January 2018: Universal Periodic Review and Regional Bodies in Session

Palais des Nations
Credit: UN Photo/Violaine Martin

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.

The UN treaty body’s session may be watched via UN Web TV. The IACtHR’s session may be viewed on its website or Vimeo page, and the ECtHR’s hearings may be viewed on its webcast.

 To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar.

Committee on the Rights of the Child 77th Session

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will hold its 77th Session from January 15 to February 2, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the proposed programme of work, the CRC will conduct interactive dialogues with Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Palau, Panama, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Spain, and Sri Lanka concerning their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. After considering each of those State’s reports on their implementation of the Convention and information from civil society on the same topic, the Committee will later issue concluding observations on each State, noting challenges and developments to their implementation of the Convention.

In order to participate, any civil society organizations wanting to attend the Session must register by February 2 through the Indico system. The information note on accreditation states that it may take two business days to process a request.

The CRC monitors 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 pornography; and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. To view session documents, including information submitted by civil society, visit the 77th Session webpage. For more information on the Committee on the Rights of the Child, visit IJRC’s website.

Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group 29th Session

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group will hold its 29th Session from January 15 to 26, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the calendar for the third cycle of the UPR, the States under review at the 29th Session are the Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Burundi, France, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tonga, and United Arab Emirates.

During the session, a group of three Human Rights Council Member States (or troika) will facilitate the review of each country. Representatives from the country being reviewed will give an oral presentation, which is followed by an interactive dialogue with UN Member States. The States make recommendations and comments, which the troika summarizes in a report, and the reviewed country can accept or reject the recommendations and comments. A final outcome report will then be adopted, and the country will report on its implementation of the recommendations during the following UPR cycle.

The UPR is a peer review mechanism designed to assess and advance human rights in all UN Member States. The UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council holds three sessions per year. For more information about past, present, and future UPR sessions, including timetables and lists of troikas, visit the UPR sessions webpage, or visit IJRC’s website.

UN Special Procedures

Various UN special procedures have activities scheduled for January. Three special rapporteurs will carry out country visits this month, while one other working group will hold private sessions in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers is scheduled to visit Morocco from January 22 to 30, 2018.

The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions is scheduled to visit El Salvador from January 25 to February 5, 2018.

The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants is scheduled to visit Nepal from January 29 to February 5, 2018.

The Working Group on the discrimination against women in law and in practice will hold its 21st session from January 22 to 26, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the Working Group’s webpage, the 21st session is private.

During their country visits, these independent experts will assess both the overall human rights situation in the country and issues specific to their thematic focus. Experts also meet with civil society, government, and national human rights institutions when they visit a country. Their findings are published later in reports addressed to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. See OHCHR, Country and other visits of Special Procedures.

To view the full list of forthcoming country visits, visit the OHCHR website. For more information on each special procedure, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights 121st Session

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will hold its 121st Session from January 29 to February 9, 2018. 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 has jurisdiction over cases brought against a Member State of the Organization of American States (OAS) that has accepted the Court’s jurisdiction as authorized by Article 62 of the American Convention on Human Rights. 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. The cases reviewed by the Court are always first processed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The IACtHR also has authority to issue advisory opinions. For more information on the IACtHR, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

European Committee of Social Rights 295th Session

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) of the Council of Europe will hold its 297th Session from January 23-26, 2018 in Strasbourg, France. The agenda and synopsis of the meeting will be published on the European Committee of Social Right’s calendar.

The ECSR assesses States’ compliance with the European Social Charter, which protects economic and social rights. During its sessions, the ECSR reviews collective complaints, examines national reports, and follows up on the Turin process, which aims to improve implementation of the Charter at the continental level.

According to the ECSR’s calendar for national reporting, it will consider State reports concerning the Charter’s labor rights from the Netherlands, Sweden, Croatia, Norway, Slovenia, Cyprus, and the Czech Republic throughout the 2018 calendar year. The ECSR will consider simplified reports on the same topic from France, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, and Finland throughout the 2018 calendar year. Simplified reports focus on areas of non-conformity identified in the Committee’s previous conclusions. The Committee adopts and publishes conclusions at the end of the calendar year on each State’s compliance with the relevant provisions of the European Social Charter. The Committee’s conclusions may also include recommendations. See IJRC, European Committee of Social Rights.

The European Committee of Social Rights is a regional human rights body that oversees the protection of certain economic and social rights in most of Europe. In addition to the reporting system, the Committee also receives collective complaints against States on violations of the European Social Charter. Fifteen States have accepted the jurisdiction of the collective complaints procedure. See IJRC, European Committee of Social Rights.

For more information on the European Committee of Social Rights, visit IJRC’s website.

European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights will hold two Grand Chamber hearings this month.

On January 17, 2018 the Grand Chamber will hold a hearing in the case of S., V. and A. v. Denmark. [ECtHR Press Release: Denmark] The applicants in the case allege that their detention was a violation of Article 5 (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention on Human Rights because it exceeded the time-limit imposed by domestic law for preventative detention. [ECtHR Press Release: Denmark] The chamber of the ECtHR relinquished its jurisdiction over the case to the Grand Chamber in July 2017. [ECtHR Press Release: Denmark]

On January 24, 2018, the Grand Chamber will hold a hearing in the case of Navalnyy v. Russia. [ECtHR Press Release: Russia] The applicant in the case alleges that his arrests violated his rights under Article 11 (right to freedom of assembly), Article 5 (right to liberty), Article 6 (right to a fair trial), and Article 18 (limitation on the restriction of rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights because the authorities’ actions in arresting and detaining him several times during non-violent and peaceful gatherings were politically motivated. [ECtHR Press Release: Russia] In the ECtHR’s chamber judgment, the Court held that Russia violated articles 11, 5, and 6 due to State agents’ disproportionate actions in making arrests during peaceful protests; the State’s inability to provide a reason why detaining the applicant on seven different occasions was necessary; and irregularities during administrative proceedings, including the court ignoring evidence put forth by the applicant. The Court further found that there was no need to examine the applicant’s allegation concerning Article 18. The chamber relinquished the case to the Grand Chamber in May 2017. [ECtHR Press Release: Russia]

The ECtHR is a regional human rights judicial body based in Strasbourg, France. The Court has jurisdiction to decide complaints that allege violations of the European Convention on Human Rights and are submitted by individuals, or States, against States parties to the European Convention.

For more information on the European Court, visit IJRC’s website.

Additional Information

For more information on the Committee on the Rights of the Child; the UN Human Rights Council; the UN special procedures; the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; the Working Group on the discrimination against women in law and in practice; the European Committee of Social Rights; and the European Court of Human Rights, or for upcoming sessions and hearings, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

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