Information note for NGOs on the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee
Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1 (paragraph 65), the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) functions as a think-tank for the Human Rights Council (HRC), focusing mainly on studies and research-based advice in a manner and form requested by the HRC, and shall convene up to two sessions for a maximum of 10 working days per year (paragraph 79).
At its thirteenth session in August 2014, the Advisory Committee decided to hold private meeting in the framework of each of its session with Non-governmental organizations and civil society representatives.
1. Access to relevant information on the Web
All relevant documentation is accessible from the OHCHR website, dedicated to the sessions of the Advisory Committee, which will be updated with relevant information as it becomes available.
Kindly refer to this website for updates:
2. Accreditation and assistance for requesting travel visas
Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, the participation of NGOs in the Advisory Committee shall be based on the arrangements and practices observed by the Commission on Human Rights, including Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31 of 25 July 1996 (paragraph 83).
NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC wishing to accredit representatives to the session of the Advisory Committee must send a letter of request, for accreditation to the Secretariat.
The letter should be sent well in advance of the relevant session and at least two weeks in advance if visa attestations are required. Upon request, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) NGO Liaison Office (not the Secretariat of the Advisory Committee) may issue relevant ‘attestation of accreditation’ for visa application purposes. In order to obtain such an attestation, NGOs enjoying consultative status with ECOSOC should explicitly indicate their need in the accreditation request faxed to the Secretariat of the Advisory Committee, and copied to the UNOG Liaison Office which will issue the attestation and transmit it to the concerned NGO headquarters. Please consult Swiss consular officials in your country regarding visa application deadlines, apply accordingly and ensure documentation is in order.
The UNOG Liaison Office may be contacted at the following address:
United Nations Office at Geneva
NGO Liaison Office
Office of the Director-General
Palais des Nations
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: + 41 (0)22 917 21 27
Fax: +41 (0)22 917 05 83
The letter must contain the following elements:
- Submitted on the official letterhead of the organization;
- State the title and duration of the session the organization wishes to attend, e.g. "[Name of NGO], in consultative status with ECOSOC, wishes to send the following members to attend the Xth session of the Advisory Committee (dates of session)...";
- List the name/s (FAMILY NAME, First name) of the person/s who will represent the organization at the Advisory Committee session. Names of persons must appear exactly as they appear in their passports;
- List the name(s) of those members already in possession of a valid identity badge issued by UNOG Security and Safety Section, and who plan to attend the Advisory Committee session, with an indication that the person(s) hold(s) an annual badge.
- The letter must be signed by the President, or Chief Executive Officer of the organization, or the organization’s Main Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva if he/she is so authorized.
Please send the letter of request by fax to the attention of the Accreditation Officer, and copy the UNOG NGO Liaison Officer if a visa attestation is required at:
- Secretariat’s office in Palais Wilson prior to the session: +41-22-917-9011
- Pregny Gate in Palais des Nations during the session: +41-22-917-0494
Annual or temporary NGO representatives in possession of an identity badge issued by UNOG Security and Safety Section, and valid for the duration of the session, will have unrestricted access to the conference rooms.
Any other participants without a UNOG identity badge should apply in person to the security entrance at Pregny Gate, 8–14 Avenue de la Paix; on presentation of an identity document and a copy of the letter of accreditation faxed by the concerned NGO, a photo-badge valid for the duration of the session will be issued.
Please Note: On occasions of increased demand for participation in a given session, the Secretariat may limit access to the plenary room in terms of the number of accredited participants per NGO delegation. Therefore it would be useful to indicate in your request for accreditation if you seek access to the plenary, to the public gallery (see also below) or to a parallel event (see also below).
4. Access to the public gallery
A limited number of seats in the Public Gallery, above the conference room, are available for persons wishing to observe the proceedings of the Advisory Committee without being accredited as participants (i.e. students, and academics). Individuals or groups who wish to attend are required to fax a letter (24 hours before the desired date) to the Secretariat of the Advisory Committee, (+41 (0) 22 917 90 11 prior to the session, and at +41 (0) 22 917 04 94 during the session), containing the following information:
(a) Date(s) of the visit;
(b) Purpose of the visit; and
(c) Full name(s) of those wishing to attend.
Access to the public gallery will be granted depending on the availability of seating and other circumstances.
The Secretariat wishes to draw the attention of participants to the following:
(a) Annual or temporary representatives of NGOs in possession of an identity badge issued by the UNOG Security and Safety Section and valid for the duration of the session, will have unrestricted access to the conference rooms.
The accreditation office of the Advisory Committee will be located at the security entrance “Pregny Gate” and will be open from Monday to Friday from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. through out the session.
5. NGO written statements
NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC may submit written statements relevant to the work of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee (in accordance with paragraphs 36 and 37 of ECOSOC resolution 1996/31) ahead of the relevant session.
NGOs wishing to submit written statements must send their written statement by email to firstname.lastname@example.org clearly marking in the subject line, and at least two weeks prior to the start of a session.
Kindly submit your written statement in MS WORD DOCUMENT FORMAT (Font Times New Roman 10; no bold; no underline; no italics).
The Secretariat of the Advisory Committee wishes to draw the attention of NGOs to ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, which authorizes written statements of: a) 2,000 words for NGOs in general consultative status; and b) 1,500 words for NGOs in special consultative status and on the roster.
Written contributions from NGOs may be submitted to this session, in accordance with the Secretariat guidelines for the submission of NGO written statements to the HRC sessions, accessible at the following link: submission form.
6. Oral statements
Accredited NGOs may make oral statements under substantive items of the agenda. The list of speakers desk will be located inside the conference room. NGOs can only be (pre-) registered by persons holding a badge of the concerned NGO.
Please note that 25 copies of the oral statement are to be provided to the UN Conference Service at the beginning of the relevant meeting. Conference Service staff can be approached in the middle of the conference room. Photocopiers are available near the conference room.
To take the floor, NGO speakers should use the conference-table seat reserved for that purpose.
Additional copies of NGO oral statements may be placed by NGOs only on the tables at the back of the conference room, after delivery of the relevant statement. NGOs are not permitted to distribute documents, pamphlets or any other material in the conference room. Reserved desks and boards are available outside the conference room for display of documentation, clearly attributable to NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC.
7. Parallel meetings organized by NGOs
Accredited NGOs may organize parallel events of relevance to the work of the HRC, taking into account availability of rooms. Room-booking request forms are available at: room request form.
Room booking requests will be received by the Secretariat, and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to availability of rooms.
The NGO in charge of organizing the parallel event may invite guests not accredited to the HRC session to be present at their meeting. The concerned NGO is requested to provide the Secretariat of the Advisory Committee, with a complete list of its guests at least 48 hours prior to the day of the meeting. Accordingly, “Parallel Event” badges will be issued on the day of the scheduled event, at the “Pregny Gate” security entrance, upon presentation of a valid identification paper.
Please be advised that the Secretariat does not provide interpretation for NGO parallel events. NGOs may bring their own interpreters, if they so wish, and inform the Secretariat of the Advisory Committee accordingly ahead of time. The use of cameras/videos during parallel events is not encouraged. Only journalists and camera-people accredited on a yearly basis with UNOG are allowed to use camera and video equipment.