Comoros reviewed by the UPR
Thursday, 14 May 2009 05:46


On the morning of 13 May 2009, the UPR Working Group reviewed the human rights situation in the Comoros. The delegation was composed of Mr Mohamed Jaffar Abbas, Secretary General of the Ministry of civil service, administrative and institutional reform and human rights. The interactive dialogue was relatively productive, but Mr Abbas' presentation and States' comments and recommendations remained quite vague. Nevertheless, Comoros was self-critical in its presentation and answered almost all questions. Parts of the presentation of the State under review was characterised by strong political views when the delegate referred to the French occupation of Mayotte.

It was noteworthy that little information was made available prior to the review. No State report was submitted and the NGO report was constituted of less than 3 pages with only 4 NGOs and no national NGO submitting information. 

The following issues and concerns were raised:


  • Delegations expressed appreciation about Comoros' presence at the UPR despite the absence of a permanent delegation in Geneva. All delegations acknowledge the economic and political challenges that exist in the country as well as the impact of climate change. Many States call on the international community to provide technical assistance to the Comoros in its progress towards a better realisation of human rights
  • Many delegations recommended Comoros ratify additional instruments, including the ICESCR, ICCPR and CAT
  • While many States commended the Comoros for its efforts to improve the situation of children and appreciated the reduction of the infant mortality rate and the fight against poverty in this regard, they also voiced concern. They particularly regretted that the law allows corporal punishment of children in the family and Koranic schools, sexual exploitation of children and child labour, limited access to education and the increasing number of abandoned children. Acknowledging its problems, the State emphasised its current new strategies. On this matter, Brazil and Germany recommended Comoros modify its legislation to eliminate corporal punishment and Canada recommended the creation of a national strategy to combat child pornography
  • Several States touched on the situation of women. Even the State delegation acknowledged the low participation of women in governmental institutions and the high level of the domestic and other violence women encounter, and regretted that women rarely seek justice for these violations. Nevertheless, Brazil and Canada suggested Comoros review its domestic legislation to eliminate all discriminatory provisions and the Netherlands recommended to take measures to address domestic violence
  • Several states felt preoccupied about the legal restrictions on freedom of religion, including the right to change one's religion. The Comoros stated that the rights of the every other community are respected
  • On some aspect, the religious views of the country clashed with the opinions of the few states present. The head of delegation recognised the criminalisation of same-sex conduct between consenting adults, a concern raised by the Czech Republic with reference to the right to privacy. The State explained that it was not easy to reconcile this issue with that of a country which is ‘100 percent Muslim'. He added that it was ‘too early' for the Comorian society to recognise homosexuality like in other countries
  • Slovenia asked for a moratorium on the application of the death penalty, to be established and the UK called for its complete abolition. In its answers, the Comoros claimed to be among the most tolerant Islamic states and argued that the death penalty was only applied twice in the last 30 years
  • Possibly relating both to the issue of sexual orientation and the death penalty, Egypt made its standard recommendation encouraging Comoros to ‘continue to resist attempts to enforce any human rights beyond the universally agreed ones'. Syria recommended that Comoros continue its efforts to ensure respect for human rights while bearing in mind the religious specificities of the country
  • Though the issue of disparities between sources of law in the country was mentioned by the State in its presentation, no delegations referred to it. Similarly, although 60 percent of Comorians live under the poverty line, the issue of poverty was touched upon only by very few States. The Czech Republic referred to another issue that was neither mentioned in the OHCHR document nor in the NGO report: the intimidations imposed on journalists by security forces. The State, however, denied the allegations of imprisonment of journalists.


On 15 May 2009, the Working Group adopted the draft report on the examination of  the Comoros. 


Seven out of 52 recommendations did not enjoy the support of the Comoros. These recommendations concerned the following issues:

  • abolition of the death penalty
  • prohibition of corporal punishment 
  • effective protection of journalists against intimidation
  • de-criminalisation of consensual same sex activity between adults
  • measures to enable persons to convert from Islam and allow proselytising
  • full respect of freedom of religion and worship
  • ensure and protect freedom of religion both in legislation and in practise.
Last Updated on Friday, 04 September 2009 09:27
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