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Human Rights Council to hold nineteenth regular session from 27 February to 23 March

BACKGROUND RELEASE

20 February 2011

Council Will Start with High-level Segment and Will Hold Panels on Human Rights and Sport, Freedom of Expression on the Internet, Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation

The Human Rights Council will hold its nineteenth regular session from 27 February to 23 March 2012 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. A highlight of the session will be the opening four-day High-level Segment during which some 80 ministers and other senior dignitaries will address the 47-member Council on human rights matters of national interest and concern.

Prior to the convening of the High-level Segment, the Council will hear opening remarks from its President, Laura Dupuy Lasserre (Uruguay), as well as from United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (Qatar).

Another highlight will be the follow-up meetings to the Council's December 2011 Special Session on Syria, and to its February 2011 Special Session on Libya, at which the Council-appointed Commissions of Inquiry will present their reports on the human rights situations in those countries. The Council will also hold interactive dialogues with the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d'Ivoire, and with the Special Rapporteurs on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on Myanmar and on Iran, all of whom will present reports.

During the four-week session, nine interactive panel discussions comprising a host of experts will be held covering a broad range of issues related to human rights, including the relation between sport and human rights, freedom of expression on the Internet, rights of persons with disabilities, and discriminatory practices in connection with sexual orientation and gender identity.

During the first week of the session, on 2 March, the High Commissioner will present her annual report providing an update on the key activities undertaken by her Office in 2011. Ms. Pillay will also address the Council and hold an interactive dialogue on both her and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's thematic reports.

The second week commencing Monday, 5 March will feature clustered interactive dialogues with the Special Rapporteurs on torture and human rights defenders, the Working Group on enforced and involuntary disappearances and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. The Special Rapporteurs on the right to food, on adequate housing and on internally displaced persons will also present reports and participate in interactive dialogues. On Wednesday, 7 March, the Council will hold a panel on discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. On Thursday, 8 March, the Council will hold its annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child. On Friday, 9 March the Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Libya after hearing its final report.

Individual interactive dialogues with the Special Rapporteurs on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, on Myanmar and on Iran will open the third week of the Council, on Monday, 12 March. That afternoon the Council will hold a follow-up meeting to its seventeenth Special Session on Syria, hearing an update from the Commission of Inquiry on the situation in the country. On Tuesday, 13 March the Council will hold a panel discussion on the Declaration of the Rights of Minorities, which will be followed by an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on minorities and presentations of the reports of the Forum on Minority Issues and the Social Forum.

Also that week the Council will consider from 14 to 16 March the final outcomes of Universal Periodic Reviews undertaken on the human rights situations in Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Antigua and Barbuda, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Ireland, Togo, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor-Leste, Republic of Moldova and Haiti. Following its consideration of the reports, the Council is expected to officially adopt those documents, which include observations and recommendations to concretely improve the human rights situations in those countries.

The Council will open its fourth and final week by taking up the reports of the High Commissioner and of the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories followed by a general debate. At noon on Tuesday, 20 March the Council will hold a panel on human rights and HIV/AIDS. That afternoon, the Council will consider the report of the inter-governmental Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration, followed by a general debate. On Wednesday, 21 March an individual interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Côte d'Ivoire will take place, followed by the annual thematic discussion on best-practices on technical cooperation.

Also on Wednesday 21 March, the Council will appoint Special Procedure mandate holders for mandates of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic and the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan following the resignation of the current mandate-holder on 19 December 2011.

The Council will hold closed meetings on its Complaint Procedure on Friday, 9 March in the afternoon and Tuesday, 20 March in the morning.

Before concluding its session, on 22 and 23 March, the Council will take action on the draft resolutions and decisions tabled during the session.

Please click here for the annotated agenda. Reports for the nineteenth session can be found here, and for any other information or documentation, please refer to the homepage of the Human Rights Council website.

The Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States which are responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.

The composition of the Council at its nineteenth session is as follows:* Angola (2013); Austria (2014); Bangladesh (2012); Belgium (2012); Benin (2014); Botswana (2014); Burkina Faso (2014); Cameroon (2012); Chile (2014); China (2012); Congo (2014); Costa Rica (2014); Cuba (2012); Czech Republic (2014); Djibouti (2012); Ecuador (2013); Guatemala (2013); Hungary (2012); India (2014); Indonesia (2014); Italy (2014); Jordan (2012); Kuwait (2014); Kyrgyzstan (2012); Libya**(2013), Malaysia (2013); Maldives (2013); Mauritania (2013); Mauritius (2012); Mexico (2012); Nigeria (2012); Norway (2012); Peru (2014), Philippines (2014); Poland (2013); Qatar (2013); Republic of Moldova (2013); Romania (2014); Russian Federation (2012); Saudi Arabia (2012); Senegal (2012); Spain (2013); Switzerland (2013); Thailand (2013); Uganda (2013); United States of America (2012); Uruguay (2012).

*The term of membership of each State expires in the year indicated in parenthesis.
**The rights of membership to the Human Rights Council of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya were suspended by the General Assembly on 1 March 2011 and restored on 18 November 2011 to Libya.

The President of the Council, Laura Dupuy Lasserre (Uruguay); Vice-Presidents, Christian Strohal (Austria), Anatole Fabien Nkou (Cameroon), András Dékány (Hungary); Vice-President and Rapporteur, Gulnara Iskakova (Kyrgyzstan).

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