General debate on the Report of the High Commissioner of Human Rights
The 32 session of the Human Rights Council began in the shadow of the killings at Orlando. Opening the session, Choi Kyong-lim, President of the Human Rights Council, stressed that those responsible for the despicable terrorist attacks in Orlando, Damascus, Halgan, Baghdad, Tel Aviv, Istanbul and elsewhere had to be held accountable.
The High Commissioner said that
On a daily basis, we are witness to horrors of every kind around the world. I extend my condolences and respect to all victims of human rights violations, including the victims of conflict and those who suffer violations of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. I also condemn with the greatest possible force the outrageous attacks by violent extremists on innocent people, chosen at random, or because of their presumed beliefs, or opinions, or – as we saw yesterday – their sexual orientation.
I am very concerned about the dramatically increased number of brutal murders in Bangladesh that target freethinkers, liberals, religious minorities and LGBT activists. I note recent reports of police arrests, and I urge that investigating and prosecuting the perpetrators of these vicious crimes be made a priority, with full respect for human rights. I also urge all government officials and political and religious leaders to unequivocally condemn these attacks on freedom, and to do more to protect affected groups.
Hate is becoming mainstreamed. Walls – which tormented previous generations, and have never yielded any sustainable solution to any problem – are returning. Barriers of suspicion are rising, snaking through and between our societies – and they are killers. Clampdowns on public freedoms, and crackdowns on civil society activists and human rights defenders, are hacking away at the forces which uphold the healthy functioning of societies. Judicial institutions which act as checks on executive power are being dismantled. Towering inequalities are hollowing out the sense that there are no common goods.
Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the host country, condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attack in Orlando, United States, and extended sympathy to families of the victims.
Chile was committed to combat discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender equality, and was convinced that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons deserved protection from human rights violations. Chile expressed condolences to the United States after the Orlando attacks.
Spain stressed that the Council must address violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, and also pay more attention to the current reversal in the universal abolition of the death penalty
Pakistan condemned the Orlando killings.
Jordan extended condolences to the United States for the Orlando attack.
Argentina appreciated the work of the Council on inclusion and believed that the world should be a place where gender, sexual orientation or other grounds were not reasons for exclusion. Argentina rejected the violent attack in Orlando.
Interactive Dialogue on Extreme Poverty
Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on poverty:
I visited Chile more than one year ago and am grateful to the Government for its cooperation. In my report, I note that while Chile has taken giant steps forward in social and economic development, it remains a highly segregated and unequal society with unacceptable rates of poverty and extreme poverty. The main factors hindering the effectiveness of the efforts of Chile in tackling poverty and inequalities include the fragmentation of anti-poverty programmes, the lack of sufficient “institutionality” to implement human rights, the attenuated role of labour market institutions to protect labour rights, persistent discrimination against and the absence of constitutional, legal and institutional protection of marginalized groups, such as indigenous peoples, children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and migrants. My recommendations include the adoption of a comprehensive anti-poverty programme that is well-coordinated among the various ministries and the establishment of a well-funded and well-staffed Office of the Under-Secretary for Human Rights integrating economic, social and cultural rights as a key part of its mandate.
Allied Rainbow Communities International noted:
We congratulate the Special Rapporteur for producing a Report that is not ‘painfully boring’ but rather ‘stimulates fresh thinking’. The Special Rapporteur has cast his net very wide in observing that capitalism itself is unsustainable unless the excesses and predations that are built into it are tempered by ensuring the basic welfare of all. We are in agreement with the finding that economic and social rights risk being overshadowed by the constitutional and legal entrenchment of austerity measures through bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements that effectively trump human rights concerns.
The broad macro picture painted by the Special Rapporteur indeed has painful and real consequences for a range of groups and people struggling to eke out a living in a context where the state has abandoned them.
The Special Rapporteur is right to observe that groups which have been historically subjected to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are even more vulnerable in contexts such as this. There is a link between discrimination, poverty and inequality and it’s imperative that states recognize the linkage and move to redress it.
We urge states across the world to treat socio economic rights as full fledged rights and heed the Special Rapporteur’s call to recognize, institutionalize and ensure accountability for the violation of socio economic rights.
Interactive Dialogue on the Right To Health
France was in favour of decriminalizing homosexuality and abortion all over the world.
International Lesbian and Gay Association in a joint statement with Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland; and Swedish Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights – RFSL,
We commend the Special Rapporteur’s particular focus on the situations of trans and intersex persons. Trans and gender non-binary individuals are often deliberately or effectively denied the possibility of participation in professional sport. Lack of gender recognition laws based on self-identification, and laws criminalising trans people (either directly or indirectly), greatly restrict access to sport. Severe problems are posed by sex segregation policies, as well as arbitrary and unwarranted classifications of male and female. Policies must reflect international human rights norms, and should not require irrelevant clinical data or unnecessary medical procedures as a precondition to full participation. On a more practical level, States must remove barriers to participation, such as poorly designed changing rooms, requirements to wear clothing that might cause individual discomfort or hinder bodily movement, and restrictions on the use of sex-segregated bathrooms.
We welcome the call for consensus to be reached among all international sporting bodies and national governments on trans and gender non-binary participation in sporting competitions to reflect international human rights norms and do away with medical procedures as a precondition to full participation.
For intersex persons, a variety of ‘sex tests’ conducted to avoid the supposed risk of participating under an assumed gender to obtain a competitive advantage are a grave problem. No single test determines gender, and there is insufficient clinical evidence to establish that, for example, women with higher levels of testosterone, have a ‘substantial performance advantage’ justifying their exclusion. These tests lead to stigmatization, provide a false basis for exclusion from competitive sport, and have led to women athletes being forced or coerced into ‘treatment’ for hyperandrogenism, including unnecessary irreversible and harmful surgeries amounting to female genital mutilation. Sporting organisations must act to ensure that their policies prohibit such practices and states must guarantee this aspect of intersex persons health rights.
In the report regarding adolescents, the Special Rapporteur highlights that adolescence is an especially important time for exploration and understanding of sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity. States should respond to the specific challenges faced by LGBTI adolescents, and mandatory school curriculum should include comprehensive and inclusive sexuality education, based on scientific evidence and human rights, with special attention given to sexuality, gender identity –including non-conforming gender identities –and sex characteristics.
Health services for adolescents, in particular those for sexual and reproductive health, must be sensitive to gender identity, sexual orientation and sex characteristics. They must be non-judgemental, treating all teenagers with dignity and respect to ensure that LGBTI adolescents do not suffer stigma, discrimination, violence, rejection by families, criminalisation and other human rights violations when seeking sexual and reproductive health services. We welcome the call to reform National Health information systems to include human rights concepts and variables, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex status. However we emphasise that transgender status should also be included.
The report notes that LGBTI adolescents are at heightened risk of mental ill-health, not least because of continued use of abusive “conversion therapies” and “treatments.” We join the Special Rapporteur’s call on States to eliminate such practices and to repeal all laws criminalising and discriminating against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics.
We are pleased to note the Special Rapporteur’s reference to the specific hardships that intersex adolescents often experience due to irreversible and non-consensual genital and reproductive surgeries performed during their early childhood because of the natural development of their bodies. These situations may be compounded by discrimination within the family and society, and by healthcare providers, who often also lack awareness of the needs of this population and that these irreversible childhood surgeries constitute human rights violations.
We ask the Special Rapporteur whether he agrees that States should provide trans adolescents with access to gender transition-related services, affirmative counselling, balanced information and support, age-appropriate hormones and puberty blockers, and progressive steps towards self-identification of their genders.
Mr. Puras, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to health, underlined that traditions and values, while often useful, could also be used as a pretext to violate rights, for example the concept of traditional family values, which was sometimes contradictory with human rights norms and standards, as it was used to justify acts against the wellbeing of children, including various forms of violence against women, girls and children in general. In terms of measures to improve the health of adolescents, the common denominator was the recognition of their rights: the right to information, freedom of expression and opinion, protection from violence, the right to dignity, and the right to bodily integrity. The mandate took seriously the violation of rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, including adolescents, and said that it was detrimental to societal health and cohesion. The Special Rapporteur stressed that models based on excessive hospitalization and medicalization must be replaced with systems centered on prevention and full participation by adolescents.
UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria: Isis is committing genocide against the Yazidis
A press release by the Commission of Inquiry made the important point that the deliberate actions of killing, torture, enslavement, the infliction of conditions of life that bring about a slow death; the imposition of measures to prevent Yazidi children from being born, including forced conversion of adults, the separation of Yazidi men and women, and mental trauma; and the transfer of Yazidi children from their own families and placing them with ISIS fighters, thereby cutting them off from beliefs and practices of their own religious community were all practices which indicated that the crime committed against the Yazidi population was one of genocide.
Mr. Pinheiro stressed that there must be no impunity for crimes of this nature, recalling States’ obligations under the Genocide Convention to prevent and to punish genocide. The Commission repeated its call for the Security Council to refer urgently the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court, or to establish an ad hoc tribunal to prosecute the myriad of violations of international law committed during the non-international armed conflict.
Allied Rainbow Communities International noted:
The Report details the horrific crimes committed by ISIS against Yazidi women and girls. The Report in its recommendations emphasizes the different nature of the crimes committed against the children according to their sex. It powerfully shows how sexual slavery and violence are systematically committed against women and girls. However, we would like to highlight that there are also reports of how captured boys have also been subjected to sexual violence. Sexual violence perpetrated against boys and men, whether by ISIS, the Syrian regime, or other factions, remains an issue that is shrouded in shame and secrecy and is rendered invisible. Targeting the sexuality of women and girls as well as men and boys is an integral part of ISIS’ genocidal project.
In that sense, ISIS’ genocidal project also targets non normative sexualities. As previous reports have shown, ISIS in both its ideology and its practice has demonstrated that its aim is not merely persecution but elimination of the entire grouping comprising those who engage in homosexual conduct.
We call upon the Commission to take forward its pioneering analysis of genocide in the context of the Yazidi community and analyze its applicability to other groups similarly targeted by ISIS including homosexuals, Kurds, Arameans and other ethnic minorities.
We also call upon the Commission in future reports to analyze the ways in which sexual violence and rape perpetrated against men and boys can constitute both genocide and a crime against humanity.
Interactive Dialogue on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
Chile, speaking as a concerned country, highlighted the fruitful cooperation between the authorities and civil society, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and said that Chile had set the bar high in their expectations from human rights, in particular in tackling the legacy of dictatorship and strengthening the basis of democracy. Chile was taking on the challenge of progressing to a country of vibrant democracy and full enjoyment of human rights for which the space for open debate and tolerance was indispensable. Adequate institutions had been put in place and there was regular monitoring of the level of enjoyment of human rights by all, including civil society organizations and people of different sexual orientation. The police had an obligation to provide security and order, manage protests and avoid abuse.
Egypt underlined the importance of Special Procedures to respect the principle of non-selectivity and objectivity. It condemned the attempt by some States to impose the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity, which would further divide the Council.
General Debate on the Promotion and Protection of All Human Rights
Chile underlined the important role that Special Procedures could play as early warning mechanisms. The international community held a responsibility to protect the rights of all people, including migrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Chile regretted the polarization of the Council, and recalled that, through the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, States had agreed that cultural differences could not justify denying the universality of human rights. Chile was committed to the inclusive realization of the 2030 Agenda for all people.
Centre for Inquiry urged States to place considerable focus on protecting the freedoms of opinion, expression, assembly and association in undertaking efforts to combat fundamentalism and intolerance, while also protecting the rights of minorities, including sexual minorities.
General Debate on Human Rights Situations that require the Council’s attention
Switzerland was concerned about violence against sexual minorities in Honduras.
Iceland noted that, all 76 United Nations Member States that retained laws that stigmatized and discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons should abolish them.
PEN International, in a joint statement with 18 organizations, expressed concern about the situation in Bangladesh where Islamist radicals were committing violence, including the murders of journalists, bloggers and social media activists. The recent arrest of 11 people in alleged connection with the violence was feared to be the settling of political scores rather than the result of a genuine investigation.
Centre for Inquiry said that there was a human rights crisis in Bangladesh where bloggers, activists and journalists, as well as minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex activists were being targeted. The Government failed to investigate the crimes or protect the victims, and blindly denied the existence of terrorist groups in the country, which had taken responsibility for the violence in the first place.
Human Rights Watch said that Bangladesh had taken an increasing turn toward authoritarianism in recent years, and Member States were urged to raise the concerning situation in the Council and directly with the Government.
General Debate on the Implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union, underlined that the universal nature of human rights included the responsibility to ensure equality, non-discrimination and protection from violence for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. At least 76 States retained laws used to criminalize and harass persons on the basis of sexual orientation. The European Union supported the draft resolution on the “Protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity”.
United Kingdom strongly condemned acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in all regions of the world, and stressed that, when that happened, the international community had an obligation to respond. The United Kingdom welcomed the attention paid to those issues by the international human rights mechanisms, and urged the Council to continue to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Albania recalled the commitment the States had made to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in Vienna, and expressed concern about the persistent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender equality, and the reprisals and persecution of journalists and civil society. Albania reiterated the universal value of human rights and its principles of equality, and stressed that the Council ought to be free to pursue the protection of human rights of all.
Portugal said that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action had reaffirmed the principle of the universality of human rights. That had to include the universal protection of the human rights of sexual minorities and the combatting of discrimination and violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Portugal supported the resolution on creating a special procedure mandate on the protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Slovenia strongly supported the draft resolution on the “Protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. Slovenia remained concerned about the shrinking civil society space in some countries, as well as cases of reprisals that posed serious challenges to the United Nations System. Lastly, Slovenia regretted that many countries still applied the death penalty, and urged all countries to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
United States recalled that, on 12 June 2016, a terrorist had killed 49 people in an attack that targeted the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community in Orlando, Florida, which had demonstrated that violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was not unique to one country, region or culture. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons in every society in the world were entitled to the same human rights as all other people.
Pakistan believed that the work of the Council had to be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality and non-selectivity, and noted the many challenges to neutrality and effectiveness of the Council. Its agenda needed to respond to new challenges, resources for human rights mechanisms should keep up with their growth, and efforts had to be made to avoid duplications of the work with the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
Israel expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the attack in Orlando, and noted that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action had recognized that all human rights derived from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person. Israel was at the forefront of the struggle to end violence and discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The international community was called on to take concrete action to eradicate such discrimination worldwide.
Denmark said that same-sex marriages were legal in Denmark, but that the country would never presume being able to impose that right on other countries in the world. A resolution on the protection of the family which failed to recognize that families could take various forms could only be understood as an attempt to impose on Denmark what the sponsors of that resolution would never accept to be imposed on them.
Australian Human Rights Commission, in a joint statement, referred to states’ obligation to protect the rights of all persons, without discrimination, including on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity. It highlighted the role of national human rights institutions in promoting all rights and combatting such discrimination. It called on the Human Rights Council to establish a mandate of an Independent Expert addressing violence and discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Action Canada for Population and Development underlined the importance of ensuring sexual and reproductive rights. Human rights related to sexuality addressed a wide range of issues, which intersected with other rights. The Council should ensure that all measures taken on sexual orientation and gender identity recognize and address the root causes of violence and discrimination and the multiple and intersecting forms of oppression of those grounds.
International Lesbian and Gay Association, on behalf of several NGOs, was concerned about individuals facing grave human rights violations on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including discrimination and violence. It called on the Council to address the protection gap those people faced through the creation of an Independent Expert to address discrimination and violence on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Alliance Defending Freedom said that, as there was no consensus on guaranteeing equal protection before the law and to prohibit discrimination on grounds of “sexual orientation and gender identity”, the issue should remain within the purview of each Member State’s domestic legal order. It was imperative that the international community promoted and protected the family as a unique and essential good for society.
Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik said that non-governmental organizations were still witnessing the violation of human rights of people on the basis of race, ethnicity, colour, sexual orientation, and other grounds. The non-governmental organization also spoke about the persecution of people in Iran, bring up a particular case of a prisoner of conscience who was suffering from cancer.
International Service for Human Rights said that the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action had reaffirmed that the principles of universality and non-discrimination were central to human rights. Human rights defenders working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons were subject to harassment, arbitrary arrest, and more. More than 500 non-governmental organizations had appealed to the Council to address that protection gap at the international level.
Swedish Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights – RFSL, on behalf of several NGOs, said that the right to identity was one of the most basic human rights, and welcomed the laws enabling a quick gender recognition procedure based on self-declaration. The non-governmental organization urged the establishment of the mandate on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons which would go a long way in raising the awareness of that situation.
Allied Rainbow Communities International said that, while the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons was critical in many places in Africa, it was worth noting recent positive developments. “We are proudly African and we are proudly LGBTI”, said the speaker, asking for African Governments to acknowledge the reality that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons were facing.
Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland, in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association, appealed for an independent expert mandate. The region from which the speaker came from protected persons on the basis of their sexual orientation, and the Human Rights Council had a responsibility for promoting and protecting the human rights of all individuals. All human beings were born free and equal in all rights.
Human Rights Council holds Panel Discussion on Women’s Rights and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Swedish Federation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights was concerned that lesbian, bisexual and transgender women were not referred to in the 2030 Agenda, and risked being left behind in its implementation. It called for the adoption of human rights sensitive indicators to monitor progress for all people.
Council holds Panel Discussion on the use of Sport and the Olympic ideal to promote Human Rights for All
Miki Matheson, Project Manager at the Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Centre and three-time Paralympic gold medalist in ice sledge speed racing, said that para-sports could foster equality, fairness and inclusion, and contribute to conflict resolution.
Ms. Matheson mentioned a Japanese Government initiative called “Sport for Tomorrow”, which aimed to spread values learned through sports and increase awareness of the Olympic and Paralympic movement worldwide. This was a great example of how sporting events such as the Paralympic and Olympic Games were helpful in a human rights context as they encouraged the integration of people regardless of age, race, gender, nationality, religion, politics, physical or mental condition, marital status or sexual orientation.
United States noted that sports events could also lead to adverse human rights impact for persons with disabilities, journalists and social media users, migrant workers, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, women and children, racial minorities and indigenous communities.
Egypt underlined that sports competitions could have significant potential in promoting human rights, especially in areas such as combatting racism and promoting tolerance, eradicating poverty and advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Albert Kawana, Minister of Justice of Namibia, said that of the 219 recommendations received, Namibia had accepted 191 while the remaining 28 were still the subject of consultations as their implementation would require constitutional amendments. For the past three years, Namibia had been affected by severe drought and Namibia was redirecting to drought relief many of the resources initially allocated to education, health and infrastructure development. Namibia would table the Child Justice Bill in 2016, said Mr. Kawana and stressed that although the Constitution did not allow same-sex marriage, same-sex couples were not prosecuted because victimization of or violence against any person in Namibia was prohibited.
Norway congratulated Mozambique for accepting three of its recommendations, including a recommendation pertaining to women’s rights. It encouraged Mozambique to accept recommendations to lift restrictions on non-governmental organizations working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.
Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland, in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association, was disappointed that the new Penal Code in Mozambique did not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and that none of the recommendations on sexual orientation and gender identity had been accepted.
Human Rights Watch welcomed that Estonia was planning on adopting an action plan for employment and equal opportunities, as well as Estonia’s steps to reduce child statelessness. Language requirements, especially for the Russian-speaking population, remained the most significant naturalization challenge. Another concern pertained to accountability for cases of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
Action Canada for Population and Development welcomed Paraguay’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review, and the readiness to adopt a law against discrimination, including on the basis of sexual discrimination. Nonetheless, there was evidence of discrimination against women and sexual minorities.
Federatie van Nederlandse Verenigingen tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit – COC Nederland, in a joint statement with International Lesbian and Gay Association; and LGBT Denmark – The National Organization for Gay Men, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgendered People applauded Denmark’s efforts to combat discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation and gender identity, but regretted the continuing lack of explicit prohibition of discrimination outside the labour market.
Allied Rainbow Communities International commended Palau for its leadership in the region for implementing Universal Periodic Review recommendations which were important for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. However, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in Palau faced discrimination, and Palau was urged to bring its legislation into conformity with its commitment to equality and non-discrimination.
Barry Faure, Secretary of State in the Foreign Affairs Department said that Seychelles accepted 142 recommendations and noted seven. Seychelles accepted recommendations relating to the ratification of core human rights instruments and their Optional Protocols, a national human rights institution, the non-discrimination of persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and gender discrimination and gender-based violence.
Allied Rainbow Communities International regretted that Solomon Islands had rejected recommendations relating to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and referred to cases of violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. It was particularly concerned about proposed constitutional reforms that would fail to protect these persons.
Norway thanked Latvia for accepting three of the recommendations it made, and for providing information about the recommendation concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons.
Council of Europe said that detention conditions were so poor that they could be considered to amount to cruel and inhumane treatment. This was aggravated by the lack of investigation regarding allegations of ill-treatment by police officers. It also expressed concerns about discrimination, either language-based or directed against “non-citizens”, sexual minorities or Roma persons.
British Humanist Association remained gravely concerned about the continuing legal and social discrimination to which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons were subjected. Latvia, a member of the Council, was urged to reconsider its discriminatory laws and practices and to promote a positive image of sexual minorities.
Amnesty International welcomed Sierra Leone’s steps toward abolishing the death penalty. Sierra Leone was called on to lift a ban on pregnant girls in mainstream schools, as it risked destroying their future opportunities. Regret was expressed that Sierra Leone had rejected guaranteeing the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons; the country was called on to reconsider its position on those recommendations.
Foo Kok Jwee, Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations Office at Geneva, expressed Singapore’s commitment to build a strong nation and a fair and democratic society, where citizens were protected against any threat or discrimination. With this in mind, the Government had carefully reviewed the 236 recommendations received by Singapore, and decided to support 116 of these. It did not support recommendations that were predicated on unfounded assertions, inaccurate assumptions or erroneous information, including a handful of recommendations related to freedoms of expression, association and assembly. In addition, it did not accept recommendations that were not appropriate in its national context, including on issues such as capital punishment, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and national security. About a quarter of the recommendations that Singapore did not support in full related to the ratification of international human rights treaties. Singapore took its treaty obligations seriously, and actively reviewed its position on human rights treaties. However, in order not to prejudge the outcome of the Review process, it did not commit itself to accede to or ratify treaties ahead of review. Singapore supported recommendations that complemented its ongoing efforts to build a fair and inclusive society.
International Lesbian and Gay Association, in a joint statement, said that 11 recommendations had referred to the decriminalisation of homosexuality, and expressed disappointment that the Government continued to deny institutionalized discrimination. That had consequences for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in Singapore.
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, in a joint statement, expressed alarm at Singapore’s rejection of numerous recommendations, including key recommendations on freedom of expression. Regret was also expressed that the Government had simply noted recommendations on censorship of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender content in the media.
Action Canada for Population and Development said that Singapore had received many recommendations calling for a reform of the law criminalizing homosexuality and regretted that the Government only noted them. In addition to the law, other dispositions which discriminated against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons remained.
Human Rights Watch said that major human rights issues raised during the review of Singapore had already been raised during its first review in 2011, including the continuing use of the death penalty, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, criminalization of consensual relationships between men, severe restrictions on freedom of expression, and the right to freedom of association and assembly.
GENERAL DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE THE COUNCIL’S ATTENTION
GENERAL DEBATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE VIENNA DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION
GENERAL DEBATE ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS
GENERAL DEBATE ON THE REPORT OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN RIGHTS
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON EXTREME POVERTY
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND OF ASSOCIATION
INTERATIVE DIAGLOGUE ON THE RIGHT TO HEALTH
UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON SYRIA: ISIS IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST YAZIDIS
UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Action on Draft Amendments L.71 to L.81
Action on Draft Resolution L.2/Rev.1
Action on Non-Action Motion
Action on Operative Paragraph 2
Action on the Title of Draft Resolution L.2/Rev.1
Introduction of the Resolution
Separate Action on Operative Paragraphs 3 To 7
Action on the Amendments L.82, L.83, L.84 L.89
Action on Draft Resolution L.35
Action on Amendments L.52, L.53, L.54, L.55, L.56, L.59, L.60, L.61, L.62, L.63, L.64, L.65
Action on the Resolution on Civil Society Space
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