In December 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 and Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the European Committee of Social Rights, and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will be in session. At the United Nations, the human rights treaty bodies in session are those focused on racial discrimination and torture. The following UN special procedures are scheduled to carry out country visits in December: the Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, to Niger; and, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, to Costa Rica.
Finally, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and special procedures have issued various calls for input with deadlines in December, including for submissions related to: protection of lawyers, standards on the rights of older persons, the right to development, and access to drinking water and sanitation for Indigenous peoples and people living in rural areas.
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) is holding its 69th Ordinary Session, virtually, from November 15 to December 5. The ACHPR’s agenda includes the presentation of various activity reports, several panel discussions, and discussion with 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.
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) is holding its 63rd Ordinary Session, from November 8 to December 3 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. [AfCHPR Press Release] The Court will deliver 14 judgments on December 2, via YouTube.
European Committee of Social Rights
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold its 324th Session from December 6 to 10. The agenda will be posted online before the start of the session, and a synopsis will be provided after its conclusion.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold its 182nd Period of Sessions, virtually, from December 6 to 17. The schedule of public hearings includes a mix of 16 thematic and case hearings, to be held between December 13 and 16; members of the public may register to observe the hearings via Zoom using the links in the schedule. The session will also include a presentation of the IACHR repository of jurisprudence (database and search tool) and the launch of its principles on academic freedom. Registration details for those events will be posted in advance. [IACHR Press Release]
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 December 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, will be webcast on UN Web TV.
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.