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UN Human Rights Committee publishes findings on 5 nations

GENEVA (7 November 2019) — The UN Human Rights Committee has published its findings on the civil and political rights record of countries it examined during its latest session from 14 October to 8 November 2019: Belgium, Cabo Verde, Czech Republic, Mexico and Senegal. The Central African Republic was postponed upon the request of the State party.

The countries above are among the 173 States Parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and so are required to be reviewed regularly by the Committee of 18 international independent experts.

The findings, officially termed concluding observations, contain positive aspects of the respective State’s implementation of the ICCPR, as well as main matters of concern and recommendations. The findings are now available online on the 127th session Webpage. Some of the key findings include:

Belgium: The Committee was pleased to see progress with regard to the adoption of a law to establish a new National Human Rights Institution, but remained concerned about the human rights impacts of counterterrorism policies, the excessive use of detention in the immigration context and the delay in repatriating all children of Belgian ‘foreign fighters’ from conflict zones.

Cabo Verde: The Committee took positive note of measures to tackle overcrowding in prisons and violence against women, but called for more progress in a variety of areas, including reforming the National Human Rights Institution, fighting discrimination against women, and ensuring public participation in processes of political decentralization.

Czech Republic: The Committee was pleased to learn of measures taken to respect the memory of Roma victims of World War Two, as well as progress made in the mental health sector. It remained, however, concerned about the use of restraints in psychiatric hospitals, the prevalence of hate speech against minorities and migrants, and the extent of use of detention powers in the immigration context.

Mexico: The Committee noted the many efforts by the State party to restore law and order and address its many accountability challenges. It remained, however, concerned about high levels of violence in Mexico, including vis-à-vis members of the press; the wide use of the military in law enforcement, without a clear timeline for phase-out; the paucity of trials for serious human rights violations; and the plight of migrants. The Committee also underscored the need for measures to protect the independence of the judiciary.

Senegal: The Committee commended Senegal for positive reforms in criminal law, progress towards equality between men and women, and for hosting the trial of Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity. It remained, however, concerned about the limited implementation by Senegal of decisions by the Committee in individual cases; excessive use of force in demonstrations; deaths in prisons; slow pace of processing asylum applications; exploitation of children in certain Quranic schools; and legal limits on freedom of the press.

The Committee will present the findings in a press conference today in Press Room 1 of Palais des Nations at 13:30.

The UN Human Rights Committee will next meet from 2 to 27 March 2020, to review Central African Republic, Japan, Portugal, Togo, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan. It will also review Dominica, in absence of a State report. More information is available on the 128th session Webpage.

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