Human Rights Bodies’ Sessions & Hearings: September 2020

Calendar of human rights bodies' sessionsIn September, regional and United Nations bodies will convene – mostly virtually – to continue their oversight of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations. The bodies in session include the African human rights court, African child rights committee, European Committee of Social Rights, the Inter-American human rights commission and court, the UN Human Rights Council, and four UN treaty bodies (focused on child rights; enforced disappearances; economic, social and cultural rights; and persons with disabilities).

Other bodies are not scheduled to be in session, or have postponed their sessions due to COVID-19. Currently, the European Court of Human Rights has no hearings scheduled for September 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the scheduling and format of supranational human rights bodies’ sessions and other activities. The IJRC monthly overviews have detailed these changes, beginning in April 2020. For an overview of the changes in human rights oversight caused by the pandemic, see our July post on OpenGlobalRights. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its 58th Ordinary Session virtually from August 31 to September 25. Although it has not yet announced which judgments will be delivered during the session, or when, the Court will live stream the delivery of judgments on YouTube. [AfCHPR Press Release] For additional information on the AfCHPR, visit the African Human Rights System page of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) will hold its 35th Ordinary Session, virtually, from August 31 to September 8. See ACERWC, 35th Virtual Session: Program of Work. Those interested may register and attend the public portions via Zoom.

European Committee of Social Rights

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold its 315th Session from September 7 to 11. See ECSR, Sessions. It will examine collective complaints and national reports and develop a statement on European Social Charter rights in the context of COVID-19. See ECSR, Draft Agenda: 315th session (7-11 September 2020). The ECSR has been meeting virtually since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has not publicly indicated whether the 315th Session will be virtual. For additional information on the Committee, visit the ECSR webpage of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold its 177th Period of Sessions virtually from September 28 to October 9. The schedule of hearings will be available online approximately two weeks before the start of the session. [IACHR Press Release] For more information on the IACHR, visit the Inter-American Human Rights System webpage of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will convene virtually for its 136th and 137th periods of sessions, from August 24 to September 3 and from September 28 to October 8, respectively. See IACtHR, Session Dates. During the 136th period of sessions, the Court will deliberate and adopt decisions, but will not hold any hearings except to hear the views of the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM) on the pending request for an advisory opinion on trade union freedoms. [IACtHR Press Release] For more information on the IACHR, visit the Inter-American Human Rights System webpage of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its 45th regular session from September 14 to October 6, in Geneva. The session agenda indicates it will appoint several special procedure mandate holders, elect members to its Advisory Committee, and hear the annual reports of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Secretary-General, as well as other reports on specific countries and topics. It will also consider the reports of several special procedure mandate holders, including on the topics of water and sanitation, hazardous waste, slavery, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, death penalty, privacy in the digital age, and truth and justice. It will hold discussions on the right to development, Indigenous human rights defenders, and integration of a gender perspective in the Council’s work. The Council will consider and adopt the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review for Kyrgyzstan, Guinea, Laos, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Kiribati, and Guyana. For more information on the Human Rights Council, visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) will hold its 68th Session virtually from September 28 to October 16. It will not conduct interactive dialogues with States during the session, but is scheduled to consider the State reports of Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Kuwait, Latvia, and Nicaragua concerning their implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The reports from those States, as well as documents from the Committee, civil society, and national human rights institutions, are all available on the session webpage. For more information on the Committee, visit the CESCR page on the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) will continue its virtual 18th Session, which began on May 4, 2020, until September 7. When it suspended the in-person 18th Session because of the pandemic, the Committee decided to keep the session open remotely and online to allow it to continue its work. It has postponed to the 19th Session its examination of States’ reports and other in-person activities originally scheduled for the 18th Session. See CED, CSO Information Note

The CED will hold its 19th Session virtually from September 7 to 25. It is scheduled to consider the State report of Iraq, and will hold its interactive dialogue with the State on September 14 and 15. The session opening, closing, and interactive dialogue with Iraq will be streamed on UN Web TV. In closed meetings, the Committee will also consider complaints; adopt lists of issues for its review of the Czech Republic, Greece, Mali, and Niger; and, follow-up on its previous concluding observations concerning Albania, Austria, Chile, Gabon, Honduras, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, and Portugal. See CED, Tentative Programme of Work. The relevant documentation is available on the session webpage. For more information on the CED, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. 

Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will hold its 85th Session from September 7 to 25. It is scheduled to review the State reports of Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), and Tunisia. The Committee has not yet provided additional information on whether its session will be virtual, or if it will conduct the interactive dialogue with States under review. For more information on the Committee, visit the CRC page of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) resumed its 23rd Session, from August 24 to September 4, remotely. See CRPD, Informative note for the participation of stakeholders. The CRPD postponed this session in March when it did not have a quorum because of the pandemic. [IJRC] The CRPD will not hold constructive dialogues with States or adopt concluding observations, which it usually does during sessions as part of its review of States’ periodic reports on their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The CRPD has also postponed the deadlines for civil society submissions regarding the States originally scheduled for review during this session. It will continue to adopt lists of issues at its pre-sessional working groups, to keep the State reporting process moving. 

The CRPD has postponed its 24th Session, originally scheduled for August and September 2020, to approximately March 2021. See CRPD, 24 Session. It will, however, hold a virtual pre-sessional working group meeting from September 7 to 18. For more information on the CRPD, visit the CRPD page on the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID) will hold its 122nd session, in Geneva, from September 21 to 30. See WGEID, Sessions of the Working Group. For more information on the WGEID and other UN special procedures, visit the Online Resource Hub.

Additional Information

The International Justice Resource Center has put together a webpage compiling supranational human rights bodies’ guidance on States’ obligations to respect human rights in their COVID-19 mitigation efforts. See IJRC, COVID-19 Guidance from Supranational Human Rights Bodies. The webpage includes resolutions, press releases, and other statements from universal and regional bodies as well as their parent intergovernmental organizations, organized by issue area and by the body or organization that issued it. See id.

For more information on other suspended sessions or the various human rights monitoring bodies, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. To stay up-to-date on international human rights law news, visit IJRC’s News Room or subscribe to the IJRC Daily.