In June 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 Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, European Committee of Social Rights, and the Inter-American human rights commission and court. In addition, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold one virtual hearing, on June 16, in the case of B. v. Switzerland, which concerns a widower parent’s eligibility for childcare benefits.
Also meeting in June are the UN Human Rights Council and the UN human rights treaty bodies focused on civil and political rights, children’s rights, and discrimination against women. The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) is the only UN special procedure to have scheduled a country visit this month; it will visit Cyprus from June 21 to 30. 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 Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its 61st Ordinary Session from May 31 to June 25. [AfCHPR Press Release] The session will take place at the Court’s seat in Arusha, Tanzania. At the start of the session, the Court will swear in two newly-elected judges, Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza (South Africa) and Sacko Modibo (Mali). It will also select a new president and vice president to serve two-year terms. In addition to reviewing pending applications, the Court will launch its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan during the session.
European Committee of Social Rights
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold its 180th Period of Sessions, virtually, from June 21 to July 2. [IACHR Press Release] The Commission will hold public hearings and private, general meetings with civil society during the session. The full hearing schedule will be released in advance of the session, although the Commission has already announced three ex officio hearings on the human rights situation in Brazil (with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic), Colombia, and El Salvador.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is holding its 142nd Ordinary Period of Sessions, virtually, from May 24 to June 24. [IACtHR Press Release] During the session, the Court will hold public hearings in addition to its private deliberations. The Court will hold hearings on six pending cases: Teachers of Chañaral and other Municipalities v. Chile (May 31 and June 1), National Federation of Maritime and Port Workers (FEMAPOR) v. Peru (June 7 and 8), Maya Kaqchikel Indigenous Peoples of Sumpango et al. v. Guatemala (June 9 and 10), Palacio Urrutia et al. v. Ecuador (June 14 and 15), Maidanik et al. v. Uruguay (June 16 and 17), and Former Employees of the Judiciary v. Guatemala (June 22 and 23). These hearings all begin at 8:00 a.m. Costa Rican time. The session press release contains a summary of each case and links to additional information. Other hearings will focus on provisional measures and compliance with judgments. The public hearings will be streamed on the Court’s social media channels, including its YouTube page.
UN Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its 47th regular session from June 21 to July 15, in Geneva. The agenda identifies the matters to be addressed during the session, including all of the reports to be presented to the Council, as well as venue details. The reports themselves can be accessed from a separate reports webpage as they become available. See the programme of work for an item-by-item schedule. The panel discussions will focus on female genital mutilation, the tenth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, climate change, the human rights of women, sports, and technical cooperation and capacity-building. In addition, the Council is expected to appoint seven special procedure mandate holders from among the list of candidates.
UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies
Some UN treaty bodies are resuming limited State party reviews, which had been postponed because of COVID-19. Note that the June 2021 sessions are not 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 the Rights of the Child
The CRC is holding its 87th Session, virtually, from May 17 to June 4. Last month, the Committee held virtual constructive dialogues with Luxembourg and Tunisia to discuss their reports on implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
The CEDAW Committee will hold its 79th Session, virtually, from June 21 to July 1. While the Committee’s agenda indicates it will conduct other work during the session, it will not hold any constructive dialogues to review State parties’ implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Additionally, the CEDAW Committee will hold a General Discussion day, on June 24, on the rights of Indigenous women and Girls.
Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
The SPT will hold its 44th Session, confidentially and virtually, from June 14 to 18.
Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee will hold its 132nd Session, virtually, from June 28 to July 23. The Committee will adopt a list of issues for Burundi to respond to, and lists of issues prior to reporting for Albania, Canada, East Timor, Ecuador, France, Mozambique, and Turkey. The Committee has not yet scheduled any constructive dialogues during this session, although its NGO Information Note indicates that it may do so.
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.