September 2017: United Nations and Regional Human Rights Bodies in Session
In the month of September, several regional bodies and universal bodies and experts will assess States’ compliance with their human rights obligations by engaging in interactive dialogues, considering State and civil society reports, conducting country visits, holding hearings, and reviewing individual complaints. Five United Nations treaty bodies will meet throughout September to engage with States regarding their treaty obligations related to persons with disabilities; migrants and their families; enforced disappearances; children; and economic, social, and cultural rights. The UN Human Rights Council will be in session and will host panel discussions and forums related to unilateral coercive measures, the integration of the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system, the human rights of indigenous peoples, and the impact of intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls. Four UN special rapporteurs will conduct country visits and one working group will meet in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss issues pertaining to enforced disappearances. Regionally, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), and the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will be in session.
The UN treaty body sessions may be watched via UN Web TV. The African Court sessions may be watched on its YouTube channel, and the IACHR sessions may also be viewed on its YouTube channel. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar.
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 8th Pre-Sessional Working Group
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will hold its 8th Pre-Sessional Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland from September 4 to 8, 2017. The CRPD will review the initial reports of Bulgaria, Nepal, Oman, Russia, Seychelles, Slovenia, and Sudan to adopt lists of issues. Each State will respond to the lists of issues before the CRPD reviews their State reports at a later session to assess their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Additionally, according to the information note for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations (CSOs), and national human rights institutions (NHRIs), stakeholders can participate in country briefings on September 4th, 5th, and 6th as long as they are accredited beforehand.
To view relevant pre-sessional working group documents, including information from the secretariat, visit the 8th Pre-Sessional Working Group webpage.
Committee on Migrant Workers 27th Session
The Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW) will hold its 27th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from September 4 to 13, 2017. The CMW will review the State reports of Ecuador, Indonesia, and Mexico to assess their implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICMW). After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports, the CMW will issue concluding observations at a later date, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention. Furthermore, the CMW will consider and adopt lists of issues on the second periodic reports of Albania and Tajikistan for each State to respond to, as well as lists of issues prior to reporting for Guatemala and Libya. For the latter, Guatemala and Libya will respond to the lists of issues prior to reporting before the Committee reviews their State reports.
Additionally, according to the agenda, the CMW will discuss its methods of work and harmonization of treaty body working methods. The CMW will also consider its involvement in initiatives to promote the Convention.
Finally, according to the information note for CSOs and NHRIs, CSOs may, as well as NHRIs, give oral briefings on the States under review during the session. These briefings will be held on September 4, 2017 from 11:00AM to 12:00PM. The CMW asks that CSOs and NHRIs limit their oral statements to ten minutes or less and to bring five copies of their statements at least 15 minutes prior to the meeting for interpretation purposes. CSOs and NHRIs should also email an electronic version of their statements in Word format to: email@example.com. It is possible to provide a briefing through video-conferencing; interested CSOs and NHRIs should contact the CMW secretariat in advance.
CSOs and NHRIs that wish to attend any session of the CMW must register online. Registration for the 27th Session must occur by September 7, 2017.
Committee on Enforced Disappearances 13th Session
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) will hold its 13th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from September 4 to 15, 2017. The CED will review the State reports of Austria, Gabon, and Lithuania to assess their implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED). After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports, the CED will at a later date issue concluding observations, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention. Furthermore, the CED will consider and adopt lists of issues for Albania and Honduras.
Additionally, according to the agenda, the CED is scheduled to discuss matters related to its methods of work; to review information received from Burkina Faso, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, and Tunisia regarding the States’ follow-up on concluding observations; to consider requests for urgent action; to consider individual communications; to hold its annual meeting with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; to hold a thematic discussion on the obligation to search for and locate disappeared persons; and to meet with States, NHRIs, and NGOs.
Finally, according to the NHRIs information note, and the NGO information note, representatives that would like to attend the session must register online by August 30, 2017. Civil society representatives that wish to attend or provide information to formal and informal briefings should contact the CED Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Committee on the Rights of the Child 76th Session
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will hold its 76th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from September 11 to 29, 2017. The CRC will review the State reports of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Ecuador, Republic of Moldova, Tajikistan, and Vanuatu to assess their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CRC will additionally review State reports from Guinea, Tajikistan, and Vanuatu regarding their compliance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The CRC will review State reports from Cyprus, Guinea, Tajikistan, and Vanuatu to assess their implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society’s alternative reports, the CED will issue at a later date concluding observations for each State, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention and its Optional Protocols.
Additionally, according to the agenda, the CRC is scheduled to discuss ways to promote and protect the rights of the child; to discuss its methods of work, particularly those related to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure and simplifying the reporting procedure; to consider communication reports received under the Optional Protocol; and to work on the general comment on children in the context of migration, which will be issued jointly with the CMW.
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 62nd Session
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) will hold its 62nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland from September 18 to October 6, 2017. The CESCR will review the State reports of Colombia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, and Russia to assess their implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports, the CESCR will issue concluding observations at a later date, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Covenant.
Additionally, according to the agenda, the CESCR is scheduled to discuss draft general comments; to discuss the issue of follow-up to previous concluding observations; to consider reports submitted by specialized agencies; and to consider communications submitted under the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR.
According to the information note, participants that are interested in submitting written information or attending session briefings must contact the CESCR Secretariat no later than three weeks before the event. Finally, participants must register for the 62nd Session online before September 27, 2017.
Human Rights Council 36th Session
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its 36th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from September 11 to 29, 2017. According to the session’s list of reports, the Human Rights Council will consider over 65 thematic and country-specific reports from the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the High Commissioner’s office, United Nations independent experts, and the United Nations Secretary General. The Council will consider the country-specific reports on the situations in Burundi and the Syrian Arab Republic, will hold an enhanced interactive dialogue on the situation in South Sudan, and will hear an oral update on the situation in Myanmar. According to the agenda, the Human Rights Council will appoint several special procedure mandate holders and elect seven members of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.
According to the agenda and the programme of work, the Human Rights Council will convene several panel discussions during the 36th Session on unilateral coercive measures and human rights; the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms; the human rights of indigenous peoples; and the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence in the context of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance on the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls.
According to the agenda, the Council will also consider reports on technical assistance and capacity building in Cambodia, Central African Republic, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, and Ukraine. The Council will consider and adopt the final Universal Periodic Review outcome reports of Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, Ecuador, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Only NGOs that have consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) can be accredited to participate in the Human Rights Council’s sessions as observers. NGOs accredited as observers may attend and observe the Council’s proceedings that are open to NGOs; submit written statements; make oral interventions; participate in debates, dialogues, and discussions; and engage in side events. More information on accreditation and participation in the Human Rights Council’s sessions, visit its page on NGO participation.
According to the information note for national human rights institutions, NHRIs with “A” status accreditation may participate in the session and may submit documentation, including written statements, relevant to the session. The deadline for submitting written statements for this session is September 5, 2017. NHRIs that would like to make an oral intervention must send a request to Katharina Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org and must register the statement online after August 14, 2017. Those wishing to submit a video statement must comply with the detailed requirements available in the information note. NHRIs may request accreditation prior to this session by submitting a letter of request to Biljana Pesut at email@example.com.
To view session documents, including State party reports, submissions from civil society, and the Committee’s programme of work, visit the 36th Session Webpage. To follow the session online, visit the live webcast.
UN Special Procedures
Four UN special procedure mandate holders will conduct country visits, and one working group will hold a session in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities is scheduled to visit Kazakhstan from September 4 to September 12, 2017.
The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights is scheduled to visit Malaysia from September 11 to September 22, 2017.
The Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is scheduled to visit Mongolia from September 19 to September 27, 2017.
The Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights is scheduled to visit Switzerland from September 25 to October 4, 2017.
The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances will hold its 113th Session from September 11 to September 15, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
These special procedures are tasked by the Human Rights Council with monitoring and reporting on specific human rights concerns throughout the world. During country visits, independent experts assess the overall human rights situation of a country as well as issues specific to their thematic focus; during those visits, experts often meet with members of civil society, government officials, and representatives of national human rights institutions in that country. Following each visit, experts prepare and submit reports to the Human Rights Council. See OHCHR, Country and Other Visits of Special Procedures.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 164th Session
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold its 164th Extraordinary Period of Sessions in Mexico City from September 4 to September 8, 2017. [IACHR Press Release] According to the session calendar, the IACHR will hold thematic hearings on the situation of human rights defenders in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Guatemala; the human rights situation of children in Haiti and Honduras; persons with disabilities in Cuba; extrajudicial execution and access to justice in El Salvador; the situation of the right to freedom of expression in Costa Rica; the human rights situation of persons deprived of liberty in Costa Rica; threats to juridical independence in Guatemala; impunity and corruption in the Dominican Republic; transparency in designating high-ranking officials in the justice system in Central America; violence and insecurity faced by migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers returned to countries of the northern triangle; the right to food in Central America; and the United States military commissions in Guantanamo Bay. Additionally, the IACHR will hold one hearing on the merits against the United States.
The IACHR also convened on its own initiative a hearing on “Legal and judicial process for the recognition of refugees, stateless persons and beneficiaries of complementary protection in the Americas,” and invited interested organizations and persons to submit expressions of interest to participate. The IACHR has now chosen which organizations will participate in the hearing. [IACHR Press Release]
Individuals and NGOs may submit requests for thematic hearings prior to sessions. The deadlines for submissions may be found on the IACHR calendar. The IACHR also accepts individual complaints on specific alleged human rights violations to the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, and other regional human rights treaties. The IACHR is a regional body in the Americas that promotes and protects human rights in the Member States of the Organization of American States.
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights 46th Ordinary Session & 8th Extraordinary Session
According to its calendar, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its 46th Ordinary Session from September 4 to September 22, 2017, and its 8th Extraordinary Session from September 25 to September 29, 2017 in Arusha, Tanzania. During its sessions, the AfCHPR holds hearings on the admissibility and merits of pending complaints alleging violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and any other international human rights treaty.
The AfCHPR is a regional human rights tribunal with advisory and contentious jurisdiction. Generally, the AfCHPR holds four ordinary sessions a year, but it may hold additional extraordinary sessions if the President of the Court calls for one. Individuals and non-governmental organizations with observer status before the ACHPR may bring cases directly to the AfCHPR if the relevant State has accepted the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction over individual complaints. Only eight States allow for the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction over individual complaints: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania, and Tunisia. Rwanda also previously allowed for jurisdiction over individual complaints but subsequently withdrew its declaration accepting the jurisdiction. [AfCHPR Press Release; IJRC] The AfCHPR may also hear cases on the merits referred by the ACHPR or brought by a State party to the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights against any of the 30 States that have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court.
European Committee of Social Rights 294th Session
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold its 294th Session in Strasbourg, France from September 11 to 15, 2017. The ECSR assesses States’ compliance with the European Social Charter, which protects economic and social rights. During its sessions, the ECSR reviews collective complaints, examines national reports, and follows up on the Turin process, which aims to improve implementation of the Charter at the continental level.
According to the ECSR’s calendar for national reporting, in the year 2017, it will consider State reports concerning the Charter rights on health, social security, and social protection from France, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, and Finland. The ECSR will consider simplified reports on the same topic from the Netherlands, Sweden, Croatia, Norway, Slovenia, Cyprus, and the Czech Republic. Simplified reports focus on areas of non-conformity identified in the Committee’s previous conclusions. The States’ reports were due in October 2016. The Committee adopts and publishes conclusions at the end of the calendar year on each State’s compliance with the relevant provisions of the European Social Charter. The Committee’s conclusions may also include recommendations. See IJRC, European Committee of Social Rights.
The European Committee of Social Rights is a regional human rights body that oversees the protection of certain economic and social rights in most of Europe. In addition to the reporting system, the Committee also receives collective complaints against States on violations of the European Social Charter.
For more information on UN treaty bodies; the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Committee on the Rights of the Child; the Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families; the Committee on Enforced Disappearances; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights; the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities; the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment; the Human Rights Council; UN special procedures; the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; and the European Committee of Social Rights, or for upcoming sessions and hearings, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.