Human Rights Council
25 June 2020
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its forty-fourth regular session from 30 June to 20 July 2020 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
During the session, the Council will review reports on a wide range of human rights issues and situations of concern and will engage in over 30 interactive dialogues with human rights experts, groups and mechanisms. The session will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 30 June under the presidency of Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger of Austria. United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will present her annual report followed by an oral update on the human rights implications of COVID-19.
Following the presentation of the High Commissioner’s annual report, the Council will hold an enhanced interactive dialogue with her on the human rights situation in the Philippines. It will be followed by an interactive dialogue on the oral update by Ms. Bachelet on the human rights situation of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar. The Council will then discuss the human rights situation in Eritrea with the Special Rapporteur, and begin the consideration of reports of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ukraine, which continue on 1 and 2 July.
Under its agenda item on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, the Council will hold, on 14 July, an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, as well as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic. The following day, it will hear an oral briefing by the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, and hold an interactive dialogue on the report of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Venezuela, with a special focus on the independence of the justice system and access to justice, including for violations of economic and social rights and the situation of human rights in the Arco Minero del Orinoco region.
The Council will examine on 16 July the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 under its agenda item on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. The following day, it will hold an enhanced interactive dialogue on the oral reports of the Government of Sudan and the Office of the High Commissioner on progress towards the opening of a country office, under the Council’s agenda item on technical assistance and capacity-building. It will then hear an oral update by the High Commissioner on the follow-up to the resolution entitled “Cooperation with Georgia”.
On 1 July, the Council will hold its annual discussion on the rights of the child, which will focus on realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment. The following day, it will hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, as well as the Special Rapporteur on the right to education.
The Council’s annual thematic panel discussion on technical cooperation and capacity-building will center on the theme “Upholding the human rights of prisoners, including women prisoners and offenders: enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building in the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Bangkok Rules.” It will be held on 15 July.
On 8 July, the Council will hold a panel discussion on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change, as well as another one on the impacts, opportunities and challenges of new and emerging digital technologies with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights. Both panel discussions will be accessible.
One of the issues in focus during the forty-fourth session will be the human rights of women. The annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women, scheduled on 13 and 14 July, will focus on the following topics: “Accountability for women and girls in humanitarian settings,” and “COVID-19 and women’s rights.” The Council will also consider the report of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, and notably discuss the specific forms of discrimination that girls face, on 3 and 4 July. It will also discuss violence against women with the Special Rapporteur dedicated to this matter on 7 and 8 July.
The Council will engage with the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on 3 July. The dialogue will revolve around her report which will centre on instances of such practices in all circumstances and for whatever reason. On 16 July, the Council will hold a discussion with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on her annual report on all activities related to her mandate.
Under its agenda item on the promotion and protection of all human rights, the Council will also consider the respective reports of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict. The Council will also engage in interactive dialogues with the following mandate holders: the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons; the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights ; the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members; the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. The Council will also hold a discussion with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
The Human Rights Council will consider and adopt a series of final outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review on 16 July, namely those of Kyrgyzstan, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Kiribati, Guyana and Kuwait. It will also appoint four new mandate holders, for the following positions: Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes; Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; and Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children.
At the end of the forty-fourth session, on 17 and 20 July, the Council will take action on decisions and resolutions and will then conclude the session.
The dates and venue of the forty-fourth session are subject to change in view of the evolving situation in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Further information on the forty-fourth session can be found here, including the annotated agenda, the detailed programme of work, and the reports to be presented.
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 forty-third session is as follows:
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Czechia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Sudan, Togo, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The President of the Human Rights Council in 2020 is Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Council’s four Vice Presidents are Nasir Ahmad Andisha of Afghanistan, Socorro Flores Liera of Mexico, Juraj Podhorský of Slovakia and Yackoley Kokou Johnson of Togo.
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