Universal Periodic Review – UN Human Rights Council

Via UN News Centre.

Under General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (Which also established the Human Rights Counicl), the General Assembly mandated the Council to

undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies.

This Universal Periodic Review got underway yesterday in Geneva with Bahrain and Ecuador. The other states in this 1st Session Review are

* Tunisia
* Morocco
* Indonesia
* Finland
* United Kingdom
* India
* Brazil
* Philippines
* Algeria
* Poland
* Netherlands
* South Africa
* Czech Republic
* Argentina

These will all be examined during the First Session which lasts till the 18th of April.

The Second Session will consider

1. Gabon
2. Ghana
3. Peru
4. Guatemala
5. Benin
6. Republic of Korea
7. Switzerland
8. Pakistan
9. Zambia
10. Japan
11. Ukraine
12. Sri Lanka
13. France
14. Tonga
15. Romania
16. Mali

This session will take place between 5-16 May.

The third and Final Session this year will see the following states examined,

1. Botswana
2. Bahamas
3. Burundi
4. Luxembourg
5. Barbados
6. Montenegro
7. United Arab Emirates
8. Israel
9. Liechtenstein
10. Serbia
11. Turkmenistan
12. Burkina Faso
13. Cape verde
14. Colombia
15. Uzbekistan
16. Tuvalu

That session will take place between the 1-12 December.

What do these reviews entail?

The reviews entail each country giving its own information, limited to a 20 page report, but also shadow reports can be submitted by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), limited to 10 pages. NGOs, NHRIs (National Human Rights Institution’s), Human rights defenders, Academic institutions and Research institutes, Regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives may also submit observations as stakedholders but there submissions summarized by the OHCHR in a 10 page report.

Example: Bahrain

Bahrain’s Report(PDF) contains information on reforms it pledged to make on election to the Human Rights Council. It details constitutional protections, legal protections, treaties signed and/or ratified, as well as the State’s view of whats happening on the ground. State’s may also give additional Documentation, Bahrain has taken the opportunity and submitted 6. They havent been translated from Arabic so I cant read them.

The OHCHR Report (PDF) is a summary of the Treaties signed and ratified by Bahrain. It gives a summary of the views of the bodies set up by the treaties on work done and any issues.

12 stakeholders (PDF) made submissions to the OHCHR giving there view on whats happening on the ground.

Hopefully these UPR’s will make a difference around the world and put more pressure on states to respect Human Rights and their treaty obligations.

Ireland will be reviewed in 2011 in the 12th (and last) Session of the UPR.

UN human rights body begins first-ever examination of all countries’ recordsUN News Centre
Universal Periodic ReviewOHCHR
General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (PDF) – UN
Universal Periodic Review: BahrainOHCHR
Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Calender (PDF)OHCHR

Worlds AIDS Day 1 December: MEPs call for increased funding for Global Health Fund

In adopting a joint resolution with 546 votes in favour 34 against and 24abstentions on HIV/AIDS one day ahead of World AIDS day, MEPs call on the Commission to increase to 1 billion euros its contribution to the global fund against HIV/AIDS, malaria and TB, and on all Member States and G8 members to increase their contribution to 7 billion in 2007 and 8 billion in 2008, in order to provide UNAIDS with the resources necessary to reduce the epidemics.

MEPs express their deepest concern at the expansion of HIV/AIDS and other epidemics amongst the poorest populations in the world and at the lack of focus on prevention of HIV/AIDS, inaccessibility of key medicines, insufficient funding and the lack of research efforts on the major epidemics.

Parliament stresses the importance of accountability of governments, health service providers, the pharmaceutical industry, NGOs and civil society, and others involved in prevention, treatment and care. MEPs call on all international donors to work to ensure that HIV prevention programmes reach the people most at risk of infection as identified in the UNAIDS conclusion that these vulnerable groups are not being provided for The House stresses the need for the EU to fund specific programmes to ensure that those children affected by the AIDS epidemic through the loss of one or both parents or through contracting the disease themselves remain in education and are supported.

Parliament calls on all aid programmes to make sure that once a patient starts a course of treatment, funding is provided for continued uninterrupted treatment, in order to prevent the increased drug resistance that results from interrupted treatments.

Sexual and reproductive health

The House Stresses that the strategies needed to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic effectively must include a comprehensive approach to prevention, education, care and treatment and must include the technologies currently in use, expanded access to treatment and the development of vaccines as a matter of urgency. MEPs call on the European Commission and the governments of our partner countries to ensure that health and education, and HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health in particular, are prioritised in Country Strategy Papers.

MEPs call on the Commission and Member States to support programmes that combat homophobia and break down the barriers that stop effective tackling of the disease, especially in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam and across Latin America, where there is increasing evidence of HIV outbreaks among men who have sex with men. The House welcomes the inclusion of research into HIV/AIDS in the 7th Research Framework Programme and calls for research on vaccines and microbicides, diagnostic and monitoring tools suited to developing countries’ needs, epidemic transmission patterns and social and behavioural trends to be supported. The House underlines that women must be involved in all appropriate clinical research, including vaccine trials. Parliament also calls for investment in the development of female-controlled prevention methods such as microbicides, female condoms and post-exposure prophylaxis for survivors of rape.

Access to medicines

The House encourages governments to use all the possibilities available to them under the TRIPs Agreement, such as compulsory licences, and for the WHO and the WTO and its members to review the whole of the TRIPs Agreement with a view to improving access to medicines . MEPs calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary steps in the WTO, in association with the developing countries, to modify the TRIPS Agreement and its article based on the Decision of 30 August 2003, particularly in order to abolish the complex, time‑consuming procedural steps needed for authorisation of compulsory licenses. The House meanwhile, encourages and calls on all countries facing major epidemics to make immediate use of Article 30 of the TRIPS Agreement to access the necessary medicines without paying royalties for patents to the right-owners.

Parliament supports the commitment made by heads of state and government at the 2005 UN World Summit calling for universal access to HIV/AIDS prevention services, treatment and care by 2010. The House believes, however, that a clear plan for funding universal access should be developed and international and interim progress targets set. Finally, MEPs call for support for the developing growth of regional and national generic drug industries in affected areas with a view to facilitating access to affordable drugs.

Ill post up the text of the resolution once its on the Parliaments website

European Parliament resolution on the increase in racist and homophobic violence in Europe

The European Parliament ,

– having regard to international human rights instruments which prohibit discrimination based on racial and ethnic origin, and notably the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), both signed by all Member States and a large number of third states,

– having regard to Articles 2, 6, 7 and 29 of the Treaty on European Union and Article 13 of the EC Treaty, which commit the EU and its Member States to uphold human rights and fundamental freedoms and which provide European means to fight racism, xenophobia and discrimination,

– having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, especially Article 21 thereof,

– having regard to European Union activities to fight racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia, in particular the anti-discrimination Directives 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(1) and 2000/78/EC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation(2) , as well as to the proposal for a framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia(3) ,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, protection of minorities, anti-discrimination policies and the situation of Roma in the EU,

– having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia and anti-gypsyism are motivated by irrational reasons and are sometimes linked to social marginalisation, exclusion and unemployment, as well as by a refusal to conceive diversity in our societies as a source of richness,

B. whereas several Member States have experienced violent events and/or killings motivated by racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic hatred, while other direct and indirect forms of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia persist inside and outside the EU,

C. whereas the Russian authorities have banned the march for equality and tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people planned for 27 May 2006 in Moscow in violation of the right of peaceful assembly and demonstration guaranteed by the ECHR, in a situation where political and religious authorities were involved in denigration and incited and participated in the violent events that subsequently occurred,

D. whereas political figures at European, national and regional level have a responsibility to set a good example by promoting tolerance, understanding, respect and peaceful coexistence,

E. whereas some political parties, including those in power in a number of countries or well represented at local level, have deliberately placed issues of racial, ethnic, national, religious and gay intolerance at the heart of their agenda, allowing political leaders to use language that incites racial and other forms of hatred and stokes extremism in society,

F. whereas calls for open violence of a homophobic nature have come from a member of a Polish governing party in relation to the plans to hold a gay rights march in Warsaw,

G. whereas Member States have foreseen various measures against political parties that promote programmes and activities that are contrary to the values guaranteed by the ECHR, including the withdrawal of public funding,

H. whereas disgraceful and serious racist incidents take place during football matches, and whereas there are concerns that similar events could take place during the current World Cup,

I. whereas education, especially at primary level, is a critical ‘upstream policy’ area in fighting racist attitudes and prejudice in later life, and whereas policy makers ought to pay due regard to the benefit of a good social and ethnic mix in state primary education,

J. whereas the media play an important and significant role in the public perception of racist violence and in some Member States tend to use one-dimensional and biased descriptions of violence, thus bearing responsibility for spreading misinformation on racism and xenophobia,

K. whereas the existence of a large number of internet homepages which provide the main source of information about racist groups and groups which incite hatred raises concerns as to how to counteract this problem without violating freedom of expression,

L. whereas the police and judicial systems in Member States play a crucial role in the prosecution and prevention of racist violence; whereas, however, they sometimes fail to protect citizens against racist violence and to discourage extremists from committing crimes of such a nature, and in this respect Member States should consider whether their police forces and judicial systems suffer from ‘institutional racism’; whereas in some countries, police violence specifically targets ethnic, racial and sexual minorities and directly violates their right to freedom of assembly,

M. whereas there is a lack of statistical data on racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and homophobia in the Member States, and notably on violence and discrimination related to these phenomena,

N. whereas, after five years of negotiations, the Council has still not adopted the Commission proposal for a Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia, leading the Commission to threaten to withdraw it, and whereas this instrument would have been a useful tool to address and punish perpetrators of race hate crime,

O. whereas four Member States – Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Finland – have been referred to the European Court of Justice for their failure to satisfy the requirements of Directive 2000/43/EC,

1. Deplores the fact that the Council has been unable to adopt the abovementioned proposal for a framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia, and urgently calls on the future Finnish Presidency of the Council to restart work on it and on the Council to reach an agreement on explicitly extending it to homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and other types of offence motivated by phobia or hatred based on ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion or other irrational grounds; calls on the Member States to reinforce criminal law measures aimed at the approximation of the penalties for such offences throughout the EU; urges all the Member State to effectively implement the anti-discrimination directives and the Commission to bring before the Court of Justice those Member States which fail to do so and to submit before mid-2007 proposals for new legislative tools covering all the grounds for discrimination set out in Article 13 of the EC Treaty and having the same scope as Directive 2000/43/EC;

2. Strongly condemns all racist and hate attacks, urges all national authorities to do everything in their power to punish those responsible and to fight the climate of impunity with respect to those attacks; expresses its solidarity with all victims of such attacks and their families, including:
– the premeditated murder of a black woman of Malian nationality and the Belgian child of whom she was the nurse perpetrated in Antwerp on 12 May 2006 by a young Belgian right-wing extremist, this same person having a few moments earlier seriously wounded a woman of Turkish origin while trying to kill her;
– the murder of a 16-year old boy in January 2006 and of a 17-year old boy in April 2006 in Brussels, and expresses its indignation at some of the media coverage of these murders which at times led to unfounded criminalisation of whole communities in the eyes of the general public;
– the kidnapping, torture and assassination of Ilan Halimi in February 2006 in France by a gang of 22 persons of different origins, and expresses its deep concern at the anti-Semitic dimension of this crime;
– the assassination of Chaïb Zehaf in March 2006 in France due to his ethnic origin;
– the brutal assault on a German citizen of Ethiopian origin, Kevin K, in the village of Poemmelte, Saxony-Anhalt, on 9 January 2006, in particular because of its racial motive;
– the horrific torture and murder of Gisberta, a transsexual living in the Portuguese city of Oporto, in February 2006 by a group of adolescent and pre-adolescent minors;
– the attack against Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, which took place in Warsaw, as well as the declarations by a leading member of the League of Polish Families inciting violence against LGBT people in view of the march for tolerance and equality;
– the attack suffered on 8 April 2006 by Fernando Ujiguilete, a Portuguese national of Guinean origin, in Castellar del Vallés (Spain); on account of this racist attack, Ujiguilete had to spend several days in hospital;
– the increase in the number of racist attacks, calls and chants by fans with neo-Nazi allegiances in football stadiums;

3. Welcomes the fact that the mass demonstrations organised in Antwerp and Paris to express public horror at the events referred to above and public support in the fight against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism were attended by thousands of people; welcomes also the demonstrations for tolerance in Poland and notably the warm welcome given to the 2006 Gay Pride parade in Warsaw;

4. Is seriously concerned about the general rise in racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic intolerance in Poland, partly fuelled by religious platforms such as Radio Maryja, which has also been criticised by the Vatican for its anti-Semitic discourse; believes that the EU should take appropriate measures to express its concerns and notably to address the issue of the participation in the government of the League of Polish Families, whose leaders incite people to hatred and violence; reminds Poland of its commitments and obligations under the Treaties, in particular Article 6 of the EU Treaty, and the possible sanctions in the event of non-compliance; urges the Polish government in this context to reconsider the abolition of the Office of the Plenipotentiary for Equal Status; requests the Observatory on Racism and Xenophobia to conduct an inquiry into the emerging climate of racist, xenophobic and homophobic intolerance in Poland and the Commission to verify if the actions and declarations of the Polish Minister of Education are in conformity with Article 6 of the EU Treaty;

5. Strongly condemns the Russian authorities’ decision to ban the first Gay Pride in Moscow on 27 May 2006, as well as their failure to ensure the safety and security of peaceful demonstrators and human rights activists, and reminds the Russian authorities that freedom of assembly is a basic human right guaranteed by Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation; expresses its deep concern about the role which Russian politicians and faith organisations have played in inciting violence and hatred against LGBT people; expresses its hope that similar events will not occur in the future and encourages the Russian authorities to allow the Gay Pride parade in 2007 and to ensure the safety of its participants;

6. Is deeply disappointed at the failure of EU leaders to raise this matter during the EU-Russia Summit on 18 May;

7. Is equally disappointed at the failure of the meeting of President Barroso and Commissioners Frattini and Spidla with the religious leaders of Europe on 30 May 2006 to condemn the active participation of Russian Orthodox priests in the violent anti-gay and neo-Nazi march in Moscow on 27 May 2006;

8. Expresses its astonishment and concern at the reaction of the President of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly to the incidents in Moscow, when he congratulated Russia on its human rights record, instead of condemning the violation of basic human rights which took place on 27 May 2006;

9. Calls on the EU representatives at the upcoming G8 summit to raise the issue of human rights with Russia as a matter of urgency, in particular the right to demonstrate peacefully;

10. Calls on the institutions of the European Union, the Member States and all European democratic political parties to condemn all acts of intolerance and of incitement to racial hatred, as well as all acts of harassment or racist violence;

11. Regrets that several Member States are experiencing rising support for extremist parties and groups with a clear xenophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic agenda, some of which have recently acceded to government in Poland, and stresses the need to address the roots of this phenomenon, such as social marginalisation, exclusion and unemployment;

12. Urgently requests all Member States to at least foresee the possibility of withdrawing public funding from political parties that do not abide by human rights and fundamental freedoms, democracy and the rule of law as set out in the ECHR and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and calls on those that already have this possibility to do so without delay;

13. Asks Member States to launch campaigns and projects at all levels and sectors, in particular in the media and in schools, to promote cultural diversity as a form of richness and economic dynamism, gender equality, the fight against discrimination, tolerance, dialogue and integration, for instance in the context of the European Years of Equal Opportunities for All (2007) and Intercultural Dialogue (2008);

14. Calls on the Member States to give proper attention to the fight against racism, sexism, xenophobia and homophobia both in their relations with each other and in their bilateral relations with third countries;

15. Calls on the Commission to continue developing an anti-discrimination policy alongside its emerging policy on integration; considers that, for equality to be achieved, due regard needs to be paid to integration and other non-legislative measures, such as promoting interaction and participation;

16. Stresses the need to support anti-racist and anti-xenophobic initiatives in relation to the current World Cup in Germany and asks authorities closely to monitor and to prosecute and condemn those responsible for racist acts;

17. Recalls the need for sound and clear definitions and statistics on racism and xenophobia, in particular on racist and xenophobic violence, as a means of effectively combating these phenomena, as already highlighted in the EUMC’s 2005 annual report, which stresses the lack of statistical registration of racist violence in Italy, Portugal and Greece;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the Council of Europe and the government of the Russian Federation.

Legal Committee Resolutions – UCC IRSOC NATMUN 2006

Resolution Legal Committee

Topic: Restrictions on Human Cloning and Regulations Regarding Stem Cell Research

Sponsors: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, French Republic, Russian Federation, People’s Republic of China, Hellenic Republic, Argentina, United Republic of Tanzania

Signatories: Empire of Japan, United States of America

REMINDING all nations of the right to human dignity as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

INSISTING upon the respect of all humans

RECOGNISING the potential medical benefits of therapeutic cloning

BELIEVING in the necessity of advancement with regard to curing worldwide diseases

1 CALLS FOR a ban on all reproductive human cloning and research into this area and a one year trial on one the use of aborted human foetus’ and the review the situation after this time

2 REQUESTS the establishment of an international monitoring committee that will assess research centres, on a six monthly basis, involved in therapeutic cloning, compromising of representatives from each UN nations, funded by a compulsory annual payment based on a country’s financial capabilities

3 AUTHORITISES ten rotating representatives of this committee to inspect stem cell research institutes, on a six monthly basis, based on set of regulations to be drawn up by the monitoring committee when established

4 RESTRICTS each nation’s financial input to stem cell research to 1% of the nations total budget

5 FURTHER REQUEST that each stem cell researcher requires a license issued by the UN to practiced this branch of science

6 DEPLORES failure to adhere to these restrictions and proclaims revoking of licenses for individual perpetrators and economic sanctions in the case of government involvement.

This is from a Model United Nations that took place in UCC at the weekend. Where Alexandria College, Dublin representing China won the right to represent Ireland at the National Schools MUN in Harvard, Boston. Well done girls for more info see www.irsoc.com or the irsoc blog, or forum