In January 2018, several universal and regional human rights bodies and experts will assess States’ compliance with their human rights obligations through the consideration of State and civil society reports, interactive dialogues, country visits, and hearings. One United Nations treaty body will meet throughout January to assess States’ compliance with their treaty obligations related to the rights of the child. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will also be in session and will conduct interactive dialogues with representatives from 14 States. Three UN special procedures mandate holders will conduct country visits, and an additional special procedure working group will hold sessions. Regionally, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) and the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will be in session, and the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hear two cases related to the rights of liberty and security, the right to freedom of assembly, the right to a fair trial, and the limitation of restrictions on rights.
Category Archives: children
In October, several universal and regional human rights bodies and experts will assess States’ compliance with their human rights obligations through the consideration of State and civil society reports, interactive dialogues, country visits, seminars, and hearings. Five UN treaty bodies will meet throughout October to assess States’ compliance with their treaty obligations related to civil and political rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; elimination of discrimination against women; the prevention of torture; and the rights of the child. The Social Forum of the UN Human Rights Council will be in session, and the UN Human Rights Council will also host thematic panel discussions, seminars, and working group discussions on climate change, migrants, and persons displaced across international borders; transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights; and the implementation of effective safeguards to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment during police custody. One working group will be in session on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice, and eight other special procedures mandate holders will conduct country visits. Regionally, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR), the European Committee on Social Rights (ECSR), and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will be in session.
The UN Human Rights Council’s and UN treaty bodies’ sessions can be watched via UN Web TV. The IACHR’s session can be watched on its YouTube channel, and the IACtHR’s session may be viewed on its website or Vimeo page. The ECtHR hearings can be viewed on its webcast.
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.
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) announced earlier this month that the African Union Assembly adopted the 2040 Agenda for Children, which lays out goals related to the rights of children set to be achieved across the continent by 2040. [ACERWC Press Release] The agenda was developed in consideration of conclusions drawn during a conference held in 2015 to evaluate the status of the rights of children in Africa 25 years after the adoption of the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (Children’s Charter), which 48 of the 55 States on the continent have ratified. [ACERWC Press Release] The agenda, which draws on the Children’s Charter as well as other prominent legal and political documents, calls for an effective framework for the advancement of children’s rights, children’s access to nourishment and basic necessities, children’s ability to reap the benefits of education, the protection of children from abuse, and a child-sensitive criminal justice system, among other aspirations. [ACERWC Press Release] States will be responsible for reviewing their progress annually, and the ACERWC will facilitate more extensive reviews every five years. See ACERWC, Africa’s Agenda for Children 2040: Fostering an Africa Fit for Children (2016), at 34. Read more
Last week, three United Nations independent experts – the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; and the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children – made an urgent appeal to the government of the Philippines concerning grave human rights violations, including murder; threats against human rights defenders including those advocating for indigenous peoples’ rights; and the summary execution of children. [OHCHR Press Release: Experts] Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in June 2016, a violent “war on drugs,” spearheaded by the government of the Philippines continues to undermine the respect for human rights. See HRW, World Report: Philippines (2017). According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the drug war has led to the killing of more than 7,000 suspected drug users and dealers, the overcrowding of jails, and the targeting of critics of the drug war, without any meaningful investigation into these incidents. See HRW, Philippines. The High Commissioner of Human Rights said last year that the war on drugs has created an atmosphere of violence and impunity. [OHCHR Press Release: Zeid] The UN independent experts recommend that the Philippines investigate all instances of violence, eliminate impunity, and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. [OHCHR Press Release: Experts] The Philippines is a State party to several human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and it is obligated to uphold the rights to life; prohibition of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; and liberty, among others. Read more
Several universal bodies and experts and one regional court will review States’ compliance with their human rights obligations through the review of State reports, debates, review of individual complaints, and country visits in the month of August. Three United Nations treaty bodies will meet throughout August to engage with States regarding their treaty obligations related to torture, racial discrimination, and persons with disabilities. The UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee will be in session and will host panel discussions and forums related to persons with leprosy, unaccompanied migrant children, contribution of development to the enjoyment of human rights, effects of terrorism on human rights, activities of vulture funds, and regional arrangements on human rights. Four UN special rapporteurs will conduct country visits and one working group will meet in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss issues pertaining to arbitrary detention. Regionally, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will be in session.
The UN treaty body sessions may be watched via UN Web TV. The IACtHR hearings may be watched on the Court’s website or on livestream. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar. To learn more about each human rights body, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. Read more
On July 17, 2017, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) released its mid-year report on the situation of civilians in Afghanistan, revealing that the level of civilian casualties remains high. [UNAMA Press Release] UNAMA confirmed a total of 5,243 civilian casualties (1,662 deaths and 3,581 injured) from January 1 to June 30, 2017, which represents a decrease of less than one percent from the same period in 2016, but reported an increase in deaths. See UNAMA, Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Mid-Year Report 2017 (2017), at 3. The number of women and children killed and injured has increased this year, despite a decline in women and children casualties in 2016. [UNAMA Press Release] Civilian casualties in the first half of the year were primarily the result of anti-government forces’ use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), such as suicide bombs, in civilian-populated areas. See UNAMA, Afghanistan Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict: Mid-Year Report 2017, at 3–4. Medical facilities and schools continue to be targeted, impeding Afghans’ access to health care and education. See id. at 13, 17–19.
In consideration of its findings, UNAMA recommends that anti-government forces stop targeting civilians, that government forces stop using weapons such as mortars and rockets that can have devastating effects in civilian areas, and that international militaries support and train Afghanistan’s national army, among other recommendations. [UNAMA Press Release] In a statement recognizing the high rates of death and injury recorded in the report, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that the statistics on casualties do not depict the full extent of the loss and suffering, such as psychological trauma and displacement. [OHCHR Press Release] Afghanistan is a State party to the Rome Statute, Geneva Conventions, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and, therefore, the State must refrain from targeting civilians during non-international armed conflict and respect and protect the right to life.
In a recently published decision, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) found that Greece’s legislation enacted between 2010 and 2014 in response to the economic crisis violated the rights to work, to just conditions of work, to fair pay, to protection for children and young persons against hazards, and to participate in decision making processes on working conditions established in the 1961 European Social Charter (1961 Charter) and the 1988 Additional Protocol. See ECSR, Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) v. Greece, Complaint No. 111/2014, Merits, 23 March 2017. The Council of Europe’s (COE) Committee of Ministers adopted a resolution on July 5, 2017, that led to the publication of the ECSR’s merits decision in Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) v. Greece. [COE Press Release] Greece argued that the legislation was necessary to ensure that Greece remained in the Eurozone by stimulating growth and job creation. See Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE) v. Greece, 23 March 2017, para. 49. The ECSR took account of the scale and severity of the economic and financial crisis that led to the adoption of the legislation at issue; however, it nevertheless concluded that none of the restrictions to social rights imposed via the legislation were permissible under articles 30 (derogations in time of war or public emergency) or 31 (restrictions to rights permitted under the Charter) of the Social Charter, resulting in several violations. See id. at paras. 93, 246-250. Read more
In a recently released General Comment, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) stated that States parties have an obligation to protect, respect, and fulfill rights implicated by the activities of businesses based in their territory, even when those businesses are operating abroad, to stay in compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). See Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 24 on State Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities, UN Doc. E/C.12/GC/24, 23 June 2017. The General Comment, which was adopted by the Committee on June 23, 2017, includes guidance on States parties’ obligations to ensure that business activities do not violate the rights to food, housing, health, work, favorable conditions of work, form and join trade unions, and social security, both within State borders and extraterritorially, and finds that States parties may be held directly responsible for business activities that violate the Covenant in limited circumstances. See id. at paras. 2, 11. The Committee also concludes that States parties must address barriers to access remedies for violations committed by businesses, and must implement national action plans that specifically address the question of the role of business entities in the realization of ICESCR rights. See id. at paras. 38-59.
The General Comment contributes to a growing acknowledgement of the rights abuses that arise from business activities and the need to protect against those violations. The General Comment follows widespread attacks against human rights defenders working on issues arising from business activities, and the Panama Papers and the Bahamas Leaks that both revealed business practices potentially harmful to the realization of human rights. [OHCHR Press Release; ISHR] It also elaborates on earlier statements regarding States’ responsibility with regard to corporate entities and business activities, and on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. See General Comment No. 24 on State Obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities, 23 June 2017, at para. 2. Read more
- On Tuesday, Amnesty International joined a boycott protesting the mandatory reporting rules for foreign-funded groups recently put into force in Hungary. [Washington Post]
- On Monday, Mexican reporter Salvador Adame was found dead in Mexico; seven journalists have been murdered in the country this year. [Guardian]
- Over the weekend, police forces in Istanbul, Turkey detained 44 people attending LGBT marches that were banned by the governor of Istanbul. [Washington Post]
Violence & Humanitarian Crises
- On Tuesday, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia fully disarmed, ending a half-century long armed struggle that has killed more than 220,000 people. [Washington Post]
- On Tuesday, the United States government issued a warning to the Syrian regime that there would be a “heavy price” for any use of chemical weapons. [Guardian]
- On Friday, 40 people were killed, and 100 wounded, during four bomb and gun attacks in three cities in Pakistan claimed by multiple extremist groups. [Washington Post]
Activities of Supranational Bodies
- On Wednesday, the United Nations gathered global leaders to discuss inclusive, equitable, and quality education in the context of the 2030 Agenda. [UN News Centre]
- On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Council of Europe held a conference to address implementing the rights of the forcibly displaced during conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. [Council of Europe Press Release]
- On Tuesday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe amended its rules to allow high elective offices to be terminated when “they no longer enjoy the confidence of the Assembly.” [Council of Europe Press Release]
- This week, the United Nations teamed up with Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube to launch the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism. [UN News Centre]
Migrants, Asylum Seekers, & Refugees
- On Thursday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees expressed concern about the unsafe forced return of 887 Nigerian refugees to Nigeria. [UN News Centre]
- On Tuesday, the International Organization for Migration announced it is increasing its capacity to assist stranded migrants near the Niger-Libya border. [UN News Centre]
- On Sunday, the Irish navy rescued 712 migrants off of the coast of Libya. [Al Jazeera]
- On Wednesday, the government of Pakistan issued its first passport with a transgender category. [Reuters]
- On Tuesday, several corporations in Europe reported massive cyberattacks via ransomware viruses. [Al Jazeera]
- On Monday, the United States Supreme Court lifted the block on the implementation of President Trump’s ban on travel from six countries but only for individuals who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” [Guardian]