Statements during the 40th session of the Human Rights Council

Franciscans International delivered oral statements on Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia (including West-Papua), Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue – Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism (1 March 2019)

Based on his July 2017 country visit, the Special Rapporteur on terrorism found that Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (1976) “provides for an overly broad and vague definition of terrorism, lengthy administrative detention and ineffective judicial review, and extremely broad rules concerning the admission of confessions.” Despite commitments made by the government in 2015, efforts to replace the Act have been slow. In a joint oral statement, Franciscans International voiced its concern that current drafts for the new Counter Terrorism Act still contains several flaws that contradict international human rights laws and standards. •

Full statement

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue – Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context (4 March 2019)

On 25 January 2019, a tailing dam in Brumadinho breached, flooding a large area with toxic mud, destroying homes, and killing at least 179 people. This has not been the only mining disaster in Brazil’s recent history: the Mariana community continues to experience harmful environmental effects after a 2015 dam collapse. In the state of Minas Gerais alone, another 40 dams are at risk. Franciscans International called on States to realize the right to an effective remedy and reparations for those who had their right to housing violated, including the implementation of effective measures to prevent similar disasters from happening in the future.

Full statement or video

Item 4: General Debate (13 March 2019)

In February 2019, Franciscans International joined an ecumenical mission to Indonesia, including the provinces of Papua and West-Papua, where delegates met with, among others, government representatives, civil society, and church leaders. While acknowledging positive efforts by the Indonesian government, Franciscan International raised its concern about the high levels of violence and other human rights violations that continue to be reported in West Papua.  

Full statement

Item 6: Universal Periodic Review (14 March 2019)

Under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the human rights situation in each of the 193 UN member states is reviewed every five years. These reviews are based on a national report prepared by the state, a compilation of UN information by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and a summary of information received from other stakeholders. During the adoption of Malaysia’s UPR, Franciscans International delivered two joint oral statements, highlighting concerns about freedom of religion, the rights of indigenous communities, and the rights of migrants.

Item 10: Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on Democratic Republic of the Congo (19 March 2019)

In January 2019, the Democratic Republic of the Congo saw the first peaceful transition of power since the country gained independence in 1960. However, in the face of credible suspicions about the results, it is essential that urgent measures are taken to ensure the establishment of good governance. Franciscans International called on the new government to guarantee the rule of law, engage in a public dialogue to reduce tensions, and ensure that local communities can have a meaningful participation in decisions that affect them. 

Full statement

Item 2: Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (20 March 2019)

In her latest activity report on Guatemala, the High Commissioner for Human rights voiced her concern about proposed amendments to the National Reconciliation Act, which would grant general amnesty for crimes committed during the country’s civil war that ended in 1996. In a joint oral statement Franciscans International stressed the importance of access to justice as a means to end impunity, and called for free participation of indigenous peoples in Guatemala’s upcoming elections.

Full statement (in Spanish and English)

Item 2: Interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on Sri Lanka (20 March 2019) 

Since 2015, Sri Lanka’s government has made slow progress in implementing the transitional justice mechanisms agreed in resolution 30/1. In a statement to the Council, Franciscans International highlighted a number of recent human rights violations that were committed with impunity, and stressed the importance of accountability as a key element toward peace and reconciliation.  

Full statement