Human Rights Bodies’ Sessions & Hearings: January 2021

The UPR of Jamaica in November 2020 on UN Web TV
The UPR of Jamaica in November 2020
Credit: UN Web TV

In January, 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 are the European Court of Human Rights, European Committee of Social Rights, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review. For more information on each of these bodies, visit the Courts & Monitoring Bodies section of the IJRC Online Resource Hub.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the scheduling and format of supranational human rights bodies’ sessions and other activities. For example, the United Nations special procedure mandate holders have mostly suspended their country visits, and none are scheduled for January 2021. The IJRC monthly overviews have detailed these changes, beginning in April 2020. For an overview of the initial 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

European Court of Human Rights

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold two hearings, by videoconference, in January. It will hear Khasanov and Rakhmanov v. Russia on January 20, and Abdi Ibrahim v. Norway on January 27, according to its calendar. Videos of the hearings will be available on the Court’s website the following day.

The case against Russia concerns the possible extradition of two Kyrgyz nationals, which has been stayed since the Court granted interim measures in 2015. The chamber judgment of November 2019 held that their extradition would not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. [ECtHR Press Release]

The case against Norway involves the termination of a Somali national’s parental rights after her son was taken into foster care and placed with a Christian family. The December 2019 chamber judgment found a violation of the mother’s right to respect for private and family life. [ECtHR Press Release

European Committee of Social Rights

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold its 318th Session from January 25 to 29, virtually. The draft agenda is not yet available online, but the Committee typically meets privately to consider collective complaints and national reports, among other matters. The national reports under review this year focus on health, social security, and social protection, pursuant to the staggered reporting calendar.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is holding its 139th Period of Sessions from January 25 to February 19, according to its website

Committee on the Rights of the Child

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will hold its 86th Session, virtually, from January 18 to February 5. According to guidance released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in September, the CRC and other treaty bodies are postponing the interactive dialogue portion of State party reviews because of the pandemic. 

Universal Periodic Review

The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will hold its 37th Session from January 18 to 29. The 14 countries to be reviewed are, in order: Micronesia, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Australia, Saint Lucia, Nepal, Oman, Austria, Myanmar, Rwanda, Georgia, Nauru, and Sao Tome and Principe. The documentation for each State’s review is available on the Human Rights Council website. The session will be streamed on UN Web TV

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.