GENEVA (21 September 2017) - The Human Rights Council in a midday meeting adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Morocco, Indonesia and Finland.
Mustafa Ramid, State Minister in charge of Human Rights of Morocco, said Morocco appreciated the interest given to all institutional reforms during the review, which it had pursued by amending the constitution. Morocco fully supported 191 out of 244 recommendations, namely 78 per cent of the total number of recommendations, including 23 recommendations that had been fully implemented; 44 recommendations had been taken into consideration, and 9 recommendations had not been accepted as they did not fall within the mandate of the Human Rights Council. Morocco’s National Human Rights Council was in charge of the implementation and the promotion of human rights in the country.
The national human rights institution of Morocco also spoke.
In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended Morocco for its commitment to human rights, with several singling out the country’s success in reducing unemployment as a positive sign. Some, however, regretted the fact that the country had not accepted the recommendations to decriminalize sexual relations outside marriage. Morocco’s efforts to protect the rights of migrants were noted with appreciation. A number of speakers said that the Moroccan invasion of the territory of Western Sahara was illegal. The Sahrawi people were deprived of their rights and their situation should be given attention.
Speaking were Yemen, Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Botswana, China Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq and Jordan.
Also taking the floor were the following civil society organizations: Africa Culture International, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, American Association of Jurists (in a joint statement), International Humanist and Ethical Union, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, World Barua Organization (WBO), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Liberation, and Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l’Homme.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Morocco.
Robert Matheus Michael Tene, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said last May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Law and Human Rights had jointly headed the Indonesian delegation to Geneva. After careful considerations, Indonesia had directly accepted 150 recommendations and brought home 75 pending recommendations for further deliberations nationally. The death penalty was still a prevailing positive law in Indonesia, but the revision of the penal code provided a more robust safeguard in due process of law on the death penalty.
The national human rights institution of Indonesia also spoke.
In the ensuing discussion, speakers recommended that Indonesia address discrimination against women and girls, including that it abolish female genital mutilation. Indonesia’s approach to the death penalty was also an issue addressed by many speakers. The country was congratulated on its efforts to eradicate modern slavery. Indonesia’s efforts to combat violence and crimes against children were also singled out for praise. Some speakers said Indonesia had failed to safeguard the right to freedom of religion or belief. A number of religious communities faced serious obstacles from the Government in establishing places of worship. Unfair trials were also a serious source of concern.
Speaking were Sudan, Thailand, UN Women, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Malaysia, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Egypt.
Also taking the floor were the following civil society organizations: Lawyers for Lawyers, Lutheran World Federation, British Humanist Association, Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Franciscans International (in a joint statement), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development Forum-Asia, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, and Amnesty International.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia.
Terhi Hakala, Permanent Representative of Finland, said the rule of law in Finland was one of the strongest in the world. The rights of persons belonging to minorities, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants as well as of persons deprived of their liberty were not always fully realized. Some of the focus areas for Finland included discrimination and self-determination, sexual orientation and gender identity, and tackling racism, xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes. Finland had received 153 recommendations, accepted 120, partially accepted 6, and 27 were noted. Many of the fully accepted recommendations were already in the process of being implemented.
The Finnish Human Rights Centre also spoke.
In the ensuing discussion, speakers commended Finland for its commitment to human rights. Some delegations welcomed the new action plan on the prevention of violent extremism and radicalization and the fact that Finland had strengthened its efforts towards eradication of domestic violence. Several speakers noted that Finland had not accepted recommendations to remove sterilization as a condition for legal gender recognition, which was a violation of human rights, as the European Human Rights Court had recently ruled.
Speaking were Lithuania, Maldives Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Albania, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt and Estonia.
Also taking the floor were the following civil society organizations: European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation ILGA-EUROPE, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Amnesty International, International Association for Democracy in Africa, Pan African Union for Science and Technology and International-Lawyers.Org.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Finland.
The Council will next consider the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of the United Kingdom, India and Brazil.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Morocco
MUSTAFA RAMID, State Minister in charge of Human Rights of Morocco, said Morocco appreciated the interest given to all institutional reforms during the review, which it had pursued by amending the constitution. When the draft of the report of the Working Group was issued, the State Minister in charge of human rights had embarked on consultations with all stakeholders to safeguard its effective implementation in accordance with its strategic planning principles. Morocco fully supported 191 out of 244 recommendations, namely 78 per cent of the total number of recommendations, including 23 recommendations that had been fully implemented; 44 recommendations had been taken into consideration, and 9 recommendations had not been accepted as they did not fall within the mandate of the Human Rights Council. Morocco had spared no efforts since the national report had been put forward in May 2017. The National Human Rights Council, being the national independent human rights institution, was in charge of the implementation and the promotion of human rights in the country. Morocco’s effective implementation of its international commitments resulted from its adherence to international instruments when it came to torture and the protection of disadvantaged individuals and groups. Morocco had held a number of workshops based on strategic planning. This session should be an opportunity to assess the reality of human rights in the Kingdom.
National Human Rights Council of the Kingdom of Morocco welcomed the position of the Government with regard to the 191 adopted recommendations and declared itself willing to step up its cooperation with all stakeholders for the implementation of the recommendations. The Council would continue to monitor public policies. On human rights education, the Council, thanks to its Human Rights Training Institute, remained willing to bolster the capacity of State actors, as well as civil society and the private sector, to promote and protect human rights. As for recommendations that were not accepted by the Government, the Council reaffirmed its favorable position on the abolition of capital punishment and on gender equality. It called upon the Government of Morocco to step up its actions to protect vulnerable groups from violence and discrimination, including protecting members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community. The Council ensured that the protection and promotion of human rights was being carried out throughout the country through its regional commissions. Finally, it encouraged Parliament to adopt the recommendations allowing for the reforms to be implemented.
Yemen warmly welcomed the delegation and commended Morocco’s achievements in the field of human rights. It also commended Morocco’s efforts in promoting and protecting human rights. The fact that Morocco had adopted a large number of recommendations highlighted its commitment to human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
Afghanistan welcomed the invitation extended by the Government to Special Procedure mandate holders to visit Morocco, and noted that important steps had been taken by the Government to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights for its citizens. It also commended the legislative and institutional reforms in the area of civil and political rights, and in particular the draft law combatting violence against women.
Albania was pleased that a considerable number of recommendations had been adopted by the Government of Morocco. It trusted the Government in its commitment towards the promotion and protection of human rights and looked forward to its implementation of the accepted recommendations.
Azerbaijan took note of Morocco’s achievements in the field of human rights, noting that it was remarkable that it had accepted most of the recommendations. It recommended that the Council adopt the outcome of Morocco’s Universal Periodic Review.
Bahrain welcomed the latest developments in Morocco in terms of the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as its serious commitment to human rights. Bahrain was convinced that Morocco would implement the recommendations that it had accepted.
Belgium commended Morocco’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review and its efforts to implement the recommendations of the previous cycle. It welcomed its adoption of a draft law on violence against women. However, it regretted that Morocco had not accepted the recommendations on decriminalising sexual relations outside marriage, and concerning the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Botswana welcomed Morocco’s improvement of the law on public participation of women, and other gender-based programmes, as well as its continued cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms.
China appreciated Morocco’s constructive participation in the Universal Periodic Review, as well as sustainable development plans in terms of health, education and accommodation. It also welcomed its efforts to protect the rights of migrants.
Côte d’Ivoire commended Morocco’s efforts to improve human rights and encouraged it to pursue its cooperation with the international community to safeguard the gains in that sphere. It remained convinced that the implementation of the recommendations from the current cycle would lead to further improvements in the country.
Egypt congratulated Morocco on its cooperation with the Universal Periodic Review. Morocco was also congratulated for accepting so many recommendations, including those proposed by Egypt. Laws and important steps on reforming the judiciary were commended.
Ethiopia welcomed Morocco’s delegation and thanked the country for accepting a considerable number of recommendations, expressing appreciation for its principled advancement.
Gabon welcomed the delegation of Morocco and was pleased with the commitment of the Moroccan Government, welcoming actions against poverty. The legislative and institutional reforms leading to a framework law on persons with disabilities was also welcomed. Morocco should continue its efforts in implementing the recommendations.
Ghana encouraged Morocco to continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law in the country. Morocco was urged to continue its success.
India welcomed Morocco and noted with appreciation the frank and open manner in which it had participated in the Universal Periodic Review process. Morocco had created a large number of jobs, and the unemployment rate had decreased. Morocco’s implementation of a programme increasing employment in the agricultural sector was also welcomed.
Indonesia congratulated the Government of Morocco for its report, and was pleased to note that Morocco had accepted a large number of the recommendations suggested. Indonesia also thanked the Government of Morocco for accepting all of Indonesia’s recommendations.
Iraq welcomed the delegation of Morocco and hailed Morocco’s report and the fact that it had adopted the majority of the recommendations, including those proposed by Iraq.
Jordan welcomed the Moroccan delegation, and commended Morocco on the progress achieved in the promotion and protection of human rights. It was convinced that Morocco would continue its efforts in implementing the recommendations adopted.
Africa Culture International welcomed the delegation of Morocco and appreciated its efforts to implement the recommendations from the Universal Periodic Review. It also welcomed that Morocco respected freedom of the press, and encouraged it to cooperate actively with Member States in the European Union.
International Fellowship of Reconciliation reminded that the United Nations General Assembly had stressed the right of all peoples to self-determination. Western Sahara was independent and separate from the Kingdom of Morocco. The organization called upon the Human Rights Council to refuse all Moroccan calls to include Western Sahara in its administrative distribution.
American Association of Jurists, in a joint statement with several NGOs1, said the Moroccan invasion of the territory of Western Sahara was illegal. It took note of the numerous serious breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and called on the Kingdom of Morocco to abide by international humanitarian law.
International Humanist and Ethical Union was extremely disappointed to see that the recommendation on limitation of religious activities and freedom of conscience had not been adopted by Morocco. In the past years, non-Muslims had been arrested for eating in public during Ramadan, and freedom of religious belief was being violated.
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said many human rights violations had been seen in Morocco, including assaults by police on human rights defenders during peaceful protests. Highlighting the exercise of disproportionate power during recent protests in northern Morocco and the unjust prosecution media professionals and journalists, it called on Morocco to respect the rights in its legislation.
World Barua Organization (WBO) said the Sahrawi people were deprived of their rights. Little attention was given to the issue of Western Sahara. The situation of the Sahrawi people should be given attention. The United Nations Committee against Torture had noted that Morocco had committed violations concerning torture.
Amnesty International said there had been a chilling wave of arrests of people of the Rif region. Morocco’s review of the penal code was welcomed, but its rejection of recommendations to end the prosecution of journalists was regretted. The country was urged to amend the code of criminal procedure to ensure access to a lawyer during interrogation.
Human Rights Watch said during Morocco’s review, the country’s efforts to accede to international treaties had been noted. The Government’s rejection of recommendations on other key issues was regretted. The Government was urged to comply with recommendations it had already accepted, noting that Morocco’s human rights record remained tainted.
Liberation said that in the report submitted by the State, and the report from the Working Group, there was no mention of the rights of the Saharawi people. Conditions in the camps were described as wretched. The Council was urged to send a technical mission to Western Sahara to prepare an impartial report on the situation.
L’Conseil International pour le soutien à des procès équitables et aux Droits de l’Homme said many countries had addressed the issue of Western Sahara, adding that Morocco did not want that issue to be addressed. At the thirty-fifth session, the High Commissioner had not spoken of the Tindouf camp. Human rights violations were continuing in Western Sahara, which did not enjoy self-determination.
The Vice-Chairman said that out of 244 recommendations received, 191 enjoyed Morocco’s support while 53 were noted.
MUSTAFA RAMID, State Minister in charge of Human Rights of Morocco, thanked the Human Rights Council for allowing Morocco to set out its achievements. The recommendations that were in line with the provisions of the Moroccan Constitution had been fully accepted and would be fully implemented into human rights law and would enter into force in 2018. Morocco was determined to establish a follow-up programme for the implementation of the recommendations deriving from the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council. Morocco had taken big steps and would continue its steps at all levels, especially at the judicial level, which guaranteed fundamental freedoms, in line with international standards, enshrining an independent judiciary which guaranteed human rights and was in line with all relevant European institutions. All authorities of the constitutional tribunal had been expanded to reject non-constitutionality of laws. In addition, two laws had been promulgated, of which one on criminal laws and another on the procedures. The military courts had also been revised so as to apply only to military crimes.
A recommendation on combatting torture and mistreatment had been adopted, as had appropriate steps to address these issues. Another law created a mechanism to combat torture, consistent with international law. In October the Sub-Committee against Torture would be received by Morocco. Finally, Morocco this year had adopted legislation on the relevant human rights institutions in step with the Moroccan Constitution, including on combatting discrimination, and improving education, health care, and employment, all of which fed into the issue of human rights and which applied to the entire country. There was no difference between the south and the north in this respect. Civil society was a vital partner in public policy, and this through the mechanisms enshrined in the law, especially the law on petitions to local and regional authorities. A participatory approach had been activated as a fundamental tool of the Government to this effect. The choice of democracy and human rights was an irreversible choice. The Government and the people were determined to pursue the establishment of democracy.
The outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Morocco was then adopted.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia
ROBERT MATHEUS MICHAEL TENE, Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, affirmed that the State of Indonesia continued to be a consistent proponent of the Universal Periodic Review mechanism as a constructive dialogue, cooperation and capacity-building mechanism that enabled Member States on an equal footing to be exposed and scrutinized on their human rights performance. The third cycle of Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Review last May was something special. Two Ministers – the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Law and Human Rights – had jointly headed the Indonesian delegation to Geneva. After careful considerations, Indonesia had directly accepted 150 recommendations and brought home 75 pending recommendations for further deliberations nationally. Those 150 recommendations represented Indonesia’s efforts in line with the national human rights agenda. Last May, a series of raising-awareness disseminations and consultations were convened not only among government official but also with civil society and the media. In many cases, it was found that one particular recommendation comprised a number of different ideas, sometimes one contradicting the other. This prevented Indonesia from supporting the recommendation as a whole. Due to their substantive urgency and sensitivity, the remaining 75 pending recommendations required further steps of consideration.
Indonesia noted that 58 recommendations were not in line with the priorities in Indonesian’s human rights agenda. The death penalty was still a prevailing positive law in Indonesia. However, the revision of the penal Code had provided a more robust safeguard in due process of law on the death penalty. The Constitution guaranteed the protection of all Indonesians from discrimination and violence. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people continued to be a controversial and polarizing issue. Indonesia’s human rights action plan played a pertinent role in coordinating endeavours among government authorities at the national and sub national levels. However, disparity of wealth remained an enormous challenge in the fulfilment of economic and social rights. The Government was redoubling its efforts to push forward an inclusive development policy and measures focusing on the poor and those living in frontier, remote areas.
National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia “Komnas HAM” appreciated the Indonesian Government’s presentation of its third Universal Periodic Review report, and acknowledged the vast efforts of the Government which had accepted more than 150 recommendations. It also appreciated the steps taken by the Government to consult with various parties in a participatory manner to further discuss its pending recommendations. The Commission welcomed the commitment made by the Indonesian Government during the third review. Nevertheless, it identified important recommendations that had not yet been accepted, and urged the Government to take some measures in this respect. These included measures to eradicate impunity, prioritize the settlement of gross human rights violations, guarantee the freedom of religion and belief, ensure freedom of expression, as well as abolish the death penalty. In addition, the Commission encouraged the Government to highlight other crucial issues such as minority groups, indigenous people, human rights defenders, and torture, and to further its efforts in the ratification of international human rights instruments, including the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture.
Sudan warmly welcomed the delegation of Indonesia and commended the Government’s efforts to promote and protect the human rights of its citizens. It appreciated the ratification of most international human rights core conventions, as well as the adoption and implementation of the national human rights action plan, the national development plan and the allocation of 20 per cent of the national budget to education.
Thailand said the participation of two Ministers from Indonesia in May 2017 at the Universal Periodic Review Working Group illustrated its high-level commitment to the process. It commended Indonesia for supporting the majority of the recommendations, including both of Thailand’s recommendations, and wished Indonesia every success in its efforts to promote and protect human rights.
UN Women commended Indonesia for its strong commitment to human rights, including significant achievements in the promotion of women’s rights. Challenges remained, and in this respect, it recommended that the Government abolish the 389 by-laws that discriminated against women and girls. It also called upon the Government to improve sexual and reproductive health and abolish female genital mutilation.
United Kingdom was pleased that Indonesia had supported recommendations to uphold its human rights obligations in Papua, including the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. It congratulated Indonesia on its efforts to eradicate modern slavery, however it regretted that the recommendations on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty had not been supported.
Uzbekistan said it was gratifying that Indonesia had adopted the majority of recommendations, including those of Uzbekistan on access to information in remote areas of the country, and on children’s rights. It recommended adoption of the report.
Venezuela thanked Indonesia for its report, highlighting that the Government was fully committed to the cause of human rights. Great consideration had been given to improving access to education and women’s rights. Venezuela commended Indonesia for its success in its Universal Periodic Review and encouraged the Government to pursue its efforts in the social sphere.
Afghanistan said the national human rights action plan was a significant step as well as the national strategy against violence against children. The finalization of the draft bill on gender equality would support women’s rights. Afghanistan called on the Council to adopt the outcome of Indonesia.
Albania congratulated the Government of Indonesia for engaging in a constructive dialogue in the review process. Albania appreciated that Indonesia had adopted most recommendations, including Albania’s recommendations, and that it was considering the inclusion of human rights in school curricula at all levels.
Algeria commended Indonesia for its commitment to human rights and its cooperation in the Universal Periodic Review and other United Nations mechanisms. Most recommendations had been adopted, including the ones related to the improvement of access to healthcare centres. Algeria reiterated its hopes of full success for the implementation of the recommendations by Indonesia.
Malaysia commended Indonesia for undertaking steps to implement the recommendations as well as its efforts to combat violence and crimes against children. This highlighted Indonesia’s determination to strengthen its partnership with United Nations’ mechanisms.
Belarus welcomed the constructive participation of Indonesia in the Universal Periodic Review process. The third Universal Periodic Review cycle had highlighted Indonesia’s will to cooperate with the treaty bodies and to improve the situation of human rights. Belarus welcomed the comprehensive approach of Indonesia to implement the principles of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Cambodia said the acceptance of a large number of recommendations reflected the determination of Indonesia to promote and protect human rights. Cambodia supported the adoption of the Working Group’s report on Indonesia and wished Indonesia success in implementing the recommendations.
China commended the constructive participation of the Indonesian Government in the Universal Periodic Review and its acceptance of recommendations, including those made by China on combatting violence against women and children, and combatting trafficking, as well as protecting the rights of vulnerable groups. It urged the Government to adopt the mid-term national development plan which endeavored to remove poverty.
Cuba recognized the progress made by Indonesia in the promotion and protection of all human rights, despite challenges. It appreciated the efforts to promote greater awareness of human rights among the population, and thanked Indonesia for the acceptance of the two recommendations made by Cuba and hoped the efforts would bear fruit.
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea welcomed the acceptance by Indonesia of many recommendations, including those presented by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and wished it success in their implementation.
Egypt welcomed the delegation of Indonesia and hailed its acceptance of 177 out of 225 recommendations, of which two had been from Egypt. These had looked at measures necessary to ratify additional instruments of human rights as well as efforts to improve the legal framework.
Lawyers for Lawyers called on Indonesia to implement all recommendations without delay. It was concerned that lawyers in areas such as Papua were regularly denied the opportunity to meet with their clients. It was also concerned about a draft bill on advocates. Protection required effective action by legal services, and a justice system that allowed lawyers to work independently without fear of reprisals.
Lutheran World Federation was concerned about the human rights situation in Indonesia. Indonesia had failed to safeguard the right to freedom of religion or belief. A number of religious communities faced serious obstacles from the Government in establishing places of worship. Unfair trials were also a serious source of concern. The Government should impose a moratorium on the death penalty.
British Humanist Association outlined that atheists remained legally unrecognized in the country. Discriminatory blasphemy laws were unacceptable. The deterioration of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons was of grave concern. This inequality had been accompanied by vigilante attacks and police raids.
Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - COC Nederland, in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association, regretted the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in Indonesia who suffered grave discriminations. The lack of legal protection made them vulnerable to abuses committed both by State and non-State actors. The Government was reluctant to address this issue.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide was concerned that Christians and other religious minorities continued to suffer violence and discrimination in Indonesia. Several churches had been forcibly closed illustrating the rise of intolerance in Indonesia. Since 2015 the Ahmadiyya Muslim community had also been targeted by violence. Christian Solidarity Worldwide voiced concern that the Government had not accepted to remove blasphemy laws.
Franciscans International, in a joint statement with VIVAT International, said that the Government of Indonesia still failed to ensure the full enjoyment of the human rights of indigenous west Papuans. An indigenous Papuan villager in west Papua had recently been killed following tensions between villagers and workers who declined to bring a victim of drowning to hospital.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development Forum-Asia appreciated the inclusion of civil society in the review process. Indonesia was urged to extend an invitation to the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and called on the Government to address impunity in West Papua. The Government was also urged to uphold freedoms of expression, assembly and religion.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues said despite accepting 167 resolutions that it had received, the Indonesia Government did not go far enough in addressing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. The Government had not accepted an investigation in past human rights abuses. It’s refusal to end prosecution under blasphemy laws was also regretted.
Amnesty International urged Indonesia to ratify international instruments, as had been accepted by Indonesia already, but not implemented. Indonesia had not accepted recommendations to address past human rights violations. Despite guarantees in the constitution of the right to freedom of expression and other rights, the authorities criminalized blasphemy.
The Vice-Chairman said that out of 225 recommendations received, 167 enjoyed Indonesia’s support, while 58 recommendations were noted.
ROBERT MATHEUS MICHAEL TENE, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United Nations Office at Geneva, thanked all for their comments and suggestions which would help Indonesia in its efforts to improve its human rights situation and to achieve tangible results on the ground. Indonesia was committed to work closely with State and non-State actors, and to work on the implementation of the recommendations. The Government of Indonesia acknowledged the presence of its national human rights institution and of civil society representatives whose contributions it appreciated very much. Mr. Tene reiterated Indonesia’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review.
The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia.
Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Finland
TERHI HAKALA, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the Universal Periodic Review provided an important channel to elaborate on national achievements and challenges in the field of human rights, in a constructive and equal manner based on an active dialogue between Member States. It constituted not only an inter-active peer assessment, but also peer learning. It provided a variety of tools for further promotion of human rights based on bilateral as well as multilateral dialogue. Rule of law was a fundamental condition for democracy. Finland had been built on the foundation of law and its rule of law was one of the world’s strongest. Finland held the third place in the global Rule of Law index which measured how the general public experienced the rule of law in everyday situations. As the recommendations had illustrated, racist, discriminatory and xenophobic attitudes remained challenges in Finland, as well as hate speech, other hate crimes, and intolerance. Violence against women continued to be one of the most fundamental obstacles to the full realization of women’s rights. The rights of persons belonging to minorities, the lesbian gay bisexual and transsexual community, asylum seekers, refugees and migrants as well as of persons deprived of their liberty were not always fully realized. Part of the population was in danger of being marginalized. As regarded the indigenous Sami people, several human rights issues remained open and the Government remained committed to finding solutions in cooperation with the Sami.
Finland had received 153 recommendations of which all had been taken for further examination. The Government had accepted 120 recommendations while 6 were partially accepted, and 27 were noted. Many of the fully accepted recommendations were already in the process of being implemented. The Government wished to underline that noting the recommendations did not mean rejecting them or forgetting them altogether. Both noted and accepted recommendations were used as tools of equal value in the Government’s work. Two of the partially accepted recommendations related to violence against women, which was considered as a serious human rights violation in Finland. While certain resources were gradually being increased, the recommendation related to additional financial resources could not be accepted at this point. The Government also considered basic and further education to various administrative actors and branches organized and therefore was of the view of not accepting obligatory human rights education for certain administrative branches. Some of the focus areas for Finland included discrimination and self-determination, sexual orientation and gender identity, and tackling racism, xenophobia, hate speech and hate crimes.
Finnish Human Rights Centre said that the Universal Periodic Review process had clearly demonstrated its value as a tool at the national level and as a complement to other human rights mechanisms and national processes. Finland’s national human rights action plan included many concrete measures that would contribute to the implementation of the recommendations accepted in the Universal Periodic Review processes. The Government took note of 27 recommendations which was too many. Many recommendations concerned Finland’s outdated Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals. At least seven States had recommended that Finland abolish the requirement for sterilization or infertility as a condition for the legal recognition of gender reassignment. Another cluster of recommendations concerned violence against women.
Lithuania said that by accepting the majority of recommendations, Finland had shown its long standing commitment to promoting human rights domestically and globally. Lithuania welcomed in particular the preparation of an implementation plan of the Istanbul Convention by a Special Committee established within the Government of Finland.
Maldives noted Finland’s acceptance of three recommendations made on strengthening education systems through mandatory training on human rights education. Maldives commended the efforts made by Finland to combat racism and homophobia.
Pakistan commended Finland for accepting the majority of the recommendations which were made during the review. The efforts to implement structural reforms promoting employment and economic growth were highly appreciated.
Philippines commended Finland for accepting three of its recommendations. It hoped that Finland would consider the ratification of the Convention of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.
Romania commended the delegation of Finland for its participation in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, as it was a sound evidence of the importance it attached to human rights. Romania was pleased that Finland had adopted Romania’s recommendation and proposed the adoption of the report.
Russian Federation was concerned over the unwillingness of Finnish authorities to address the problems of the unjustified removal of children from their homes.
Sierra Leone welcomed the new Action Plan on the prevention of violent extremism and radicalization and the fact that Finland would strengthen its efforts towards the eradication of domestic violence. Sierra Leone concluded that the report of Finland should be adopted.
Afghanistan noted that many measures had been taken by the Finnish Government that safeguarded the rights and freedoms of all its citizens. Measures taken by the Government to prevent violence against women were much appreciated and Afghanistan called upon Council Members States to adopt the national report of Finland.
Albania noted with appreciation Finland’s long standing priorities on human rights policy as well as the increase of awareness for the promotion of gender equality at the national and international levels. Finland had accepted a considerable number of recommendations during the review.
China welcomed the active engagement of the Finnish Government with the Universal Periodic Review and the fact that recommendations by the Chinese delegation had been adopted. China endorsed the report.
Côte d’Ivoire warmly welcomed the delegation of Finland and welcomed the achievements by Finland to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. It was convinced that the implementation of the recommendations would help Finland consolidate its efforts.
Egypt welcomed the delegation of Finland to the meeting for the adoption of the national report in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review. It expressed concern about the escalation of hate speech, Islamophobia, and xenophobia regarding asylum seekers. Egypt urged the Government to adopt the recommendations of Egypt to this effect.
Estonia commended the efforts to protect and fully realize human rights in the country and urged Finland to implement recommendations on preventing and combatting violence against women, as well as effective measures to combat hate speech and hate crime on the Internet.
European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Federation ILGA-EUROPE, said during the third Universal Periodic Review cycle, Finland had received eight recommendations to remove sterilization as a condition for legal gender recognition, which was a violation of human rights, as the European Human Rights Court had recently ruled.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues welcomed the State’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review but deeply regretted that 27 recommendations had not been accepted, including the amendment of legislation related to trans-gender people. It urged the Government to urgently amend this legislation and remove the sterility requirement as a precondition for legal gender recognition.
Amnesty International deeply regretted Finland’s rejection of seven of the eight recommendations on the inhumane gender sex procedure. Regarding asylum seekers and migrants it urged Finland to prohibit the detention of children and facilitate family reunification.
International Association for Democracy in Africa said that Finnish policies emphasised the rights of women and girls as well as the rights of indigenous peoples, defending minorities, economic and social rights. Finland had ratified instruments in order to promote good ethnic relations among its population. Finland ensured religious freedom under the national constitution.
Pan African Union for Science and Technology outlined that Finland was characterized by the rule of law and respect for human rights. Finland was one of the world’s best countries to be a working woman according to the Economist’s Glass-Ceiling Index. It also had quickly become a pioneer in digital health. Finland continued to rank among the freest media environments in the world.
International-Lawyers.Org noted the constructive engagement of Finland in international forums. International-Lawyers.org urged Finland to set a good example for Europe and ratify without delay the Nuclear Weapons Ban treaty which had been opened for signature and ratification this week in New York.
The Vice-Chairman said that out of 153 recommendations received, 120 enjoyed support while 30 were noted. Additional clarification had been provided on 3 recommendations.
TERHI HAKALA, Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said the constructive dialogue provided further tools to Finland to implement recommendations made by human rights mechanisms. Finland would take all comments into consideration, as well as for further dialogue. In response to the Russian Federation, she said that in Finnish legislation, the best interest of a child was at the core of all activities by authorities. Many civil society organizations had also made comments, which would be conveyed to all relevant authorities.
The Council then adopted the outcome of Finland’s Universal Periodic Review.
1. Joint statement on behalf of: American Association of Jurists; Asociación Española para el Derecho Internacional de los Derechos Humanos AEDIDH; International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL); International Educational Development, Inc.
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