UPR Recommendations on Civil Society

UN LogoIn addition to the numerous recommendations on Sombath’s disappearance made during the Universal Periodic Review for the Lao PDR on January 20th, a number of recommendations were also given regarding civil society:

5.75. Extend, before the end of 2016, a standing invitation to the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (Norway);

5.129. Ensure de jure and de facto protection of fundamental freedoms in order to be in conformity with the ICCPR that has been ratified by Laos. Regarding freedom of expression; lift the restrictions to freedom of press, ensure the independence and pluralism of media, and a safe environment for the work of journalists. Regarding freedom of association; facilitate unhindered action for human rights defenders and NGOs, notably through a reform of their registration system (France);

5.138. Guarantee freedom of expression, the press, assembly and association, as well as freedom of religion and belief in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Uruguay);

5.146. Guarantee the effective exercise of freedom of expression, assembly and association by reforming its legislation particularly in order not to undermine the legitimate work of NGOs and human rights defenders (Luxembourg);

5.148. Refrain from undue restrictions such as the prohibition to engage in the promotion and protection of human rights, in the elaboration of legislation on civil society organisations, and facilitate the registration of international NGOs (Germany);

5.150. Remove all restrictions in law and practice which infringe upon the work of civil societies and to ensure that all legal provisions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are in line with international human rights standards (Poland);

5.151. Fully implement its international obligations to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and other civil society actors while exercising their human rights, including the freedom of expression, association and assembly, and remove all restrictions in law and practice which infringe on their work. The Government of the Lao DPR should establish without delay, a new, independent commission to undertake an impartial and thorough investigation into the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone (Finland);

5.152. Reconsider decrees and guidelines that are overly burdensome on domestic and international civil society organizations through lengthy and opaque registration requirements, taxation and other means (United States of America);

5.153. Facilitate an environment for local and international civil society organizations to fulfil their role (Australia);

5.154. Fully enable civil society and NGO groups to conduct their activities (New Zealand);

5.155. Create a framework where civil society, including active human rights NGOs can be included in the follow-up to UPR without any fear of retaliation (Belgium);

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