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UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL

Information note for National Human Rights Institutions


25th Session of the Human Rights Council, 3 to 28 March 2014, Room XX, Palais des Nations, Geneva.

1. BRIEF OVERVIEW

Thematic panels

  • High level panel on human rights mainstreaming under the theme of protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants
  • High level panel on the question of the death penalty
  • High level panel dedicated to the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  • Panel on the importance of the promotion and protection of civil society space

Annual Discussion

  • Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child with a focus on access to justice   
  • Annual discussion on the rights of persons with disabilities with a focus on the right to education

Dialogues

  • High level dialogue on the promotion of preventive approaches within the UN System
  • High level dialogue in combating sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Reports to be considered

The full list of reports to be considered during this session is available on the following link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/ListReports.aspx

2. DOCUMENTATION FOR THE SESSION

Relevant documents and information, as well as reports submitted by Special Procedures mandate holders and the annotated agenda will be available on the HRC’s webpage:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/25RegularSession.aspx

3. BROADCASTING THE SESSION

New media and outreach tools

The meetings of the Council are broadcast live on the OHCHR webcast:http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/

Updates during the Session are also shared through the HRC Alert: SMS service (free subscription through the Extranet for mobiles registered in Switzerland only) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/UN_HRC)

4. NHRI PARTICIPATION

NHRIs with “A” status accreditation, the ICC and regional coordinating bodies of NHRIs (speaking on behalf of its “A” status members) can:

  • make an oral statement under all substantive agenda items of the Human Rights Council*;
  • participate through video messages in the HRC plenary debates, including  during the adoption of the outcome of the UPR of the country by the Council, the interactive dialogue following the presentation of a country mission report by a special procedures mandate holder and panels or annual discussions;
  • submit documents, which will be issued with UN document symbol;
  • take separate seating in all sessions.

NOTE: According to paragraph 28 of Human Rights Council resolution 16/21 on the Review of the work and functioning of the Human Rights Council, the “A” status NHRI of the country concerned shall be entitled to intervene immediately after the country concerned during the interactive dialogue, following the presentation of a country mission report by a special procedure mandate holder and also immediately after the State under review at the adoption of the UPR report in plenary. Resolution 16/21 also grants “A” status NHRIs the right to nominate candidates as special procedures mandate holders (paragraph 22(a)).

5. NHRI DOCUMENTATION

In accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, “A” status NHRIs are entitled to submit documentation at Council sessions. NHRIs may submit reports, policy papers, etc.

The documents:

  • should relate to a particular HRC agenda item;
  • will receive an official UN document symbol (e.g. A/HRC/../NI/...);
  • will not be edited;
  • will not be translated (should therefore be in Arabic, English, French or Spanish); and
  • should not exceed a reasonable number of pages (i.e. 30-40 pages maximum).

The deadline for submitting documents for the 25th session of the Human Rights Council is 19 February 2014.

Documents should be emailed to Ms. Cynthia Radert, NIRMS, OHCHR (cradert@ohchr.org) and Ms. Katharina Rose, ICC Representative in Geneva (k.rose@europe.com).

When emailing documents, please indicate the agenda item under which they should be made available.

6. WRITTEN STATEMENTS

“A” status NHRIs may submit written statements to the Human Rights Council. Statements should be no longer than 2,000 words and should be relevant to the Council's Programme of Work of the 25th session. Please refer to the Guidelines available on the HRC’s webpage for more information on the written statements.

Written statements should be sent electronically to Ms. Cynthia Radert, NIRMS (cradert@ohchr.org), and Ms. Katharina Rose, ICC Representative in Geneva (k.rose@europe.com).

Please kindly note that the deadline for submitting written statements for the 25th session of the Human Rights Council is 19 February 2014. The Secretariat will not be able to ensure the timely processing and circulation of statements submitted after the deadline

7. ACCREDITATION TO ATTEND THE SESSION

Accreditation of NHRIs shall be given to:

  • institutions which are accredited by the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC);
  • the ICC as the representative body of NHRIs globally; and
  • regional coordinating committees of NHRIs, speaking on behalf of  “A” status institutions, in line with the strict criteria agreed upon by the ICC at its 19th annual general meeting in March 2007.

NHRIs that wish to accredit representatives to the 25th session of the Human Rights Council should send a letter of request(s) as a scanned attachment to an email prior to the beginning of the session. Accreditation request letters should be sent to Ms Biljana Pesut at bpesut@ohchr.org and copy to Ms. Zenaida Lugon at zlugon@ohchr.org.

The accreditation request should:

  • be submitted on official letterhead;
  • clearly state the title and the dates of the session the NHRI wishes to attend, e.g. “[Insert name of NHRI] wishes to send the following members to attend the [insert relevant session number] session of the Human Rights Council ([insert dates of session])…”;
  • be signed by the President or main representative of the NHRI;
  • indicate the first name and family name of the person(s) who will represent the NHRI at the Council session (NB: names must appear exactly as they appear on the person’s ID document and family names must be capitalized).

NHRI representatives should request their UNOG identity badge in person at the security entrance at Pregny Gate, 8-14, Avenue de la Paix, Geneva. (Open from Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 17.00 pm non-stop, throughout the session)

Representatives must present:

  • an identity document, and
  • a copy of the accreditation request letter
They will then be issued an appropriate photo-badge (designating participants as a National Human Rights Institution, the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs, or other coordinating committee of NHRIs, respectively) that will be valid for the duration of the Council session. .

8. ORAL INTERVENTIONS

“A” status NHRIs, the ICC, and regional coordinating bodies of NHRIs, speaking on behalf of “A” status accredited members, may present oral interventions to the Human Rights Council.

NHRIs wishing to make an oral intervention are requested to fill out the NHRI statement form (see Annex I) and hand-carry it to the List of Speakers’ Desk in room XX.  . Also note that there is a pre-inscription form (see Annex II).

Please note that those accredited institutions wishing to make an oral statement are responsible for bringing 250 copies of their statement, if they want it to be distributed in the Room XX. Copies should be provided to conference services at the List of Speakers’ Desk for circulation.

All persons addressing the Council as “A” status NHRIs or the ICC must be accredited as representing such institutions (see procedure above in paragraph 7). Accredited NHRIs or the ICC may have other NHRIs associate with their statements. In such a case, the statement should clearly identify the institutions on whose behalf the statement is presented.

Regional coordinating committees may present an oral statement, provided that they only speak on behalf of their member NHRIs that are in full conformity with the Paris Principles, evidenced by an “A” status accreditation with the ICC. At the beginning of the statement, the regional coordinating committee must state the names of the NHRIs on whose behalf they speak.

9. NHRI PARALLEL EVENTS

NHRIs accredited for the 25th session of the Council may organize parallel events of relevance to the work of the Human Rights Council, subject to availability of conference rooms. The relevant forms for booking conference rooms and annexed guidelines on how to fill out the forms are available on the webpage of the Human Rights Council's 25th session at

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/RoomReservation.aspx

Room reservation requests for intergovernmental consultations and events organized by specialized agencies, NHRIs and special procedures mandate-holders should be made by filling the form (See Annex III). The form should be submitted by fax or as a scanned attachment to an email to the Human Rights Council Secretariat, details provided below.

Attention of:  Laura Giardini
Tel: +41 (0)22 917 9255
Fax: +41 (0)22 917 9011
lgiardini@ohchr.org with copy to: hrcouncil@ohchr.org Subject reference: NHRI Room booking request.

Conference room booking requests will be received by the Secretariat as of now, and will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to availability of conference rooms.

Please be advised that the Secretariat does not provide interpretation for parallel meetings. NHRIs should therefore provide their own interpreters, if they so wish, and inform the Secretariat accordingly ahead of time.

The NHRI in charge of organizing the meeting is requested to provide the Secretariat with a complete list of its guests (in excel format, with the first name in one column and the family name in a second column) at least 48 hours prior to the day of the meeting to Ms. Zenaida Lugon at zlugon@ohchr.org with copy to Ms Biljana Pesut at bpesut@ohchr.org.

Persons not accredited to the Human Rights Council session, who are invited to take part in parallel meetings, should present themselves to the Pregny gate with an identity document, where they will be issued with a "Parallel Event" photo-badge. Please note that the badge will be valid for the duration of the meeting only.

10. VIDEO STATEMENTS

At its 19th session, the Human Rights Council adopted a decision1 to endorse the report of the Task Force, including its recommendations, on secretariat services, accessibility for persons with disabilities and use of information technology.

NOTE: This decision gives the opportunity to NHRIs with “A” status ICC accreditation to participate in the Human Rights Council sessions through pre-recorded video messages in one of the six official languages of the United Nations, to be delivered to enhance their participation in the plenary debate under any Human Rights Council agenda item. Only the Head, Secretary General or their designated representative in possession of a written authorization may be entitled to deliver a video message.   

The credentials of the NHRIs and the identity of individuals delivering the video message will be duly verified by OHCHR.

For all interventions through video messages a letter of request will need to be addressed to the Human Rights Council Secretariat or the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section and comply with all the below requirements:

  • Letter submitted on official letterhead and signed by the head of the NHRI or the Secretary General;
  • Indication of the HRC session concerned, agenda item an specific segment of the programme of work in which the oral statement through video-messaging will be made;
  • Indication of the full name (FAMILY NAME, First name) and functional title of the person who will deliver the statement (name of the person must appear exactly as it appears in his/her passport or formal identity document) as a designated representative;
  • Colour copy of the person’s passport or of formal identity document.  

Rules regarding the content and technical specifications

Oral statements delivered by video message are subject to the same rules as oral statements delivered in person. The video messages are subject to the same time limits as, and should mirror as closely as possible, the oral statements delivered in person. In particular, the following rules must be strictly observed:

  • The video statement must consist of a single shot of one individual delivering a statement, seated against a neutral, monochrome background;
  • The camera should be focussed on the person’s face, and should not move during the shot;

No symbols, flags, banners or other images are permitted in the shot, either in the background or on the clothing of the person delivering the statement.

NHRIs are encouraged to include captioning on the video statement, and to consider including international sign language, to enhance participation of persons with disabilities. A transcript of the video statement must be submitted in order to facilitate interpretation.

The minimum technical specifications for the video are as follows:

Resolution:
- video resolution min 640x480 max 1024x768, frame rate 30 fps
- audio resolution 44100 Hz, 16 bits, stereo

AVI/WMV

- video encoding WMV3 (Windows Media Video 9)
- audio encoding WMA2 (Windows Media Audio 2)

MOV

- video encoding H.264
- audio encoding MP3 or AAC

Delivery of the video statement

The video statement will be projected in the room under the same conditions as an oral statement delivered in the room.

The rules of procedure and practices of the Council apply in the same manner to video statements as to all other statements.

Whenever a point of order is raised during the projection of a video statement, the President of the Human Rights Council will interrupt the intervention and address the issue in accordance with the rules of procedure and practices of the Council. The President will then resume the projection of the video statement unless a second point of order is raised or the President considers that the message infringes the Council’s rules of procedure or practices, in which case the President may interrupt the projection of the video statement.

As the speaker will not be present in the room, a written communication recalling the applicable rules of procedure and practices of the Council shall then be forwarded to the organization concerned.

The transcript of the video message will be posted on the HRC extranet along with other oral statements.

NOTE: All pre-recorded video messages together with their transcripts must be uploaded before 19 February 2014 to the following website:https://extranet.ohchr.org/sites/video/SitePages/Home.aspx
NHRIs wishing to participate in the Human Rights Council session through video messaging need to send a request to Ms. Cynthia Radert (cradert@ohchr.org). They will then receive a username and a password to upload their video message.

11. ICC REPRESENTATIVE IN GENEVA

For further information on the work and sessions of the HRC, NHRIs may also wish to contact the ICC Geneva Representative, Ms. Katharina Rose (k.rose@europe.com). Tel + 41 (0) 22 917 16 74

NHRIs accredited by the ICC with “A” status that are not able to attend the session but would like the ICC Geneva representative to make a statement on their behalf should contact Ms. Katharina Rose (k.rose@europe.com) with a copy to Ms. Cynthia Radert (cradert@ohchr.org).

12. CONTACTS

OHCHR - National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section

For further information, please contact the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section (NIRMS) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

For further information, please contact the National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section (NIRMS) at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mr. Vladlen Stefanov
Chief, National Institutions and Regional Mechanisms Section
Tel: + 41 (0) 22 928 9377
Fax: + 41 (0) 22 928 9018
Mail: vstefanov@ohchr.org

Ms.  Cynthia Radert
Tel: + 41 (0) 22 928 9122
Fax: + 41 (0) 22 928 9018
Mail: cradert@ohchr.org


HRC Agenda Items

As per Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 the agenda items are as follows:

Item 1. Organizational and procedural matters

Item 2. Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary General

Item 3. Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Item 4. Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Item 5. Human rights bodies and mechanisms

Item 6. Universal Periodic Review

Item 7. Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories

Item 8. Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Item 9. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

Item 10. Technical assistance and capacity-building

Annexes:


1. A/HRC/DEC/19/19 (recommendation 46):
“In the case of national human rights institutions compliant with the Paris Principles:
(a) Video messages may be pre-recorded in order to enhance participation in the plenary debates of the Human Rights Council, in particular in accordance with the provisions described in the annex to Council resolution 16/21, paragraph 13 (national human rights institution of the State under review) and paragraph 28 (national human rights institution of the State concerned)”