In November 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 African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Child Rights Committee, and Inter-American Court of Human Rights will all be in session. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has two hearings scheduled for November, in the cases of L.B. v. Hungary (concerning the government’s online publication of an individual’s personal data for failure to pay taxes) and Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia (concerning the downing of Flight MH17 and other events in eastern Ukraine). [ECtHR Press Release]
At the United Nations, the human rights treaty bodies in session are those focused on: civil and political rights, discrimination against women, racial discrimination, and torture. The following UN special procedures are scheduled to carry out country visits in November: the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, to Hungary; the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, to Lebanon and Nepal; the Special Rapporteur on slavery, to Sri Lanka; the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, to Mongolia; and the Special Rapporteur on toxics, to Italy.
Finally, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and special procedures have issued various calls for input with deadlines in November, including for submissions related to artificial intelligence and the rights of persons with disabilities; minorities’ rights in the United States; experiences of people of African descent in Portugal; violence against women in Mongolia; and, social development challenges faced by persons with albinism.
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 Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) will hold its 69th Ordinary Session, virtually, from November 15 to December 6. The ACHPR will present its various activity reports, hold several panel discussions, and hear from States and civil society. It is also scheduled to consider the State reports of Benin, Eswatini, Kenya, Namibia, and Seychelles concerning their implementation of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Members of the public may register to view the public portions of the session via Zoom. Members of civil society may register to make statements regarding the human rights situation in Africa and the ACHPR’s activity reports using the links provided in the public notice (note the deadlines fall between November 10 and 15).
African Child Rights Committee
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) is scheduled to hold its 38th Ordinary Session from November 15 to 26, per its prior session report and Twitter feed. Additional information is not yet available on the ACERWC website.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will hold its 145th Ordinary Period of Sessions, virtually, from November 1 to 28. [IACtHR Press Release] The Court will meet privately to deliberate concerning eight forthcoming judgments, and to discuss monitoring of compliance with prior judgments and implementation of provisional measures.
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will hold its 39th Session from November 1 to 12. The 14 countries to be reviewed, in chronological order, are: Greece, Suriname, Samoa, Hungary, Sudan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Eswatini, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, and Ireland. The documentation for each State’s review is available on the Human Rights Council website. The session will be streamed on UN Web TV. For more information on the UPR, visit the IJRC Online Resource Hub.
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 November 2021 sessions are not listed in the OHCHR calendar of meetings, but are listed on the relevant bodies’ webpages and (some) 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.
Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee is holding its 133rd Session, in person, in Geneva from October 11 to November 5. The Committee is reviewing Armenia, Botswana, Germany, and Ukraine concerning their implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
The CEDAW Committee is holding its 80th Session, in person, in Geneva from October 18 to November 12. Its programme of work includes constructive dialogues with Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Nicaragua, Russia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sweden, and Yemen concerning their implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee is advising civil society members to participate remotely, via Zoom, given pandemic-related limitations on room capacity.
Committee Against Torture
The Committee Against Torture (CAT) will hold its 72nd Session, in person, in Geneva from November 8 to December 3. Its programme of work includes meetings with civil society and dialogues with States concerning implementation of the Convention against Torture by Sweden, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Lithuania, Serbia, and Bolivia. Its agenda also includes the swearing in of new members and election of officers. Members of civil society may register to attend in person.
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) will hold its 105th Session, in person, in Geneva from November 15 to December 3. Its programme of work includes informal meetings with civil society and constructive dialogues with Chile, Denmark, Singapore, Switzerland, and Thailand. The Committee has asked civil society representatives to participate through video conferencing, rather than in person.
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.