The events of the “Arab Spring” inspire hope for genuine democratic change. Norway deeply regrets that, in some countries, legitimate claims for democracy and human rights continue to be met with repression. We strongly condemn all acts of violence against peaceful protesters and attacks on human rights defenders.
In Egypt thousands of activists have been detained without due process. Extensive use of military tribunals and reports of mistreatment in detention facilities give strong reason for concern. Norway urges Egyptian authorities to continue a speedy transition to civilian rule and to facilitate a process of genuine democratisation. Women’s rights should be promoted and minorities protected.
Norway calls on the Government of Bahrain to implement the recommendations of the Independent Commission of Inquiry. We are concerned by the reported lack of accountability of officials within the security system. Norway regrets Bahrain’s restrictions on allowing UN investigators and NGO representatives to enter the country.
Norway is deeply concerned that Saudi Arabia continues to execute people for crimes committed below 18 years of age. We urge Saudi Arabia to enact a minimum age of criminal responsibility. Norway commends Saudi Arabia for announcing that women will be appointed to the consultative council from next term. We urge Saudi Arabia to abolish the male guardianship system for women, to which it committed itself during the last UPR.
Norway expects the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of its domestic report, and to address alleged violations of international law without delay. We support the draft resolution tabled regarding Sri Lanka.
Norway notes with concern the dismay expressed by various UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights issues in Ethiopia. We urge Ethiopia to clearly define the anti-terrorism provisions in its criminal law to ensure that they do not go counter to international human rights law. We call on the government to apply anti-terrorism legislation cautiously, with due regard to the right to freedom of expression, in accordance with Ethiopia’s international human rights obligations.
Norway welcomes the new national plan of action on human rights in Azerbaijan. Its implementation is essential, including a speedy completion of the process to allow the Human Rights House Azerbaijan to resume its activities. We hope that the recent release of activists will be followed up with the release of all those arrested for mobilizing peaceful assembly. We are also concerned about expropriations of private property and evictions in Baku, as highlighted by Human Rights Watch.
Norway continues to be gravely concerned about the repressive human rights situation in Belarus. It is regrettable that the Head of the EU Delegation and the Ambassador of Poland were requested to leave the country, illustrating the increased isolation of the regime.
Finally, Norway calls on the authorities in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to comply with their international commitments, and to fulfill all obligations under international human rights law and the many treaties to which they are state parties.
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