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UPR of Palau: Repeal criminalising same-sex relations between consenting adult, and stop discrimination against LGBTs

in PALAU, 06/05/2011

The Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights record of Palau on 3 May, 2011. Palau was represented by a small delegation of four men and two women, comprised of high-level officials and headed by Mr John C. Gibbons, Minister of Justice. Mr Gibbons took the floor at the beginning and at the end of the meeting. Two other member of the delegation took the floor, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

All delegates addressed the issues raised in an organised and structured manner, offering responses to questions put by all States. Key issues raised included the treatment of foreign workers; human trafficking; domestic violence and the lack of a support mechanism for victims; the treatment of children, particularly with regards to exploitation for child labour; and the statelessness of certain people, particularly adopted children. Some of the more specific recommendations and questions put to the delegation included:

  • Encouragement to establish an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles in order to allow for effective implementation of allhuman rights efforts.
  • Encouragement to sign and ratify all international human rights conventions (Palau has ratified only the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)) and the Optional Protocol of the CRC.
  • Revising existing laws with regards to the protection of married women and the right to inheritance.
  • Educating lawyers and police officers further in dealing with domestic violence.
  • Engaging civil society in the UPR process including NGOs.
  • Encouragement to develop special education systems for persons with disabilities.
  • Encouragement to implement a plan for the management of natural disasters.
  • Implementing a minimum age for boys and girls to enter into marriage as well as reviewing the minimum age for criminal responsibility.
  • Repealing provisions criminalising sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, and to combat discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons.

Many States praised the engagement of Palau in the UPR with regards to the country's gain of independence in 1994 and the country's size. They noted that for a young country such as Palau, immense efforts and improvements had been made to implement international human rights standards, despite limited resources and time. There were also offers to help Palau to deal with the impact of climate change, particularly its implications for human rights.

In conclusion, Mr Gibbons highlighted the country's commitment to the UPR and human rights, and the country's aim to ratify all outstanding conventions as soon as possible. They furthermore extended invitations for special rapporteurs to visit the country of Palau. The delegation stated that it would give its position on all recommendations made at the latest by the 18th session of the Human Rights Council, in September 2011.
 

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