May 10, 2018
Noting that Tuvalu has declared at the Third UN Universal Periodic Review here that it had taken steps to meet international concerns raised at the last UPR to improve its human rights situation, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) today called on the country’s leadership to swiftly implement current major recommendations. Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga, who presented Tuvalu’s national report here on 9th May, said his tiny country had already passed a National Human Rights Institution Act, adopted a national human rights action plan and was reviewing its Constitution with a view to including anti-discrimination laws. “Tuvalu should accept the major recommendations and set up, without delay, a National Human Rights Institution, with a functioning secretariat and infrastructure to pursue issues of rights violations and concern,” said Sanjoy Hazarika, CHRI’s International Director. During the UPR, 48 countries made recommendations to Tuvalu mainly on ratifying the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Convention Against Torture, decriminalizing same-sex, marital rape, end gender discrimination and promoting women empowerment. From the Commonwealth, Canada, Australia, Singapore made recommendations to criminalize marital rape, decriminalize same-sex conduct between consenting adults and prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, they urged Tuvalu to ratify the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Economic Social Cultural Rights and Convention against Torture and implement the National Human Rights Action Plan. Prime Minister Sopoaga, who headed the Tuvalu delegation, told the UN Human Rights Council that his country has been making progress in the field of human rights since the last review in 2013. The Prime Minister addressed other outstanding challenges for Tuvalu, and described climate change as “the most urgent security threat” to his country and appealed to the international community for technical assistance, resources and expertise. Slamming the UN's lack of presence and inadequate intervention climate change-hit nations in the Pacific, the Tuvalu leader declared: "May I now ask, what has the HRC done to support such a resource-starving nation like Tuvalu to protect and provide for the basic rights of our poor people. Where is the UN or HRC in the Pacific, during our hour of need on climate change disasters like TC PAM. UN/HRC is invisible in our part of the world." CHRI has urged Tuvalu to accept specific recommendations made to it including improving the implementation of National Human Rights Plan (2016-20), ratification of Covenants of Civil and Political rights and Economic Social and Cultural Rights and Convention against Torture and take effective measures to combat all forms of violence against women The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. Council comprises of 47 members and during the UPR any country can make recommendation to the State Under Review. One of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.
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