Human Rights Council adopts outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Kenya and Armenia

MORNING

22 September 2010

The Human Rights Council this morning adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of Kenya and Armenia.

Mutula Kilonzo, Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of Kenya, said that Kenya attached great importance to the work of the Human Rights Council and in particular the Universal Periodic Review. Kenya was taking measures to implement the recommendations accepted in May, many of which touched on holding a peaceful referendum on the new constitution, providing equality and outlawing discrimination especially on the grounds of sex, and implementing international and regional human rights instruments through domestic legislation to ensure better protection for children, marginalized communities, persons with disabilities and freedom of information. The Government was also implementing far-reaching measures aimed at reforming the Judiciary and the Police. Out of the seven recommendations that did not enjoy the support of the Kenyan delegation in May, only the one on decriminalizing same-sex unions had been rejected wholly without any variations.

In the discussion on Kenya, speakers commended Kenya for its openness during the Universal Periodic Review process, which was evidence of its commitment to pursue national reconciliation, legislative reforms and cooperate with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. Many delegations also congratulated Kenya on the promulgation of the new constitution. Kenya needed to pay attention to economic, social and cultural rights and reduce infant mortality rates and poverty rates. It was hoped that Kenya could implement policy changes in these areas in a timely and focused manner. The Kenyan Government was commended for having supported 128 recommendations as well as the establishment of the National Commission on Gender and Development and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. The strengthening of national mechanisms in this manner was a key factor in improving the overall human rights situation in Kenya. Finally, a number of delegations called on the international community to support Kenya’s efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

Speaking in the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review of Kenya were Algeria, Egypt, United Kingdom, Morocco, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Rwanda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Lesotho.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, Action Canada for Population and Development, World Organisation Against Torture, Recontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme, Franciscans International, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues and Conectas Human Rights.

Dziunik Aghajanian, Head of the International Organizations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said that the Universal Periodic Review was a good opportunity for Armenia to be reassured of its success on the path to building a truly democratic society where the rule of law reigned and all human rights were fully protected and promoted. Regrettably, Armenia's open and constructive approach was not entirely reciprocated. There were attempts at the review to politicize the discussion, diverting it to issues that were beyond the scope and mandate of the Working Group. Armenia received 85 recommendations and eventually accepted 81. Two were not accepted in full, and two were rejected, demonstrating the rightfulness of the path adopted by the Government towards the betterment of Armenian society in the area of democracy and human rights. Armenia was willing to comply with the recommendations, to review its policies and to continue with the necessary reforms to protect human dignity and strengthen the national institutions of human rights.

In the discussion on Armenia, speakers congratulated the Government of Armenia for the constructive approach it had demonstrated during the Universal Periodic Review process and its willingness to engage in a genuine dialogue with respect to its international obligations. It was equally noteworthy that Armenia had not succumbed to national political considerations and had responded with seriousness and even accepted recommendations from countries with which it did not enjoy diplomatic relations, granting due respect to the Universal Periodic Review process. Several delegations expressed their confidence that Armenia would pursue its efforts for the effective implementation of all the accepted recommendations and would spare no efforts for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in its country. However, several areas of concern were also pointed out, including the need for the Armenian Government to pay more attention to the improvement of the rights and living conditions of the country’s most vulnerable groups. Moreover, while the commitment to tackle domestic violence was welcomed, Armenia needed to do more to reduce the significant discrimination experienced by women in socio-economical and political life.

Speaking in the general debate on the Universal Periodic Review of Armenia were Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Belarus, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and Italy.

Also taking the floor were the following non-governmental organizations: Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik and European Region of the Lesbian and Gay Association.

The Universal Periodic Review outcome of Guinea-Bissau was also scheduled to be considered during the meeting, but the President said that although they had received confirmation that a delegation would be present, no one had shown up and they were not able to contact them. Therefore, the consideration of the outcome of Guinea-Bissau was postponed.

The next meeting of the Council will be this afternoon at 3 p.m., when it is scheduled to consider the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Sweden, Grenada and Turkey.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Kenya

MUTULA KILONZO, Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of Kenya, said Kenya attached great importance to the work of the Human Rights Council and in particular the Universal Periodic Review, and to this end Kenya reiterated its commitment to its obligations to promote universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and other human rights instruments. On 27 August 2010, Kenya's new constitution was promulgated before hundreds of thousands of ecstatic Kenyans. The event was a significant moment in the country's history, representing a new beginning in the process of political transformation, as the new constitution not only addressed governance challenges but renewed the faith of Kenyans in the rule of law and established value-driven national institutions. During the review in May, 150 recommendations were made by delegations; 128 were accepted, a decision was postponed on 15, and only 7 did not enjoy the support of Kenya. Since then, there had been broad consultations at the national level involving all relevant stakeholders.

Kenya was taking measures to implement the recommendations accepted in May, many of which touched on holding a peaceful referendum on the new constitution, providing equality and outlawing discrimination especially on the grounds of sex, and implementation of international and regional human rights instruments through domestic legislation to ensure better protection for children, marginalised communities, persons with disabilities and freedom of information. The referendum was held in an orderly and peaceful manner on 4 August 2010, and the new constitution guaranteed most of the rights that were the subject of the Universal Periodic Review recommendations and which were also provided for under the international and regional human rights instruments that Kenya was a State Party to. The Government was also implementing far-reaching measures aimed at reforming the Judiciary and the Police. Regarding the seven recommendations that did not enjoy the support of the delegation in May, and, following a consultative process involving all stakeholders, Kenya had reconsidered its position. Out of the seven recommendations, only the one on decriminalising same-sex unions had been rejected wholly without any variations. Kenya remained committed to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and firmly supported the Universal Periodic Review.

MOHAMED DJALEL EDDINE BENABDOUN (Algeria) said that Algeria welcomed the exhaustive national report provided by the Government of Kenya, which was clearly based on a consultative process that involved all relevant stakeholders. Kenya recently lived through a historic moment with its successful holding of a constitutional referendum in August 2010. Thanks to this fortunate development, Kenyans had made tangible progress towards reconciliation and strengthening democracy, following the post-election turmoil of 2007-2008. Algeria also encouraged Kenya to establish medium-term plans, such as national reconciliation and poverty reduction programmes. Finally, Algeria wished Kenya all the success in implementing the recommendations accepted by the Working Group.

HEBA MOSTAFA RIZK (Egypt) said Egypt had the honour to be a member of the troika during the Universal Periodic Review process of Kenya. The openness indicated during the process was evidence of Kenya’s serious political will to pursue national reconciliation and legislative reforms and cooperate with the Universal Periodic Review mechanism. Egypt congratulated Kenya on the promulgation of the new constitution and said that due attention must be paid to economic and social rights, reducing infant mortality rates and poverty reduction. Finally, Egypt called on the international community to support Kenya’s efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

BOB LAST (United Kingdom) said the United Kingdom was particularly pleased to note that four of its recommendations had enjoyed the support of Kenya: these were for Kenya to unite behind a new constitution through a fair referendum; better protection of witnesses and human rights defenders; establishment of an independent, credible and authoritative Police Oversight Authority; and action against the culture of impunity, including extra-judicial killings. These were important issues that deserved the full attention of the Government. The United Kingdom was disappointed by Kenya's hosting of President Bashir at its constitutional ceremony, in violation of its basic legal obligations under the Rome Statute. There were numerous reports of impunity causing instability. The United Kingdom warmly welcomed the commitments given to improve the human rights situation through their Universal Periodic Review, and the United Kingdom trusted that Kenya could implement policy in these areas in a timely and focused manner.

MOHAMED ACHGALOU (Morocco) said that the strong will power of the Kenyan people had led them through the reconciliation process, which culminated in the referendum of this summer. Nevertheless, considerable efforts of the Kenyan Government would not reach their objectives without assistance from the international community, particularly with involvement and technical assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The 2030 strategy was part of a longer-term vision of the Government to implement a whole range of human rights through the creation of employment and strengthening the foundations of democracy and the rule of law.

AHMED MOHAMED ABRO (Djibouti) welcomed the commitment by the Kenyan Government demonstrated during the Universal Periodic Review process and congratulated Kenya on its acceptance of a large number of recommendations and the efforts to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights. Particularly important was the promulgation of the new constitution and the progress made in the area of Millennium Development Goals, Djibouti concluded.

SAROJA SIRISENA (Sri Lanka) said Sri Lanka commended the manner in which Kenya participated in the Universal Periodic Review process; the detailed responses provided on a large number of recommendations were noteworthy. Sri Lanka welcomed that the Government had expressed its support for 128 recommendations, and also welcomed the establishment of the National Commission on Gender and Development and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission. The strengthening of national mechanisms in this manner was a key factor in improving the overall human rights situation in Kenya. Sri Lanka acknowledged Kenya's efforts to protect and promote human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, with particular emphasis on poverty eradication. Sri Lanka was pleased to note the achievements made by Kenya, including enacting appropriate legal provisions in protecting children's rights.

DINESH BHATTARAI (Nepal) congratulated the Government of Kenya for having a new democratic constitution endorsed by the people through a national referendum. Nepal was pleased to see Kenya’s long-term plan, Vision 2030, which would guide its development agenda. It was encouraging to see national reconciliation and a healing process that showed remarkable progress in human rights as well as other priority areas aimed at economic reconstruction with an emphasis on equity and inclusiveness. For these reasons, Nepal strongly recommended the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review outcome of the Republic of Kenya.

VENETIA SEBUDANDI (Rwanda) said Rwanda noted that Kenya had accepted the majority of the recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review and that many of them were already in the process of being implemented. This demonstrated Kenya’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. Rwanda called upon Kenya’s partners to support its efforts through a constructive and cooperative approach. Rwanda congratulated Kenya on the promulgation of the new constitution which it said truly reflected the aspirations of Kenya’s people. The constitution would provide the Government with better tools to fully discharge its national human rights obligations.

OSITADINMA ANAEDU (Nigeria) said Nigeria congratulated Kenya for the successful conclusion of its constitutional review and the adoption of a new constitution. Kenya was thanked for the successful engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process and for the additional information provided on Kenya's efforts towards the fulfilment of its human rights obligations. Nigeria was pleased to note the undertakings and positive steps taken so far by Kenya in fulfilling its international human rights obligations and ensuring the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by its people. Kenya was encouraged to remain steadfast in pursuing measures adopted in accordance with its national priorities, which would help to enhance the enjoyment of human rights by its people. The international community should render all needed assistance to Kenya in the operationalisation of its human rights obligations.

ENOS MAFEMBA (Zimbabwe) said that the recommendations rejected by Kenya were generally of major concern not only to Kenya but also to other African States, as they ran counter to their traditions. Certain elements with regard to Kenya’s human rights record had always been exaggerated through the use of uncouth reporting. Zimbabwe was very optimistic that the momentum gathered thus far by the Government of Kenya in the promotion and protection of human rights would be maintained and even accelerated in the future. Zimbabwe concluded by commending the Government of Kenya’s cooperative spirit with the international community and Human Rights Council in particular.

Mr. O. RHEE HETANANG (Botswana) welcomed the additional information provided in response to some of the issues raised during the review and recognised this as further demonstration of Kenya’s commitment to the Universal Periodic Review process. Botswana commended the Government of Kenya for undertaking an extensive consultation process and for embracing the civil society perspectives in this process. Having gone through the Universal Periodic Review in 2008, Botswana understood the challenges the recommendations could present for the administration of a country. Botswana hoped that the Government of Kenya would be accorded the necessary support by the international community in efforts to meet their domestic and international obligations in the context of the promotion and protection of human rights.

MPEO MAHASE-MOILOA (Lesotho) said Lesotho noted with satisfaction the acceptance by Kenya of many of the recommendations, including the one made by Lesotho. The measures taken by Kenya to reduce poverty were appreciated. Lesotho welcomed the decision to allow the International Criminal Court to operate locally and try suspects in the 2007 post-election violence, and hoped this would help to achieve much-needed reconciliation among Kenyans. Kenya was wished the best in implementing the recommendations.

LAURENCE MUTE, of Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, said that the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights commended the people of Kenya for adopting a new constitution that contained a robust bill of rights, incorporating economic, social and cultural rights and mechanisms designed to enhance fairness, justice and equality as well as to improve general standards of living. However, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights noted with concern that the Kenyan Government had declined to accept important recommendations made during the interactive dialogue, such as the proposal to abolish the death penalty. In closing, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights welcomed the Universal Periodic Review process and trusted that by the end of this cycle real benefits would have been accrued to individuals and communities in Kenya.

JUDITH NGUNJIRI, of Action Canada for Population and Development, expressed its disappointment that the Kenyan Government had rejected recommendations to take measures to provide for the protection and equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The criminalization of consensual same-sex relations in Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code fuelled stigma, discrimination and violence against sexual minorities. Action Canada for Population and Development reminded the Kenyan Government that human rights were universal, inalienable and inherent and that these principles applied to all citizens including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Kenyans.

JOAN NYANYUKI of World Organization Against Torture, commended the Government of Kenya for backing the passing of a new constitution which had provided a favourable legal environment for the promotion and protection of human rights. The World Organization Against Torture was deeply concerned by the Government’s breach of its obligations under the Rome Statute by failing to arrest President Al-Bashir in August this year and aggravating the situation by harassing two human rights defenders who publicly protested on the matter. It urged Kenya to demonstrate its commitment to accord the International Criminal Court full cooperation in carrying out its mandate towards ensuring access to victims of the 2007/2008 post election violence in Kenya.

ROMAIN MORIAUD, of Recontre Africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme, congratulated Kenya on establishing a political system which allowed strengthening of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. The non-governmental organization deplored the fact that the Government still had not applied the recommendations made by the Waki Commission on the post electoral violence of 2007. It encouraged Kenya to strengthen the relationship between different communities and minorities in the view of national reconciliation as outlined in the strategic Kenya Vision 2030. It also encouraged the Government to combat discrimination against women and to harmonise anti-terrorist measures with the provisions of international law.

GENEVIEVE NGINA, of Franciscans International, said that Franciscans International appreciated Kenya's support of recommendations to undertake effective measures to prevent, punish and eradicate all forms of violence against women, including through the strengthening of law enforcement and the judicial system, providing adequate protection to the victims and awareness-raising programmes on the rights of women. The Government should implement these recommendations. Franciscans International was also concerned about the situation of single mothers. Franciscans International welcomed Kenya's support for the recommendation to ensure the equitable distribution of water and food to the entire population, especially during periods of drought, and recommended that the development of a strategic biofuel energy policy should not replace the use of food production areas with biofuel plants.

ESTHER WAWERU, of International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, said despite a few shortcomings and low political will to implement the recommendations, some progress was being made. The Government should fully operationalise all the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, pass the reproductive health bill into law to comprehensively deal with the issues of reproductive health and maternal mortality, and track the nature and extent of women's participation in the political arena in the country. The Government should consider adopting the recommendations that it deferred, including to sign and ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers, the Optional Protocols of the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. The Government should seek the assistance pledged by the international community and build the capacity of the relevant institutions for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.

ANDREW SONGA, of Conectas Human Rights, applauded the Government of Kenya for reconsidering the recommendations pertaining to the right of indigenous peoples. Conectas Human Rights was further encouraged by the promulgation of the new constitution of Kenya, acknowledging its expansion of the bill of rights to include the rights of minorities and marginalized groups. In conclusion, Conectas Human Rights asked the Kenyan Government to consider ratifying ILO Convention 169 and adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People as an enhancement of the constitutional safeguards accorded to minorities and marginalized groups.

MUTULA KILONZO, Minister for Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of Kenya, in closing remarks, thanked all delegations which participated in this important exercise and ensured them that the Ministry had prepared the roadmap for the implementation of the recommendations made under the review process. Concerning the issues raised in May 2010, such as ratification of international instruments suggested by some delegations, Mr. Kilonzo said that the Government would soon take under consideration the ratification of all international instruments to which Kenya was still not a party to. This would facilitate the monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the recommendations originating from the Universal Periodic Review, Mr. Kilnozo said. He reaffirmed Kenya’s intention to provide regular progress reports to the Human Rights Council.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Kenya.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review of Armenia

DZIUNIK AGHAJANIAN, Head of the International Organizations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, said the Universal Periodic Review was a good opportunity for Armenia to be reassured of its success on the path to building a truly democratic society where the rule of law reigned and all human rights were fully protected and promoted. Armenia approached the Universal Periodic Review process with a genuine desire to get the utmost out of this discourse among friends in order to make adjustments in the policies already being carried out and adopt new ones, if necessary, to further advance the human rights situation in the country. Regrettably, Armenia's open and constructive approach was not entirely reciprocated. There were attempts at the review to politicise the discussion, diverting it to issues that were beyond the scope and mandate of the Working Group. Moreover, the unacceptable procedural violations with which the draft report was prepared raised numerous concerns, making it imperative for the Council to continue the work towards improving the working methods to ensure equal treatment among all United Nations Member States.

Armenia received 85 recommendations and expressed its position on 80 of them during the Working Group meeting. Of these, 52 were considered already implemented or in the process of implementation, and 27 enjoyed support as being in line with policies in place and projected programmes. Only one recommendation was rejected as not corresponding to the actual situation on the ground. In the follow-up to the Universal Periodic Review, Armenia had again closely reviewed the remaining five recommendations, and discussed them extensively with State authorities and representatives of international organizations. Finally, 81 out of the 85 recommendations were accepted - two were not accepted in full, and two were rejected, demonstrating the rightfulness of the path adopted by the Government towards the betterment of Armenian society in the area of democracy and human rights. Armenia was willing to comply with the recommendations, to review its policies, carry on with its commitments in ensuring political rights, continue with the reforms to protect human dignity and freedom of thought, conscience and religion, enforce economic, social and cultural rights, and strengthen the national institutions of human rights.

IDRISS JAZAIRY (Algeria) said that Algeria noted the engagement of Armenia and its commitment to maintain close cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms. Algeria commended the Government for progress realized in the fields of health, reduction in infant mortality and efforts to combat poverty. The supplementary information provided today allowed the Council to gauge the scale of the Government’s commitment and resolve in addressing issues of human rights. Algeria concluded by noting that Armenia had beat all records in the acceptance of recommendations, accepting 81 out of 85 recommendations and, as such, Algeria recommended that the Council adopt the Universal Periodic Review outcome of Armenia.

HABIB MIKAYILLI (Azerbaijan) said Azerbaijan had made several recommendations to Armenia during the interactive dialogue held in May 2010. Those recommendations covered civil and political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Of those, 11 had been accepted by Armenia and Azerbaijan underlined the positive effect those would have on the overall human rights situation in this country. Azerbaijan regretted that the recommendation on measures to eliminate discrimination against Yezidis had not been accepted. In closing, Azerbaijan reaffirmed its firm commitment to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.

MAHMOUD AFIFI (Egypt) said Egypt welcomed the commitment of Armenia to the Universal Periodic Review process, a commitment which was not only demonstrated by the acceptance of 81 out of 85 recommendations during the review session, but also by its willingness to cooperate on the remaining recommendations. Egypt also welcomed the positive and constructive nature of the review, commending the Government for the serious and open approach it had adopted throughout the different phases of the review. Egypt was confident that Armenia would pursue its efforts for the effective implementation of all the accepted recommendations, and would spare no efforts for the continuation of its national efforts for the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Egypt firmly believed that in continuing to strengthen its capacities, Armenia would continue to advance towards a better protection of human rights.

MARIA MICHAEL (Cyprus) congratulated the Government of Armenia for the seriousness by which it had approached its own review by this peer review mechanism. The constructive approach demonstrated Armenia’s willingness to engage in a genuine dialogue with respect to its international obligations as well as the importance it attached to the Universal Periodic Review mechanism itself. Finally, Cyprus was pleased to note that Armenia had not succumbed to national political considerations and had responded with seriousness and even accepted recommendations from countries with which it did not enjoy diplomatic relations, granting due respect to the Universal Periodic Review process.

BOB LAST (United Kingdom) said the United Kingdom was particularly pleased to see that Armenia accepted the recommendations the United Kingdom made regarding the signature and ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, taking immediate steps to make domestic violence a criminal offence and ratifying the Rome Statute. The United Kingdom noted that Armenia’s progress on the Millennium Development Goals meant that this country would likely miss the target on gender equality. While the commitment to tackle domestic violence was welcomed, Armenia needed to do more to reduce the significant discrimination experienced by women in socio-economical and political life. The United Kingdom encouraged Armenia to address the full spectrum of discrimination experienced by women.

NATALIA ZHYLEVICH (Belarus) said the submission of the exhaustive comments on the recommendations was appreciated, and Belarus greatly appreciated the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review for Armenia, showing the interest of the Human Rights Council in the policies and experience of the Government in protecting and promoting human rights, and the efforts to extend human rights to all and improve legislation. The great majority of recommendations were agreed with and supported by Armenia, and Belarus commended the steps taken to implement duties towards treaty bodies, efforts to ensure religious freedom, and measures to eliminate trafficking in persons. The efforts by the Government to combat trafficking in people were greatly commended. Belarus wished the Government of Armenia further success in protecting and promoting human rights.

ROMAN KAHAEV (Russian Federation) said that the Russian Federation welcomed the open and constructive approach demonstrated by the Government of Armenia in the Universal Periodic Review process. Russia noted that almost all of the recommendations had been adopted or were in the process of being implemented. The level of preparation conducted by Armenia was proof of its ongoing commitment to promoting and protecting the human rights of its citizens.

ABZAL SAPARBEKULY (Kazakhstan) said that the Universal Periodic Review process of Armenia had been a good opportunity to listen to different voices in order to further enhance the Government’s efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights. Kazakhstan was very glad to point out that out of 85 recommendations made during the process, Armenia supported 82. Kazakhstan encouraged the Government of Armenia to pay more attention to the improvement of the rights and living conditions of the most vulnerable groups such as children, women, disabled persons, minorities and others.

ROBERTO NOCELLA (Italy) said some positive developments had occurred in Armenia since the eighth session of the Universal Periodic Review, namely the reported ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the adoption of the National Action Plan for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings for 2010-2012. Italy also looked forward to the adoption of the Law on Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities for Men and Women. As in all other cases, the Universal Periodic Review report highlighted challenges and progress, and this document could form the basis for further work on the protection and promotion of human rights in Armenia, also in view of establishing new collaborations with United Nations agencies and regional organizations.

SHOLEH ZAMINI, of Verein Sudwind Entwicklungspolitik, urged Armenia to pay more attention to violence against women. Armenia was a country with a traditionally patriarchal society and a high rate of violence against women and, despite the fact that training police forces about violence against women was a necessity, such crimes persisted around the country. The lack of legislation on violence against women and not investing in women’s shelters could have hazardous results on the physical and mental health of women. It was for this reason that the non-governmental organization urged Armenia to accelerate the process aimed at creating the National Law on Violence Against Women and show the will to change its mentality.

BJORN VAN ROOSENDAHL, of European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, in a joint statement with Federatie Van Netherlandse Verenigingen Tot Integratie Van Homoseksualiteit - Coc Nederland, said that a variety of stakeholders had submitted reports recommending that Armenia address discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, implement sensitivity and awareness raising programmes on these grounds and apply the Yogyakarta Principles. These recommendations were consistent with Armenia’s commitment to equality and non-discrimination expressed in the Working Group report.

DZIUNIK AGHAJANIAN, Head of the International Organizations Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, in concluding remarks, said that a report that had been mentioned by one delegation was outdated and was over 10 years old. She pointed that delegation to new and factual reports. Armenia was thankful to the President, troika Member States and the Secretariat for all their support offered in the Universal Periodic Review process. Ms. Aghajanian reaffirmed the commitment of the Government of Armenia to the promotion and protection of human rights. Armenia was ready to fully cooperate with the Council, Member States and all other international bodies and thanked them all for their support of Armenia’s efforts.

Regarding the two recommendations on which the position of Armenia was still pending, Ms. Aghajanian said that Armenia had already responded and said that it rejected part of those recommendations, but took note of them.

The Council then adopted the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Armenia.
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