On March 26, 2015, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution which establishes a mandate on the right to privacy in the digital age and creates a new Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy. UN Human Rights Council, Resolution 28/L.27, Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, UN Doc. A/HRC/28/L.27, 24 March 2015. [UN Press Release] This resolution, which was adopted during the 28th regular session of the Human Rights Council, reaffirms the right to privacy; recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet; affirms that the right to privacy must be protected both online and offline; and, most significantly, creates the position of Special Rapporteur, or independent expert, for a period of three years to promote and protect this right. The resolution follows an earlier Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age adopted by the General Assembly in December 2014. UN General Assembly, Resolution 69/166, The right to privacy in the digital age, UN Doc. A/RES/69/166, 10 February 2015. The Human Rights Council will appoint the Special Rapporteur at the 29th regular session of the Human Rights Council which will be held from June 15 to July 3, 2015.
Category Archives: international human rights
Last month, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued its Annual Report 2014, summarizing the Court’s structure, jurisprudence, and activities throughout 2014. The Report discusses the Court’s functions, summarizes the status of cases before the Court, breaks down the Court’s budget, and describes additional activities the Court undertook in 2014. See Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Annual Report 2014. The majority of the Report focuses on the hearings that the Court held, cases that were submitted to the Court, and judgments that the Court delivered in 2014. See id. at 12–33, 39–66.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is currently holding its 108th Ordinary Session, which began on April 13 and will conclude on April 17, 2015 in San Jose, Costa Rica, and will be holding its 52nd Special Session from April 20 to April 24, 2015 in Cartagena, Colombia.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee) is holding its 13th session from March 25 to April 17 in Geneva, Switzerland to review the State reports of Cook Islands, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Germany, Mongolia, and Turkmenistan. During the session, representatives from each State will engage in a dialogue with Committee members based on each State party’s report as well as responses to the list of issues that the Committee has asked each State to address in relation to its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The Committee will also take into account any additional reports from civil society organizations and national human rights institutions. Following the review, the Committee will issue concluding observations, which consist of concerns and recommendations with respect to each State’s implementation of the Convention. Archived webcasts of the 13th session can be viewed on the UN Treaty Body Webcast.
On March 10, 2015, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights published a decision condemning Sudan’s mistreatment of human rights defenders, which remains a pressing concern in the country. In the case of Monim Elgak, Osman Hummeida and Amir Suliman v. Sudan, the African Commission held that the government of Sudan violated several articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights when authorities arrested, detained, and tortured three human rights defenders who were accused of espionage based on their cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. ACommHPR, Monim Elgak, Osman Hummeida and Amir Suliman v. Sudan, Communication 379/09, 15th Extra-Ordinary Session, 7-14 March 2014. Since 2005, the Office of the Prosecutor has been investigating several Sudanese political leaders and other individuals charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide in connection with the situation in Darfur.
The European Committee of Social Rights held its 277th Session from March 16 to March 20, 2015 in Strasbourg, France. The Committee, which is made up of 15 independent experts, is charged with overseeing State compliance with the European Social Charter, which protects economic and social rights. The agenda for this session included reviewing 16 collective complaints, examining national reports, discussing Charter provisions that have not been accepted by all States, reviewing its working methods, following up on the Turin process, preparing its annual activity report, and engaging with the General Coordinator of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter. Specifically, the Committee made progress in its decisions on four complaints, and reviewed national reports from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Malta, and Estonia concerning their compliance with the Charter provisions relating to children, families, and migrants.
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.
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.