In October 2020, various regional and United Nations bodies will convene – mostly virtually – to continue their oversight of States’ implementation of their human rights commitments. The bodies in session include the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 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 civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; children’s rights; and, women’s rights). Additionally, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hold two hearings.
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 Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) will hold its 29th Extraordinary Session virtually on October 2, 3, and 5. This session will be focused on private deliberations and will not be open to the public. [ACHPR Press Release] For more information on the ACHPR, visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub.
European Committee of Social Rights
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold its 316th Session from October 19 to 23. The agenda will be available on the ECSR sessions webpage. Additional information on the Committee is available on the ECSR page of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.
European Court of Human Rights
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has two hearings scheduled this month, in the cases of NIT S.R.L. v. Moldova and Denis and Irvine v. Belgium, on October 14 and 21, respectively. [ECtHR Press Release] Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court has closed its hearings to the public. The hearings will be broadcast live and recordings will be available on the Court’s webcasts webpage. See the hearings calendar for more information on these cases. For more information on the ECtHR, visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is holding its 177th Period of Sessions virtually from September 28 to October 9. [IACHR Press Release] It will hold hearings via Zoom on topics of concern in particular countries and in the region, on October 1, 2 and 5 through 9, according to the online schedule. The schedule includes one admissibility hearing, in the case of Dina Carrión v. Nicaragua, which reportedly has to do with the criminal proceedings following the 2010 death of Dina Carrión. 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) is convening virtually for its 137th Period of Sessions from September 28 to October 8. [IACtHR Press Release] The Court will hold a number of private hearings concerning compliance with its judgments, and will privately deliberate regarding the case of Martínez Esquivia v. Colombia. For more information on the IACtHR, visit the Inter-American Human Rights System webpage of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.
Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council is holding its 45th regular session from September 14 to October 7, 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, arbitraty detention, death penalty, privacy in the digital age, and truth and justice.
The Council is scheduled to 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.
UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies
The UN human rights treaty bodies’ schedules have been in flux due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to guidance released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September, treaty bodies are postponing State party reviews and holding limited sessions virtually, or postponing their sessions entirely. Visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub for more information on each of the UN human rights treaty bodies.
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 hold closed meetings related to its periodic review of States, development of general comments, and working methods, according to the programme of work.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) will hold its 77th Session from October 26 to November 5, virtually. Additional details are available in the provisional agenda.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee will hold its 130th Session from October 12 to November 6, in a virtual and limited fashion. The session will consist mostly of closed meetings on individual communications and other matters, per the programme of work.
Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture: Meeting of States Parties
The States parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture will hold their 8th meeting on October 22, in person in Geneva. States parties will elect 12 members of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), to replace members whose terms will end on December 31, 2020. Information on the candidates and current members is available on the meeting webpage.
Special procedure mandate holders have suspended travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, and no country visits are scheduled for October. They continue to carry out other work. Visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub for additional information on the special procedures.
Working Group on Discrimination against Women
Working Group on Transnational Corporations
The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises is scheduled to hold its 27th session from October 5 to 9, virtually. The Working Group’s sessions are not public.
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.