Human Rights Bodies’ Sessions & Hearings: July 2021

High Commissioner for Human Rights addresses the Human Rights Council in June 2021
The High Commissioner for Human Rights addresses the Human Rights Council in June 2021.
Credit: UN Geneva

In July 2021, various regional and United Nations bodies are meeting – mostly virtually – to continue their monitoring and oversight of States’ human rights practices. The regional bodies in session are the European Committee of Social Rights and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In addition, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold one virtual hearing, on July 7, in the case of Vegotex International S.A. v. Belgium, which concerns alleged due process violations in proceedings related to the application of a tax law to a Belgian company.

Also meeting in July are the UN Human Rights Council and the UN human rights treaty bodies focused on civil and political rights, discrimination against women, and torture. One UN special rapporteur scheduled a country visit this month; the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism will visit Singapore from July 12 to 19. 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 2020 post on OpenGlobalRights. To view human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings & Sessions Calendar

European Committee of Social Rights

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) is holding its 321st Session from June 28 to July 2. The session agenda will be posted on the Committee’s sessions webpage in advance. 

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is holding its 180th Period of Sessions, virtually, from June 21 to July 2. [IACHR Press Release] The Commission will hold hearings and meetings with civil society during the session. The full hearing schedule covers 21 topics and cases, including three ex officio hearings on the human rights situation in Brazil (with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic), Colombia, and El Salvador.

UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council is holding 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 are focused 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 July 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 Elimination of Discrimination against Women

The CEDAW Committee is holding 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 interactive dialogues to review State parties’ implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee postponed those reviews to its next session.

Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee is holding its 132nd Session, virtually, from June 28 to July 23. The Committee’s agenda includes adopting 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 will also hold a constructive dialogue with Togo, the only State to undergo review during this session. 

Committee against Torture

The CAT will hold its 71st Session, virtually, from July 12 to 30. Among other activities in its programme of work, The Committee will review Belgium’s implementation of the Convention against Torture.

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.