August 2018: United Nations and Regional Human Rights Bodies in Session
In the month of August, various universal and regional bodies will assess States’ compliance with their human rights obligations through interactive dialogues, the consideration of State and civil society reports, and the review of individual complaints. Three United Nations treaty bodies will meet in August to engage with States regarding their treaty obligations related to the prevention of torture, the elimination of racial discrimination, and the end of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Further, civil society can register this month to participate in the sessions of four treaty bodies that will meet in September to engage with States regarding their obligations related to the rights of migrant workers; children’s rights; economic, social, and cultural rights; and the rights of persons with disabilities, respectively. The Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee and the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Communications will also be in session to review thematic human rights issues and individual complaints. Additionally, two UN working groups will hold sessions on issues of involuntary disappearances and arbitrary detention, respectively.
The UN treaty body sessions and the hearings of the Inter-American Court may be watched via UN Web TV and the Inter-American Court’s website or Vimeo, respectively. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar.
Committee Against Torture 64th Session
The Committee Against Torture (CAT) will continue its 64th Session in Geneva, Switzerland. The session began on July 23 and will continue until August 10, 2018. According to the programme of work and the provisional agenda, in July the CAT reviewed State reports from Chile, Mauritania, the Russian Federation, and Seychelles. After considering the State reports, the CAT will at a later date issue concluding observations on each State, noting the positive developments and challenges to implementation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
According to the programme of work, the CAT will hold private meetings with civil society. Each scheduled meeting with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), corresponds to a single country under review. Civil society members wishing to attend the Committee’s session must register for accreditation through the Indico system by August 10, 2018.
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 96th Session
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will hold its 96th Session from August 6 to August 30, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the provisional agenda and programme of work, the CERD will review the State reports of Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Cuba, Japan, Latvia, Mauritius, and Montenegro. After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports, the CERD will issue concluding observations at a later date, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
According to the NGO Information Note, civil society submissions, including alternative reports, should have been submitted by July 16, 2018 for this session. Additionally, to attend the session, civil society members should register through the session’s page on the Indico system by August 2, 2018. NGOs may attend the sessions with delegations, but may not make statements during sessions with States under review. NGOs may organize informal meetings with Committee members to present country-specific information on States under review. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) not accredited by the Human Rights Council may also attend but not speak at the sessions; they too may hold informal meetings with Committee members.
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 20th Session
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) will hold its 20th Session from August 27 to September 21, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the proposed programme of work, the CRPD will consider State reports from Algeria, Bulgaria, Malta, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to assess their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The State reports from Algeria and South Africa will be considered in August, while the other State reports will be considered in September. After reviewing the States’ reports and civil society alternative reports on State implementation, the CRPD will issue concluding observations for each State, noting challenges to and positive developments in implementing the Convention. Furthermore, the CRPD will consider and adopt a list of issues for Iraq and lists of issues prior to reporting as part of the simplified reporting procedure for Austria, Azerbaijan, Germany, Mongolia, and Sweden. The simplified reporting procedure allows States to use answers to lists of issues to fulfill their reporting requirement.
Treaty Bodies in Session Next Month
In September, the following treaty bodies will be in session:
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) will hold its 29th Session from September 3 to September 12, 2018. Civil society organizations wanting to attend must register by September 6, 2018 through the Indico System. For more information on the CMW, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will hold its 79th Session from September 17 to October 5, 2018. Civil society organizations wanting to attend the session must register by September 28, 2018 through the Indico system. For more information on the CRC, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
The CRC will also host a day of general discussion on “Protecting and Empowering Children as Human Rights Defenders” on September 28, 2018. Civil society organizations wanting to attend the event must register by September 28, 2018 through the Indico system.
The Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR) will hold its 64th Session from September 24 to October 12, 2018. Civil society organizations wanting to attend must register by September 14, 2018 through the Indico system. For more information on the CESCR, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
The CRPD will hold its 10th Pre-Sessional Working Group from September 24 to September 27, 2018. Civil society organizations wanting to attend must register by September 27, 2018 through the Indico system. For more information on the CRPD, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Human Rights Council Advisory Committee 21st Session and Working Group on Communications 23rd Session
Advisory Committee 21st Session
The Advisory Committee of the UN Human Rights Council will hold its 21st Session from August 6 to August 10, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. During its sessions, the Advisory Committee will prepare studies, compile research-based advice, and consult with civil society and other stakeholders on issues addressed to the Committee by the Human Rights Council. According to the Committee’s provisional agenda, the current topics under consideration include the integration of a gender perspective; the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; the integration of the perspective of persons with disabilities; regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights; the activities of vulture funds and their impact on human rights; the negative effects of terrorism on the enjoyment of human rights; the negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin on the enjoyment of human rights; contribution of development to the enjoyment of all human rights; national policies and human rights; a global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; and the role of technical assistance and capacity-building in fostering mutually beneficial cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights. The session will culminate in a report on the Advisory Committee’s activities during the 21st Session, which the Human Rights Council will review at a later session.
The Advisory Committee is an 18-member body of independent experts representing various world regions 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 nominated and elected 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.
Information for civil society organizations on how to participate in or observe the proceedings of the Advisory Committee may be found in the NGO Information Note. For more information on the Human Rights Council, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Working Group on Communications 23rd Session
The Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Communications will hold its 22nd Session from August 13 to August 17, 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Working Group meets twice a year to review communications. The Working Group may decide to dismiss a communication, request the State concerned to provide additional information, or 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 geographical regions.
UN Special Procedures
During the month of August, two working groups will hold sessions in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention will hold its 82nd Session in Geneva, Switzerland from August 20 through August 24, 2018.
This month, no special rapporteur or working group will carry out country visits. 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.
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights 50th Ordinary Session
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its 50th Ordinary Session in Arusha, Tanzania from August 27 to September 21, 2018. During its sessions, the AfCHPR holds hearings on the admissibility and merits of pending complaints alleging violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and any other international human rights treaty.
The AfCHPR is a regional human rights tribunal that has both advisory and contentious jurisdiction. Generally, the AfCHPR holds four ordinary sessions a year, but it may hold additional extraordinary sessions if the President of the Court calls for one. Individuals and non-governmental organizations with observer status before the ACHPR may bring cases directly to the AfCHPR if the relevant State has accepted the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction over individual complaints. As of April 2018, eight States allow for the AfCHPR’s jurisdiction over individual complaints: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Malawi, Tanzania, and Tunisia. See AfCHPR, Welcome to the African Court. Rwanda previously allowed for jurisdiction over individual complaints but subsequently withdrew its declaration that accepted the jurisdiction. [AfCHPR Press Release] The AfCHPR may also hear cases on the merits that are referred by the ACHPR or brought by a State party to the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights against any of the 30 States that have accepted the jurisdiction of the Court. See AfCHPR, Welcome to the African Court.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights 126th Regular Session & 59th Special Session
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will hold its 126th Regular Session from August 20 to August 24, 2018 in San Jose, Costa Rica. Shortly thereafter, the IACtHR will hold its 59th Special Session from August 27 to August 31, 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 contentious 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 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 Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Council, the UN special procedures, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, or for upcoming sessions and hearings, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.