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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS OUTCOMES OF THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OF BENIN, REPUBLIC OF KOREA AND SWITZERLAND
14 March 2013

The Human Rights Council at a midday meeting today adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Benin, Republic of Korea and Switzerland.

Seraphin Lissassi, Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that out of the 129 recommendations which had been made, 123 had been accepted, five had been rejected and one was being examined.  Benin had undertaken various actions in terms of honouring its international commitments and, concerning the five recommendations which had been rejected, Mr. Lissassi noted that they concerned the decriminalization of homosexual relations between consenting adults, which remained a marginal phenomenon in Benin and no such acts had been prosecuted in the country.  

During the discussion on Benin, delegations welcomed the cooperative spirit displayed during the review process and its efforts to translate recommendations into concrete results, including in the field of education, good governance, and the combat against corruption.  Delegations welcomed initiatives such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction.  Efforts remained to be made to improve the quality of education for all boys and girls and in the fight against poverty.  Speakers expressed concern about practices of ritual infanticide and the exclusion from society of children whose births were considered abnormal and urged Benin to ratify relevant human rights instruments such as The Hague Adoption Convention. 

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

Cuba, Gabon, Morocco, Romania, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, United Nations Children's Fund, Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire spoke on Benin.  The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Instituto Internazional Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, Franciscans International and Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme.

Choi Seokyoung, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reiterated the support of the Republic of Korea for the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and expressed appreciation for the contributions made during the process.  The majority of the recommendations accepted related to equality and non-discrimination, the rights of vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities and migrants, and those related to the rights of children.    

Young Hye Kim, Standing Commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea, welcomed the acceptance by the Republic of Korea of 42 out of total of 70 recommendations and urged the Government to address the pending issues.  Rapid economic expansion and democratization of Korean society had increased competition and tensions, resulting in different human rights issues emerging simultaneously. 

Regarding the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Korea, speakers welcomed the commitment of the Republic of Korea to achieving the rights of all citizens and efforts to fight all forms of discrimination.  Some speakers regretted that the Government did not accept the recommendations to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.  Speakers expressed concern about the rejection to amend or abolish the National Security Law, which was used to target those perceived to oppose the Government policy, and the increasing trend of judicial harassment against peaceful protesters under the charge of obstruction of justice for police officers.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Korea.

Taking the floor in the discussion on the Republic of Korea were: Malaysia, Algeria, Botswana, Cuba, Iran, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Viet Nam, Philippines, Republic of Moldova and Thailand.  The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, Save the Children International, CIVICUS and the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Alexandre Fasel, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that out of a total of 140 recommendations, 50 had been adopted and four rejected.  With respect to the 86 remaining recommendations, 49 were accepted and 37 were rejected.  The decision to accept or reject a recommendation was taken after an in-depth analysis to determine whether Switzerland had already taken relevant measures and whether it was in a position to address the recommendations.  An internal decision making process was set up to take into account the views of the cantons concerning their areas of competence, and that of other actors, including non-governmental organizations. 

During the discussion on Switzerland, speakers appreciated Switzerland’s commitment to human rights and its engagement on issues of interest to the Council, including transitional justice and the resolution of conflict.  Some speakers regretted that Switzerland had not accepted the recommendation regarding the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of all Migrant Workers and their Families.  Greater efforts in the fight against racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, and concerning the integration of migrants were necessary.  Some speakers expressed concerns about the persistence of discrimination, in particular on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and the need to ensure access to sexual education for children and children with disabilities.  

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

Participating in the discussion on Switzerland were: Romania, Togo, Viet Nam, Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Gabon, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Namibia, Philippines and Republic of Moldova.  The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation, World Evangelical Alliance, Amnesty International, Verein Sudwind, Action Canada for Population and Development, Instituto Internazional Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, Press Emblem Campaign and Association of World Citizens.

The Council is holding a full day of meetings today and this afternoon, at 3 p.m., the Council will consider the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Pakistan, Zambia and Japan.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Benin

SERAPHIN LISSASSI, Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that out of the 129 recommendations which had been made, 123 had been accepted, five had been rejected and one was being examined.  Benin had undertaken various actions in terms of honouring its international commitments, including steps relating to the amendment of the penal procedural code with regard to the withdrawal of the death penalty, and various awareness-raising initiatives taken in cooperation of the civil society.  Concerning the five recommendations which had been rejected, they had to do with the decriminalization of homosexual relations between consenting adults, which remained a marginal phenomenon in Benin and no such acts had been prosecuted in the country.  It would be difficult to consider in the short term the decriminalization of those acts, but further attention would be given to such matters at a later stage.  Benin would provide full collaboration to mandate holders and, at the same time, counted on support from the international community in the implementation of the recommendations which it had accepted.   

Cuba said that since Benin’s previous report before the Universal Periodic Review, the country had strengthened its framework for the protection of human rights and the fulfilment of its international obligations.  There had been progress in the field of good governance and the combat against corruption, which had been reinforced by the 2011 law.  Efforts had also been made to increase access to education and services for all citizens.

Gabon welcomed Benin’s cooperation with international mechanisms and procedures for the protection of human rights, in particular for the protection of the rights of women and girls in the fields of education and health.  Gabon encouraged Benin to continue to take measures to promote free primary and secondary education and urged the Council to adopt the outcome.

Morocco welcomed Benin’s exemplary cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review process and supported the measures undertaken by Benin to establish an environment for the development and enjoyment of human rights.  In its acceptance of 96 per cent of the recommendations received, Benin distinguished itself as a country which translated its cooperation with international mechanisms into facts.  Morocco congratulated Benin for its policy of education for all. 

Romania said that as a member of the troika, it had had excellent cooperation with the delegation of Benin.  Romania thanked Benin for accepting most of the recommendations and expressed hope that the legislation on children’s rights would be soon adopted by Parliament.  Romania also thanked the delegation for providing explanations on the recommendations which were not accepted.

South Africa applauded the efforts of Benin in combating poverty and welcomed the initiatives such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the Growth Strategy for Poverty Reduction.  The international community should engage in cooperation with Benin as requested to advance the promotion and protection of human rights and overcome challenges indentified in the Universal Periodic Review process.

Sudan thanked Benin for the information and clarifications it provided today and was pleased to see an open approach to different issues the country was facing.  Benin had accepted 123 out of 129 recommendations received, which was a clear indication of its commitment to human rights.  Sudan particularly welcomed the acceptance of the recommendations related to strengthening the rights of the child in the country.

Togo congratulated Benin on the steps it had taken to promote socio-economic rights and reduce poverty, and on agreeing to implement almost all of the recommendations it had received. 

United Nations Children’s Fund welcomed efforts made by Benin to reduce the infant mortality rate and to eliminate cultural practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation and ritual infanticide.  Efforts remained to be made to improve the quality of education for all boys and girls.  Benin should ratify relevant human rights instruments such as The Hague Adoption Convention.

Algeria was pleased to see the progress which Benin had made on the road to democracy, and noted the strengthening of mechanisms to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.  Benin should continue its efforts to fight poverty.  The country had clearly shown its commitment to the process of the Universal Periodic Review.

Botswana commended Benin for its achievements toward the promotion and protection of human rights, among others, the adoption of the Good Governance Charter and measures to address poverty reduction and gender equality; this demonstrated Benin’s determination to advance human rights.  Botswana noted with gratification efforts to promote access to health care and the enactment of the law on corruption and illicit enrichment.

Burkina Faso took note with satisfaction of Benin’s efforts to implement the recommendations formulated during the Universal Periodic Review process.  Burkina Faso welcomed the cooperation of Benin with human rights mechanisms and encouraged the Government to follow up on the implementation of recommendations and called on the international community to support Benin’s efforts.  
Côte d’Ivoire thanked Benin for the remarkable work carried out and the acceptance of numerous recommendations, which bore testimony to Benin’s commitment.  Côte d’Ivoire invited the international community to support Benin in complying with its international commitment and urged the Council to adopt the report.

Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco, in a joint statement, called on the Government to prevent high rates of school drop outs and drew attention to children with disabilities and bewitched children who suffered from discrimination in their access to schooling.  The Government should increase efforts to guarantee equal opportunities and ensure social integration of bewitched children. 

Franciscans International called the attention of the Council to the practices of ritual infanticide and the exclusion from society of children whose births were considered abnormal.  The Government must undertake preventive actions and more significant initiatives to deal with this issue.  The widespread practice of homebirths contributed to the high rates of ritual infanticide.

Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme commended Benin for the improvements made in governance and the rule of law through establishment of the institution of Ombudsmen in the country.  Benin had to address the many challenges that remained, including the inefficiency of the police and judiciary to investigate and prosecute ritual infanticide and trafficking in children.

SERAPHIN LISSASSI, Permanent Representative of Benin to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks, said that the recommendations which had been made would enable Benin to continue to promote and protect human rights.  Benin reaffirmed its commitment to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. 

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Benin.
 
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Republic of Korea

CHOI SEOKYOUNG, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reiterated its support for the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and expressed appreciation for the contributions made during the process, in particular by Hungary, Indonesia and Djibouti.  Governments, non-governmental organizations and the Office of the High Commissioner were all key players in the Universal Periodic Review process.   The recommendations received by the Republic of Korea had been submitted to the Sub-Council on National Human Rights Policy in November 2012 and subsequently to the National Human Rights Policy Council for discussion in December 2012.  After thorough and careful deliberation on the recommendations, the Council had decided to fully accept 42 recommendations and to partially accept 1 recommendation, out of a total of 70 recommendations.  The majority of the recommendations related to equality and non-discrimination, the rights of vulnerable groups, including persons with disabilities and migrants, and those related to the rights of children enjoyed the support of the Government.

The recommendations contained in paragraph 124 of the report did not receive support from Republic of Korea due to either a need for further examination or various reasons that presented difficulties, such as the importance of the National Security Act for the Republic of Korea’s existence and security.  The Republic of Korea indicated that the Act was strictly interpreted and applied in compliance with guidelines for interpretation in the rulings of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court.  Concerning conscientious objection, the introduction of alternative service was difficult given the particular situation of the Republic of Korea.  The issue of the death penalty would remain under careful review through a comprehensive evaluation of public opinion and legal analysis.  Given the importance of implementation and follow-up for the success of the Universal Periodic Review, the Republic of Korea would incorporate the recommendations that enjoyed support into the second National Action Plan on human rights.   

YOUNG HYE KIM, Standing Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea, welcomed the acceptance by the Republic of Korea of 42 out of a total of 70 recommendations from its Universal Periodic Review and urged the Government to address the pending issues.  The rapid economic expansion and democratization of Korean society had increased competition and tensions, resulting in different human rights issues emerging simultaneously.  The Human Rights Council should have an accurate understanding of human rights issues of reviewed States and in this, national human rights institutions had an important role to play. 

Malaysia thanked the Republic of Korea for their constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and for the launching of the Second National Plan on Human Rights.  Malaysia appreciated the expansion of humanitarianism in the Republic of Korea’s official development assistance and recognized the need for space and time for expansion of human rights on the ground.

Algeria welcomed the commitment of the Republic of Korea to achieving the rights of all citizens and the efforts to fight all forms of discrimination, including through strengthening of the national legislative framework.  It was regrettable that the Republic of Korea did not accept the recommendations to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Botswana said that the Republic of Korea had shown its commitment to implementing the recommendations it had received.  Botswana also welcomed the withdrawal by the Republic of Korea of the reservations it had placed on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  

Cuba said that it had taken note of the efforts made by the Republic of Korea to promote the rights of women, to guarantee equal opportunities for all, to protect persons with disabilities, and to improve health and education.  Further efforts should be made to overcome problems which had been identified in the report.

Iran was satisfied that the Republic of Korea had accepted many of the recommendations it had received, including five made by Iran.  Iran expected to see further efforts to improve the rights and conditions of migrant workers in the Republic of Korea, and also hoped that effective measures would be taken to improve the situation of children with disabilities. 

Lao People's Democratic Republic took note that the Republic of Korea had accepted a large number of recommendations during the review and the necessary steps to implement them.  The launching of the Second National Action Plan and the lifting of reservations to the international instruments on human rights, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, among others, were among the achievements made.

Viet Nam welcomed the concrete measures taken by the Republic of Korea and the acceptance of a large number of recommendations, including two from Viet Nam.  Concerning the remaining challenges, Viet Nam believed that the Republic of Korea would be able to overcome the remaining challenges on the basis of its efforts and determination.  Viet Nam joined others in recommending the adoption of the outcome.

Philippines was pleased by the Republic of Korea’s serious efforts to incorporate accepted recommendations on its Second National Action Plan.  Philippines understood the reasons why the Republic of Korea could not yet support the recommendation to consider ratifying the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families and ILO Convention 189, but was aware of its commitment to consider this recommendation in the future.

Republic of Moldova welcomed the inclusive approach of the Republic of Korea to the preparation of its national report, and acknowledged the efforts to ensure gender equality in Government policies and the commitment to prevent and prosecute domestic violence and ensure protection of victims.  The Republic of Moldova noted with satisfaction the strong commitment to combating human trafficking through a close cooperation at the national and international levels.

Thailand noted with appreciation the intention of the Republic of Korea to carry out a comprehensive review of the implementation of measures to provide assistance to landmine victims and thanked it for accepting the recommendation on the protection of the rights of migrant workers.  Thailand was pleased to see the acceptance of most of the recommendations concerning human rights and fundamental freedoms of women, children, persons with disabilities, and vulnerable and marginalized groups.

Amnesty International urged the Government to take concrete measures to respect the rights of migrant workers, documented and undocumented, and to adopt measures to eliminate restrictions of their labour mobility.  Amnesty International deplored the rejection to abolish or amend the National Security Law in line with international standards, as it was used to target those perceived to oppose the Government policy, particularly with regard to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, in a joint statement, regretted that several recommendations repeated in the second cycle had continued to not enjoy the support of the Government.  The Asian Forum was disturbed by the increasing trend of judicial harassment against peaceful protesters under the charge of obstruction of justice for police officers, and called on the Republic of Korea to conduct transparent consultations and to create an oversight mechanism.

Save the Children International expressed concern about the fact, according to research conducted by Save the Children, that 19 out of 50 in a sample of refugee children were stateless in the Republic of Korea.  An automated birth registration mechanism at hospitals could be adopted.  The Republic of Korea had accepted recommendations concerning the prohibition of all forms of corporal and humiliating punishment; however, an act on elementary and secondary education prohibited physical punishment only.

CIVICUS highlighted remaining restrictions for freedom of association and expression and drew attention to the National Security Act and related restrictions to freedom, such as through the deleting of webposts under the excuse of national security.  CIVICUS urged the Republic of Korea to amend this Act and to take further action to remove limitations to internet content so as to ensure freedom of expression. 

International Fellowship of Reconciliation said that several States had addressed the issue of conscientious objectors in the Universal Periodic Review process for the Republic of Korea.  Still, the Government continued to imprison almost 500 young men every year for refusing military service on the grounds of conscience, ten times as many as any other State in the world.  The Republic of Korea should no longer delay in providing for conscientious objection in its legislation.

CHOI SEOKYOUNG, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in his closing remarks, said the Republic of Korea took positive note of the comments received today and disagreed with arguments that the National Security Act was being misused.  Given the unique security circumstances of the Republic of Korea, the National Security Act was necessary and its application was limited only to the cases where there was a clear threat to the security of the State and public order.  The Universal Periodic Review process provided a valuable opportunity to take stock of a human rights situation and the broad consultation process with all stakeholders in the preparation process of the national report helped to make States more aware of what they should be doing to further advance the cause of human rights.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of the Republic of Korea.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Switzerland

ALEXANDRE FASEL, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Switzerland was particularly pleased that the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs was able to carry out the exercise with the Federal Department of Justice, and the cantons.  Switzerland was convinced of the potential of the Universal Periodic Review to help strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights.  Mr. Fasel reiterated Switzerland’s thanks to the 81 States that intervened in October, and in particular those that made recommendations.  A total of 140 recommendations were made, and 50 recommendations were adopted and four were rejected.  With respect to the 86 remaining recommendations, 49 were accepted and 37 were rejected.  The decision to accept or reject a recommendation was taken after an in-depth analysis to determine whether Switzerland had already taken relevant measures and whether it was in a position to address the recommendation.  An internal decision making process was set up to take into account the views of the cantons in their areas of competence, and that of other actors, including non-governmental organizations. 

Another member of the delegation of Switzerland took the floor and explained the position of Switzerland with respect to the 86 recommendations.  On recommendations rejected, according to a well-established practice, Switzerland did not undertake international commitments unless it thought it was in a position to carry them out.  Often the concerns reflected in recommendations were not new, and were already under discussion in Switzerland.  On ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Swiss Government mandated the Swiss Centre on Expertise in Human Rights to carry out a study to better examine the consequences of ratification.  On recommendations calling for it to adopt a general law against discrimination, Switzerland was aware of the importance of fighting discrimination and had adopted many measures along those lines.  Several recommendations called on it to include a definition of torture in its penal code.  These were rejected because all acts that constituted torture were already criminalised in the penal code.

ALEXANDRE FASEL, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the Swiss Government considered the level of protection of human rights in the country to be good but no country could or should be complacent on the subject.  The second Universal Periodic Review offered an opportunity to step up the debate on human rights at all political levels.  The Government had carried out several discussions with the Swiss coalition of non-governmental organizations and the Swiss Centre for Expertise on Human Rights.  These enhanced relations would allow for the necessary support to implement recommendations in an effective way and in good time. 

Romania appreciated the commitment of the Swiss authorities to promote and protect human rights and indicated that the acceptance of recommendations would contribute to this goal.  Romania would continue to support the Swiss Government’s efforts to promote human rights.

Togo said it would like to see Switzerland speed up their policy of integration and non-discrimination in all its cantons and welcomed the implementation of recommendations as part of the review process.

Viet Nam appreciated the concrete measures taken by Switzerland with regards to accepted recommendations.  Greater efforts in the fight against discrimination and concerning the integration of migrants were necessary.  Switzerland had fully and effectively engaged in the Universal Periodic Review process and Viet Nam called on the Council to adopt the report.   

Algeria regretted that Switzerland had not favourably responded to a recommendation that Algeria had stressed, on the ratification of the Convention on the Protection of all Migrant Workers and their Families.

Botswana commended Switzerland’s ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, and the establishment of the Swiss Centre for Human Rights.

Burkina Faso took note of Switzerland’s interest and initiatives in the implementation of recommendations made.  Burkina Faso encouraged Switzerland to continue its implementation of recommendations and recommended the adoption of the outcome.

Côte d’Ivoire congratulated Switzerland for its commitment to respect all human rights and expressed satisfaction concerning its engagement with a number of issues of interest to the Council, including transitional justice, and its commitment to the rapid and efficient resolution of conflicts.  Côte d’Ivoire welcomed the initiatives taken by Switzerland in humanitarian issues and called on the Council to adopt the outcome.

Cuba recognised the efforts deployed by Switzerland to adopt the recommendations.  The Swiss Government was committed to protect and promote human rights.  The protection of children was also a priority.  Significant advances in the protection of persons with disabilities had also been noted.  Several challenges remained and efforts preventing racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia should be taken. 

Ecuador congratulated Switzerland for the recommendations accepted during the second Universal Periodic Review cycle.  Ecuador was pleased to see that Switzerland had accepted the majority of recommendations made by Ecuador, but was concerned by the rejection of the recommendation concerning the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.  Efforts to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia should be a priority.

Gabon welcomed Switzerland’s collaboration with the international procedures and mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights and its efforts made to combat racism, xenophobia and related forms of discrimination and intolerance, and recommended the adoption of the outcome. 

Lao People’s Democratic Republic took note of Switzerland’s achievements.  It had accepted a great number of recommendations and had taken steps to implement them.  Measures had been taken to strengthen women’s rights, and to combat violence against women and trafficking in persons.  The Lao People’s Democratic Republic supported the adoption of the report.

Namibia regretted the omission of one of its recommendations which was not included in the outcome document, with reference to the health care system in Switzerland, which charged higher fees for women, based on their sex.  Namibia wished for this recommendation to be included in the official records. 

Philippines continued to be concerned that migrants and members of their families remained vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.  This situation was exacerbated by the lack of a universally accepted standard of protection for the rights of migrants.  Despite the non-support of Switzerland to the recommendation concerning the ratification of the Convention in this regard, Philippines appreciated Switzerland’s commitment to the protection of refugees and migrants.

Republic of Moldova was pleased to see sustained efforts toward the promotion and protection of human rights, including the creation of the Swiss Centre on Expertise in Human Rights.  The Republic of Moldova commended Switzerland for the implementation of policies and programmes regarding gender equality and women’s rights, as well as for efforts undertaken in the fight against domestic violence.  It welcomed the acceptance of numerous recommendations as part of its engagement in the process.

European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation regretted the rejection of recommendations concerning the problem of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people did not receive sufficient legal protection in Switzerland and were disproportionately exposed to verbal and physical violence, inequality and discrimination.

World Evangelical Alliance thanked Switzerland for its constructive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review.  One of the major challenges that should be a priority for Switzerland was human trafficking.  In terms of implementation of relevant recommendations, the Alliance encouraged Switzerland to mandate an independent study to examine the scope of this scourge.  

Amnesty International said that the coalition of Swiss non-governmental organizations was pleased with the consultation that Switzerland carried out with civil society.  It regretted the rejection of a large number of recommendations on discrimination.  The large number of these rejected recommendations showed that this was a problematic area in the country, and Amnesty International urged Switzerland to review its decision on them.

Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik said it was very disappointed that Switzerland had rejected the recommendation to ratify the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.  The case of asylum seekers in Switzerland was also of grave concern.  Sudwind was further disappointed that the recommendation to provide suitable accommodation for all asylum seekers had also been rejected. 
Action Canada for Population and Development, in a joint statement, regretted the rejection of the recommendation concerning the need for legal measures to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.  The non-governmental organizations welcomed the acceptance of recommendations concerning access to reproductive health services for vulnerable groups and urged Switzerland to guarantee children’s access to education in sexual and reproductive health.

Instituto Internazional Maria Ausiliatrice delle Salesiane di Don Bosco welcomed the participation of Switzerland in the second Universal Periodic Review cycle and the acceptance of several recommendations.  Additional efforts were required to ensure children’s access to health and education and the Instituto Internazional remained concerned about the uneven fulfilment of the right to education across different cantons, and the problem of health care costs among low-income persons.

Press Emblem Campaign highlighted Switzerland’s responsibility as depositary of the Geneva Conventions in promoting respect for humanitarian law.  The Press Emblem Campaign expressed concern about the situation of journalists in conflict situations and the fact that the provisions for their protection had not been observed in recent situations.  Additional measures and effective mechanisms to fulfil these provisions should be developed.   

Association of World Citizens said that by international comparison Switzerland had a fairly low level of naturalization.  Cases documented that often, in the evaluation of integration, the question of economic independence alone was tackled.  It requested that the personal situation of a person be effectively taken into account and that authorities use their power of assessment effectively. 

ALEXANDRE FASEL, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations at Geneva, thanked all delegations and civil society for their comments on Switzerland’s second Universal Periodic Review and said that Switzerland would implement the recommendations accepted.   

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


For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC13/035E