The UN Human Rights Committee is holding its 113th session from March 16 to April 2, to consider the State reports of Cambodia, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Monaco, and Russia on their implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). During the session, representatives from each State will engage in a dialogue with members of the Human Rights Committee regarding the list of issues, which consists of those topics the Committee had previously asked each State to address in its report to the Human Rights Committee. At the conclusion of the review process, the Committee will issue concluding observations for each State, containing its concerns and recommendations on each State’s implementation of the ICCPR. Archived and livestream webcasts of the 113th session can be viewed on UN Treaty Body Webcast.
Category Archives: international human rights
The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) will open its 56th Ordinary Session on April 21, 2015 in Banjul, the Gambia. During this session, which continues through May 7, the Commission’s agenda includes discussion of the human rights situation in Africa, consideration of State reports, and hearing activity reports from members of the Commission and its special mechanisms. This 56th Ordinary Session was originally scheduled for October 2014 but was postponed twice due to the Ebola pandemic. [ACDHRS: September; ACDHRS: November]
On March 10, 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) released its judgment in Y.Y. v. Turkey, where it unanimously held that the State’s refusal to authorize gender reassignment surgery for the transsexual applicant violated the right to respect for private life under the European Convention of Human Rights. See ECtHR, Y.Y. v. Turkey, no. 14793/08, Judgment of 10 March 2015 (decision is currently being processed). The Court reasoned that the State’s grounds for denying the surgery – including that the applicant was not unable to procreate – were not sufficient, and that the State’s interference with Y.Y.’s right to respect for his private life was not “necessary” in a democratic society, thus violating Article 8 of the European Convention. The Court stated that transsexuals’ rights to personal development and physical and moral security “could not be regarded as a matter of controversy.” [ECtHR Press Release]
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is holding its 59th session from March 9 to 20 in New York. During this session, representatives of United Nations Member States, civil society organizations, and United Nations bodies will gather to discuss issues affecting women and the measures necessary to empower them. In this vein, they will be assessing the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA), which was adopted 20 years ago and “is considered the most progressive plan for achieving gender equality.” [OHCHR] There are 8,600 representatives and 1,100 non-governmental organizations registered to participate in this year’s session, and 166 States have submitted national reviews evaluating the progress they have made toward achieving gender equality. [UN Women]
The CSW will also present its future organization and working methods, and adopt a political declaration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, where the BDPfA was adopted.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is holding its 154th regular session from March 13 to 27, 2015 at IACHR headquarters in Washington, D.C. The agenda includes public hearings on March 16, 17, 19 and 20. [IACHR Press Release] The hearings allow both States and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide the IACHR with information and context on 55 human rights issues, ranging from trafficking of women and children in Guatemala, to the rights of LGBTI persons in Venezuela, to the impact of the media on children’s rights in the Americas. Live webcasts of the hearings and video recordings of past hearings are available on the Commission’s website.
On February 19, 2015, the special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council submitted to the Human Rights Council a joint report summarizing all communications concerning alleged human rights abuses that the special procedures sent to States between June and November 2014, as well as State replies to these communications received from August 2014 through January 2015. See Human Rights Council, Communications Report of Special Procedures, UN Doc. A/HRC/28/85, 19 February 2015. The report provides summaries of each communication and hyperlinks to the special procedures’ letters and appeals, as well as to State responses, when available.
The special procedures are independent experts appointed to monitor human rights related to specific themes or particular countries. They submit a joint report to the Human Rights Council on an annual basis that summarizes their communications with States and third parties regarding alleged human rights violations. The 48 special procedures that participated in this report submitted 905 communications from June through the end of November 2014, and received 443 replies by the end of January 2015. However, the total number of communications and replies is lower because these statistics do not take into account letters that are jointly submitted by multiple special procedures. See id. at 7–8. Read more
From March 2 to 27, the United Nations Human Rights Council is holding its 28th regular session in Geneva, Switzerland. The agenda includes high-level panel discussions, interactive dialogues with special procedures, debates on racial discrimination and on the rights of persons with disabilities, and the consideration of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcomes. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has presented its report, which was published jointly with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) on the human rights abuses committed by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, as requested by the Council in September. In his opening address, the High Commissioner for Human Rights called on States to renew their commitment to fundamental rights and to refrain from selectively complying with their international obligations. For more information on the Council’s resolution requesting the OHCHR to investigate the Islamic State, see IJRC’s previous news post. Read more
January 1, 2015 marked the beginning of the International Decade for People of African Descent, a United Nations-initiated framework for strengthening national, regional, and international cooperation in pursuit of the full enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, and equal participation in all aspects of society by people of African descent. [UN: Plan of Action] The UN General Assembly dedicated the next decade to people of African descent due to the stark reality that millions “continue to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including their contemporary manifestations, some of which take violent forms.” UN General Assembly, Resolution 68/237, Proclamation of the International Decade for People of African Descent, UN Doc. A/RES/68/237, 23 December 2013, Preamble. Read more
The human rights records of 14 States are under review during the 21st session of the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group, being held in Geneva, Switzerland from January 19 to January 30, 2015. [OHCHR Press Release] Through this peer review process, United Nations Member States review one another’s overall human rights record every four and a half years, with input from civil society and UN human rights bodies.
Representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana and Kuwait are before the Working Group presenting challenges and successes in fulfilling their human rights obligations, with a focus on efforts to implement recommendations presented to them at their first UPR cycle. [OHCHR Press Release]
The reports providing the basis for current review, as well as the timetable for the reviews, are available through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). A live webcast and archived videos of each country’s review are available through UN Web TV and UPR-Info. Read more