Human Rights Bodies’ Sessions & Hearings: May 2021

IACtHR holds a hearing in April 2021
Credit: IACtHR via YouTube

In May 2021, various regional and United Nations bodies are meeting – mostly virtually – to continue their oversight of States’ implementation of their human rights commitments. The regional bodies in session are the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, European Committee of Social Rights, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. In addition, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold two virtual hearings, on May 19 and 26, in the cases of Grzęda v. Poland and Savickis and Others v. Latvia, respectively. The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review and the UN human rights treaty bodies focused on enforced disappearance and children’s rights will also meet. No UN special procedure mandate holders have scheduled country visits during May 2021. For more information on each of the bodies mentioned, 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. 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

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The ACHPR is holding its 68th Ordinary Session, via Zoom, from April 14 to May 4. The session agenda indicates the Commission will undertake its usual activities, including a discussion on the human rights situation in Africa and consideration of State reports (from Malawi, Benin, and Niger). The ACHPR also launched two documents during this session: the Guidelines on the Right to Water in Africa, and the draft proposed General Comment on Article 23 of the African Charter. While the deadlines for participating have passed, individuals may still register to view the closing session via Zoom.

European Committee of Social Rights

The ECSR will hold its 320th Session from May 17 to 21. The session agenda will be posted on the Committee’s sessions webpage in advance. 

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is holding its 141st Ordinary Period of Sessions from April 19 to May 13. [IACtHR Press Release] In addition to the hearings it held in April, this month the Court will hold hearings in the cases of Julien Grisonas et al. v. Argentina and Pavez Pavez v. Chile

The IACtHR will also hold its 142nd Ordinary Period of Sessions from May 24 to June 24. Additional information is not yet available.

UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies

Some UN treaty bodies are resuming limited State party reviews, which had been postponed because of COVID-19 and in accordance with guidance released by the OHCHR in September 2020. Newer information from the OHCHR indicates which bodies plan to hold reviews in January through April 2021, and in May and June 2021. Note that the May 2021 sessions are not yet listed in the OHCHR calendar of meetings, but are listed on the relevant bodies’ webpages. Treaty bodies’ public activities, including State party reviews that do take place, will be webcast on UN Web TV.

Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The CED will hold its 20th Session, virtually, from April 12 to May 7. (The session had been previously scheduled for April 12 to 23.) Last month, the Committee held reviews for Switzerland and Mongolia, and discussed its request for additional information with Colombia. The CED will present its annual report to the General Assembly on May 7. The CED’s programme of work provides additional details.

Committee on the Rights of the Child

The CRC will hold its 87th Session, virtually, from May 17 to June 4. The Committee will hold virtual constructive dialogues with Luxembourg and Tunisia to discuss their reports on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review

The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will hold its 38th Session from May 3 to 13. The 14 countries to be reviewed, in chronological order, are: Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia, Belgium, Paraguay, Denmark, Somalia, Palau, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Latvia, Singapore, and Sierra Leone. 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.