June 2016: Human Rights Bodies’ Sessions, Hearings, and Country Visits
During the month of June 2016, supranational human rights bodies’ activities will include discussion of broad human rights concerns, assessment of specific States’ practices, and visits to three countries. Two political organs, the United Nations Human Rights Council and Organization of American States General Assembly, will convene to debate issues of concern to their Member States; the latter is also expected to address the financial crisis at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. [IJRC] United Nations treaty bodies will hold interactive dialogues with more than 20 States concerning their obligations related to children’s rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; and civil and political rights. The independent experts of the Human Rights Council will hold their annual meeting; submit reports to the Human Rights Council; and wrap up visits to Cyprus, Belgium, and South Korea. The treaty body sessions can be viewed on UN Treaty Body Webcast, and the Human Rights Council session will be available on UN Web TV. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar.
Committee on the Rights of the Child 72nd Regular Session and 74th Pre-Sessional Working Group
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is holding its 72nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland from May 17 to June 3, 2016 to review States’ reports on their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography; and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. According to the session agenda, the CRC will hold interactive dialogues with Bulgaria, Gabon, Luxembourg, Nepal, Pakistan, Samoa, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. The CRC’s concluding observations, which will also take into account reports submitted by civil society, will be published in the coming weeks.
The CRC will also hold its 74th pre-sessional working group in Geneva, Switzerland from June 6 to 10, 2016 to prepare for future interactive dialogues. The pre-sessional working group creates lists of issues for the State parties to respond to at the next Committee session. The pre-sessional working group will make lists for the Committee’s next session based on State reports of Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Georgia, Malawi, Qatar, and Serbia regarding their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Further, the Committee will consider reports from Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi regarding the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. The Committee will also consider a report from Malawi on the implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 58th Session
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESR) will hold its 58th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from June 6 to 24, 2016. The Committee will consider the State reports of Angola, Burkina Faso, France, Honduras, Sweden, Macedonia, and the United Kingdom regarding their implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Upon considering States’ reports, the Committee will submit general suggestions and recommendations to the Human Rights Council as part of its mandate under articles 16 and 17 of the ICESCR.
Beyond consideration of State reports, the Committee will address substantive challenges facing implementation of the ICESCR through discussions, assessing submissions from non-governmental organizations, and the formulation and adoption of recommendations of a general nature based on State party reports for the Human Rights Council to consider. According to the session agenda, the Committee will also follow-up on the implementation of its past concluding observations that resulted from consideration of State reports. Further, the Committee will hold closed meetings to examine communications submitted to it under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
For more information and session materials, including the agenda, program of work, and reports submitted by States and civil society, visit the 58th Session webpage.
Organization of American States General Assembly
The OAS General Assembly will hold its 46th Regular Session in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on June 13 and 14, 2016. The title and focus of the meeting is “Institutional Strengthening for Sustainable Development in the Americas.” According to the draft agenda for the Session, the OAS General Assembly will assess the budget of the organization and the annual reports of the OAS Permanent Council and other OAS bodies. During the session, the OAS General Assembly will also consider and adopt resolutions on pressing topics affecting OAS Member States, including the rise of the Zika virus; climate change, food security, and migration; the 2016 Rio Olympics; and multidimensional approaches to security in the hemisphere.
The OAS General Assembly is also expected to consider the current financial crisis of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The Commission has called on the OAS General Assembly to adopt measures to address its immediate financial woes and to secure sustainable funding to ensure the Commission can continue to fulfill its mandate. [IACHR Press Release]
For more information on the 46th Session, visit the session webpage.
Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its 32nd regular session from June 13 to July 1, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss global human rights themes, hear from independent experts, and review outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review. According to the session agenda, the two-week session will include discussions, debates, and panels on a range of topics, including promoting human rights through sport, women’s human rights, business and human rights, climate change and human rights, the impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights. The Human Rights Council will also discuss continuing and emerging human rights issues in Syria, Eritrea, Belarus, and South Sudan.
A number of experts (“special procedures”) will present reports on their recent country visits and other activities concerning specific States and rights topics. The Human Rights Council will receive reports from and host dialogues with independent experts on their respective mandates relating to internally displaced persons, summary executions, international solidarity, racism, health, trafficking, independence of judges and lawyers, freedom of expression, education, peaceful assembly and association, and violence against women. The Council will also receive a report from the Independent Expert on the enhancement of capacity-building and technical cooperation with Côte d’Ivoire. Additionally, the Human Rights Council will select new representatives to fill the positions of Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief; Special Rapporteur on the right to education; and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The Human Rights Council will consider the outcome reports from the most recent Universal Periodic Review of Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia, Paraguay, Belgium, Denmark, Palau, Somalia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Latvia, Sierra Leone, and Singapore.
Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee will hold its 117th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from June 20 to July 15, 2016 to assess the progress of Argentina, Burkina Faso, Denmark, Ecuador, Ghana, Kazakhstan, and Kuwait in implementing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Following an interactive dialogue with these States’ representatives, the Committee will issue concluding observations identifying the successes and remaining gaps in achieving full enjoyment of the ICCPR’s protections in each country. Its review is based on each State’s periodic report and/or replies to the Committee’s prior written questions (list of issues), as well as reports submitted by civil society.
According to the session agenda, country report task forces will adopt lists of issues on Italy, Serbia, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Belgium, Lithuania, and Norway in preparation for those countries’ upcoming interactive dialogues with the Committee in 2017.
Additionally, the Committee’s working group on individual communications will meet for a period of one week, from June 13 to 17, prior to the 117th session to examine complaints submitted to it. The working group will address a current body of 540 pending communications submitted to the Committee prior to April 1, 2016.
To access documents and additional information related to this Human Rights Committee session, visit the 117th Session webpage. View video of the Committee’s interactive dialogue with the States under review via UN Treaty Body Webcast.
Meeting of Special Procedures
The meeting of Special Rapporteurs, Representatives, Independent Experts, and Chairpersons of the Working Groups of the Human Rights Council will hold its 23rd Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland from June 6 to 10, 2016. This annual meeting serves as an opportunity for mandate holders to discuss common areas of work, coordinate efforts, and meet with a range of stakeholders, including States and civil society organizations, to discuss how mandate holders can be most effective in contributing to the mainstreaming of human rights in the UN system. Additionally, they will meet with heads of OHCHR field presences to discuss enhanced cooperation and follow-up to the work and recommendations of special procedures at the national level. The meeting will also involve discussions assessing the achievements of the special procedure system since its formation and addressing existing challenges facing their work, including retaliatory actions against individuals who engage with mandate holders. OHCHR, 23rd Annual Meeting of special procedures.
For more information and to keep updated on the session visit the 23rd Session webpage.
Country Visits by Special Procedures
The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights will carry out a country visit to Cyprus May 23 to June 2, 2016.
The Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt will carry out a country visit to Belgium May 30 to June 3, 2016.
The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises will conduct a country visit in the Republic of Korea from May 23 to June 1, 2016.
For more information on the Committee on the Rights of the Child; the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Inter-American human rights system; UN Special Procedures; the Human Rights Council; Universal Periodic Review; or the Human Rights Committee visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub.