June 2019: UN Treaty Body, Human Rights Council, and Regional Bodies in Session

African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights session banner

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights session banner
Credit: African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (via Flickr)

In June, several universal and regional human rights bodies and experts will review States’ compliance with their human rights obligations through the consideration of State and civil society reports and country visits. One United Nations treaty body will hold a session to assess States’ progress regarding the prevention of torture, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child Pre-Sessional Working Group will meet privately. The Human Rights Council will consider the overall human rights situations in 15 countries. Two UN special rapporteurs and one independent expert will conduct country visits in June. Additionally, the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice will hold a session in Geneva. Of the regional bodies, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will be in session and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold a Grand Chamber hearing.

The public hearings of the AfCHPR and the ECtHR may be viewed via the AfCHPR’s YouTube page, and the ECtHR’s website, respectively. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar.

UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies

One of the 10 UN human rights treaty bodies, the Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture will meet privately this month to advance its work. Additionally, the Committee on the Rights of the Child Pre-Sessional Working Group will begin its review of State reports and develop “list of issues” following its discussions on State reports.

Sub-Committee on Prevention of Torture

The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) will hold its 38th Session from June 17 to June 21, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland, according to the calendar of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The SPT session information is confidential, but the SPT publishes annual reports on its activities. Its sessions generally provide its 25 members—an independent group of experts—a chance to report on and discuss upcoming and recent activities related to specific States, regions, and thematic priorities. For more information on the SPT, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

Committee on the Rights of the Child – Pre-sessional Working Group

Following the 81st Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which took place from May 13 to 31, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, the CRC Pre-sessional Working Group will hold its 83rd Session from June 3 to June 7, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. The CRC Pre-sessional Working Group will begin its review of the State reports of Austria, Belarus, the Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Micronesia, Rwanda, Palestine, and Tuvalu to assess their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. For more information on the Committee on the Rights of the Child visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental deliberative body, will hold its 41st Session from June 24 to July 12, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. According to the session agenda, the Human Rights Council will review reports from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary General, outcome reports from the Universal Periodic Review Working Group on specific States, and reports from UN special procedures mandate holders. The list of reports is available on the session’s webpage.

The Human Rights Council will convene several panel discussions on topics including women and climate change, violence against women in the workforce and the rights of older women and their economic empowerments, the rights of indigenous peoples, and technical cooperation in the field of the rights of older persons.

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) can be accredited to participate in the Human Rights Council’s sessions as observers, as described on the Council’s webpage on NGO participation. Relevant documents and further information regarding the issues that will be covered at the session, including the reports considered during the session, submissions from civil society, and the Council’s agenda, is available on the Human Rights Council’s 41st Session webpage. For more information about the Human Rights Council, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

Special Procedures

Various independent human rights experts and monitoring bodies, known as UN “special procedures,” have country visits or sessions scheduled for June. Two special rapporteurs and one independent expert will carry out country visits this month. Additionally, one working group will hold a session in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes will continue their visit to Canada, which started May 24 and lasts through June 5, 2019.

The Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity will continue their visit to Sri Lanka which began May 27 and concludes June 7, 2019.

The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights agreed to visit the Maldives from June 9 to June 18, 2019.

The Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and practice will hold its 25th session from June 10 to June 14, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland.

During their country visits, these special procedures mandate holders will assess both the overall human rights situation in the country and the 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, review the Special Procedures’ Visits document and visit the OHCHR website. For more information on each special procedure, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

Regional Bodies

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its 53rd Ordinary Session from June 10 to July 5, 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania. During its sessions, the AfCHPR typically holds hearings on the admissibility and merits of pending complaints alleging violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. For more information on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.

European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold a Grand Chamber hearing in the case of Slovenia v. Croatia (no. 54155/16) on June 12, 2019 in Strasbourg, France. See ECtHR, Calendar of Hearings. This case concerns a government-controlled Slovenian bank, Ljubljanska banka d.d., with a branch in Croatia. [ECtHR Press Release] In the 1990s the bank brought proceedings in Croatian courts against Croatian companies for payment of debts accrued in the 1980s under former Yugoslavia. [ECtHR Press Release] Ljubljanska banka attempted to bring similar complaints before the European Court in 2007, but the Court found that the bank did not have standing because it was controlled by the government. [ECtHR Press Release] Slovenia brought the case before the ECtHR against Croatia in September 2016. [ECtHR Press Release]

The Slovenian Government alleges various violations of Ljubljanska banka’s rights under Article 6 (the right to a fair trial), Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (peaceful enjoyment of possessions), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination), and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights. [ECtHR Press Release] Slovenia claims that the Croatian courts applied Slovenian law arbitrarily and in a manner that violated Croatia’s conflict rules; that the State violated the bank’s rights to legal certainty, equality before the law, and adversarial proceedings; that the proceedings were unnecessary delayed; and the failure or inability to enforce judgments. [ECtHR Press Release] Slovenia also alleges a violation of the right to an impartial and independent tribunal due to the interference of Croatian executive authorities in the judicial proceedings. [ECtHR Press Release] On 18 December 2018, a Chamber relinquished jurisdiction of the case to the Grand Chamber. [ECtHR Press Release]

For more information on the European Court, visit the IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.