United Nations (UN) Human Rights Committee publishes findings on Chile, Guyana, Indonesia, Namibia, Serbia, Somalia and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The UN Human Rights Committee today issued its findings on Chile, Guyana, Indonesia, Namibia, Serbia, Somalia and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after examining the seven States parties in its latest session.

The findings contain the Committee’s main concerns and recommendations on the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as positive aspects. Highlights include:

Chile

The Committee noted with concern that a large number of human rights violations were committed in the context of “social outburst” due to the disproportionate and arbitrary use of force and brutality by the police and armed forces. It regretted that only a few cases had been formally processed and resulted in convictions. The Committee urged Chile to set up a control mechanism to prevent the excessive use of force during law enforcement operations, ensure accountability at all levels, guarantee that victims receive comprehensive reparations, and consider adopting a law on comprehensive reparations.

While welcoming Chile’s measures towards gender equality, the Committee, however, reflected its concern about the absence of comprehensive discrimination legislation explicitly guaranteeing the principle of equality between women and men, and the fact that parity has not yet been achieved at the electoral level, as well as the persistence of wage gaps and other inequalities. It called upon Chile to intensify efforts to finalize legislative projects that explicitly guarantee equality between men and women, continue its efforts to increase women’s participation in political and public life, and eliminate wage inequalities between men and women.

Guyana

The Committee was concerned about the insufficient recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights to the lands and territories and the lack of progress in amending the Amerindian Act. The Committee was also troubled by reports that inadequately regulated mining activities in Amerindian areas had caused environmental degradation and threatened Amerindians’ health and traditional way of life. The Committee called on Guyana to expedite revising the Amerindian Act 2006 to guarantee indigenous peoples’ rights to occupy, own, use, and develop their traditional lands, territories, and resources. The Committee also asked Guyana to speed up the demarcation and titling of the collective lands of indigenous peoples.

The Committee expressed concerns that the institutional framework to combat corruption is not yet sufficiently strong and effective in practice to adequately prevent or prosecute corruption. The Committee recommended that Guyana step up its efforts to promote good governance and combat corruption and impunity at all government levels.

Indonesia

While acknowledging the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the convictions of six law enforcement officers for the premeditated murder of Papuan individuals, the Committee, however, expressed regret over the lack of information on other cases, such as the acquittal of retired army major Isak Sattu and about investigations into past violations. It called on Indonesia to strengthen efforts to end impunity and hold perpetrators accountable for previous violations. The Committee recommended that Indonesia guarantee the independence of judicial and non-judicial accountability mechanisms, investigate all violations, provide full reparations to victims, and ensure that law enforcement agencies follow through on findings by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM).

The Committee reflected concerns over allegations of undue influence on the 2024 general elections, along with a decision by the Constitutional Court lowering the minimum age of candidates to the advantage of the President’s son. The Committee was also disturbed by the harassment, intimidation, and arbitrary detention of opposition figures. It urged Indonesia to ensure free and transparent elections, foster genuine political pluralism, guarantee the independence of electoral commissions, revise restrictive legal provisions, ensure accessible polling stations, and prevent undue influence by high-ranking officials.

Namibia

The Committee was concerned that indigenous peoples are often excluded from political life and decision-making processes and that they are insufficiently consulted regarding the extraction of natural resources on their lands. The Committee called on Namibia to consider recognising communities such as the San, Himba, Ovatue, Ovatjimba and Ovazemba as indigenous peoples with concomitant rights, and to ensure meaningful consultation with them before granting any licences for the exploitation of resources on their lands, with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent.

The Committee raised its concern about legislation authorising the use of potentially lethal force in situations that are not consistent with international human rights standards. It was also disturbed by the reported prevalence of excessive use of force by the Namibian Police Force. It called on Namibia to take additional measures to prevent and punish the excessive use of force by law enforcement officers, including aligning its legal framework with international standards, planning and conducting law enforcement operations properly to minimise the risks to human life, and investigating all allegations and holding those responsible to account.

Serbia

The Committee expressed concerns over the prevalence of hate speech in both online and traditional media by politicians and high-level officials targeting, in particular, journalists, Roma and other ethnic or national minorities, and LGBTI people. The Committee called on the Republic of Serbia to effectively implement and enforce existing legal and policy frameworks on combating hate crimes, to publicly condemn hate speech, and to intensify action to tackle the prevalence of hate discourse online.

The Committee noted with concern credible reports about numerous irregularities in the parliamentary and local elections held in December 2023, including abuse of public resources, intimidation and pressure on voters, cases of vote-buying, and stuffing of ballot boxes. The Committee called on the State party to undertake prompt, thorough and independent investigation of all allegations of irregularities, strengthen oversight of election campaigns and conduct comprehensive voter education programmes.

Somalia

The Committee voiced its grave concern over concrete incidents of excessive use of force and killing of civilians by armed forces, law enforcement officers, Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups. It urged Somalia to take additional measures to effectively prevent the excessive use of force and the killing of civilians, as well as to punish perpetrators. The Committee also questioned the compatibility of the State party’s laws on the use of force and firearms with international standards, and the application of the Code of Military Criminal Law in Peace, which exempts law enforcement officers from prosecution. It called on the State party to ensure all legislative and regulatory provisions governing the use of force align with the UN Human Rights Guidance on Less-Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement, and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.

The Committee expressed concern about proposed constitutional changes that would lower the age of majority from 18 to 15, citing reports that children are exposed to violence, abductions, labour, and forced recruitment as child soldiers and that girls, in particular, are exploited and denied access to education. It asked Somalia to maintain the age of majority at 18, take all measures to protect children from violence, abductions, labour, and exploitation, and guarantee that all children have equal access to schooling. It also underscored that child victims of such abuses should be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

The Committee was particularly concerned about the conditional immunity under the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 for people who had committed serious human rights violations. The Committee also questioned the presumption against prosecution in favour of military personnel deployed overseas after five years, as stipulated in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021. It called upon the State party to repeal or amend its legislation, including the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021 and the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023, to ensure all past human rights violations committed by British officials and members of the armed forces are appropriately investigated and prosecuted, and duly sanctioned without time limits.

The Committee voiced its concern over legislative initiatives, such as the Illegal Migration Act 2023, which contains elements to limit access to rights for asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants. The Committee regretted to see the State party’s arrangements with third countries, particularly Rwanda, to transfer asylum seekers, and its efforts to adopt the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill despite the UK Supreme Court’s ruling that the arrangement would not be compliant with international law, particularly the prohibition of refoulement. It urged the State party to swiftly repeal the discriminative legislative provisions within the Illegal Migration Act 2023, and to withdraw the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill, or repeal the bill if passed.

The above findings, officially known as Concluding Observations, are now available on the session page.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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