The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee held its 26th session in a hybrid manner in Geneva, Switzerland, this week from 16 to 20 August, with 12 of its 18 members participating in person.
The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, addressed the Committee at the opening of the session, noting the valuable expertise and research-based advice that the Committee has provided with studies submitted to the Council, which continue to inform Council discussions across a variety of issues.
In her address, Ambassador Khan offered her thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Cheikh Tidiane Thiam of Senegal, a valued member of the Advisory Committee, who passed away the week before the opening of the session.
She also thanked the Advisory Committee for its continued work to promote and protect human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has posed and continues to pose unprecedented challenges to the full enjoyment of all human rights. Ambassador Khan noted with pride how the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms had worked tirelessly to meet the human rights challenges of COVID-19. In particular, she noted how the Council adapted its working methods to ensure that action on human rights issues would continue despite the pandemic and how both the 46th and the 47th sessions of the Council took place almost entirely virtually.
Finally, Ambassador Khan congratulated the Committee for successfully completing its work on four important topics in 2021 and noted how the work of the Committee on these topics had already begun to impact the work of the Council.
During the session, the Committee held discussions on four reports submitted to the 47th and the 48th sessions of the Human Rights Council, namely:
- Current levels of representation of women in human rights organs and mechanisms: ensuring gender balance (A/HRC/47/51)
- Possible impacts, opportunities and challenges of new and emerging digital technologies with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights (A/HRC/47/52)
- Negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/48/66*)
- Moving towards racial equality: study of the Advisory Committee on appropriate ways and means of assessing the situation (A/HRC/48/72*) *Advance Edited Version
The four reports submitted by the Advisory Committee to the Human Rights Council in 2021 will be presented in an interactive dialogue at the upcoming 48th session of the Human Rights Council from 13 September to 8 October 2021.
During its 26th session this week, the Advisory Committee also held discussions on new research proposals and reflection papers to be submitted for the Council’s consideration. While doing this, the Committee noted the completion of its work on all the mandates entrusted to it so far by the Human Rights Council, and the absence of any request from the Council since 2020 for new studies to be conducted or research-based advice to be provided by the Committee. The Committee decided to submit for the Council’s consideration and approval the following research proposals:
- Pandemics and human rights: lessons for the future
- Protection of academic freedom and free flow of research: lessons learned from the pandemic
- Climate protection technologies and human rights
- Practices affecting negatively the human rights of migrants
In addition to this, the Committee decidedto draw the attention of the Council to the following topics, on which some Member States and non-governmental organizations encouraged the Committee to focus its future studies and research-based reports:
- New and emerging digital technologies in the military domain and human rights
- Economic, social and cultural rights on the agenda of international jurisdiction
- The rights of older persons
The 27th session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee is scheduled to take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 21 to 25 February 2022.
The Advisory Committee is a body of 18 independent experts serving as a think-tank to the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was established in 2008, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, to provide studies and research-based advice, as requested by the Council and meets twice a year. The Committee’s work is implementation-oriented and follows thematic issues linked to the mandate of the Council, namely, the promotion and protection of all human rights. It interacts with States, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and other civil society bodies.
The membership of the Advisory Committee conforms to the following geographical distribution guidelines set out in its establishing resolution: five members each from African and Asian States; three each from Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and other States; and two members from Eastern European States.
Following is the list of current members of the Advisory Committee and expiration dates for their respective terms of office:
Ibrahim Abdulaziz Alsheddi (Saudi Arabia, 2021); Buhm-Suk Baek (Republic of Korea, 2023); Nadia Amal Bernoussi (Morocco, 2023); Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria, 2022); Alessio Bruni (Italy, 2021); Milena Costas Trascasas (Spain, 2022); Iurii Alexandrovich Kolesnikov (Russian Federation, 2022); José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil, 2021); Xinsheng Liu (China, 2022); Ajai Malhotra (India, 2023); Itsuko Nakai (Japan, 2022); Mona Omar (Egypt, 2022); Javier Palummo (Uruguay, 2022); Elizabeth Salmón (Peru, 2023); Patrycja Sasnal (Poland, 2023); Dheerujlall Seetulsingh (Mauritius, 2023); and Catherine Van de Heyning (Belgium, 2023).