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HRC52: Key issues on agenda of March session of the Human Rights Council

The 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 27 February – 4 April 2023, will consider issues including the protection of human rights defenders, freedom of religion or belief, protection and promotion of human rights while countering terrorism, the right to food and adequate housing, among others. It will also present an opportunity to address grave human rights situations in States including Nicaragua, Venezuela, China, Syria, South Sudan, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Eritrea, among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.

The UN Human Rights Council (the Council) will hold its 52nd regular session at Palais des Nations in Geneva from 27 February – 4 April 2023. 

Stay up-to-date: Follow @ISHRglobal and #HRC52 on Twitter, and look out for our Human Rights Council Monitor.

During the session, follow the live-updated programme of work on Sched

Modalities of civil society participation in HRC52

Oral statements: In accordance with the proposed extraordinary modalities adopted during the organisational meeting on 13 February: “NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC and NHRIs with “A” status would have the possibility to deliver their statements in person or via pre-recorded video statements. In order to balance the importance of inclusivity and what is feasible in terms of time and resources, the list of speakers for NGOs for each of the General Debates would be set in line with the average number of NGOs that participated in each of the General Debates in the previous three March sessions (i.e., the 49th, 46th and 43rd sessions). The online system to register for oral statements will open on Tuesday 21 February at 14:00 (Geneva time)”. 

NGO Parallel Events: As implemented at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, the Secretariat “intends to allocate some space for side events at a reduced level compared to the pre-COVID-19 period due to the ongoing renovations under the Strategic Heritage Plan and their impact on the availability of meeting rooms at Palais des Nations. Hence only a reduced number of side events may be organised, as a result of which it may not be possible to accommodate all requests. Rooms will therefore be allocated according to availability and should only be requested online. Please note that to accommodate as many requests as possible, a maximum of one side event per NGO may be requested. Each side event will last a maximum of 1 hour. The same requirements and practices as in the pre-COVID19 period will apply.” To read more about the civil society participation modalities for HRC 52, click here

The presidential statement which was adopted during the HRC organisational meeting on 9 December 2022 decided to:

  • Extend the cancelation of GDs in June “extend for one additional year the measure contained in PRST OS/13/1 related to general debates, whereby general debates will be convened at its March and September sessions on all agenda items and no general debates will take place at its June session” 
  • Continue HRC discussions around efficiency/reinstatement of GDs: “continue to discuss ways and means to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness, including the convening of general debates at its June session, and also decides that those discussions should commence before its fifty-third session”.

Read more about the campaign to safeguard civil society participation at the Council.  

#HRC52 | Thematic areas of interest

Here are some highlights of the session’s thematic discussions.

Protection of human rights defenders

The mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders is to be renewed at the upcoming March session of the HRC through a resolution led by Norway. The mandate is integral to the global recognition and protection of defenders. ISHR calls on States from all regions to fully support the mandate by presenting early co-sponsorship of the resolution. As an aspect of their obligations to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on its 75th anniversary, and their obligations under the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders on its 25th anniversary, ISHR joins with the High Commissioner in calling on all States to unconditionally release all arbitrarily detained human rights defenders.

The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders on 15 March. The SR will present her report entitled “Success through perseverance and solidarity: 25 years of achievements by human rights defenders”. 

Reprisals

ISHR remains deeply concerned about reprisals against civil society actors who engage or seek to engage with UN bodies and mechanisms. We call for all States and the Council to do more to address the situation. General Debate Item 5  is a key opportunity for States to raise concerns about specific cases of reprisals and demand that governments provide an update on any investigation or action taken toward accountability. An increasing number of States have raised concerns in recent sessions about individual cases of reprisals, including at HRC39, HRC41, HRC42, HRC43, HRC45, and HRC51.   

States raising cases is an important aspect of seeking accountability and ending impunity for acts of reprisal and intimidation against defenders engaging with the UN. Last September 2022, ISHR ran a campaign regarding five specific cases of reprisals (#EndReprisals). We continue to urge perpetrator States to resolve these cases and other States to raise these cases in their statements, including the cases of: 

  • Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy (Egypt), the co-founder and coordinator of the Association of the Families of the Disappeared.
  • Jiang Tianyong (China), a lawyer and legal rights activist working at grassroots level to defend land and housing rights, promote the rights of vulnerable social groups and expose root causes of systemic rights abuses.
  • The Human Rights Center ‘Viasna’ (Belarus), which works towards the development of civil society and the promotion of human rights in Belarus and provides legal aid to people in defending their rights and public interests.
  • Comité de Familiares de Víctimas del Caracazo (COFAVIC); Observatorio Venezolano de Conflictividad Social (OVCS); Centro de Justicia y Paz (CEPAZ); Control Ciudadano (and its director Rocío San Miguel); and Espacio Público (and its director Carlos Correa) (Venezuela): a group of five NGOs and two individuals working for the promotion of human rights in Venezuela and who have a history of cooperating with the UN, including the Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela.
  • Human rights lawyers and defenders Armel Niyongere, Dieudonné Bashirahishize, Vital Nshimirimana and Lambert Nigarura (Burundi), prominent and well-respected figures within Burundian civil society and their local communities. 

In addition, we urge States to raise individual cases of reprisals in the country specific debates taking place at this session:  Nicaragua, Sudan, Israel and occupied Palestine, Myanmar, Iran, Venezuela, Belarus, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Further information on these cases can be found here or by contacting the ISHR team at [email protected] 

During the organisational meeting held on 13 February, the President of the Council stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of those participating in the Council’s work, and the obligation of States to prevent intimidation or reprisals.

Other thematic debates

At this 52nd session, the Council will discuss a range of economic, social and cultural rights through dedicated debates with: 

  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to food
  • The Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt
  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing 
  • The Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights 

The Council will discuss a range of civil and political rights through dedicated debates with:

  • The Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
  • The Special Rapporteur on torture
  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy

In addition, the Council will hold dedicated debates on the rights of specific groups including:

  • The Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on violence against children and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict 
  • The Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
  • The Special Rapporteur on minority issues
  • The Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with albinism

The Council will also hold dedicated debates on interrelation of human rights and thematic issues including:

  • The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism
  • The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
  • The High Commissioner’s report on access to COVID-19 vaccines 

#HRC52 | Country-specific developments

Afghanistan

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan is a crucial mechanism for ongoing monitoring and documentation of the situation in the country, as well as enabling discussion and dialogue amongst States on its findings. It remains an important channel for communication between human rights defenders and survivors inside Afghanistan with the intergovernmental decision-making spaces. However, it falls short due to the overwhelming evidence of gross violations and abuses in Afghanistan. The HRC must respond to the calls from Afghan human rights defenders, especially women human rights defenders, and civil society and establish an independent accountability mechanism with a mandate and resources to investigate the full scope of violations abuses that continue to be committed in Afghanistan by all parties and to preserve evidence of these violations for future accountability. The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on 6 March. 

China 

On 24 November 2022, the CERD issued an Urgent Action decision on Xinjiang stressing the ‘scale and nature’ of the repression of Uyghurs and Muslim minorities, as evidenced by the Xinjiang Police Files leaks. The Committee urged China to release all those arbitrarily detained, stop harassing Uyghurs abroad, and fully review its national security framework. For the first time ever, the Committee referred the matter to the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, while reminding ‘all States of their responsibility to cooperate to bring to an end through lawful means any serious breach of human rights obligations.’ 

States should ensure sustained visibility on the broader human rights situation across China, raising root causes of violations that commonly affect Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese human rights defenders, including the abuse of national security as documented by the OHCHR’s Xinjiang report and Special Procedures, and ask for the prompt release of human rights defenders, including feminist activists Huang Xueqin and Li Qiaochu, human rights lawyers Chang Weiping and Ding Jiaxi, legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, Uyghur doctor Gulshan Abbas, Hong Kong lawyer Chow Hang-tung, and Tibetan climate activist A-nya Sengdra.

Mali

In 2020, Mali finally adopted its implementation decree for the HRD law. While it was a long awaited achievement, especially as it establishes the defenders protection mechanism within the National Human Rights Institution, the text also provides that in order to be recognised as such, any defender must carry a card or badge issued in advance by the Minister responsible for human rights. 

This provision was later reinforced by the decision adopted by the Malian government in September 2020 which establishes the characteristics, procedures for granting and withdrawing the professional card of human rights defenders. During the last presentation of the report of the independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali, ISHR delivered a statement asking the independent expert what support he planned to give to the Malian government to ensure the full implementation of the defenders law and its protection mechanism. The HRC must keep the scrutiny on Mali to ensure that defenders in the country are protected in line with the UN Declaration and not restricted by the limitation imposed by a card defining the status of defenders. The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the independent expert on 30 March. 

DRC

The DRC has noticeably improved the protection of human rights in the Kasaï region but progress remains slow and action is still needed towards transitional justice and the protection of defenders in this region. In December 2022, the national assembly of the DRC adopted the draft law for the protection and promotion of defenders. The last step is for the text to be adopted by the Senate, which would strengthen the protection of defenders at the national level after the adoption in February 2016 of an edict for the protection of human rights defenders and journalists in the South Kivu province and a similar text adopted in November 2019 on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the North Kivu Province. The United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) must support the calls of civil society and ensure the protection and promotion of defenders is part of its support to the government of the DRC. The Council will consider oral updates and hold an enhanced interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner and the team of international experts on the DRC on 30 March. 

Egypt 

Notwithstanding the launch of a national human rights strategy, the fundamental purpose of which is to deflect international scrutiny rather than advance human rights, there has been no significant improvement in the human rights situation in Egypt since the joint statement delivered by States in March 2021. Since that time no consequential follow-up has occurred at the HRC, while the situation has further deteriorated on the ground. As witnessed by the world during COP27, the brutal crackdown on civil society in Egypt continues to intensify. Sustained, coordinated action on Egypt at the Council is more necessary than ever. Egypt continues to carry out widespread and systematic violations of human rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association. The Egyptian authorities have for years employed draconian laws, including laws on counterterrorism, cybercrimes, and civil society in order to subdue the civilian populations and stifle all forms of peaceful dissent and mobilisation. Under the current government, Egypt has become among the worst three countries in the world in the numbers of jailed journalists and almost all independent media has been forced to shut down or threatened into silence. Hundreds of websites continue to be banned. Scores of civil society and media representatives continue to be disappeared, tortured and arbitrarily detained under the pretense of counter-terrorism and national security. While the release of a few select arbitrarily-detained activists is a sign that international pressure works, the number of releases pales in comparison to the vast numbers of individuals newly detained by the National Security Prosecution, or whose arbitrary detention was renewed in 2022. Between the reactivation of the Presidential Pardons Committee in April 2022 and the end of 2022, the authorities released around 900 people held for political reasons, but almost triple that number of suspected critics and opponents were interrogated by prosecutors and arbitrarily detained. ISHR reiterates the calls of more than 100 NGOs from around the world in urging the HRC to create a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the ever-deteriorating human rights situation in Egypt.

Guatemala

Guatemala’s recent UPR put a spotlight on the fast deterioration of democratic space in the country. Over twenty States raised attacks against indigenous, environmental, and other human rights defenders, and journalists. There has been a  steady increase in attacks, with a record high of 1000 attacks by 2021 according to local groups. The government, meanwhile, made no reference to the issue during the review. States also shared concern about the erosion of judicial independence, an issue repeatedly highlighted by UN experts and officials. Over the past years, UN experts have exposed interference or blocking in the appointment of high level court judges. High Commissioner Volker Türk recently condemned a 70% increase in cases of intimidation and criminal charges against justice officials fighting impunity and corruption. A growing number of judges and legal professionals have fled the country since the government closed the UN’s International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) in 2019. In 2021, UN and OAS experts denounced a ‘choking’ law that gave the government ‘wide scope to control NGOs’. In this context, space for Guatemalan civil society to safely advocate for human rights and expose violations, and for the judicial authorities to respond to abuses and uphold the rule of law, has become dangerously narrow. These patterns create serious risks of further deterioration – in a trend that is also seen in neighbouring Central American countries –  in the lead-up to the June 2023 presidential elections. High Commissioner Türk’s presentation of his Office’s report on Guatemala to the HRC in March will provide a critical window of opportunity for States to collectively urge Guatemala to engage with the OHCHR to meaningfully address and put an end to attacks against human rights defenders and justice officials, ensure judicial independence, and review laws and policies that restrict civil society space.

Israel/OPT

This session will consider a number of resolutions associated with the human rights situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including with respect to the right of Palestinian’s to self-determination, as well as expanding and illegal Israeli settlements. Israeli policies and practices against Palestinian people have been found to constitute acts of apartheid by UN experts as well as by both international and national NGOs, while a HRC-mandated commission of inquiry has found that Israel’s permanent occupation and de facto annexation of Palestinian territory is likely unlawful. ISHR calls on all States to engage with these resolutions on their human rights merits, applying objective criteria in a principled and consistent way which upholds the right of self-determination as well as freedom from violence and discrimination. The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on ensuring accountability and justice in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem on 3 March. 

Nicaragua 

A year after the adoption of resolution 49/3, the UN system has continued to document a steady deterioration of the country’s multi-pronged human rights crisis: UN and IACHR documentation compiled by the Colectivo 46/2 point to the absence of any step taken to implement any of the 14 recommendations from resolution 49/3. Instead, the ruling party has seized absolute control over the country’s 153 municipalities in a 2022 electoral process characterised by ‘repression of dissenting voices and undue restriction of political rights and civil liberties,’ according to the OHCHR; canceled the legal status of more than 2500 civil society organisations; detained political prisoners in inhumane conditions; and allowed for the continuation of widespread attacks, including 32 killings since 2018, by armed settlers against indigenous peoples of the Northern Caribbean Coast. The Nicaraguan government has confirmed its diplomatic isolation by refusing to cooperate with six UN Treaty Bodies within a year prompting an unprecedented public condemnation by the UN’s two anti-torture committees. It has also retaliated against EMRIP member and Nicaraguan citizen Anexa Cunningham, by denying her entry into the country on July 9. 

We urge the Human Rights council to renew for a period of two years resolution 49/3 establishing the mandate of the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua, and the monitoring mandate of the OHCHR. We call on all governments to support such a resolution and reinforce its intersectional approach, by bringing particular attention to the situation of indigenous peoples and afro-descendants, migrants and forcibly displaced persons, those detained for political reasons and the families of victims.

The Council will hold two debates on Nicaragua: on 3 March, an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner, and on 6 March, an interactive dialogue with the Group of Human Rights Experts.  

Saudi Arabia

According to ALQST’s 2022 annual report, the Saudi authorities’ unleashed a new wave of repression in 2022. Familiar patterns of abuse continued, including arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and harsh restrictions on prisoners of conscience released from prison, including travel bans. However from mid-year onwards in particular, the Saudi courts started imposing jail sentences of unprecedented severity for peaceful, legitimate activity on social media, further deepening the climate of fear in the kingdom. Use of the death penalty increased sharply after a lull during the COVID period, with the biggest mass execution in recent times (of 81 men in a single day), and executions for non-violent drugs-related offences made a dramatic comeback. This intensification of repression went hand in hand with the progressive diplomatic rehabilitation of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman. We call on the HRC to respond to the calls of NGOs from around the world to create monitoring and reporting mechanism on the ever-deteriorating human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. 

Sudan

The Sudanese military and some political parties and civic groups signed a framework agreement to pave the way for a power transition to civilian forces in December 2022. But the agreement was not widely welcomed by local resistance movements, including resistance committees and some women’s groups. The protests continued across the country demanding a comprehensive transitional process that respects the people’s demands for accountability, peace, and justice. In the meantime, the security forces crackdown on protests is sustained, while the violations of freedoms of assembly, expression, and association continues. Following the political framework agreement, attacks on women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and women groups continued as the violence in conflict areas escalated. The HRC must ensure continued reporting on Sudan and to urge the international community to prioritise justice and accountability in any upcoming political solution. The Council will consider an oral update and hold an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner and designated Expert on 3 March. 

Ukraine

In the face of overwhelming evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity associated with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, ISHR calls on the HRC to renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in Ukraine associated with Russia’s war of aggression, including the mandate of the Commission to examine the root causes of the conflict such as the repression and criminalisation of human rights defenders and independent journalists in Russia. The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on 20 March. The Council will also hold an interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on Ukraine on 31 March. 

Venezuela

ISHR joins Venezuelan and international organisations in urging States to speak out against the NGO bill currently passing through the National Assembly in Venezuela. The ‘Law of Supervision, Regularization, Performance and Financing of Non-Governmental and Related Organizations’ seeks to criminalise and further restrict the work of NGOs in the country.

There will be two debates on Venezuela: the update from the High Commissioner followed by an interactive dialogue on 21 March, and an oral update by the UN fact-finding mission followed by an interactive dialogue on 23 March, which will be their first since their mandate was renewed by the Council last September. The High Commissioner’s update will, no doubt, include impressions and recommendations drawn from his recently concluded first visit to Venezuela. These updates will take place at a time of ongoing political flux in the country, upcoming elections and – critically – further threats to civic space. During the interactive dialogues on Venezuela, States must continue to express concern at ongoing human rights and humanitarian crises in the country, at the introduction of the NGO bill and call for the release of the arbitrarily detained including human rights defender Javier Tarazona who has now been held for almost 600 days, wholly without justification. 

Yemen

ISHR joins civil society organisations from Yemen and around the world to urge the HRC to establish an independent international criminally focused investigative mechanism on Yemen. Before its untimely dissolution in 2021, the UN Group of Eminent Experts (GEE), established by the HRC in 2017, recommended that UN member States refer the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court (ICC), support the establishment of an international criminally focused investigative mechanism, and stressed the need to realise victims’ right to reparation. In late 2021, HRC members narrowly rejected a resolution that would have renewed the GEE’s mandate following lobbying by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In September 2022, Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected attempts by States to ensure continued discussion at the HRC of the ongoing human rights crises in Yemen. The international community should not stand by and allow the vote to disband the GEE to be the HRC’s last word on the situation, nor allow warring parties to continue to block formal discussions of large-scale human rights abuses, war crimes and the urgent need for accountability. A new, HRC-mandated mechanism is required to ensure that potential avenues of criminal accountability and reparative justice are effectively explored for Yemen and may be pursued now and in the future to address impunity and provide effective redress to victims.

Other country situations

The High Commissioner will provide an oral update to the Council on 7 March. The Council will consider updates, reports on and is expected to consider resolutions addressing a range of country situations, in some instances involving the renewal of the relevant expert mandates. These include:

  • Enhanced interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea
  • Oral briefing and interactive dialogue with the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia 
  • Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and a presentation of the report of the High Commissioner 
  • Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on Belarus
  • Interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner, and interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar 
  • Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Iran
  • Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria 
  • Enhanced interactive dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights on South Sudan with the participation of the High Commissioner,  and an interactive Dialogue on the OHCHR report on South Sudan 
  • High-level Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Central African Republic
  • Interactive dialogue with the Fact-Finding Mission on Libya

#HRC52 | Council programme, appointments and resolutions

During the organisational meeting for the 52nd session held on 13 February, the President of the Human Rights Council presented the programme of work. It includes 7 panel discussions. States also announced at least 39 proposed resolutions. Read here the reports presented at this session. 

Appointment of mandate holders

The President of the Human Rights Council proposed candidates for the following mandates

  1. Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development (EMRTD), member from African States
  2. Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development (EMRTD), member from Asia-Pacific States
  3. Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development (EMRTD), member from Eastern European States
  4. Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development (EMRTD), member from Western European and other States
  5. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), member from Asia
  6. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), member from the Arctic
  7. Special Rapporteur on the right to development
  8. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Russian Federation
  9. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, member from Asia-Pacific States
  10. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, member from Latin American and Caribbean States

In view of the pending appointments, it is relevant to recall that in appointing mandate holders, the President of the Council is required to give particular attention to the need to avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Mandate holders should also be genuinely committed to the independence and effectiveness of the special procedures system, and have a demonstrated commitment to civil society engagement and participation.

Resolutions to be presented to the Council’s 52nd session

At the organisational meeting on 13 February the following resolutions were announced (States leading the resolution in brackets):

  1. Birth registration and the right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law (Mexico and Turkey)
  2. Human rights of migrants – mandate renewal  (Mexico)
  3. Human rights and the environment (Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, Switzerland)
  4. The human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, Qatar, Turkiye and the United States of America)
  5. Advancing human rights in South Sudan (United Kingdom, Albania, Norway, the United States of America) 
  6. Contribution to the implementation of the joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem with regard to human rights (Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Greece, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Portugal, Switzerland, Uruguay)
  7. Cooperation with Georgia (Georgia)
  8. Regional arrangements (Armenia, Belgium, Mexico, Senegal, Thailand)
  9. Situation of human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression (Ukraine)
  10. Promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Luxembourg, Portugal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Thailand and Uruguay)
  11. Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief  (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC)
  12. Human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the obligation to ensure accountability and justice (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC) 
  13. Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC)
  14. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC)
  15. Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC) 
  16. The negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (Azerbaijan on behalf of NAM) 
  17. Promoting human rights and sustainable development goals (Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Kenya, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey)
  18. Situation of human rights in Belarus (EU) 
  19. Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (EU) 
  20. Situation of human rights in Myanmar (EU) 
  21. Freedom of religion or belief – mandate renewal (EU) 
  22. Mandate renewal of the Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children, including child prostitution, child pornography and other child sexual abuse material  (EU, GRULAC)
  23. Adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to non-discrimination in this context – mandate renewal (Brazil, Germany, Finland, Namibia)
  24. Human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Morocco, Norway, Peru, Romania, Republic of Korea, Tunisia)
  25. Question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights (Portugal)
  26. Mental health and human rights (Brazil, Portugal)
  27. Human rights defenders – mandate renewal (Norway)
  28. Right to freedom of opinion and expression – mandate renewal (Netherlands, Canada)
  29. Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Moldova, North Macedonia, the United Kingdom, Iceland) 
  30. Right to food (Cuba)
  31. Mandate renewal of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (Cuba)
  32. Promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity (Cuba)
  33. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – mandate renewal (Denmark)
  34. Impact of non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to countries of origin (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the African Group)
  35. Mandate renewal of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the African Group)
  36. Mandate renewal of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the African Group)
  37. Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building for South Sudan (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the African Group)
  38. Technical assistance and capacity-building for Mali in the field of human rights (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the African Group)
  39. Rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities – mandate renewal (Austria, Mexico, Slovenia)

Furthermore, according to the voluntary calendar for resolutions, it is possible that more resolutions could also be presented at this session. Read the calendar here

Adoption of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reports

During this session, the Council will adopt the UPR working group reports on Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, United Kingdom, India, Algeria, Philippines, Brazil, Poland, Netherlands, and South Africa. 

ISHR supports human rights defenders in their interaction with the UPR. We publish and submit briefing papers regarding the situation facing human rights defenders in some States under review and advocate for the UPR to be used as a mechanism to support and protect human rights defenders on the ground. 

Panel discussions

During each Council session, panel discussions are held to provide member States and NGOs with opportunities to hear from subject-matter experts and raise questions. 7 panel discussions are scheduled for this upcoming session:

  1. Biennial high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty. Theme: Human rights violations relating to the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to limiting the death penalty to the most serious crimes
  2. High-level meeting commemorating the thirty-fifth anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development 
  3. High-level panel discussion on UPR Voluntary Funds: achievements, good practices and lessons learned over the past 15 years and optimized support to States in the implementation of recommendations emanating from the fourth cycle
  4. Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child [two accessible meetings]. Theme: Rights of the child and the digital environment
  5. Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities. Theme: Support systems to ensure community inclusion of persons with disabilities, including as a means of building forward better after the COVID-19 pandemic
  6. Debate in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Theme: The urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights​
  7. Annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming. Theme: A reflection on five years of the United Nations Youth Strategy (Youth 2030): mapping a blueprint for the next steps

Read here the three year programme of work of the Council with supplementary information.

Read here  ISHR’s recommendations on the key issues that are or should be on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council in 2023.

Download as PDF

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