Bhutan reviewed at 6th UPR session
Monday, 07 December 2009 11:58


On the afternoon of 4 December 2009, the Working Group on the UPR examined the human rights situation in Bhutan. The Bhutanese delegation was led by Former Prime Minister and Special Envoy of the Prime Minister Mr Lyonpo Kinzang Dorji. Many States complimented Bhutan for its efforts to protect and promote human rights, particularly in the context of its recent peaceful political transition to democracy and noteworthy progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. However, a significant number of States offered constructive criticism and recommendations in the following areas:


  • The need to step up efforts to find a constructive and sustainable solution to the ongoing refugee situation in eastern Nepal. Particular recommendations were made highlighting the need for the full repatriation of Bhutanese refugees with an emphasis on the reunification of families
  • Advancing efforts to promote women’s and children’s rights through strengthening the operation of the National Commission on Women and Children. Several States made recommendations in the areas of domestic violence, the role of women in the political process, eliminating gender stereotypes, the juvenile justice system and the commercial sexual exploitation of children
  • Consolidating efforts to eradicate poverty, including taking measures to build upon the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, with a focus on improving access to basic services and food security in rural and remote areas
  • Strengthening efforts to guarantee universal access to education, including calls to make primary education mandatory for all and free of charge, and to ensure the equal access of girls to education
  • Ensuring the free operation of civil society in Bhutan, including guaranteeing an inclusive role for civil society in the follow up to the UPR process without undue restrictions, in addition to continuing efforts to ensure the freedom of the independent media
  • The need to issue standing invitations to all United Nations special procedures, including to the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
  • The need to sign and ratify core international human rights instruments including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocol, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention against Torture, in addition to the Rome Statute, the 1951 Refugees Convention and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.


On 8 December 2009, the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review adopted the draft report on Bhutan’s review. 99 recommendations were made by the Working Group, yet no information was given as to the recommendations to be accepted or rejected. Rather, Bhutan promised to carefully consider all recommendations and to report to the Human Rights Council before its 13th Session to respond to the recommendations. Bhutan further stated that it will look towards civil society as an essential stakeholder and partner in the follow up process to the review. India, on behalf of the troika, described the interactive dialogue with Bhutan as transparent and constructive, and appreciated its commitment to attentively apply all recommendations that enjoy its support.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 10:20
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