commits to guaranteeing effective accountability and intends to provide necessary support for the victims of the protests and their families. With regard to the protection of human rights defenders, an intersectoral mechanism was created to guarantee prevention, protection, and access to justice for human rights defenders in response to situations of risk that may arise as a result of their work. The country also established national policies to reduce racial discrimination against Afro-Peruvians and to enhance gender equality.
Guatemala supported 127 recommendations. The country is undertaking measures for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Child and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Further, in relation to the recommendations related to the security, respect and independence of the work of judges and lawyers, relevant institutions have been taking measures including risk analysis to identify the threats, vulnerabilities and the level of risk to which they could be exposed to.
Benin received 258 recommendations and accepted 234 of them. All the recommendations were reviewed in a process of consultation with relevant stakeholders. As a result of these exchanges, the number of supported recommendations increased. In addition, the accepted recommendations led to a number of measures to ensure an accessible justice, education, transport and health system for persons with disabilities. The country is making efforts with regards to the rights of children by enacting campaigns on FGM and child marriage. Some measures are also undertaken to improve the domestic detention system.
The Republic of Korea supported 159 recommendations out of 263 recommendations received. The Government had held a consultation with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea and civil society and coordinated with relevant ministries and agencies to review the recommendations. The received recommendations concern the ratification of international human rights treaties, abolition of the death penalty, human trafficking, women’s rights and gender equality. Measures undertaken include establishment of the first plan to fight against human trafficking and strengthening of punishment of sexual crimes. The country further announced that they will continue to follow up with recommendations by submitting the mid-term report.
Switzerland has supported 209 recommendations out of 317 received recommendations. The country has undertaken measures to implement recommendations related to racial discrimination, business and human rights, rights of persons with disabilities, gender equality and violence against women. For the protection of women’s rights, the country expanded the definition of rape and adopted a national action plan to implement the Istanbul Convention. It should be highlighted that the country’s national human rights institution (ISDH) was created in May 2023.
Zambia supported 183 recommendations and 43 additional recommendations after consultation with the national stakeholders, which amounts to 90.4% acceptance rate. Within 43 additional recommendations, various topics were addressed including rights of persons with disabilities and vulnerable persons, representation of women in politics, child labour, abolition of the death penalty amongst others. The country is taking some measures in relation to recommendations. In addition, the national mechanism for implementation, reporting and follow-up was launched for the first time.
Pakistan supported 253, which is 70% of the 340 recommendations received. The acceptance rate increased by 20% compared to the third cycle. Recommendations were reviewed with special attention to the rights of women and children, education and health amongst others. The country also accepted recommendations to improve economic, social and cultural rights of the population and recognized the need for more work, especially in implementing and strengthening institutional mechanisms.
Japan received 300 recommendations and supported 180 recommendations including the protection and promotion of the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities. The country reported their actions taken to implement some of the recommendations including amending the relevant penal code to address sexual offences, amending the immigration act to avoid unnecessary detention, and the establishment of the Fifth Basic Plan for Gender Equality. At the end of the session, the country responded to comments in relation to the release of water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the ocean, the abolition of the death penalty, and the issue of comfort women.
Out of 294 received recommendations, Sri Lanka supported 173 of them. Various measures are already undertaken in response to the recommendations related to the national reconciliation, ensuring non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, trafficking in persons, rights of women and children, violence against women amongst others. In relation to the national reconciliation, a cabinet sub-committee was appointed to offer policy guidelines and the government took a voluntary pledge to ensure the participation of women in the process.