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Human Rights Council Advisory Committee concludes its twenty-third session

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26 July 2019

GENEVA (26 July 2019) - The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee today concluded its 23rd session, which was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 22 to 26 July 2019.

At the opening of the session, Harald Aspelund, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, addressed the members of the Committee updating them on the latest activities of the Council, including recent developments to enhance the efficiency of the Council.  He noted that the 47-member body had mandated the Committee to produce a new report on current levels of representation of women in human rights organs and mechanisms, and a new study on new and emerging digital technologies. 

Speaking on behalf of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Eric Tistounet, Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch, cited both past and current topics being addressed by the 18-member Committee noting how many countries were still far from achieving the goal of gender equality, which he said was "a driver of other Sustainable Development Goals”.  On new and emerging digital technologies, he noted how "the digital space raises many difficult issues, in relation to privacy, freedom of expression, hate speech, discrimination, violence and exploitation, and sexual violence."

During the weeklong session, the Committee, which serves as the “think-tank” of the Human Rights Council, discussed and took action on seven thematic human rights issues.  The Committee also held separate meetings with the Bureau of the Human Rights Council, regional and political coordinators, and held a public meeting with non-governmental organizations. 

On the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of all human rights, the Committee requested that its drafting group, present a draft of the study at its twenty-forth session.  Having noted the highly specific and complex character of the mandate, the Committee decided to continue its discussion with a view to finalise its report to be submitted it at the forty-fifth session of the Council, to be held in September 2020.

On the role of technical assistance and capacity-building in fostering mutually beneficial cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights, the Committee took note with appreciation of the overview provided by the OHCHR of its technical assistance programmes, and requested its drafting group to finalize the study for its submission to the Human Rights Council at its forty-third session in March 2020.

On national policies and human rights, the Committee took note of the compilation of good practices, challenges, lessons learned and recommendations in mainstreaming human rights, prepared by OHCHR and submitted to the Human Rights Council at its forty-first session. It decided to continue the exchange of views on this subject with external experts and members of OHCHR, with a view to finalize the study in line with Council resolution 35/32, and requested the drafting group to submit the final report of the study to the Advisory Committee at its twenty-fourth session.

On the contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights, the Committee decided that the oral update on the preparation of the report on the importance of a legally binding instrument on the right to development will be presented to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session in September 2019.  It also requested the drafting group to submit a final report to the Advisory Committee at its twenty-fourth session, with a view to present that report to the Council at its forty-fifth session in September 2020.

On the global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, the Committee decided to seek additional views from States, international organizations, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations, inviting them to submit, by 15 December 2019, input on appropriate ways and means of assessing the situation of racial equality in the world.  It also decided to provide information on the implementation of the current mandate to be submitted to the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session in September 2020 to be transmitted to the General Assembly at its upcoming seventy-fourth session this year.

On new and emerging digital technologies and human rights, the Committee established a drafting group composed of Ludovic Hennebel, Xinsheng Liu, Ajai Malhotra, Mona Omar, Elizabeth Salmón, Dheerujlall Seetulsingh and Changrok Soh.  It appointed Ms. Salmón as Chair and Mr. Soh as Rapporteur. The drafting group decided to seek input from stakeholders to be submitted by 15 October 2019.  It also decided to submit a preliminary outline of its report to its twenty-fourth session with a view to presenting an oral update on the preparation of the report to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fourth session in June 2020.

On women representation in human rights organs and mechanisms, the Committee established a drafting group composed of Ion Diaconu, Ludovic Hennebel, José Augusto Lindgren Alves, Ajai Malhotra, Mona Omar, Elizabeth Salmón, and Changrok Soh. It appointed Ms. Omar as Chair and Ms. Salmón as Rapporteur.  The drafting group decided to seek input from stakeholders for the report to be submitted by 15 November 2019, and requested the drafting group to submit a preliminary outline of the report to the Advisory Committee at its twenty-fourth session.

Documentation relating to the twenty-third session, including the agenda and draft programme of work, is available on the Advisory Committee’s 23rd session webpage.

The twenty-fourth session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 17 to 21 February 2020.

Background

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 produce studies and provide research-based advice, as requested by the Council, and meets twice annually. 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.

Membership

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 members of the Advisory Committee and expiration dates for their respective terms of office [NB: Please note that there are exceptionally 17 members at present given the departure of Karla Hananía de Varela (El Salvador) who recently took up another position; the Council will appoint the 18th member of the Committee at its session in September]:

Ibrahim Abdulaziz Alsheddi (Saudi Arabia, 2021); Mohamed Bennani (Morocco, 2020); Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria, 2019); Alessio Bruni (Italy, 2021); Ion Diaconu (Romania, 2020);Ludovic Hennebel (Belgium, 2020); Mikhail Lebedev (Russian Federation, 2019); José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil, 2021); Xinsheng Liu (China, 2019); Ajai Malhotra (India, 2020); Kaoru Obata (Japan, 2019); Mona Omar (Egypt, 2019); Elizabeth Salmón (Peru, 2020); Dheerujlall Baramlall Seetulsingh (Mauritius, 2020); Changrok Soh (Republic of Korea, 2020); Cheikh Tidiane Thiam (Senegal, 2021); and Jean Ziegler (Switzerland, 2019).

END

For more information about the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, please visit their website

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