UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

Namibia

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.

Mozambique

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.

Estonia

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.

Paraguay

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.

Denmark

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.

Palau

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.

Seychelles

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.

Solomon Islands

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.

Latvia

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.

Sierra Leone

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.

Singapore

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.