August 2017: United Nations Bodies and Inter-American Court in Session
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.
Committee against Torture 61st Session
The Committee against Torture (CAT) will continue to hold its 61st Session in Geneva, Switzerland, which began on July 24 and ends on August 11, 2017. Having already considered the reports of Antigua and Barbuda, Paraguay, and Ireland in July, the CAT will also hold an interactive dialogue with Panama regarding its implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. After reviewing these States’ reports and submissions from civil society, the CAT will adopt concluding observations, noting positive developments and offering recommendations for improved implementation of the Convention.
Additionally, according to the programme of work, the CAT will discuss a revised draft of the General Comment on Article 3 of the Convention, hold a thematic hearing with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and meet with various non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions. Those interested in attending the session in person or via conference may register here.
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 93rd Session
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will continue to hold its 93rd Session in Geneva, Switzerland from July 31 to August 25, 2017. The CERD will review the State reports of Canada, Djibouti, Ecuador, Kuwait, New Zealand, Russia, Tajikistan, and the United Arab Emirates to assess their implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports, the CERD will issue concluding observations, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention.
At this session, the CERD will also discuss follow up activities to the previously held World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the Durban Review Conference.
Representatives from non-governmental organizations or national human rights institutions interested in attending the session needed to register by July 26. To view session documents, including States’ reports, the provisional agenda, and programme of work, visit the 93rd Session webpage.
For more information about the CERD, visit IJRC’s website.
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 18th Session
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will hold its 18th Session in Geneva, Switzerland from August 14 to September 1, 2017. The CRPD will review the State reports of Latvia, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Morocco, Panama, and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to assess their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ICRPD). After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports, the CRPD will issue concluding observations, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention. Furthermore, the CRPD will consider and adopt lists of issues prior to reporting for Argentina, Australia, Ecuador, and Tunisia.
Additionally, according to the agenda, the CRPD is scheduled to discuss how to strengthen cooperation between the CRPD and UN entities, specialized agencies, and non-governmental organizations to promote rights protections for persons with disabilities; to review progress regarding a general comment on the right to live independently and to be included within the community; to consider the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/268 on enhancing the functioning of the treaty body system; and to consider complaints under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Human Rights Council 19th Session of the Advisory Committee
The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee will hold its 19th session from August 7 to August 11 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the draft program of work, the Advisory Committee will meet with United Nations and regional experts. The provisional agenda indicates that the Advisory Committee will consider requests regarding the integration of a gender perspective to its studies; the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; the integration of the perspective of persons with disabilities; the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members; unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents and human rights; the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin on the enjoyment of human rights; regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights; negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights; and the activities of vulture funds and their impact on human rights. It will also review methods of work, and agenda and annual program of work, including new priorities.
The Advisory Committee is an 18-member body of independent experts that supports the work of the Human Rights Council by providing studies and research-based advice to the Human Rights Council. Established in 2008 pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1, the Committee meets two times per year for a maximum of ten working days per year. The members of the Advisory Committee are selected based on their recognized competence and experience in the field of human rights, their high moral standing, and their independence and impartiality. See Resolution 5/1, para. 67. The Advisory Committee’s membership also follows geographic representation guidelines.
The Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Communications will also hold its 21st Session from August 14 to 18, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Working Group meets twice a year to review communications and transfer admissible communications to the Working Group on Situations. The Working Group on Communications comprises five independent experts who are members of the Advisory Committee and represent different regions.
Four UN special procedure mandate holders will conduct country visits, and two working groups will hold sessions in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons is scheduled to visit El Salvador from August 14 to August 18, 2017.
The Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice is scheduled to visit Samoa from August 8 to August 18, 2017.
The Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes is scheduled to visit Sierra Leone from August 14 to August 25, 2017.
The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context is scheduled to visit Japan from August 22 to August 31, 2017.
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. 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.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will hold its 79th Session from August 21 to 25, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights 119th Regular Session
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will hold its 119th Regular Session in San Jose, Costa Rica on August 21 to September 1, 2017. See Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Session Dates. During its sessions, the IACtHR typically holds public hearings on the merits of individual complaints and deliberates on contentious cases alleging human rights violations.
The IACtHR is the judicial organ of the Inter-American human rights system that deliberates on cases referred to it by Sates parties or the IACHR. The cases reviewed by the Court are always first processed by the Commission. Cases before the Court may only be against Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) that have specifically accepted the Court’s contentious jurisdiction. There are 20 OAS Member States that have opted into the IACtHR’s contentious jurisdiction, which are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Uruguay. See IJRC, Inter-American System.
For more information on UN treaty bodies; the Committee Against Torture; the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the Human Rights Council; UN special procedures; and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights or for upcoming sessions and hearings, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.