Concludes General Debate on the Human Rights Council’s Subsidiary Bodies and Mechanisms
20 March 2015
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt and of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and concluded its general debate on the Council’s human rights bodies and mechanisms.
Amr Ramadan, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that during its review, Egypt had received 300 recommendations, of which it had fully accepted 220 and partially accepted 23. The non-acceptance of some recommendations was due to their contravention with the Constitution; such was the case of the recommendation concerning a moratorium on the death penalty. Egypt accepted all recommendations regarding the crime of torture, trafficking in persons, and the fight against terrorism, and also agreed to cooperate with human rights mechanisms, guarantee fair trial and prosecution, establish a new law on civil society and peaceful assembly, and adopt anti-discrimination laws.
The National Human Rights Commission of Egypt called on the Government to take action in several key areas, and to adopt a new law on demonstrations, strengthen efforts to combat terrorism, and cancel all laws which restricted individual freedoms. Further, it should invite Special Procedures to carry out country visits and establish a regional branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Speakers in the discussion welcomed Egypt’s constructive cooperation within the Universal Periodic Review framework and recognized the need to combat terrorism, which threatened the very foundation of society, but which must conform to a human rights framework. The amendments made to the Constitution rightly reflected the commitments to human rights, but Egypt should pursue efforts to improve the rule of law, and consolidate efforts in the area of social development, strengthening of the security policy and protection of vulnerable persons. The deteriorating situation of human rights defenders, restrictions placed on freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and civil society space, violence carried out by police officers, mass detentions and the use of the death penalty, were raised as issues of concern, among others.
Speaking were Belarus, Belgium, Venezuela, Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, and Greece.
Centre for Social and Economic Rights, International Service for Human Rights (joint statement), International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, COC Netherlands, Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Arab Organizations for Human Rights, Article 15 (joint statement), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (joint statement), and Human Rights Watch, also spoke.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt.
Milos Prica, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that his country attached great importance to cooperation with human rights. The new Government needed more time in order to continue its detailed and thorough examination of the recommendations received during the Universal Periodic Review. Bosnia would soon be in a position to provide very specific views on each recommendation.
Through a video presentation, the Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina said that there was no comprehensive national strategy document to ensure the protection and promotion of all human rights, and this created complications. In addition, Bosnia and Herzegovina needed to undertake serious reforms of the Ombudsman’s Office in order to prepare for the next Universal Periodic Review. This included granting it a sufficient budget.
Speakers in the discussion appreciated the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Universal Periodic Review process, the efforts to strengthen its legal and institutional framework, and the adoption of the new law on social protections, which improved the situation of the most vulnerable. Bosnia and Herzegovina had taken positive steps to increase prosecution for war crimes and the authorities now must address the backlog and launch new investigations in order to provide justice to victims, including for survivors of the war crime of sexual violence. Speakers urged the establishment of a national preventive mechanism on torture, and the adoption of an Action Plan on Anti-Discrimination, and raised concern about the increase of attacks on journalists, the recent adoption of the Law on Public Order by Republika Srpska, and discrimination on the multiple grounds, including based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The following delegations took the floor: Malaysia, Sierra Leone, United Kingdom, Venezuela, China, Council of Europe, Kuwait, Latvia, and Libya.
The following non-governmental organizations also spoke: Human Rights House Foundation, Minority Rights Group, Save the Children, Amnesty International, Action Canada for Population and Development, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
Also this morning, the Council concluded its general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms, in which speakers expressed concerns about attacks against ethnic and religious minorities around the world and called for the establishment of early warning mechanisms to address violence against minorities. States and the Human Rights Council needed to do more to address reprisals against groups and individuals who cooperated with the human rights bodies and mechanisms. It was regrettable that many States did not respond to urgent actions, which amounted to non-cooperation with the Special Procedures.
Speaking were the following non-governmental organizations: Centre for human Rights and Peace Advocacy, Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale, Connectas Direitos Humanos, United Nations Watch, Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, Pasuami Thaayagam Foundation, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, World Muslim Congress, Commission Africaine des promoteurs de la santé et des droits de l’homme, Agence Internationale pour le developpement, International Muslim Women’s Union, Canners International Permanent Committee, African Technology Development Link, Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans, Japanese Workers’ Committee for Human Rights, Auspice Stella, International Association for Democracy in Africa, The Indian Council of South America, Iranian Elite Research Centre, African Technical Association, International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, European Union of Public Relations, Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, United Schools International, Centre for Environmental and Management Studies, World Environment and Resources Council, AUA Americas Chapter Ice, Amnesty International and Union of Arab Jurists.
The Council is holding a full day of meetings today. At noon, it will start a general debate on the Universal Periodic Review, followed by a debate on the state of racial discrimination worldwide.
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review – Egypt (A/HRC/28/16)
Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt
AMR RAMADAN, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Egypt had contributed positively to the development of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and reaffirmed Egypt’s trust in its value and effectiveness. During its review process, Egypt had received 300 recommendations, and had established a national committee which studied them and proposed policies and measures. This committee was currently the national human rights institution, led by the transitional Minister of Justice; it included all relevant Ministries and institutions and held systematic meetings with civil society. Egypt based its acceptance of a recommendation, partial or total, on its 2014 Constitution and its international human rights obligations; partial acceptance meant that Egypt accepted the objective of a recommendation, but did not agree with the method proposed or the defined time-frame. The non-acceptance of some recommendations was due to their contravention with the Constitution; such was the case of the recommendation concerning a moratorium on the death penalty.
Egypt had accepted 243 recommendations, including those asking Egypt to adhere to international treaties in the field of human rights and withdraw reservations. It had also accepted all recommendations regarding the crime of torture; criminalization of violence against women, children and persons with disabilities; cooperation with human rights mechanisms; guarantee of fair trial and prosecution; establishment of a new law on civil society and peaceful assembly and anti-discrimination laws; and the 49 recommendations concerning trafficking in persons. All recommendations relating to the fight against terrorism had been accepted as well, and Egypt agreed to combat terrorism in accordance with human rights norms and principles, as was stipulated by its Constitution, and to provide compensation to the victims of terrorism. Egypt had accepted 243 recommendations, of which 220 were fully accepted and 23 were partially accepted. Over the past few months, the Committee for Legislative Reform had started the examination of national laws to ensure that they were not running counter with the Constitution, and Egypt intended to build capacity and allocate resources for the implementation of the accepted recommendations.
National Human Rights Commission of Egypt said it took responsibility for implementing the recommendations accepted within the framework of its mandate, as that was something the people called for strongly during the revolution. The Commission called on the Government of Egypt to take action in several key areas. In light of the recommendations made by the Human Rights Council, Egypt should adopt a new law on demonstrations which affirmed the right to demonstrate if people or organizations gave prior notification; it should establish a Commission for Equal Opportunities and should strengthen efforts to combat terrorism. Egypt was also asked to cancel all laws which restricted individual freedoms, establish an independent mechanism to visit prisons, invite Special Procedures to carry out country visits and establish a regional branch of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commission said the region needed peace and development more than ever, but they could only be enjoyed by upholding the legitimate rights of the Egyptian people.
Belarus said it welcomed Egypt’s constructive cooperation within the Universal Periodic Review framework and commended it for accepting many recommendations, including those proposed by Belarus. It recommended adoption of the report.
Belgium recognized the need to combat terrorism which threatened the very foundations of society but said law and order must be provided within the framework of human rights. It expressed concern about violence carried out by police officers, mass detentions and the use of the death penalty.
Venezuela acknowledged Egypt’s significant efforts in the field of human rights and welcomed the commitment of the Government to continue those efforts, as shown by its cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review process.
Botswana welcomed the amendments made to the Constitution which now rightly reflected the commitments to human rights. Despite its political challenges, Egypt had accepted a high number of recommendations. Botswana encouraged Egypt to continue efforts to ensure freedom of assembly and association.
Brunei Darussalam appreciated Egypt’s commitment in carrying out policies to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in particular initiatives to eradicate illiteracy and empower women, and wished it well in the implementation of the accepted recommendations.
Burkina Faso was pleased that Burkina Faso was able to participate in the Working Group on the review of Egypt and thanked Egypt for accepting the three recommendations Burkina Faso had made.
China appreciated the constructive engagement of Egypt in the Universal Periodic Review and the acceptance of the recommendations to continue the empowerment of women in all sectors and to ensure human rights education for law enforcement officers.
Côte d’Ivoire remained convinced that the implementation of the recommendations accepted by Egypt would contribute to the improvement of human rights in the country. Egypt should pursue efforts to improve the rule of law, consolidate efforts in the area of social development, and protect vulnerable persons.
Cuba welcomed the fact that Egypt had accepted all of Cuba’s recommendations, including those to fight corruption, as well as to promote the respect for religious tolerance and the economic development for women. Cuba recommended the adoption of the report of Egypt.
Saudi Arabia welcomed the delegation of Egypt and thanked it for the report. Egypt had undergone a difficult period over the past few years, yet this had not prevented it from promoting human rights. This was evidenced in the measures taken by the Government and Parliament.
El Salvador noted the Government’s will to work to promote human rights and hoped that the announced parliamentary elections would consolidate Egypt’s democracy. The new electoral law gave greater participation for women and persons with disabilities. Egypt should continue working with civil society, the Special Procedures and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Ethiopia welcomed the delegation and thanked Egypt for its commitment to promoting human rights. It appreciated the constructive engagement and acceptation of a significant number of recommendations, including those of Ethiopia. Ethiopia wished Egypt success and recommended the adoption of its report.
Gabon welcomed the recent initiatives of Egypt, particularly on tackling violence against women, getting children into school, and establishing a health insurance system for women and vulnerable people. It called on the international community to support Egypt in its restructuring efforts and its fight against terrorism.
Germany appreciated Egypt’s commitment to step up efforts to uphold women’s rights, to fully safeguard freedom of expression and to better protect journalists. Recent decisions to impose the death sentence in hundreds of cases raised questions about sound judicial judgement and were deeply worrying.
Ghana said in spite of the major political and social changes in Egypt since 2011, its efforts to rebuild the nation, and progressive changes brought in by the 2014 constitution and amendments to the Penal Code, notably including a definition of sexual harassment, were commendable.
Greece welcomed Egypt’s acceptance of more than 80 per cent of the recommendations it received and called on it to swiftly implement them. It called on Egypt to enhance the parliamentary representation of women and strengthen its efforts to prevent illegal migration, especially through high-risk sea boats.
Centre for Social and Economic Rights said that Egypt had embarked on an ambitious reform agenda, including the amendment of the Constitution, but the gap between the commitment to the improvement of the socio-economic situation and the situation on the ground was of concern.
International Service for Human Rights in a joint statement with Association for Progressive Communications and Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, expressed concern about the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders, particularly women human rights defenders, including violence, intimidation and harassment.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues said that the fact that many civil society organizations had not participated in the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt for fear of reprisals spoke volumes about the situation of human rights in the country. The new “terrorist entities” law could be used to target independent civil society.
COC Netherlands said Egypt had no explicit law criminalizing homosexuality, but “debauchery,” prostitution and blasphemy laws were used against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and intersex community. Egypt had announced that it would eradicate homosexuality through a surveillance system violating the right to privacy.
Egyptian Organization for Human Rights commended Egypt for adopting the recommendations on women’s rights, and the Constitution’s incorporation of economic, social and cultural rights. However, there were no national strategies on the ground to implement them.
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project said that there was a severe disconnect between commitments made and the reality on the ground concerning journalists, human rights defenders and civil society organizations, as well as the release of those detained solely for exercising rights to freedom of expression, or for membership in a political group.
Arab Organizations for Human Rights said they appreciated the positive steps taken by Egypt since the June Revolution, particularly given the gravity of the challenges it faced, especially from terrorism. Egypt had to ensure civil society had space to operate.
Article 15, said Egypt’s expressed commitment to human rights during the Universal Periodic Review process was in stark contrast to reality, where Egypt was carrying out an unprecedented crackdown on fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and the right to freedom of assembly.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, said the Egyptian authorities continued to propagate rights violations, including attacks on the protests on 24 January; thousands of individuals, including children, had been imprisoned since 3 July 2013 for protesting against Government policies.
Human Rights Watch said Egypt’s Universal Periodic Review took place in the midst of unprecedented and ongoing repression. It asked the Human Rights Council how many more human rights defenders and peaceful activists would have to leave the country or be silenced before the Council told Egypt to stop the crackdown.
The President said that out of 300 recommendations received, Egypt supported 224, noted 53 and additional information was provided by Egypt on the remaining 23 recommendations.
AMR RAMADAN, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Egypt was keen to ensure the full independence of its national human rights institution, and welcomed positive criticism expressed in the dialogue today which helped and was constructive. Some negative criticism was heard today which did not conform to the situation on the ground, said Mr. Ramadan and stressed the commitment of Egypt to the promotion and protection of human rights. Egypt was fully aware of the grave challenges it faced, particularly in the light of the danger of terrorism, which required that all had to close rank in order to face it. This was reflected in the National Road Map which was being currently implemented; a large part of this Road Map had already been implemented through the amendments to the Constitution and the ongoing legal and policy reform which saw the inclusion of economic, social and cultural rights.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt.
The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review - Bosnia and Herzegovina (A/HRC/28/17)
Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Bosnia and Herzegovina
MILOS PRICA, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that his country’s cooperation with the Human Rights Council had always been constructive and fruitful and was reflected in the efforts to fulfil various United Nations human rights treaties’ reporting obligations. Bosnia and Herzegovina was looking forward to further deepen its full cooperation with the Human Rights Council and fulfilling its commitments. It paid particular attention to the obligations deriving from the Universal Periodic Review mechanism and recognized the conclusions and recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group as an impetus for the relevant authorities to further enhance their cooperation with the United Nations appropriate bodies dealing with human rights. Mr. Prica thanked all the delegations and the members of the troika who had constructively participated in the interactive debate and who recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina’s efforts. Bosnia and Herzegovina had had a prolonged interim period with the caretaking Council of Ministers since the elections on 12 October 2014. The new Council of Ministers was expected to be fully operational within a few days. Therefore, the new authorities needed more time in order to continue their detailed and thorough examination of the 167 recommendations received during the Universal Periodic Review which had been taken note of. Bosnia and Herzegovina would soon be in a position to provide very specific views on each recommendation.
Through a video presentation, the Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina highlighted several human rights issues that needed action from the State. There was no comprehensive national strategy document to ensure the protection and promotion of all human rights, and this created complications. In addition, Bosnia and Herzegovina needed to undertake serious reforms of the Ombudsman’s Office in order to prepare for the next Universal Periodic Review. This included granting it a sufficient budget. Twenty years after the war, no reparations had been provided to victims of the war. It was imperative that the issues of the past were resolved and this included the adoption of a law on victims. The full implementation of the anti-discrimination law was also needed.
Malaysia appreciated the commitment of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Universal Periodic Review process, the efforts to strengthen its legal and institutional framework, and the adoption of the new law on social protection which improved the situation of those most vulnerable.
Sierra Leone noted that Bosnia and Herzegovina had yet to provide its responses to the recommendations and called on this country to consider all recommendations it had received as soon as the situation permitted, and to continue working to improve the human rights situation in the country.
United Kingdom was concerned about increased attacks on journalists. Of particular concern was the recent adoption of the Law on Public Order by Republika Srpska which was in violation with its Constitution, and European and international standards.
Venezuela said that Bosnia and Herzegovina had acceded to various international human rights instruments and highlighted the efforts to adapt its legal framework to address gender and domestic violence and assist victims.
China commended Bosnia and Herzegovina for its constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and urged it to continue efforts to promote and protect the human rights of vulnerable groups so they could better enjoy the benefits of development. China recommended that the report be adopted.
Council of Europe evoked the recommendations it made to Bosnia and Herzegovina to overcome the social exclusion and marginalization of Roma; to harmonize legislation concerning the criminalization of corruption offences; and relating to war atrocities to ensure victims had access to justice and effective reparations.
Kuwait commended Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constructive participation with the second round of the Universal Periodic Review and its accession to certain Council of Europe treaties, in particular those on the rights of children. Kuwait recommended the adoption of the report.
Latvia recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina’s efforts to promote gender equality and combat domestic violence. Latvia encouraged Bosnia and Herzegovina to take steps to strengthen freedom of speech and freedom of access to information, both online and offline.
Libya commended Bosnia and Herzegovina for demonstrating transparency and openness during the Universal Periodic Review process, and its commitment to continue improving the human rights situation therein. Libya recommended the adoption of the report of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Human Rights House Foundation said discrimination against ethnic and other minorities, including Roma, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups was prevalent. A country-wide anti-discrimination strategy was needed, focusing especially on education.
Minority Rights Group stated that political marginalization left minority groups with limited decision making power. The Government was urged to amend its constitution and national laws in order to end political discrimination against national and de facto minorities and ensure their political participation.
Save the Children International welcomed recommendations promoting children’s rights, prohibiting their corporal punishment and fighting violence against children. Psychological bullying and cyber violence still had to be recognized as violence against children.
Amnesty International said that Bosnia and Herzegovina had taken positive steps to increase prosecution for war crimes and the authorities now must address the backlog and launch new investigations in order to provide justice to victims. Survivors of sexual violence in armed conflict faced difficulties in realizing reparations.
Action Canada for Population and Development was disappointed that Bosnia and Herzegovina did not indicate which of the recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity would be acted on. Bosnia and Herzegovina should harmonize the laws on anti-discrimination, close the loopholes, and develop a national action plan.
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom urged Bosnia and Herzegovina to adopt the Law on Victims of Torture and so ensure the right to reparation to victims of torture during the war.
The President of the Council said Bosnia and Herzegovina had taken note of all the recommendations.
MILOS PRICA, Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said all comments made today were taken as a positive contribution. Bosnia and Herzegovina would be able to come up at the June Council session with a real and comprehensive detailed answer on recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review. Bosnia and Herzegovina had undergone an important transformation since the war and was determined to continue its efforts for the full implementation of all human rights.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
General Debate on Subsidiary Bodies of the Human Rights Council
Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy regretted that India had failed to implement recommendations on non-governmental organizations and defenders and to give justice to Sikh victims of the 1984 massacre. It was shameful that Indian officials involved in crimes against Sikh continued to avoid justice.
Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association expressed solidarity with helpless women and minors in India who continued to be victims of rape, while the State enacted laws selectively. Over 24,000 rapes had been reported in India in 2012. More than half of the cases remained unreported due to fear of social stigma.
Organization pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale said civil society groups and persons who cooperated with Special Procedures faced reprisals at the hands of State authorities. The Universal Periodic Review was the best way to improve human rights on the ground; however Member States refused to comply.
Conectas Direitos Humanos and Alliance for the Water was concerned about the grave human rights violations in Sao Paulo in Brazil, which was facing the worst water crisis in history. Its main water reservoirs were nearly depleted, threatening the water supply of millions of people, especially vulnerable communities.
United Nations Watch referred to Report 28/74, in which the Advisory Committee argued that sanctions were a violation of human rights. But this was not true. The report named only a few country examples and applied a superficial analysis. The sanctions against Iran were in fact promoting human rights.
Sudwind expressed concerns about human rights in Iran, and the detention in solitary confinement of human rights defender Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, who had started a hunger strike and had not received sufficient healthcare. Sudwind supported the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran.
Pasumai Thaayagam expressed its ongoing concern about the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka, who had faced repression by successive regimes. The ongoing de facto military occupation of their homeland had a catastrophic effect on their daily lives. The new Government did not seem to be willing to end military occupation.
Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme welcomed the report by the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and expressed concerns about attacks against ethnic and religious minorities around the world. It called for the establishment of early warning mechanisms to address violence against minorities.
World Muslim Congress recognized the increased attention given to the issue of reprisals against those who cooperated with human rights bodies and mechanisms and said that much more needed to be done. Reprisals against human rights defenders in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir must be addressed.
Commission Africaine des promoteurs de la santé et des droits de l’homme regretted that many States did not respond to urgent actions, which amounted to non-cooperation with the Special Procedures, and was deeply concerned about cases of reprisals against those who cooperated with human rights mechanisms.
Agence Internationale pour le devéloppement said that during the last few years, several journalists and lawyers had been killed in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir because they had addressed the human rights violations committed by the Indian security forces.
International Muslim Women’s Union was dismayed that India had not responded to the requests for country visits by experts on torture and on enforced disappearances. It also expressed grave concern about reprisals against human rights defenders, particularly those in the occupied Kashmir region.
Canners International Permanent Committee expressed grave concern about violations of the right to freedom of religion and belief in Pakistan, in particular the authoritarian interpretation of Islam in parts of the country and attacks on Muslims who advocated for aspects of pluralism.
African Technology Development Link spoke about human rights violations in Pakistan, which it said was becoming an increasingly dangerous country for religious minorities, was growing increasingly intolerant of dissent from journalists, and was struggling to tackle militant extremism.
Ecumenical Federation of Constantinopolitans, which represented the expatriated Greek Orthodox community in Istanbul, regretted that Turkey had not brought to justice the perpetrators of the Pogrom against Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Jewish communities in 1955. A formal apology had to be issued for this crime.
Japanese Workers’ Committee for Human Rights was concerned about hate speech rallies against Korean residents in Japan, and about the Government of Japan’s lack of response to prevent and combat hate speech.
Auspice Stella recalled the inalienable rights of colonized people and underlined the responsibility of the United Nations to form internal decolonization committees. It was important address the needs of colonised people and uphold their right to self-determination.
International Association for Democracy in Africa spoke about the murder of approximately half a million Hazara people in Baluchistan. Pakistan had completely failed to protect Hazara people from attacks by extremists, who seemed to enjoy complete freedom to carry out their genocidal agenda against Shia communities.
The Indian Council of South America said the high-level plenary at the United Nations in New York, masquerading as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, was so high it forgot to invite real representatives of indigenous peoples. The resulting outcome document lacked universality.
Iranian Elite Research Centre said religious minorities in Iran were free to conduct their personal affairs, including marriage, divorce and inheritance. Many cultural, social and economic places were open to them. The organization spoke about the participation of Jewish people in various areas of Iranian society.
African Technical Association expressed serious concern about the situation in Baluchistan, in particular recent threats to the Zikri community. The authorities in Pakistan were systematically converting the majority Baloch group into a minority. The Council should ensure security for minorities in Baluchistan as well as for Baloch.
International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies highlighted the challenges and serious threats, discrimination and racism faced by minorities worldwide, and recalled the definition and rights of minorities under the United Nations Minorities Declaration adopted in 1992.
European Union of Public Relations expressed concerns about human rights violations against the Christian minority in Pakistan. Blasphemy laws were used to justify persecution against the Christian minority and to violate their right to freedom of religion or belief.
Commission to Study the Organization of Peace said States had to provide an open framework to guarantee the right to freedom of religion and belief and protect minorities from systematic exclusion. The situation of minorities in Pakistan was a matter of concern.
United Schools International expressed concerns about discrimination against members of minorities in Pakistan. Freedom of religion was being denied to a part of the society, including by extremist groups. Law enforcement groups silenced organizations and individuals raising their voice to protect freedom of religion.
Centre for Environmental and Management Studies said that Pakistan had become a dangerous place for religious minorities, and said the transition from Islamic fundamentalism to extremism was the result of poor Government policies that were unable to control the situation.
World Environment and Resources Council spoke about attacks on religious minorities in Pakistan and highlighted the problem of sectarianism in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of the undivided state of Jammu and Kashmir, which was currently controlled by Pakistan.
AUA Americas Chapter Ice spoke about the threat of extinction of the Syriac people, one of the oldest peoples in Iraq. In Da’esh-occupied areas they had been subjected to the worst atrocities. Today there were less than 450,000 Syriac people left in Iraq and many of them were internally displaced.
Amnesty International said some Council Members repeatedly failed to meet their commitments in terms of cooperation with Special Procedures. India held the record for the most outstanding requests for a visit, but others included Indonesia, Russia, Venezuela, Algeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Union of Arab Jurists spoke about the plight of ethnic and religious minorities in many Middle East States where there were a growing number of terrorist and takfiri movements which did not respect the rights of minorities. Some States and religious centres even sponsored those movements.
For use of the information media; not an official record