Where global solutions are shaped for you | News & Media | HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OUTCOMES OF MEXICO, MAURITIUS, JORDAN AND MALAYSIA

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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ADOPTS THE UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW OUTCOMES OF MEXICO, MAURITIUS, JORDAN AND MALAYSIA

14 March 2019

The Human Rights Council during its midday meeting adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Mexico, Mauritius, Jordan and Malaysia.

Christopher Ballinas Valdes, Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, noted that slow economic growth and environmental degradation had led to challenges for all countries, including Mexico.  The key areas of work for the Mexican Government were the reduction of social inequalities, freedom of expression, rule of law, enforced disappearances and the prevention of violence and crime.  In order to address all the recommendations, Mexico was committed to establishing an effective inter-institutional coordination mechanism. 

The National Human Rights Commission of Mexico urged the Government to adopt measures to respond to the recommendations.  The drafting of a new national plan for human rights represented an opportunity to do so.  In the three cycles of Mexico’s Universal Periodic Review, the topics of justice, security and the rule of law had inspired a number of recommendations, but those areas were still a cause for concern. 

In the ensuing discussion, speakers saluted Mexico’s efforts to investigate and punish perpetrators of torture and the implementation of the general law on boys, girls and adolescents.  They encouraged Mexico to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and saluted the training of the national guard.  Speakers welcomed Mexico’s efforts in the area of gender equality, but urged it to reinforce efforts to protect women, girls and boys from all forms of violence, through the strengthening of institutions.  They further called on Mexico to take measures to raise awareness about women’s rights, to protect human rights defenders, and to combat impunity.

Speaking were Tunisia, United Nations Women, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela, Armenia, Barbados, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China and Cuba.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES (in a joint statement with International Institute of Mary Our Help of the Salesians of Don Bosco), Save the Children International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, International Planned Parenthood Federation (in a joint statement with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education), Peace Brigades International Switzerland, World Organisation Against Torture, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Amnesty International, Mexican Commission of Defense and Promotion of the Human Rights,  and Asociacion HazteOir.org.

The Vice President informed that of the 262 recommendations received, Mexico had accepted 260 and noted two.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mexico. 

Maneesh Gobin, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms of Mauritius, confirmed that national human rights institutions would continue to operate in full independence and would be called upon to play a more prominent role in the dissemination and awareness of human rights on the national scale.  Providing protection and empowerment to children and women was a priority and children with disabilities would not be neglected.  Mauritius did not tolerate hate speech against any minority group, and it was committed to advancing the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers appreciated Mauritius’ engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and that it had accepted most of the recommendations.  They welcomed the establishment of an independent complaints commission responsible for investigating the complaints against police officers, as well as the progress made in reporting to various treaty bodies.  They also welcomed the establishment of a protocol for child victims of violence, equal opportunities in the workplace, and social assistance allocated to vulnerable persons.  Some speakers regretted that Mauritius had not accepted the recommendations to revise the Criminal Code so that women could access voluntary termination of pregnancy, and protect children from statelessness, adding that support for civil society in addressing homophobia was only symbolic.

Speaking were: Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritania, Namibia, Philippines, Seychelles, Togo, Tunisia and United Nations Population Fund.   

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Center for Global Nonkilling, International Lesbian and Gay Association, and Association of World Citizens.

The Vice President informed that out of 176 recommendations received, Mauritius had accepted 133 and noted 43.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Mauritius.

Saja Majali, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, informed that the Government had undertaken reforms to promote democracy, freedom of speech, and respect for all rights.  The empowerment of women in all sectors was of paramount importance.  The Government would continue to prioritize young people, and to improve the quality of education and vocational training.  When it came to certain recommendations, they were difficult to implement given the current regional situation, including security challenges, and the pressures from refugees.

The National Centre for Human Rights of Jordan, in a video statement, noted that although the new Jordanian Government was generally mindful of its human rights obligations, some concerns remained.  Those included the treatment of detainees in police stations and prisons, including alleged use of torture.  Efforts to combat rising poverty and unemployment were insufficient and there was infringement of civil and political rights. 

In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended Jordan’s continued cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms and the adoption of the National Action Plan for Human Rights 2016–2025.  They also welcomed the development of its legal system and the adoption of a law to fight family violence, and they appreciated that Jordan had accepted recommendations on the promotion of the culture of human rights and guarantees for a fair trial.  Some speakers voiced concern about tight State control on civil society organizations’ registration and funding.

Speaking were Bahrain, Belgium, Botswana, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mauritania and Nigeria.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Iraqi Development Organization, United Villages , CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l'Homme, Amnesty International, Organisation pour la communication en Afrique et de promotion de la coopération économique internationale OCAPROCE Internationale, Association of World Citizens, International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Amman Center for Human Rights Studies, and Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue.

The President of the Council informed that out of 226 recommendations received, Jordan had accepted 149 and noted 77.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Jordan.

Dato’ Amran Mohamed Zin, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that Malaysia had accepted 147 recommendations in full, 37 partially and noted the remaining 84 recommendations.  The new Government of Malaysia would issue a standing invitation to all Special Procedures.  It had recently announced its ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  It had established the Electoral Reform Commission and was taking concrete steps to appoint a Children’s Commissioner.  It had set up the Independent Committee on Migrant Workers, and a moratorium on the death penalty was in place. 

The National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia acknowledged that the situation had improved greatly since Malaysia’s first Universal Periodic Review.  It commended the efforts to institutionalize engagement with the Human Rights Commission and civil society, but there was a need for an inter-ministerial tracking system for recommendations.  The Home Minister’s announcement to withdraw the moratorium on the Prevention of Crime Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the Sedition Act 1948 and the Security Offences Special Measures Act was worrying. 
In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended Malaysia for accepting a higher number of recommendations than in previous reviews and acknowledged its commitment to engage with its National Human Rights Commission and with civil society organizations to discuss the way forward.  Activities taken to reduce poverty were also commended.  States encouraged Malaysia to consider acceding to the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, and the Convention against Torture. 

Speaking were Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Nations Population Fund, Venezuela and Viet Nam.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Franciscans International (in a joint statement with VIVAT International) , Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (in a joint statement with Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and Article 19 - International Centre against Censorship, The), Alliance Defending Freedom (in a joint statement with several NGOs1), VIVAT International (in a joint statement with Franciscans International), International Planned Parenthood Federation (in a joint statement with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education) , International Lesbian and Gay Association, International Humanist and Ethical Union, International Service for Human Rights , and CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Amnesty International.

The President of the Council informed that out of 268 recommendations received, Malaysia had accepted 148 and noted 120.  The Council then adopted the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Malaysia.

The Council will next consider the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of the Central African Republic, Monaco, and time allowing, Belize. 

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mexico

CRISTOPHER BALLINAS VALDES, Director-General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, reiterated Mexico’s belief that only through multilateralism could States address the challenges of slow economic growth globally and environmental degradation, and attain sustainable democracy and inclusive development.  The new Government had renewed its commitment to the universal human rights system and to achieve a free, open, equitable, and inclusive country, where the specific needs of those confronting great vulnerabilities were met, and to reach the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  To this end, Mexico had identified key areas of work, including the reduction of social equalities, the promotion of gender equality, and the empowerment of women and girls.  The Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls was being set up in five municipalities experiencing high levels of this scourge.  The comprehensive development plan for the Northern Triangle and Central America allowed for a focus on the entire migration cycle and was guided by the principle of shared responsibilities and full respect for human rights.  Mexico was determined to take all measures to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders and journalists, including by strengthening institutional mechanisms and designing strategies to ensure freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

The Government was committed to the reconstruction of the social fabric of the country, said Mr. Valdes, emphasizing the critical importance of the respect for human rights and ensuring the rule of law, as well as addressing the challenge of enforced disappearances.  Mexico, Mr. Valdes continued, had examined all the recommendations made in this cycle of the Universal Periodic Review and had accepted 262 and noted only two.  It had further committed to establishing an effective inter-institutional coordination mechanism to implement the accepted recommendations and would foster sustained dialogue with civil society and non-governmental organizations to draft the critical path forward together.  Mexico would also continue to seek the cooperation of other States and seek technical assistance to convert the commitments into public policy.  In conclusion, the Director-General stressed that Mexico would not ignore the serious human rights challenges it was confronting and that it would cooperate to reach the appropriate goals and draft the appropriate policies in full compliance with its human rights obligations and commitments.

National Human Rights Commission of Mexico urged Mexico to take measures to comply with the recommendations it had received and stressed that the drafting of a new national human rights action plan would represent a great opportunity to do so.  The topics of justice, security and the rule of law had inspired many recommendations during the last three cycles of the Universal Periodic Review, and those remained important concerts.  The Commission stressed that the respect for human rights was key to regulate the use of force by the national guard and that combatting impunity must be a priority, especially in light of violations of the rights of women and children and of enforced disappearances.  Mexico must ensure a human rights focus in its public policies and uphold the constitutional system.

Tunisia welcomed the recent developments in Mexico, including the adoption of laws and national plans, particularly those focused on the fight against corruption and the prevention of violence.  Tunisia commended Mexico for its adoption of the majority of recommendations and wished it success in their implementation.

United Nations Women welcomed the efforts towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and urged Mexico to place women at the centre of the promotion of peace and security.  Mexico should also set up a social protection system in line with women’s needs and institute effective prevention from all forms of violence, with priority given to young and indigenous women.

United Nations Population Fund offered technical assistance to Mexico in its efforts to improve access to sexual and reproductive health services and services to women and girls who were victims of violence.  Mexico should reinforce efforts to protect women, girls, and boys from all forms of violence, through the strengthening of institutions.

Venezuela recognized the commitment of the Government of Mexico to implement the recommendations and acknowledged the social and healthcare reforms it had undertaken.  The new criminal justice system was important, Venezuela said, and wished Mexico success in implementing the reforms.

Armenia reiterated its appreciation for Mexico’s efforts to implement the recommendations from the previous cycles of the Universal Periodic Review.  Armenia commended Mexico for its acceptance of 262 out of 264 recommendations, including those made by Armenia, and called upon Mexico to continue to combat violence against women.

Barbados extended its appreciation for Mexico’s constructive engagement in the Universal Periodic Review and said that Mexico’s ability to translate the accepted recommendations from the previous cycles into national human rights programmes might serve as a guide to action.   Barbados urged Mexico to continue to work on behalf of vulnerable communities.

Bolivia welcomed Mexico’s participation and the information it provided during the interactive dialogue.  It valued the efforts being made to implement the recommendations and strengthen those which were already being implemented, including the right to food and nutrition in rural areas.

Botswana noted that Mexico was an outstanding member of the Human Rights Council, which was evidenced by its full participation in the Universal Periodic Review process.  Botswana congratulated Mexico on accepting all but two recommendations.

Brazil congratulated Mexico on its transparency and cooperation in the Universal Periodic Review process and saluted its efforts to investigate and punish perpetrators of torture and to implement the general law on boys, girls and adolescents.  Brazil encouraged Mexico to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and saluted the training of the national guard.

Cameroon was encouraged by Mexico’s reinforced cooperation with the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council and its implementation of the recommendations from previous cycles of the Universal Periodic Review with a view to improving the human condition throughout the country.

Chile appreciated Mexico’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process and the relation it had with civil society, and urged Mexico to sign the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communication procedure.

China commended Mexico for its constructive engagement and for accepting the recommendation made by China and urged the Government to continue to implement the National Development Plan in order to ensure sustainable development, poverty eradication, and the promotion of women’s rights.

Cuba thanked Mexico for its constructive participation and commended Mexico’s acceptance of many of the recommendations received, particularly those made by Cuba relating to violence and discrimination against women, protection of victims, and the promotion of a constructive dialogue on human rights in multilateral fora.

International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education and Development – VIDES, in a joint statement with International Institute of Mary Our Help of the Salesians of Don Bosco, encouraged Mexico to continue to review the national framework to comply with international human rights obligations.  Children in Mexico often lived in poverty, inequality, and coercion, especially those living in the streets and migrant children.  Mexico should take measures to raise awareness of women’s rights.

Save the Children International urged Mexico to refrain from cutting the funding for child protection, to prioritize the prevention of violence against girls and women, and to continue the efforts to combat violence against children through an action plan that tackled the structural causes.  Mexico should protect the safety and fundamental human rights of migrants, including women and children.
 
Christian Solidarity Worldwide said that in 2018, 10 religious leaders had been killed in Mexico, and asked the Mexican Government to combat the impunity for the murder of religious leaders and to ensure that religious leaders were afforded the same protection as human rights defenders. 

International Planned Parenthood Federation, in a joint statement with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, recalled that at its last review, Mexico had committed to providing safe abortions across the country, however abortion continued to be criminalized.  Legal abortion was an important human rights principle, and Mexico should implement this recommendation. 

Peace Brigades International Switzerland drew attention to the disappearance of hundreds of “State enemies” in Mexico and the impunity of perpetrators.  Victims and human rights defenders should be involved in the design and implementation of any policy to combat impunity for enforced disappearances.

World Organisation Against Torture observed that impunity was a structural problem and urged Mexico to turn its commitments into public policy and support for thousands of victims of violence over the past few years.  There was a serious crisis for human rights defenders and the State should commit to combatting torture and impunity.
CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation raised concern about the effectiveness of the protection mechanism for human rights defenders and a worryingly insufficient emphasis on prevention, while the low number of investigations resulted in persistent human rights violations and impunity for the perpetrators. 

Amnesty International said that human rights defenders and journalists were at high risk of attacks and harassment, and most of those went unpunished.  In 2019, six defenders had been killed and authorities were called on to take necessary steps to prevent further attacks.  Women and girls continued to be at risk of gender-based violence, including an alarming number of murders.

Mexican Commission of Defense and Promotion of the Human Rights was alarmed by the complete impunity for crimes and stressed that millions of people placed their hopes in the new Government.  However, the killing of human rights defenders and discrediting of non-governmental organization continued, while women’s rights were not prominent in the Government’s agenda.

Asociacion HazteOir.org said that Mexico’s society was caught up in a culture of violence and crime, and had suffered many years of bloodshed.  While the country was turning a new leaf with a new government, it was necessary to resolve the root causes of the problems faced.  The worst that could happen would be if existing illegal cartels were legitimized, adding their power to legal cartels.

The President informed that of the 264 recommendations submitted, 262 enjoyed the support of Mexico, and 2 were noted.

CRISTOPHER BALLINAS VALDES, Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, thanked civil society organizations for their contribution to the review, and reiterated the important role they played in establishing the protection of human rights in the country.  Mr. Valdes thanked the Council for being able to participate in it as this was vital for Mexico to achieve the necessary human rights standards.  Mexico aimed to achieve these standards within the country and outside its borders as well.

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

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Mauritius

MANEESH GOBIN, Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms of Mauritius, said that Mauritius had accepted 133 of the 176 received recommendations and provided a status report on their implementation.  It aimed to accede to and ratify the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide shortly, and had set up a technical committee to ratify two protocols of the African Charter on Human Rights.  National human rights institutions would continue to operate in full independence and would be called upon to play a more prominent role in the dissemination and awareness of human rights on the national scale.  The introduction of the National Assembly of the Police and Criminal Justice Bill gave further protection to citizens and a new policy on Abuses by Security Forces reviewed the power of the police.  The Disaster Risk Management Centre continued to work on implementing preventative measures to protect and mitigate against the impact of climate change.  A national Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons was in the process of being finalized for implementation.  Minimum wage had been introduced, and services provided by the State were being continuingly improved and made accessible.

Mauritius had accepted 32 recommendations on children. Providing protection and empowerment to children was a priority and children with disabilities would not be neglected.  The empowerment of women was another priority and Mauritius committed to remove barriers for women to participate in political life.  Education was compulsory until the age of 16 and was free.  Mauritius did not tolerate hate speech against any minority group.  Mauritius had noted 43 recommendations, 25 of these related to the ratification and accession to international human rights instruments.  Many of these instruments would not be ratified as they were not relevant to the context of Mauritius.  It considered its existing legislation adequate in guaranteeing the rights of its populations and as a small densely populated island could not accept the facilitated access of more people.  Mauritius was committed to advancing the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and had sought technical assistance from the Human Dignity Trust to draft and amend legislation promoting their rights.  It would not amend the criminal code to allow the voluntary termination of pregnancy given the local context.

Ethiopia commended Mauritius for accepting many of the recommendations in the Universal Periodic Review, including those from Ethiopia aiming to enhance the fight against corruption, and to set up a support system against domestic violence.  Mauritius should take all necessary steps to implement the accepted recommendations.

Gabon welcomed the efforts made by Mauritius to ensure and promote human rights in the country, including efforts to combat domestic violence by strengthening the protection of services for victims, and additional training for the police.  Gabon urged Mauritius to continue its efforts to implement recommendations it had accepted.

Iran welcomed the work conducted by Mauritius, and was satisfied that the recommendations made by Iran had been accepted.  Iran acknowledged the work conducted by Mauritius on the empowerment of women in the implementation of its human rights national action plan, which it saw as a positive step.  

Iraq commended Mauritius for having accepted three recommendations tabled by Iraq, and welcomed the fact that Mauritius had accepted the majority of recommendations.   

Lesotho appreciated Mauritius’ engagement with the Universal Periodic Review and that it had accepted most of the recommendations.  It welcomed the establishment of an independent complaints commission responsible for investigating complaints against police officers, as well as the progress made in reporting to various treaty bodies. 

Madagascar congratulated Mauritius for having accepted three recommendations tabled by Madagascar and positively noted the creation of a Ministry for Human Rights in 2017, as well as the implementation of almost all measures from its action plan 2012–2020.

Mauritania praised Mauritius’ efforts to strengthen democratic mechanisms and congratulated Mauritius on the establishment of a protocol for child victims of violence, and ensuring equal opportunities in the workplace and social assistance allocated to vulnerable persons. 

Namibia commended Mauritius for the effective institutional reforms that had further promoted human rights, including the establishment of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.  They welcomed that Mauritius had accepted 133 of the 176 recommendations, and urged the Council to provide Mauritius with technical assistance in implementing recommendations.

Philippines thanked Mauritius for accepting three of the four recommendations presented by the Philippines relating to the rights of women, children, the elderly, as well as equal employment rights.  They wished Mauritius every success in implementing all the accepted recommendations.

Seychelles positively noted that Mauritius had accepted 133 of the 176 recommendations, including the two put forward by the Seychelles.  Seychelles commended the Government of Mauritius for their commitment to putting in place crucial legislative frameworks such as the Children’s Bill and the Gender Equality Bill, to ensure their promotion of human rights.

Togo welcomed the numerous measures taken by Mauritius to improve the living conditions of the local population, and particularly applauded the opening of a Ministry of Human Rights.  Togo urged the Government to double its efforts to guarantee the enjoyment of human rights, with particular emphasis on those of women and girls. 

Tunisia appreciated Mauritius’ cooperation with the human rights instruments and particularly welcomed the adoption of recommendations focused on tackling violence against children and domestic violence.

United Nations Population Fund welcomed Mauritius’ new policies on the elderly and on early pregnancies, as these were considerable problems on Rodrigues island.  It hoped to work with Mauritius on capacity building to boost post abortion services and family planning services.  The Fund wished to support Mauritius in fighting harmful practices and urged an integrated approach against all forms of gender-based violence.

Center for Global Nonkilling welcomed the abolition of the death penalty in Mauritius, but noted the ambiguity between the Government’s approval of relevant recommendations and simultaneous refusal to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

International Lesbian and Gay Association noted that despite positive advances, religious and cultural sensitivities had been used to deny lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons their rights, instead of evidence-based, rational, human and inclusive decision and policy making.  State support for civil society in addressing homophobia was only symbolic.

Association of World Citizens was disappointed that Mauritius had not accepted the recommendation to revise the Criminal Code so that women could access voluntary termination of pregnancy.  The organization also regretted that Mauritius had not accepted the recommendation to protect children from statelessness.    

The Vice President informed that out of 176 recommendations received, Mauritius had accepted 133 and noted 43.

MANEESH GOBIN, Attorney General, Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms of Mauritius, thanked Member States and non-governmental organizations for their comments and recommendations as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review working group.  Mauritius reiterated its commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process.  Mauritius reassured the intervening members that those recommendations which had been noted would continue to be worked upon and that Mauritius would endeavour to bring a progress report on those items to the next review.

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

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Jordan

SAJA MAJALI, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked members of the Council that had assisted in the preparation of the report, and international organizations that had assisted in the promotion and protection of human rights in Jordan.  The Government wanted to enshrine such rights in all areas, in line with its human rights obligations from international treaties.  Reforms had been undertaken to promote democracy, freedom of speech, and respect for all, as a permanent undertaking by the Government.  The empowerment of women in all sectors was of paramount importance.  Jordan would continue to prioritize young people, and improve the quality of education and vocational training.  It would strive to create new jobs and integrate young people into the job market.  Jordan was trying to establish a national strategy for young people, both to boost their participation in society and the workplace, as well as to combat radicalization.  The King Abdulla Prize for Youth Innovation and the Democratic Empowerment Prizes were part of this process.  The Universal Periodic Review was one of the tools of the Council that made these efforts easier, and one that helped them to move forward in fostering human rights in general.

The Universal Periodic Review process was an area where the Government held consultations with civil society and national human rights organizations.  Their constructive approach allowed the Government to make progress in this field.  Jordan hoped the Council would adopt the report.  During the Review, the Government had analysed all laws in place, including on women’s rights, on minority groups, and on persons with disabilities, among many others.  In the second legislative period 2010-2015, policies for facilitating women’s access to the workplace had been prioritized.  A number of commissions had been established as well, including the Royal Commission for the Judiciary, which established a framework for ensuring that national law was in line with international law.  Human rights centres and various commissions for the follow up of commitments from international mechanisms had also been established.  Budgetary spending had been increased, to support programmes for women’s and children’s access to human rights.  Within the framework of the National Human Rights Plan 2016-2025, the Government had tried to implement 40 per cent of the recommendations, including those on the rule of law, human rights and transparency. 

Jordan had accepted two thirds of the recommendations that it received, 149 out of 226, and it had noted the remaining 77.  Those not accepted were because they were already implemented within Jordan’s legal framework, or else the country would find them difficult to implement given the current regional situation, including security challenges, and the pressure of hosting refugees.  Ms. Majali said the Government would continue to work with civil society and other groups to implement the recommendations it had accepted.

National Centre for Human Rights of Jordan, in a video statement, said that although the new Jordanian Government was generally mindful of its human rights obligations, some concerns remained.  These included the treatment of detainees in police stations and prisons, including alleged use of torture.  Efforts to combat rising poverty and unemployment were insufficient, and there was infringement of civil and political rights.  Dozens of people had been apprehended, detained and/or jailed for holding peaceful protests. 

Bahrain appreciated Jordan’s efforts during the Universal Periodic Review and welcomed that Jordan had adopted a number of policies and laws, including the National Action Plan for Human Rights 2016-2025.  Bahrain recommended that the Council adopt the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Jordan. 

Belgium called on Jordan to ensure the conformity of its anti-terrorism law with the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  It also noted that its two recommendations had not been adopted, including on early marriage.  A comprehensive approach needed to be taken regarding the participation of women in public and political life.

Botswana recognized the adoption by Jordan of constitutional amendments to improve the independence of the judiciary, as well as the enactment of the National Action Plan for Human Rights 2016–2025.

China commended Jordan for its constructive engagement with the Universal Periodic Review, and expressed hope that Jordan would step up training for law enforcement personnel, and that it would ensure the implementation of the Law on the Rights of the Child.

Cuba congratulated Jordan on its active engagement in the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.  It invited Jordan to implement all the accepted recommendations.

Egypt commended Jordan’s continued cooperation with the United Nations human rights mechanisms and the adoption of the National Action Plan for Human Rights 2016–2025.  Egypt also welcomed the development of Jordan’s legal system and the adoption of a law to fight family violence. 

Iraq thanked Jordan for the report and the update on the human rights situation.  Jordan had accepted three recommendations by Iraq.  Iraq commended Jordan for accepting the majority of the recommendations.

Kuwait welcomed the delegation of Jordan and commended that they accepted a large number of recommendations, including those made by Kuwait.  Jordan was encouraged to adopt laws to protect women in the labour market.  The adoption of a human rights national plan was also welcomed.

Lebanon appreciated that Jordan had accepted almost all recommendations, including those by Lebanon.  The first recommendation was to promote a culture of human rights and second one was on capacity building of the judiciary and provision of adequate measures to modernize the judiciary.

Libya expressed thanks to Jordan for its active participation in the Universal Periodic Review.  Jordan was particularly commended for creating a national body for follow up of the recommendations and the adoption of the law on the participation of women in the public sector.

Malaysia stated that in the spirit of constructive support, Jordan would benefit from improving its policies on women, children and gender rights in the workplace.  In this regard, they welcomed the fact that Jordan had accepted most of the recommendations.

Mauritania welcomed the transparency and interaction shown by Jordan during the Universal Periodic Review.  They appreciated the progress achieved by Jordan, and believed this would facilitate peace and human rights at an international level.  They called for the report to be adopted by the Council.

Nigeria commended the work of Jordan for the protection of vulnerable groups in society, including women, children and the elderly.  They also commended its adoption of laws to combat embezzlement.   Nigeria thanked Jordan for its cooperation and recommended the adoption of the report.

Iraqi Development Organization had serious concerns about legal obstacles in place to restrict the registration of civil society organizations in Jordan.  Concern was also raised over Jordan’s policy of exporting military and security personnel to the Gulf Cooperation Countries where they were complicit in human rights violations.

United Villages said it was praiseworthy that Jordan had adopted policies to protect human rights, adhering to international standards.  The formation of the Royal Commission which conducted a comprehensive review of judicial authorities would surely strengthen the rule of law.

CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation was concerned about Jordan’s tight State control on the registration and funding of civil society organizations.  There was a lack of commitment to review the 2009 law on societies, which restricted the work of civil society.

Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l'Homme said that it was very important for Jordan to implement recommendations and ensure the rule of law. This was particularly important concerning the position of Jordanian authorities when it came to media freedoms. 

Amnesty International believed Jordan’s Personal Status Law and Penal Code continued to discriminate against women and girls.  They welcomed policies to fight domestic violence, but regretted Jordan’s ongoing harassment and imprisonment of journalists and activists, and its rejection of recommendations to end administrative detention.

Organisation pour la communication en Afrique et de promotion de la coopération économique internationale OCAPROCE Internationale believed that the promotion of women’s rights was very important, and welcomed the draft law as well as other laws introducing flexible working hours, inheritance rights, and access of women to positions of responsibility.

Association of World Citizens commended Jordan for accepting recommendation 135.6 to protect women against domestic violence, and for accepting wounded Yemenis in its hospitals.  It regretted the rejection of all recommendations on changing the law on child marriage, and on guardianship of women by men. 

International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination said that the right to participate in public and political life was still restricted and the Penal Code allowed reduced sentences for those who murdered their spouses when discovered committing adultery.  The Government should continue working on the implementation of a comprehensive national rights plan until 2025.

Amman Center for Human Rights Studies was deeply concerned about the amendments to the Temporary Labour Law.  Positive amendments were noted, such as introducing a new definition of the concept of flexible work and exempting of Palestinians and Gazans who lived in Jordan from obtaining work permits.

Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue said that Jordan had implemented 39 out of 131 recommendations that were submitted from the previous review session, in particular on enhancing women’s rights, promoting the right to work, and advancing the right to education.  Jordan should ratify the Convention on Migrant Workers.

The President of the Council informed that out of 226 recommendations received, 149 were supported by Jordan and 77 were noted.
 
SAJA MAJALI, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in her concluding remarks, expressed thanks to all delegations and non-governmental organizations for their interventions during this session, especially the constructive remarks.  She suggested that non-governmental organizations with critical comments should re-read the report in order to be adequately informed on the facts.  She reiterated Jordan’s commitment to upholding human rights and said that a high-level ministerial committee to implement all recommendations and bring them in line with national legislation had been established.

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

Consideration of the Outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Malaysia
 
DATO’ AMRAN MOHAMED ZIN, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that as a State firmly committed to the Universal Periodic Review, Malaysia appreciated the active participation of 113 countries in its third review.  Their constructive comments and recommendations were in line with Malaysia’s own efforts to seek genuine and greater cooperation in the promotion and protection of universally accepted human rights and fundamental freedoms.  Malaysia had accepted 147 recommendations in full, 37 partially and noted the remaining 84 recommendations.  The authorities were already taking the necessary steps towards the effective implementation of the recommendations.  In that respect, the Government was working closely with various stakeholders in developing a viable mechanism to keep track of progress on implementation.  Biannual reviews would be conducted to monitor and scrutinize the implementation status.

The new Government of Malaysia was committed to advancing human rights and there was already much greater focus in that respect.  First, the Government had announced that it would issue a standing invitation to all Special Procedures.  Second, Malaysia had recently announced its ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.  Third, it had established the Electoral Reform Commission and it would legislate a specific law to achieve a more advanced election management system, as well as a fair and transparent electoral process that conformed to democratic principles.  Fourth, the authorities had taken concrete steps to appoint a Children’s Commissioner.  Fifth, Malaysia had set up the Independent Committee on Migrant Workers.  Finally, a moratorium on the death penalty had been in place since October 2018 and the Government had just decided to abolish the death penalty for 11 criminal offenses. 

National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia acknowledged that the situation had improved greatly since Malaysia’s first Universal Periodic Review.  Of 268 recommendations received, 184 were accepted and 84 noted.  The Government was called on to give action to those recommendations that it took note of, as this was very much stated within the new Government’s promises.  Efforts to institutionalize engagement with the Human Rights Commission and civil society were commended, but there was a need for an inter-ministerial tracking system for recommendations.  The decision to accept recommendations to abolish the death penalty and place a moratorium on it was welcomed.  The Home Minister’s announcement of the withdraw of the moratorium on the Prevention of Crime Act, Prevention of Terrorism Act, Sedition Act 1948 and Security Offences Special Measures Act was worrying.  Malaysia had to accede to remaining core human rights treaties and it was disappointing that it did not accede to the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  Although the Government had said it would accede to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the Convention against Torture, and increase the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 years, this was not adopted.  The new Government had to reaffirm its commitment to human rights for all, as per their election promises.

Russian Federation noted the successes achieved by Malaysia in promoting human rights and applauded it for accepting the majority of recommendations and counted on their effective implementation.

Saudi Arabia took note of the national report of Malaysia and applauded the efforts made to fight against poverty.  It was satisfied that the two recommendations it had made had been accepted and wished Malaysia further success.

Singapore commended Malaysia on its constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review process and for accepting a higher number of recommendations than in previous reviews, and acknowledged its commitment to engage with its National Human Rights Commission and with civil society organizations to discuss the way forward. 

South Africa commended Malaysia for its commitment to ratifying all remaining core international human rights instruments, as well as its continued commitment to promote and protect the exercise of civil and political rights, and the renewal of democracy.  South Africa applauded its achievements in reducing the poverty gap, and the commitment to eliminate discrimination against women.

Sri Lanka appreciated Malaysia’s efforts to safeguard freedom of expression and speech, as well as its work towards ensuring the emotional and mental growth and safety of children.  Sri Lanka encouraged Malaysia to consider acceding to the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and the Convention against Torture. 

Sudan commended the commitment and positive engagement of Malaysia with the Universal Periodic Review, and appreciated its acceptance of the majority of recommendations made during the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review.

Thailand commended Malaysia for accepting over two-thirds of all recommendations, including both recommendations from Thailand on combatting child labour and trafficking in persons and on universal health coverage.  

Tunisia welcomed the efforts to improve the human rights situation in Malaysia, including the adoption of new laws and efforts to strengthen the quality of teaching.  Activities taken to reduce poverty were also commended. 

Turkmenistan said that this interactive dialogue was a useful opportunity to hear about Malaysia’s efforts to improve the human rights situation.  Turkmenistan recommended that the Council adopt the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Malaysia.

United Arab Emirates commended the acceptance of the majority of the recommendations made at this Universal Periodic Review session by Malaysia and appreciated its efforts to ensure good governance and the rule of law.

United Nations Population Fund pledged its support toward the enactment of the Gender Equality Bill in Malaysia by harmonizing the existing legal framework to protect women and girls from human rights violations and the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education.  It would support the empowerment of young people through life skills education.

Venezuela said that Malaysia had demonstrated its commitment to human rights through its open cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review process.  It particularly commended the Government for initiatives launched to promote interactive dialogues between ethnic and religious minorities as well as investments in an improved health system in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Viet Nam said that Malaysia’s acceptance of many recommendations showed its strong engagement on human rights. Viet Nam was ready to cooperate with Malaysia, whether in sharing experiences on the promotion and protection of human rights, or within the framework of human rights mechanisms within the United Nations or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Franciscans International, in a joint statement with VIVAT International, welcomed Malaysia’s acceptance of recommendations on human rights and migrant workers, but deeply regretted the rejection of recommendations on guaranteeing the freedom of religion and belief.  They continued to be alarmed at the high number of trafficked workers from Indonesia.

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, in a joint statement with Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, and Article 19 - International Centre against Censorship, The, were encouraged by Malaysia’s reforms, including accession to the International Criminal Court.  The Forum called for the abolition of the death penalty and the criminalization of marital rape.  They regretted Malaysia’s failure to accept recommendations on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Alliance Defending Freedom, in a joint statement with several NGOs1, in a joint statement, said the right to change one’s religion or belief was a human right, and the Malaysian constitution did not recognize these rights for minority religious groups, who could not fully enjoy their human rights.  They also called on Malaysia to stop recording religious status on identity cards, which could lead to discrimination.

VIVAT International, in a joint statement with Franciscans International, was concerned about the human rights situation of migrant workers and victims of human trafficking, the majority of whom were Indonesian and were vulnerable to physical, psychological and sexual violence and exploitation.  It called on Malaysia to ratify the Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

International Planned Parenthood Federation, in a joint statement with Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, celebrated Malaysia’s commitment to respecting, protecting and fulfilling sexual and reproductive health, and stressed the importance of reducing maternal mortality and guaranteeing full access to safe abortions as provided for by the law.  It encouraged the Government to scale up efforts in this direction.

International Lesbian and Gay Association was alarmed by State sponsored actions against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including conversion therapy, as well as the harassment minorities, hampering their right to assembly and protest.  The Government must take a strong stand against hate speech directed toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons.

International Humanist and Ethical Union was astounded that Malaysia had rejected the recommendation on the necessity to guarantee the right to freedom of religion or belief.  This right was repressed in Malaysia, people were kept in jail for insulting the Prophet, and blasphemy laws were in place.

International Service for Human Rights said that Malaysia had partially accepted recommendations to protect human rights defenders.  Although discrimination was a daily issue, public misconceptions about international treaties had led the Government of Malaysia to officially refuse to become a signatory to the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation regretted the decision of the Government not to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  It was also concerning that there was no clear timetable to ratify the other core treaties.  Activists continued to face arrests for their involvement in protests. 

Amnesty International welcomed Malaysia’s accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and welcomed their acceptance of recommendations to end torture in prison.  However, Amnesty called on Malaysia to abolish laws that restricted freedom of expression, and regretted that Malaysia rejected recommendations to defend lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex groups.

The President of the Council informed that out of 268 recommendations received, Malaysia had accepted 148 and noted 120. 

DATO’ AMRAN MOHAMED ZIN, Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United nations Office in Geneva, stated that Malaysia was committed to ratifying various international conventions on human rights, including the Convention against Torture and the Convention against Enforced Disappearance.  Freedom of religion was constitutionally guaranteed in Malaysia, and diversity was the country’s strength.  Policies were in place to prevent stereotyping or harassment of religious groups.  On the issue of discrimination, he said the Government was looking at introducing a bill to tackle discrimination, and it did not tolerate acts that disrupted social harmony.  On gender equality, a commission had been established to draft a gender equality bill.  Malaysia was committed to the cause of human rights nationally and globally, and the country’s determination to implement the Universal Periodic Review recommendations demonstrated this.  Malaysia thanked all members for their support in this work.

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


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1Joint statement on behalf of: Alliance Defending Freedom, World Evangelical Allliance, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, The - (ERLC), Youth with a Mission and Asociacion HazteOir.org).



For use of the information media; not an official record

HCR/19/40E