Human Rights Bodies’ Sessions & Hearings: September 2021

Instagram post from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights showing participants in a virtual hearing.
The IACtHR holds a virtual hearing in August 2021.
Credit: IACtHR via Instagram

In September 2021, various international human rights bodies will meet – some virtually – to continue their monitoring and oversight of States’ human rights practices. For more information on each of the bodies mentioned, visit the Courts & Monitoring Bodies section of the IJRC Online Resource Hub. 

At the regional level, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and European Committee of Social Rights will be in session. In addition, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hold a hearing, on September 29, in the cases of H.F. and M.F. v. France and J.D. and A.D. v. France, which concern French families’ attempts to secure the repatriation of their daughters and grandchildren held in the al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria. 

At the United Nations, the human rights treaty bodies in session are those focused on: the rights of persons with disabilities; rights of the child; enforced disappearances; migrant workers’ rights; and economic, social, and cultural rights. Additionally, the following UN special procedures are scheduled to carry out country visits in September: the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, to Nepal; the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, to Montenegro; and, the Working Group on business and human rights, to Italy. 

Finally, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and special procedures have issued various calls for input with deadlines in September, including with regard to future country visits to Mozambique and Italy and concerning discrimination forthcoming reports on discrimination based on religion or belief, girls and young women’s activism, the right to development, and decriminalization of homelessness and extreme poverty.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the scheduling and format of supranational human rights bodies’ sessions and other activities, particularly at the regional level. 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

African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its 62nd Ordinary Session from September 6 to October 1. No additional information is yet available.

European Committee of Social Rights

The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold its 322nd Session, virtually, from September 6 to 10. The session agenda will likely be posted online closer to the session start date.

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is holding its 143rd Ordinary Period of Sessions, virtually, from August 17 to September 10, 2021. During this session, the Court has held public hearings on urgent or provisional measures and on compliance with prior judgments. It is also deliberating judgments in six contentious cases: Ríos Ávalos et al. v. Paraguay (concerning due process in the termination of Paraguayan judges); Villarroel Merino et al. v. Ecuador (regarding the detention and prosecution of former national police officers); Bedoya Lima et al. v. Colombia (concerning the investigation of the kidnapping, torture and rape of a journalist); Lemoth Morris et al. v. Honduras (relating to the dangerous conditions and deaths of Miskito lobster divers); Garzón Guzmán v. Ecuador (pertaining to the forced disappearance of an individual identified as a member of a subversive group in 1990); and, Barbosa de Souza et al. v. Brazil (concerning the effects of parliamentary immunity enjoyed by the politician presumably responsible for murdering Márcia Barbosa de Souza). Links to additional information on each of these cases can be found in the Court’s session press release

The IACtHR will also hold its 144th Ordinary Period of Sessions from September 20 to October 15. Additional information on the 144th period of sessions’ agenda will be released later in September.

Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council is holding its 48th regular session from September 13 to October 8, in Geneva. The session agenda indicates it will appoint two special procedure mandate holders and hear the presentation of reports by the OHCHR, special procedures, and other mechanisms on specific countries and topics. 

The Council is scheduled to hold panel discussions on the unilateral coercive measures, the gender digital divide, the rights of Indigenous peoples, inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, and peaceful protest. 

The Council will consider and adopt the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review for Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Palau, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands, and Somalia.

UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies

UN treaty bodies have now resumed State party reviews and in-person sessions, which had been postponed because of COVID-19. Note that the September 2021 sessions are not listed in the OHCHR calendar of meetings, but are listed on the relevant bodies’ webpages and in a summary document prepared by the OHCHR. Treaty bodies’ public activities, including State party reviews that do take place, will be webcast on UN Web TV.

Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The CRPD is holding its 25th Session, virtually, from August 16 to September 14. During this session, the CRPD reviewed Djibouti and France. Additional information regarding participation and virtual consultations with civil society and others can currently be found on the CRPD homepage.

Committee on the Rights of the Child

The CRC will hold its 88th Session from September 6 to 24, in Geneva. Its programme of work includes constructive dialogues with Afghanistan, Czech Republic, Eswatini, Poland, and Switzerland concerning their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the case of Afghanistan, the Committee is scheduled to review the State’s implementation of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, as well. On September 16 and 17, the CRC will hold a general discussion on Children’s Rights and Alternative Care.

Committee on Enforced Disappearances

The CED will hold its 21st Session from September 13 to 24, in Geneva. Its programme of work includes constructive dialogues with Brazil, Panama, Spain, and France, concerning their implementation of the Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance.

Committee on the Protection of Migrant Workers

The CMW will hold its 33rd Session from September 27 to October 8, in Geneva. Its programme of work includes constructive dialogues with Azerbaijan and Rwanda concerning their implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The CESCR will hold its 70th Session from September 27 to October 15, in Geneva. Its programme of work includes constructive dialogues with Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kuwait, and Nicaragua concerning their implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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.