In February 2022, 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 and Inter-American Court of Human Rights will be in session in February. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hold three hearings this month, concerning the cases of Halet v. Luxembourg, McCallum v. Italy, and Sanchez-Sanchez v. the United Kingdom.
At the United Nations, the human rights treaty bodies in session are those focused on economic, social, and cultural rights; the rights of children; discrimination against women; and civil and political rights. The Human Rights Council and Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review will also be in session. One UN special procedure mandate holder is scheduled to carry out a country visit in February: the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity, to Costa Rica.
Finally, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and special procedures have issued many calls for input with deadlines in February, including for submissions related to: glorification of Nazism, sanctions, peaceful assembly and association, the Minnesota Protocol, transnational corporations, technology companies and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, contemporary forms of slavery, HIV and AIDS, girls’ education during the COVID-19 pandemic, child marriage, internet shutdowns, the militarization of Indigenous land, enforced disappearance, and the situation in Belarus.
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is convening in a hybrid format for its 146th Period of Sessions from January 31 to February 15. [IACtHR Press Release (Spanish)] During the first few days of the session, the Court will privately deliberate concerning three pending cases, before swearing in four new judges and adopting a new composition of its bureau. Between February 9 and 15, the Court will hold public hearings in six cases.
UN Human Rights Council
The UN Human Rights Council will hold its 49th Session from February 28 to April 1, 2022, in Geneva. Its agenda includes holding debates and interactive dialogues, including in response to numerous reports from UN bodies and experts. The Council also expects to appoint mandate holders to a range of special procedures, including the Special Rapporteur on climate change, and the special rapporteurs on Afghanistan, Burundi, the occupied Palestinian territories. The Council will also appoint members to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Working Group on the use of mercenaries, Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances, Working Group on transnational corporations, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In advance of the 49th Session, the Council will hold two intersessional events: one on February 8, on the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin; and another, on February 15, concerning corruption in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review
The Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is holding its 40th session from January 24 to February 2. The countries under review are, in chronological order: Togo, Syria, Iceland, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor-Leste, Moldova, South Sudan, Haiti, and Sudan. The documentation available in advance of each country’s review includes the national report, UN information, and other stakeholders’ information.
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. However, the in-person participation of States and civil society continues to be limited, as determined by each committee for each session. Note that the February 2022 sessions are not listed in the OHCHR calendar of meetings, but are listed on the relevant bodies’ webpages. Treaty bodies’ public activities, including constructive dialogues held as part of State party reviews, will be webcast on UN Web TV.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) will hold its 89th Session from January 31 to February 11, in Geneva. The Committee will hold constructive dialogues with Madagascar and the Netherlands concerning their implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Per the Committee’s press release, it will conduct the session in hybrid format, with Committee members convening in person and State delegations participating virtually.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) will hold its 81st Session from February 7 to 25, in Geneva. The Committee will hold constructive dialogues with Dominican Republic, Gabon, Lebanon, Panama, Peru, Senegal, Uganda, and Uzbekistan, concerning their implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. The Committee will hold its informal briefings with NGOs remotely via Zoom. There will be no grounds passes issued to civil society for purposes of attending the session. Additional details are available in the draft provisional agenda and programme of work, as well as an informational note on NGO participation.
Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
The Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) will hold its 46th Session, privately, from February 7 to 11. The SPT’s sessions are confidential.
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) will hold its 71st Session from February 14 to March 4, in Geneva. According to the programme of work, it will hold constructive dialogues with Bahrain, Belarus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Serbia, and Uzbekistan, concerning their implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Only the Committee members will convene in person; State delegations and others will participate virtually. The format for civil society participation may be further impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Human Rights Committee
The Human Rights Committee will hold its 134th Session from February 28 to March 25. The Committee will hold constructive dialogues with Bolivia, Cambodia, Iraq, Israel, Qatar, and Russia. The NGO Information Note does not currently indicate whether the dialogues or civil society meetings will take place in person or virtually.
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.
The International Justice Resource Center has also 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 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.