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Human Rights Council to hold its thirty-fourth regular session from 27 February to 24 March 2017

Human Rights Council

BACKGROUND RELEASE

22 February 2017

The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its thirty-fourth regular session from 27 February to 24 March 2017 in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.  United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres will address the opening session, along with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thompson, commencing a three-day high-level segment, during which senior dignitaries will address the 47-member Council on human rights matters of national and international interest and concern.

During the course of the four-week session, over 100 reports will be presented by some 30 human rights experts and investigative bodies on a wide range of issues addressing over 40 human rights themes and the human rights situations in more than 45 countries.  The themes to be addressed include torture, freedom of religion or belief, peaceful assembly, child rights, countering terrorism, the right to privacy, human rights defenders, the rights of persons with disabilities, and the right to privacy, among others.  Country situation updates will include those on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Eritrea, Burundi, Syria, South Sudan, the occupied Palestinian territories, the Central African Republic, Mali and Haiti. 

The Council will also hold 10 interactive panel discussions focussing on multiple issues, including the death penalty, climate change and human rights, the rights of persons with disabilities, the rights of the child, access to medicines, maternal mortality, racial profiling, and arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances in Syria for which Syrian victims and witnesses will share their stories.

Click here for the detailed agenda and further information on the thirty-fourth session. Reports for the thirty-fourth session will be placed here, while other information can be found on the homepage of the Human Rights Council website.

Week One of the Session

The session will be opened on Monday, 27 February at 9 a.m. by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and the President of the United Nations General Assembly, Peter Thompson.  This will be followed by a three-day high-level segment, during which senior dignitaries will address the 47-member Council on human rights matters of national and international interest and concern.  At 3 p.m. on the same day, the Council will hold its annual high-level panel on human rights mainstreaming.  On Tuesday, 28 February, and in the morning on Wednesday, 1 March, the high-level segment will continue.  In the afternoon on 1 March, the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on foreign debt and the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, before the biennial high-level panel on the death penalty takes place. 

On Thursday, 2 March, the Human Rights Council will hold a panel discussion on climate change, before having a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on torture.  The day will end with a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on countering terrorism and the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights.  On Friday, 3 March, the Council will first hold its annual debate on the rights of persons with disabilities, before starting a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on disabilities and the Independent Expert on albinism. 
 
Week Two of the Session

The second week of the session will start with the Council’s annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child, on Monday, 6 March from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., which will address the protection of the rights of the child in the context of the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.  At noon the same day, the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on truth and justice and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion.  On Tuesday, 7 March, the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict, and a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children.  From 3 p.m. the Council will have a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the environment and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

On Wednesday, 8 March, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, will present the annual report of his Office as well as the activities of OHCHR and recent human rights developments, to be followed by a clustered interactive dialogue the following day.  This will be followed by a panel discussion on the access to medicines in the context of mental and physical health.  The following day, on 9 March, the Council will start with the interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner followed by a presentation of the report of the Inter-Governmental Working Group on transnational corporations, the presentation of a series of thematic reports of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, followed by the start of the general debate on item 3: promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to.  In the afternoon, a panel discussion on maternal mortality will take place.  The second week of the Council will finish on Friday, 10 March, with an enhanced interactive dialogue on the rights of migrants in the context of large movements, and the continuation of the general debate on item 3.

Week Three of the Session

The Council will discuss country situations that deserve its attention during the third week of the session.  On Monday, 13 March, it will hear from the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Special Rapporteur on Iran, the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar and the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea, all of whom will present update reports, and then hear an oral report from the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, which recently began its work.  The following day, on 14 March, the Council will hold a high-level panel discussion on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, which will focus on enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention in the country and will hear from Syrian victims and witnesses of human rights violations.  This will be followed by an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic who will present an update report on the latest human rights development in the country as well as the findings of its special inquiry into events in Aleppo last year.  In the afternoon, from 3 p.m., the Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan which will be presenting a report of its findings, and start a general debate on item 4: human rights situations that require the Council’s attention.

On Wednesday, 15 March, the Council will continue the general debate on item 4, before it discusses the reports of the Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law, the Forum on Minority Issues, and from the Special Rapporteur on minorities, followed by a discussion on the report of the Social Forum.  At the end of the day, the Council will hear a report by the Chair of the Coordinating Committee of Special Procedures, and open a general debate on item 5: human rights bodies and mechanisms.  On 16 March, the Human Rights Council will discuss outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review of the following countries:  Togo, Syria, Venezuela, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor-Leste, and the Republic of Moldova.  Friday, 17 March will commence with a debate on racial profiling and incitement to hatred, to be followed by the consideration of the Universal Periodic Review outcomes of Haiti and South Sudan.  The Council will also hold a general debate on item 6: Universal Periodic.

Week Four of the Session

The final week of the thirty-fourth session of the Council will start on Monday, 20 March with an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories and the discussion of the reports of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories.  The Council will hold a general debate on item 7: human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories, and on item 8: follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.  In the afternoon, the Council will open item 9: racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.  It will hear from the Inter-Governmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, the Ad Hoc Committee, as well as from the High Commissioner, who will provide an oral update.

On Tuesday, 21 March, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic and then an interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Interactive dialogues will also take place with the Independent Expert on Mali and the Independent Expert on Haiti.  At the end of the day, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on Libya.  On 22 March, the Council will hear a presentation of the High Commissioner’s update on the situations in Ukraine and Guinea, to be followed by an interactive dialogue on the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka.  At noon, the Council will open item 10: technical assistance and capacity-building, listen to the presentation of High Commissioner and Secretary-General country reports under item 2 and 10, including on Cyprus, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and on the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation, and hold a general debate on item 10.  Finally, on Thursday, 23 March and Friday, 24 March, the Human Rights Council will take action on draft resolutions.

Before concluding its session, the President of the Council will appoint the following independent expert mandate holders: the Special Rapporteur on the right to development, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and a member of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances from Latin American and Caribbean States.  The President will also appoint four independent experts of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples from the following indigenous sociocultural regions: the Arctic, Asia, North America and the Pacific.  The Council will also elect a member of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

At the end of its thirty-fourth session, the Human Rights Council will adopt a report containing a summary of the proceedings of the session.

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 United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.

The composition of the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fourth session is as follows: Albania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Burundi, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, and Venezuela.

The new President of the Human Rights Council is Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations Office at Geneva, who took up the post on 1 January 2017.  The Council’s four Vice Presidents are Amr Ahmed Ramadan of Egypt, Shalva Tsiskarashvili of Georgia, Valentin Zellweger of Switzerland, and Mouayed Saleh of Iraq.

For further information and media requests, please contact Rolando Gómez (+ 41 22 917 9711 / rgomez@ohchr.org), or Cédric Sapey (+41 22 917 97 51/ csapey@ohchr.org)

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