Human Rights Council adopts outcomes of Universal Periodic Review on Ireland, Togo and Syria

Human Rights Council
MIDDAY 15 March 2012

The Human Rights Council at its midday meeting today adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review on Ireland, Togo and Syria.

Gerard Corr, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that of the 127 recommendations made by Member States, Ireland had fully accepted 91, a further 17 had been accepted in part and it was unable to support only four. The most important phase of the entire Universal Periodic Review process was the implementation; some of the recommendations accepted by Ireland had already been implemented, while others were under way.

In the discussion on Ireland, speakers welcomed that Ireland had accepted the recommendations on improving the conditions of prisons and on the laws on domestic violence. They looked forward towards the further reaction of Ireland concerning ascension to the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers. One speaker remained concerned over human rights violations in Ireland, particularly over incidents of racism, xenophobia and discrimination against Muslims. Concern was expressed about the rejection of recommendations related to women’s reproductive health and Irish Travellers.

Algeria, Uruguay, Republic of Moldova, and Iran took the floor. The Irish Human Rights Commission also spoke, as did the following non-governmental organizations:
COC Netherlands, Action Canada for Population and Development, European Women’s Lobby, International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism, International Federation of Human Rights Leagues, Amnesty International, HelpAge International, Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, and European Disability Forum.

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

Leonardia Rita Doris Wilson-De Souza, Minister for Human Rights, Consolidation of Democracy and Civic Education of Togo, said that Togo accepted 112 of the 133 recommendations, had postponed 10 recommendations and rejected 11. Since the review of the report, progress had been achieved in several areas, such as in the agricultural sphere to increase the income of farmers and substantially improve living conditions of rural populations, particularly women and children. The Government was determined to do its utmost to ensure the fulfilment of Togolese society, and hoped it could count on support from the international community.

In the discussion on Togo, speakers said that despite the circumstances constraining all developing countries, Togo had made it a priority to protect and promote human rights. The fact that the right to the environment was enshrined in the constitution corresponded to the Government’s priority in these terms. They paid tribute to all the efforts made by Togo after courageously and determinedly overcoming the social upheaval that took place over many years. Togo was encouraged to step up its work to help people living with HIV AIDS, help people access staple foods and end discrimination against women.

Cuba, Algeria, Morocco, Chad, Republic of Moldova, Democratic People’s Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, and Djibouti spoke in the discussion on Togo. The National Human Rights Commission of Togo took the floor as did the following non-governmental organizations: Association for the Prevention of Torture, Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausilliatrice, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, Democracy Coalition Project, and International Federation of Actions by Christians for the Abolition of Torture.

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

Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Syria had suffered violence at the hands of armed groups that had cause bloodshed of civilians, blocked roads and displaced families. Economic sanctions unilaterally imposed on Syria flagrantly violated human rights in Syria. Nevertheless reform steps continued in Syria despite attempts at ethnic cleansing in certain areas. Syria today accepted 24 recommendations, in addition to the 90 recommendations it accepted in October 2011, making a total of 114 out of 179 recommendations.

In the discussion on Syria, speakers said that despite the difficulties and challenges Syria faced, the Syrian Government was trying to work to ensure the rights of its people. Speakers rejected any foreign intervention in Syria. Political, military, financial and media support to armed groups from certain countries only served to encourage these groups to continue systematic violations of human rights. Other speakers called on the Government in Syria to end the repression, violence, extrajudicial executions, torture and all other human rights violations.

Speaking in the discussion on Syria were Cuba, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Algeria, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador, Russian Federation, China, and the United States.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: World Federation of Trade Unions, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International Commission of Jurists, United Nations Watch, General Arab Women Federation, Amnesty International, CIVICUS, and Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme.

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

During its afternoon meeting today, the Council will consider the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review on Venezuela, Iceland and Zimbabwe.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review on Ireland

GERARD CORR, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said that a great strength of the Universal Periodic Review was its emphasis on consultation. Ireland had held a series of consultative meetings in the preparation of its national report, in which the Human Rights Commission of Ireland and non-governmental organizations had played a significant part. The Working Group nearly completed their report which would be presented to the Government shortly; of the 127 recommendations made by Member States, Ireland had fully accepted 91, a further 17 had been accepted in part and it was unable to support only four. The most important phase of the entire Universal Periodic Review process was the implementation; some of the recommendations accepted by Ireland had already been implemented, while others were under way. Such was the question of prison accommodation, in particular overcrowding and in-cell sanitation where Ireland had already refurbished some of the prisons while others were under way. Last week the Government had announced the decision to sign the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and continued the work on making Ireland a fairer country in which to live. Within this framework, the Government was addressing the issue of children’s rights; provided an overarching framework for transparency and anti-corruption legislation to protect whistleblowers in all sectors; and was tackling social inequality through budgetary allocations for social assistance to the most vulnerable. Ireland had chosen to prepare and submit a voluntary interim report on the progress in implementing the commitments, which would help all parties involved keep track of what had been completed, what was ongoing and what still needed to be done.

Algeria was pleased to see that Ireland had accepted the recommendations on improving the conditions of prisons and on the laws on domestic violence, put forward by Algeria. Algeria looked forward towards the further reaction of Ireland concerning ascension to the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers.

Uruguay said it was commendable that Ireland had accepted to ratify international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and others that were of a special importance to Uruguay. It was hoped that ascension to the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers would be considered by Ireland. Uruguay encouraged Ireland to move forward and come up with the necessary definition of corporal punishment and promote legislation forbidding it.

Republic of Moldova welcomed the constructive engagement of Ireland with the Universal Periodic Review process and applauded the country for good cooperation with civil society organizations and actors. The Republic of Moldova commended Ireland for extending a standing invitation to Special Procedures and was pleased to note that Ireland had strengthened its laws and policies to combat domestic violence and to eliminate gender equality. The Republic of Moldova welcomed the decision to establish the Disability Forum which could contribute to better empowerment of persons with disabilities.

Iran remained concerned over human rights violations in Ireland, particularly over incidents of racism, xenophobia and discrimination against Muslims. Ireland should take measures to combat and tackle racial discrimination, and take firm action against perpetrators of those acts. Ireland should support its Muslim citizens in enabling them to practice their religion.

Irish Human Rights Commission welcomed the wide range of issues raised in the Universal Periodic Review report. The report could act as a template for advancing human rights issues in Ireland. There had to be steps taken to ensure the future Human Rights and Equality Commission had adequate and sufficient resources.

COC Netherlands said Ireland had a young but impressive history when it came to addressing human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Government should address the legal recognition and support of children in same-sex headed families. Significant challenges remained with respect to this matter.

Action Canada for Population and Development, in a joint statement, was deeply concerned that the Government had rejected all recommendations related to women’s reproductive rights. The outright rejection of recommendations, along with the continued criminalization of women who needed access to safe abortion, was astonishing.

European Women’s Lobby was greatly concerned about the rejection of the recommendations concerning the restrictive regulation of abortion. Ireland should institute a statutory inquiry and compensation scheme for the Magdalene Laundries abuse. The Constitutional Convention should be tasked with implementing gender-sensitive reform of Irish political structures.

International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism was disappointed that Ireland refused to recognise that Irish Travellers constituted a distinct minority thus ignoring a range of eminent international and regional human rights bodies that had said that Travellers met all of the criteria to be recognized as an ethnic minority.

International Federation of Human Rights Leagues remained concerned about the partial acceptance of recommendations because Ireland did not clarify what exactly was accepted. Ireland should adhere to all human rights international instruments and set the timetable within which it would happen. It was time now for Ireland to demonstrate through its national actions that it was fit for a role of human rights leader on a global scale.

Amnesty International welcomed Ireland’s support of recommendations to ratify outstanding human rights treaties, but noted that United Nations treaty bodies had expressed concern at the prevalence of violence against women and girls in Ireland, and urged the Government to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.

HelpAge International, in a joint statement, said the continued economic crisis that gripped Ireland had pushed more citizens into financial hardship, especially women and children. Reviews of Ireland’s mental health system had repeatedly noted the urgent need for reform. The organization urged detailed timeframes for implementing the commitments made by the Government today.

Society for the Protection of Unborn Children said that the will of the Irish people expressed in some referenda was that the right to life of unborn babies be protected from the very beginning. No treaty or convention recognized a right to abortion yet many countries during the Universal Period Review process instructed Ireland to introduce abortion. The organization appreciated that Ireland rejected those calls.

European Disability Forum, in a joint statement, called on the Irish Government to ensure the newly established Human Rights and Equality Commission was fully resourced and equipped to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights and, among other things, improve the rights of persons with disabilities in Ireland.

GERARD CORR, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations Office at Geneva, in concluding remarks, said Iran suggested that there was frequent discrimination against Muslims or other religious minorities in Ireland. There was no basis for this allegation. The Government was committed to combating discrimination in the most robust manner possible. Comprehensive anti-racism training was provided to the police force, among other actions. The role of the National Disability Authority was monitoring compliance with national disability legislation. This was a matter taken very seriously. Regarding transgender legislation, there were proposals for legislation being prepared. Traveller ethnicity would be further considered and it was clear that more needed to be done to address the situation of Travellers. This was an area where further consultation had to take place. Ireland approached the Universal Periodic Review with great seriousness. The process was strengthened by dialogue with civil society. Ireland was committed to submitting a review on the process. Regarding the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, the new modalities would allow for more time for a more in-depth review.

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

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review on Togo

LEONARDIA RITA DORIS WILSON-DE SOUZA, Minister for Human Rights, Consolidation of Democracy and Civic Education of Togo, said that Togo accepted 112 of the 133 recommendations, had postponed 10 recommendations and rejected 11. Since the review of the report, progress had been achieved in several areas, such as in the agricultural sphere to increase the income of farmers and substantially improve living conditions of rural populations, particularly women and children. With the help of the World Health Organization the Guinea Worm disease had been totally eradicated. On 19 March 2012 500 new prison wardens, a third of whom would be women, would begin a six month training programme, as part of policies to improve prison conditions. The preliminary draft of the Criminal Code took on board a definition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Togo also adopted measures to strengthen training of the police forces to prevent officers carrying out any action of torture. Regarding the protection of human rights defenders, the Government had ensured the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission that they would ensure his and his family’s security. The national five-year action plan to implement Togo’s Universal Period Review recommendations included workshops and the input of different stakeholders. Promoting and protecting the rights of women, children, elderly and disabled persons, incorporation of human rights in the school curricula, and combating poverty were among the Government’s priority areas. The Government was determined to do its utmost to ensure the fulfilment of Togolese society, and hoped it could count on support from the international community.

Cuba said Togo had faced the Universal Periodic Review with a positive spirit. Despite the circumstances constraining all developing countries, Togo had made it a priority to protect and promote the human rights. The fact that the right to the environment was enshrined in the constitution corresponded to the Government’s priority in these terms. Another priority of Togo had been fulfilling the right to food and there had been actions to re-animate the agricultural sector.

Algeria was convinced that Togo would work towards democracy and economic and social development and appreciated that Togo had adopted the recommendations that Algeria had proposed. Algeria wished Togo all the best in implementing the recommendations it had accepted.

Morocco said the Universal Periodic Review was an opportunity to review the progress achieved in Togo in the field of human rights. Morocco paid tribute to all the efforts made by Togo after courageously and determinedly overcoming the social upheaval that took place over many years. Morocco congratulated Togo for accepting many of the recommendations provided to it, including the two recommendations suggested by Morocco.

Chad thanked Togo for accepting its recommendations and said it should ask for technical and financial assistance from the international community to be able to implement the other recommendations, and asked the Council to adopt Togo’s report.

Republic of Moldova attached particular importance to gender equality, ratification of international human rights instruments, and to preventing the trafficking of women, and appreciated acceptance of all four recommendations it had made.

Democratic Republic of the Congo commended Togo’s adoption of a National Housing Programme from 2009 to 2013. Togo was encouraged to step up its work to help people living with HIV AIDS, help people access staple foods and end discrimination against women.

Senegal appreciated the open sprit and dialogue with which the delegation of Togo treated the process of the Universal Periodic Review. It was on this basis that the Government of Togo had accepted many of the recommendations. The implementation of these recommendations and multifaceted efforts in the socio-economic domain would help Togo to remain resolute in its work to promote and protect human rights.

Benin said Togo had been working for years to promote and protect human rights and it was in this regard that the delegation commended this initiative. Togo had acceded to most of the international instruments for the promotion and protection of human rights. Togo had abolished the death penalty, adopted a truth and reconciliation commission and worked arduously to promote peace.

Burkina Faso welcomed the sprit of cooperation Togo displayed in working with the Council. This demonstrated the real willingness of the country to promote and guarantee human rights for all of its citizens. Burkina Faso called on the international community to provide Togo with all the technical and financial assistance that it required to implement the commitments taken at the Council.

Côte d’Ivoire said that Togo was in the vanguard concerning the promotion and protection of human rights and offered best practices for other countries. A national institute for human rights had been in place since 1987 and the Commission of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation had engaged public audiences on important topics. Togo had accepted 112 out of 123 recommendations and the international community should offer all assistance to the country to promote and protect human rights.

Tunisia congratulated Togo for the reform measures made in heath, food security, and social protection and in promoting child security. International assistance should be extended to Togo to help the Government overcome the challenges it faced in further consolidating human rights in the country.

Djibouti appreciated the determination and engagement of the Government of Togo in promoting and protecting human rights. The Government had embarked on efforts to strengthen democracy and social dialogue. Djibouti appreciated that Togo had accepted the majority of the recommendations in its Universal Periodic Review and invited the Council to adopt its report.

National Human Rights Commission of Togo said the Commission sat at the heart of the follow-up committee established by the Government to implement the recommendations, which particularly dealt with allegations of torture, the fight against impunity and corruption, and to support the ongoing and sometimes dangerous mission of human rights defenders to help make Togo truly free and democratic.

Association for the Prevention of Torture congratulated Togo on its acceptance of the recommendations to prevent and criminalize torture. The Association encouraged Togo to go beyond declarations of intent and to complete the reform of the Criminal Code to ensure torture was a separate and appropriately punishable offence.

Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausilliatrice, in a joint statement, expressed satisfaction with Togo’s decision to provide free primary education, but said school infrastructure was still poor and children with disabilities struggled to receive an education. Nearly 50 per cent of children were not registered at birth, while children accused of witchcraft were tragically treated.

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues welcomed the commitments made by Togo during its Universal Periodic Review and called on Togo to ratify the important international human rights mechanisms. Togo should improve the situation of human rights, particularly in order to eradicate the practice of torture and improve the incarceration and judicial systems.

Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme said Togo was the second African country that inaugurated a dynastic government after the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was time to renew the dialogue with the international community and carry out the necessary reforms.

Democracy Coalition Project said that the Government of Togo should investigate all allegations of torture in the country. There was concern over the lack of independence of the judiciary, limited reform in the judicial sector and that the family code was not in conformity with international standards.

International Federation of Actions by Christians for the Abolition of Torture said there were frequent cases of torture and ill treatment in the country and noted that the draft revision of the criminal code required a definition of torture in line with article 1 of the Convention against Torture. Numerous acts of torture took place during initial detention and there was a need for training for police.

LEONARDIA RITA DORIS WILSON-DE SOUZA, Minister for Human Rights, Consolidation of Democracy and Civic Education of Togo, in concluding remarks, thanked all Member States and civil society organizations who had supported Togo to live up to its obligations in promoting and protecting human rights. Togo confirmed its commitment to implement all accepted recommendations and appealed to the international community to bolster the efforts of the Government to improve the living conditions of its people.

Consideration of Outcome of Universal Periodic Review on Syria

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI, Permanent Representative of Syria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, said Syria was working on establishing a renewed State in which everyone enjoyed the best standards of human rights, despite the big challenges which everyone was aware of. Syria had suffered violence at the hands of armed groups who had cause bloodshed of civilians, blocked roads and displaced families. On 12 March Homs was terrorized by a barbaric massacre at the hands of Al Qaeda terrorists. The pictures of corpses were broadcast by international media just hours before the Security Council met and during the Human Rights Council session, to provoke those bodies to make provocative and hostile decisions against Syria. Economic sanctions unilaterally imposed on Syria flagrantly violated human rights in the country. Nevertheless reform steps continued in Syria despite attempts at ethnic cleansing in certain areas.

Syria today accepted 24 recommendations, in addition to the 90 recommendations it accepted in October 2011, making a total of 114 out of 179 recommendations. The recommendation on having an interactive national dialogue was very important, as that was the only means for Syria to end the crisis. Unfortunately the armed groups supported by foreign powers continued to refuse dialogue. Mr. Hamoui said he did not know whether those groups could be called ‘opposition’ as the confessions of those arrested proved they were actually armed groups of mercenaries killing for others. Other recommendations had already been implemented, for example by new laws that forbid the arrest of any person without evidence, training for police on how to deal with riots without violating human rights, and legislation for the use of weapons by law enforcement officers. Syria was currently dealing with 4,720 cases of people who had been charged, while 74 law enforcement officers had been charged with crimes of violating human rights. Syria rejected a number of recommendations because many were intended to condemn the country and not promote human rights. In the spirit of flexibility, however, Syria today announced that it accepted recommendations 32, 33, 34, 35 and 36 on allowing international media to enter Syria. Indeed, 147 independent media companies had been allowed to enter Syria since the October meeting.

Cuba said despite the difficulties and challenges Syria faced, the Syrian Government was trying to work to ensure the rights of its people. Cuba noted with satisfaction the efforts made and Syria’s acceptance of the visits of Valerie Amos and Kofi Annan. Cuba underlined the approval of a new constitution by the Syrian people, demonstrating the spirit of reform adopted by the Government. Cuba reiterated its rejection of any foreign intervention in Syria.

Nicaragua took note of the political resolve and cooperation of the Syrian authorities and their willingness to pursue national reconciliation. The Council had to show a true commitment to supporting solidarity and measures that would put an end to the crisis in Syria. Selectivity should not be part and partial of the Council’s spirit. Nicaragua emphasized that the Government was taking all possible steps to restore national order. Nicaragua reaffirmed its willingness to work with Syria on the path to peace.

Uruguay reiterated its concern related to the events unfurling in Syria. Uruguay called on the Government in Syria to end the repression, violence, extrajudicial executions, torture and all other human rights violations. Uruguay urged Syria to allow for a visit by the Commission of Inquiry, to release all prisoners of conscience and to stop intimidation, persecution and arbitrary arrests.

Algeria said that due to the ongoing political insecurity and the loss of human life in Syria, which Algeria deeply regretted, it was concerned about the procedural focus on the Universal Periodic Review when the Human Rights Council was engaged on other human rights resolutions with regard to Syria, notably HRC/19/L.1, S-18/1, S-17/1 and S-16/1.

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea said Syria had demonstrated its commitment to promoting human rights and democracy by adopting a new constitution that stipulated political plurality. Syria’s efforts to promote and protect human rights were being hampered by harsh unilateral sanctions imposed by certain countries. Sanctions had had a negative impact on the Government’s efforts to provide important and basic services to the Syrian people. Political, military, financial and media support to armed groups from certain countries only served to encourage these groups to continue systematic violations of human rights. Any development process in Syria should be an outcome of Syrian-led policies without any foreign intervention.

Iran said Syria had shown its determination to promote human rights and democracy through responding to the demands of the Syrian people and adopting a new constitution that stipulated political reform. The new constitution had taken into consideration new commitments made by Syria in the field of human rights. Iran hoped that the accepted recommendations would be implemented. Iran noted with serious concern that Syria’s efforts to promote and protect human rights were hampered by sanctions imposed by certain countries and stressed that these sanctions had had a negative impact on the Syrian Government’s efforts to provide important and basic services to the population.

Venezuela said despite the violent situation, the Government of Syria had prepared for the Universal Periodic Review. Syria had actively participated in the process and demonstrated its commitment to democracy and human rights, as shown in adopting a new constitution. The efforts of Syria had been hampered by the harsh unilateral sanctions which had had a negative impact on the population and prevented the Government from providing services to its population. More concerning was the media and financial support provided to armed opposition groups by certain countries.

Ecuador said human rights violations always had to be condemned and punished. Ecuador appealed to Syria and the armed opposition groups to respect the human rights of the population, pursue a constructive dialogue and find a solution to the internal crisis. Ecuador believed that the Universal Periodic Review was the most appropriate mechanism with which to judge how a State complied with its human rights obligations. Ecuador called for the acceptance and approval of the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Syria.

Russian Federation said the fact that Syria had gone through the Universal Periodic Review process showed that Damascus was open to dialogue on human rights. Russia called on Damascus to take every effort to implement the recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review and called on the Council to approve the outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of Syria.

China appreciated the constructive approach of the Syrian Government by participating in the Universal Periodic Review. All parties in Syria must immediately and unconditionally stop violence and start an inclusive dialogue without attachment to pre-arranged outcomes. China supported the leading role of the United Nations in humanitarian efforts and added that the Council must conduct itself with impartiality and neutrality.

United States said that the situation in Syria remained appalling as the Government brutally cracked on Syrians demanding freedom and dignity. The Syrian people continued to suffer indiscriminate bombardment, torture and deprivation of humanitarian assistance. The Government that decided to rule through intimidation and terror and did not respect wishes of its citizens must step aside.

World Federation of Trade Unions supported the people and workers of Syria in their demands, some of which had already been met. Syrians were the only ones who had the right to choose democratically their present and their future without foreign interference. No foreign country had the right to organize, fund, or arm terrorist groups in another country.

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies said that the brutal repression of the Syrian population had already cost more than 5,000 lives. The Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution demanding international accountability and the referral of the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. The Universal Periodic Review outcome on Syria should be delayed.

International Commission of Jurists said that secret and arbitrary detentions in Syria remained widespread and systematic. United Nations bodies and Member States should take effective measures to allow for regular access of humanitarian assistance, including essential supplies of food, water and medicines.

United Nations Watch said new reports had emerged today of more brutal killings of citizens in Syria and called on the Government to immediately end attacks on peaceful protestors and cease arbitrary arrests and detentions. The human rights of Syrians should be defended in this Council and all United Nations bodies and the international community must do more to stop the violence.

General Arab Women Federation called on all parties to the conflict and all concerned international bodies to support a comprehensive process of national dialogue, help development mechanisms for disarmament, lift all sanctions and for the Syrian Government to accelerate the political process and national dialogue.

Amnesty International had repeatedly maintained that some of the human rights violations committed in Syria amounted to crimes against humanity. Amnesty International urged the Council to keep Syria under review in the Universal Periodic Review due to the extraordinary circumstances that prevailed in the country.

CIVICUS said that since 3 February, the Syrian forces had been using heavy weapons and causing widespread destruction and death. CIVICUS believed that access should be allowed in Syria, to ensure that light was shed on the fate of the victims.

Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme said that remaining silent when crimes were committed meant committing those crimes. It was what Victor Hugo had said.

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI, Permanent Representative of Syria to United Nations Office at Geneva, said in concluding remarks that Syria had rejected the recommendation on the rapid ratification of the Convention on Enforced Disappearances. Syria had rejected it because it had been formulated in an unacceptable manner. Mr. Hamoui thanked all those who had made proposals and recommendations today and said those would be favourably received by Syria. The Government would ensure that its legislation would be aligned with the international standards and principles. Syria was looking forward to participating in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review when it had resolved its crisis and became a country respected by the world.

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

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