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28 November

Saint James of the Marches

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Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations

 

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FMSI at the 14th Session of the UPR

18/11/2012: Switzerland

FMSI evaluated and presented recommendations on four states: Guatemala, Pakistan,  Peru and Srilanka, during the 14th session of the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations, 2nd Cycle, held at its seat in Geneva, Switzerland, from 22 October to 5 November.  

The Guatemala delegation was led by M. Antonio Arenales Forno, secretary of Peace, who presented the work achieved by the country’s government, with emphasis on the last 16 years of peace and democracy after a long period of armed conflict. The recommendations were centred on the need to effectively put into practice the laws against assassinations and violence towards women. We mention here three recommendations relative to children : « Control of malnutrition », by attacking the causes of hunger and continuing with the « Zero Hunger » Programme. Developing a specific and flexible strategy for birth registration in order to reduce the number of non-registered children. Intensifying efforts to fight child traffic and eliminate the criminal networks involved in the trade of children, and bring the legislation on this traffic up to date.

 

Mme Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of Foreign Affairs, led the delegation from Pakistan. She described the measures taken to change the Constitution as being part of an effort to « bring to birth in the long term democratic values » in the country. Among the recommendations presented by the party States we note: « Guarantee adequate resources to help the  recently created National Human Rights Commission, and other commissions – including those concerning women, children and forced disappearances – to exercise their mandates. »

 

The delegation from Peru was led by Dr Henry José Ávila Herrera, vice-minister of Human Rights and Justice, who described the progress made on the recommendations made since the 1st UPR Cycle. He also referred to advances on human rights at the institutional level in Peru. As for recommendations, we underline one from the 1st Cycle : « To continue with the allocation of a budget and sufficient resources to confront the challenges raised by child traffic, so as to eradicate the labour of minors », and from the 2nd Cycle : « To continue to take action towards the reduction of maternal and infant mortality ».

 

The 15 members of the Sri Lanka delegation were led by M. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Industry and Agriculture, and by the special envoy of the President for Human Rights. Among the recommendations presented, we emphasize the following two : « To intensify policies and programmes to assure the protection of women and children and act so that all acts of violence against women are reported and judged. To make sure that those responsible for crimes against children, including the enlistment of child soldiers, are brought to trial. »

 

At the heart of the UNO system, there are three types of mechanism for controlling violations of human rights. FMSI utilises these mechanisms as an opportunity for defending children’s rights in the countries where the Marists are present. One of them is the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), instituted in 2006. This is a unique procedure which entails, every four years, a review of the indexes of respect for human rights in the States with membership in the UNO. It involves a process carried out by the country itself, under the auspices of the Council for Human Rights, which provides each State with the possibility of specifying the actions envisaged to reinforce respect for human rights in their territory and to fulfil the obligations connected with those rights.

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