56 organisations back HRCnet campaign to safeguard civil society participation at the Human Rights Council

On 9 December 2022, the Human Rights Council’s Organisational Meeting took place. UNOG announced that hybrid modalities during HRC sessions will be provided for the first quarter of 2023. The presidential statement decided that more discussions were required to reinstate general debates in the June session. The latter is considered an encouraging outcome, as it does not completely exclude the return of these important debates in the June session.

ISHR, on behalf of 56 organisations, including HRCnet members, delivered a joint statement during the meeting with asks HRCnet and partners have been campaigning for to safeguard civil society participation at the HRC, including: maintaining hybrid modalities; reinstating unrestricted general debates in the June sessions, and having the HRC President as civil society focal point. 

UNOG extended hybrid modalities for the first quarter of 2023, an initiative a number of States supported, including focal points of Human Rights Council initiatives (based on results of consultations and questionnaires shared with member states).


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Most delegations stated that the hybrid format for participation was critical and should be retained in the fourth cycle to enable wider participation in particular from SDCs
Armenia on behalf of the “Consultations on the strengthening and optimisation of the Universal Periodic Review” initiative
Hybrid participation and the submission of video messages in plenary meetings of HRC should be retained
Singapore on behalf of the “SIDs and LDCs, implementation of the measures on the use of modern technology” initiative
Having hybrid participation has promoted a wider engagement especially for missions and CSOs that are neither based in Geneva nor having extensive human resources
Germany on behalf of the “Examine the extraordinary modalities that the Council has adopted and applied throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with a view to a post-COVID-19 Council” initiative
The taskforce has reiterated the importance of these virtual participation options to accessibility, given their relevance to persons with disabilities
The Gambia on behalf of the “Task Force on Accessibility for persons with disabilities initiative

While the President’s statement decided to “extend for one additional year the measure contained in PRST OS/13/1 related to general debates”, including the suspension of general debates in the June session, a positive outcome is that the statement decides to “continue to discuss ways and means to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness, including the convening of general debates at its June session.” 

This outcome builds upon civil society organisations’ advocacy to reinstate General debates and states supporting this demand in the meetings leading to the organisational meeting. 

HRCnet and partners will continue their efforts to ensure equal and facilitated access for civil society at the Human Rights Council and safeguard its participation. #NoCouncilWithoutUs!

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