On 8 December 2023, the UN Human Rights Council (the Council) announced that a vote is expected in January 2024, possibly on 10 January 2024, to elect the Council’s President for the 18th cycle in 2024 from the Africa Group. The State representatives who have put forward their candidacies are Morocco and South Africa. In a joint letter, NGOs urge all members of the Council to elect the Council President based on Council membership criteria.
In a statement delivered to the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council, ISHR reacted to the latest Joint Communications Report of the UN Special Procedures – independent human rights experts, appointed to monitor and report on human rights violations and to advise and assist in promoting and protecting rights. The report reveals that of the 55 states who have not responded to at least one initial letter from the UN experts concerning allegations of rights violations, 19 are Council members.
As Helen Nolan of ISHR explains, many of these states are repeat offenders, cited regularly in these reports for failing to respond.
‘In just this report, Brazil, Cuba, Egypt, Kenya and Mexico have failed to react to at least two communications from UN experts addressing alleged human rights abuses,’ says Nolan. ‘That list is eerily similar to the one in March and in June.’
Remaining Council members who failed to reply include Angola, Burundi, Chile, China, Ethiopia, Hungary, Iraq, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea and United Arab Emirates.
‘States aren’t the only actors who need to step up their cooperation,’ added Nolan. ‘We regret that several communications involving human rights defenders working in the context of human rights and business remain unanswered by the companies involved.’
ISHR’s statement noted that under GA Resolution 60/251, Council members must ‘fully cooperate with the Council.’ Yet, the report cites cases of reprisals involving these members.
In Iraq, Faisal Al Tamimi received numerous death threats and suffered an attempt on his life for engaging with UN human rights mechanisms. In Rwanda, Robert Mugabe was detained and questioned for several hours, also to prevent him from cooperating with the Council and Special Procedures.
‘We call on Iraq and Rwanda to take swift action to guarantee the rights of these human rights defenders,’ said Nolan.
Watch the video of the statement here:
Read the statement in full here.
Photo credit: UN Web TV
ISHR joins forces with global civil society groups in a joint appeal at the Human Rights Council for enhanced, inclusive, and secure civil society participation in human rights dialogues. Read the full statement here.
ISHR and the #Right2DefendRights coalition of 17 members are calling on all UN Member States to celebrate 25 years of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by joining the UN 'Push for Pledges' campaign.