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HRC55: Key issues on agenda of March 2024 session

The 55th UN Human Rights Council session will discuss the protection of human rights defenders, freedom of religion, human rights while countering terrorism, and rights to food and housing. It will also address grave human rights issues in countries like Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, China, Syria, South Sudan, Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Eritrea, and the Palestinian territories/Israel, amongst others.

The UN Human Rights Council (the Council) will hold its 55th regular session at Palais des Nations in Geneva from 26 February – 5 April 2024. 

The session will be held at a time of increasing conflicts and crises, the root causes of which include repression and human rights violations. Respect for human rights and accountability for violations is essential to address and resolve these crises. Amongst other things, this requires that States support and protect the work of human rights defenders, both at the national and international levels. Defenders prevent rights violations, provide essential services, document abuses, promote accountability, and propose solutions that are grounded in community priorities and needs.

Resolving conflicts and crises also requires that States treat human rights as paramount and apply human rights laws and standards in a principled and consistent way. The selective and inconsistent application of international law is undermining the integrity of the framework, as well as the credibility, legitimacy and influence of States and other actors who engage in such double standards. 

Despite the challenges we collectively face, we remain convinced that, when applied in a consistent and principled way, international human rights laws and standards provide a compass – in fact, the only compass – for States and human rights defenders to chart a course to a more peaceful, just and inclusive world.

Stay up-to-date: Follow @ISHRglobal and #HRC55 on Twitter, and look out for our Human Rights Council Monitor.

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

Side events

  • ISHR and the Permanent Mission of Finland are co-organising a side event ‘In Defence of Civic Space and Democracy: Supporting the work of Human Rights Defenders’ on 26 February at 13:00-14:00 in Room XXII.
  • ISHR is organising a side event on 6 March at 13:00 on the role of defenders in fostering accountability for atrocity crimes. Further information will be published on ISHR’s website
  • ISHR is co-organising a side event ‘The situation for exiled Nicaraguan activists a year after being released and stripped of nationality’ on 5 March, 15.30-16.30pm Geneva time, Room XXVII Palais de Nations. Other co-organisers include the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Paraguay, as well as NGOs CCPR, Race and Equality and PBI. 
  • ISHR is co-organising a side event, ‘Resisting Exile: Voices of Human Rights Defenders’ on 5 March, 14:00-15:00 at Palais de Nations, along with CCPR and Race and Equality. 

Modalities of civil society participation in HRC55

According to the NGO information note (last updated on 14 February), NGOs in with status with ECOSOC and National Human Rights Institutions with ‘A’ status would have the possibility to deliver their statements in person or via pre-recorded video statements. The list of speakers will be made available on the HRC Extranet and updated regularly.

The HRC Bureau has decided in its last meeting (2 February) that similar to previous sessions, the list of speakers for NGOs for each of the general debates will be set in line with the average number of NGOs that participated in each of the general debates in the previous three March sessions (52nd, 49th and 46th sessions). The number of slots available for each general debate and speaking times for interactive dialogues, panels as well as general debates can be found in the NGO information note and on the Extranet.

Due to the ongoing renovations under the Strategic Heritage Plan and their impact on the availability of meeting rooms at Palais des Nations, a limited number of rooms will be allocated for side events. A maximum of one side event per NGO may be requested. Each side event will last a maximum of one hour.

 The information note for NGO engagement is updated on a regular basis, check here for the latest updates.

#HRC55: Thematic areas of interest

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

Climate change and the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment will present his report on “Business enterprises, planetary boundaries and the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” during an Interactive Dialogue. He will also present a report on the responsibility of business enterprises to respect the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment after an expert meeting conducted in November 2023. 

Ecuador, acting as Chair of the Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, will present the report and conclusions of the 9th session of the Working Group.

The High Commissioner will present his report on the “Necessary measures for minimizing the adverse impact of climate change on the full realisation of the right to food” during an interactive dialogue and the Special Rapporteur on the right to food will present his report on “Fisheries and the right to food in the context of climate change”. 

At the of the session, the Council will select a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment and a new Special Rapporteur on climate change. 

Acts of intimidation and 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. HRC55 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, HRC51, HRC52, and HRC53, and HRC54. 

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. It can also send a powerful message of solidarity to defenders, supporting and sustaining their work in repressive environments.

ISHR urges States to continue to raise the cases ISHR has campaigned on in the last two years in their statements. 

In addition, we urge States to raise and follow up on individual cases of reprisals in the country-specific debates taking place at this session. Further information on these cases can be found here or by contacting the ISHR team at [email protected]

During the organisational meeting held on 12 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 55th session, the Council will discuss a range of economic, social and cultural rights through dedicated debates with: 

  • 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 peaceful assembly and association 
  • 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 Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders 

The Council will also hold 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 High Commissioner report on climate change 
  • The intergovernmental Working Group on the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA)

#HRC55: Country-specific developments

Attacks against fundamental freedoms in relation to Palestine in Western Europe and North America   (including Austria, France, Germany,  Italy, United States, United Kingdom)

Civil society and international experts have raised grave concern at the attacks on fundamental freedoms when advocating for the rights of Palestinians by authorities in Western Countries. The attacks on freedoms of expression, assembly and association being monitored since October 2023 are by no means a new trend. For example, in September 2023, Amnesty International issued a statement addressing “restrictions of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly through blanket, pre-emptive bans imposed on assemblies on the occasion of Nakba Remembrance Day in Berlin” by the Berlin Assembly Authority.  However, there has been a notable escalation in the intensity of these attacks as well as the political and legal measures put forward to further curtail fundamental freedoms in relation to Palestine since October 2023. 

Western governments, who regularly call for strong protection of human rights and civic space, are emboldening Israel’s indiscriminate attacks by cracking down on free expression and peaceful assembly, online and offline. Authorities have resorted to banning the holding of demonstrations, cracked down on demonstrators, and arrested protesters. Moreover, individuals have been fired from their jobs for voicing opinions on social media. Individuals have also reported facing hate speech, censorship and self-censoring fearing reprisals, including discrimination and criminalisation for voicing their opinions online and offline. 

Special Procedures have concluded that the undue restrictions imposed by States, especially Western States, “on peaceful protests and civil society working to protect human rights and humanitarian law in the context of the Gaza war are contrary to States’ obligation under international law to prevent atrocity crimes, such as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and apartheid”. They stressed “that inclusive and meaningful collaboration with civil society, human rights defenders, […] and protest movements is vital to end the cycle of violence and impunity […], dismantling apartheid and ensuring justice and accountability […]”. Special Procedures have also addressed how “risks of potential anti-Semitism have also been used as a justification by some States to ban and criminalise peaceful assemblies and expressions in support of Palestinians’ rights”. 

Civil society has for years deplored the misuse by Israel and Western States of this argument to suppress Palestinian rights advocacy through the IHRA working definition of antisemitism. The Arab Center Washington DC stressed that “conflation between antisemitism and legitimate criticism of Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians (heightened by the adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism by many States and organisations), leads to the silencing of Palestinian voices”. The normalisation of anti-Palestinian racism, rarely treated as equal human beings by the media or politicians,  has also led to the dehumanisation of Palestinians as emphasised by the Special Procedures who stressed that “States have sought to justify these restrictions by referring to risks related to incitement to hatred and “glorification” or “support of terrorism”, and potential risks to national security or public order. This approach is not only arbitrary, but it also dehumanises Palestinians by unjustly linking them as a whole to criminal endeavours and terrorism.” Moreover, Special Procedures have stressed that “employees in the public and private sectors should also not face reprisals, such as disciplinary measures or loss of employment, for speaking out”. They emphasised the importance for States and relevant academic institutions to respect academic freedoms, and ensure that students and teaching staff can freely associate, assemble and express their views with regards to the war in Gaza and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

The European Legal Support Center (ELSC) has monitored 661 incidents of repression against the Palestinian solidarity movement or individuals advocating for Palestinian rights since 7 October: 219 took place in Germany, 172 in the UK, 72 in France, 45 in Italy, 16 in Austria and 137 in other European countries. These include legal action or threats of legal action; restriction of movement, harassment, intimidation or violence; smear campaigns; threats to citizenship of residency status; disciplinary investigation, loss of employment or suspension from position; threats to academic freedom; refusal or withdrawal of use of venue or cancelation of events; defunding or financial de-risking. 

Since 2014, Palestine Legal has responded to over 2200 incidents in the US of suppression of Palestinian rights advocacy aimed at intimidating Palestinians and their supporters into silence and inaction. Since October 7, Palestine Legal responded to over 1258 reports of suppression of Palestinian rights advocacy in the US. Palestine Legal and over 600 legal organisations and professionals based in the USA urged in a joint letter elected officials and institutional leaders “to take urgent measures to address the surging racist attacks and unlawful retaliation against advocates for Palestinian rights.” They address “an unprecedented barrage of extreme attacks that Palestinians and their allies in the U.S. are facing, including violent assaults, hate speech, employment discrimination, severe harassment and doxing of students, law enforcement visits, and censorship in different arenas of civic and social life”. The organisation stressed that “hundreds of incidents happening across the country signal a much broader effort to criminalise dissent, justify censorship, and incite anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim harassment, doxing and vigilantism against Palestinians and their allies. This is not a new phenomenon, but it is escalating at terrifying speed.”

In line with Special Procedures recommendations, we urge States, in particular Western States to:

  • immediately and unconditionally release all arbitrarily detained individuals “for the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of association and of freedom of expression in the context in Israel/occupied Palestinian territory”. 
  • Put an end to the intimidation and criminalisation of “civil society and activists advocating for respect of Palestinians’ rights, including the right to self-determination, for boycotts, divestment and sanctions, international criminal accountability, and an end to the alleged crimes of apartheid and genocide against Palestinians”
  • Ensure that “legislation and policy measures designed to counter anti-Semitism or terrorism are not used to suppress fundamental freedoms or to restrict civil society’s access to resources and/or criminalize them for their legitimate work.”
  • Ensure that “civil society organizations, human rights defenders and academics, working on Palestinian rights can exercise the ability to seek, receive and use financial resources, including foreign funding; and that counter-terrorism laws, including financing laws, are not applied in a manner contrary to international standards.”

Algeria 

The sustained repression against the pro-democracy movement and human rights defenders in Algeria was addressed in the end-of-session statements of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly as well as the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders who conducted official visits to Algeria in 2023. These were the first visits since 2016 by UN mandate holders to the country. 

The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association addressed the “criminalisation of civil society work”, and the “suspension or dissolution of political parties and associations, including prominent human rights advocacy organisations” (including RAJ and LADDH), as well as “overly restrictive laws and regulations” hindering their work. The rapporteurs called for the amendment of laws used to curtail fundamental freedoms, including article 87 bis of the Penal Code, used to outlaw movements such as the Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie (MAK) and the Islamic political movement Rachad, both declared terrorist entities, and to bring criminal charges against individuals for exercising their rights to expression and assembly. 

Following her visit and attending the trial of three Algerian human rights defenders who faced terrorism charges, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders “welcomed the acquittal of Jamila Loukil, Kaddour Chouicha and Said Boudour”. While this is a positive development, a big number of activists and defenders remain arbitrarily detained in Algeria. The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders addressed the arbitrary detention of Kamira Nait Sid, a woman human rights defender (WHRD) and co-president of the World Amazigh Congress sentenced to three years in prison where she visited her. She was arrested and tried on charges of “undermining national unity” and “belonging to a terrorist organisation”. The Special Rapporteur also met with defender Ahmed Manseri, and was put in pre-trial detention following meeting the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly, “a picture of him meeting the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly was included in his case file”. In line with the decision of the WGAD, Algeria should release arbitrarily detained defender Mohamed BabaNadjar, detained since 2005 and serving a life sentence for his work on the rights of the Amazigh people. 

ISHR is alarmed at the level of self-censorship and risk of reprisals individuals face for engaging with the UN and its mechanisms. The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders reported that individuals were self-censoring “for fear of being charged under Article 87 bis”. The Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly reported that activists told him that they were not willing to meet him “in person as they feared they could be subject to reprisals by authorities for undermining national security.” The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders also reported that some defenders she intended to meet “refused or cancelled at the last minute, for fear of reprisals”. 

We urge all States to demand that Algeria, an HRC member, end its crackdown on human rights defenders and civil society organisations as well as put an end to all acts of intimidation and reprisals. We also call on States to call for the immediate release of all individuals arbitrarily detained, including WHRD Kamira Nait Sid and Mohamed BabaNadjar, and to urge Algeria to amend all legislation that hinders the work of civil society, including article 87 bis, regulations on funding, and other undue limitations to freedom of assembly and association. 

Bahrain

Bahrain continues to imprison human rights defenders, including Abduljalil Al-Singace, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Naji Fateel, despite their prolonged incarceration deemed arbitrary by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. High-profile opposition figures such as Sheikh Ali Salman, Hassan Mushaima, and Abdulwahab Hussain also remain behind bars. On 19 September 2023, the UN Secretary-General published their annual report naming five individuals who faced reprisals for cooperating with United Nations mechanisms. The death penalty continues to be used, with 26 individuals on death row, many alleging torture and coerced confessions. Death row inmates Mohamed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa have been detained for a decade and are at risk of imminent execution despite UNWGAD calling for their immediate and unconditional release and impending execution. Last year, over 800 political prisoners in Jau Prison launched a hunger strike to protest harsh conditions, discrimination and ill-treatment. We call on States to urge Bahraini authorities to unconditionally release all those sentenced for their political opinions, including human rights defenders, stop reprisals for cooperating with the UN, and implement recommendations by UN Special Procedures.  

China 

China’s fourth UPR review on January 23 exposed strong international condemnation over grave abuses, and calls for unfettered access to the whole country for UN Special Procedures experts, including from the Global South. Numerous recommendations and advanced questions referred to the overwhelming evidence of grave abuses documented by UN bodies since 2018, compiled in a repository published by ISHR. This vast array of UN recommendations constitutes an impartial benchmark to assess the Chinese government’s willingness and actions to address systematic and widespread human rights violations. Follow-up to these welcome steps must be ensured. To uphold the integrity of its mandate and put an end to China’s exceptionalism, the HRC must establish a monitoring and reporting mechanism on the country, as repeatedly called for by over 40 UN experts and hundreds of human rights groups globally. States should further urge the UN High Commissioner to strengthen follow-up action on his Office’s Xinjiang report, including through public calls for implementation, translation of the report, and an assessment of its implementation.

States should ensure sustained visibility at the HRC of China’s abuse of national security and other cross-cutting abuses affecting Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers and mainland Chinese defenders, including the latest crackdown on human rights lawyers. Finally, States should ask for the prompt release of human rights defenders, including feminist activists Huang Xueqin and Li Qiaochu, human rights lawyers Chang Weiping, Ding Jiaxi, Yu Wensheng and his wife Xu Yan, legal scholar Xu Zhiyong, Uyghur doctor Gulshan Abbas, Hong Kong lawyer Chow Hang-tung, and Tibetan climate activist A-nya Sengdra.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

DRC adopted a national law for the protection and the promotion of defenders on 15 July 2023. While the law represents an important milestone for the rights of defenders in the country, some provisions of the text are contrary to international protection standards. The government must engage civil society in the drafting of the implementation, ensure it is in line with international standards and doesn’t further restrict the rights of defenders in the country. 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 with the High Commissioner and the team of international experts on the DRC on 3 April, followed by a General Debate. 

Egypt 

Amid ongoing repression of civic space and a deepening economic crisis, the Egyptian authorities have demonstrated no political will to address the mounting human rights crisis. Thousands of individuals remain arbitrarily detained in Egypt solely for exercising their human rights and following proceedings violating fair trial rights or without legal basis. Those held include human rights defenders, political and humanitarian activists, members of opposition parties and their family members, trade unionists, poets, peaceful protesters including most recently in Palestine solidarity protests, journalists, bloggers, lawyers, social media influencers, members of religious minorities, workers and medical professionals.

Egyptian authorities are failing to address key concerns raised by UN human rights bodies. In March 2023, the Human Rights Committee called on Egypt to “ensure that statutory limits to the duration of pretrial detention are enforced, including by putting an end to the involvement of security agencies in the decision-making process on the release of detainees and the practice of “rotation” under which detainees are added to new cases on similar charges”. According to human rights organisations, at least 251 defendants were rotated to new cases in 2023, and another 620 defendants in 2022, demonstrating the continued involvement of the judicial authorities in violations of the right to fair trial and undermining the rule of law.  The Human Rights Committee also called on Egypt to “ensure that court proceedings in terrorism cases are fully in line with articles 14 and 15 of the Covenant to ensure fair trials and put an end to the use of mass trials that are inherently not aligned with international standards”. UN Special Procedures have raised their concerns with Egypt on the “Terrorism Circuit Courts and allegations of their incompatibility with international due process guarantees, as well as alleged violations of fundamental rights of many individuals, including human rights defenders, who have been tried, or are still waiting to be tried, before these courts”. According to the Egyptian Front for Human Rights’ annual report, the Terrorism Circuit Courts ordered the release of only 3 defendants, approximately 0.1% of the 35966 cases of detention renewals under its consideration in 2023. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) has also documented this pattern of what is commonly referred to as “hearings of detention renewals” by the Terrorism Circuit Courts, including most recently renewals of detention of almost 900 defendants on 21 and 22 January 2024.  

Since the Committee against Torture (CAT) reached “the inescapable conclusion” in 2017 that “torture is a systematic practice in Egypt,” the Egyptian government has not taken any serious steps to address the issue. In a new report submitted to the CAT, REDRESS and a coalition of Egyptian and international civil society organisations  – including the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Dignity, and the International Commission of Jurists – conclude that the widespread and systematic use of torture by the Egyptian authorities amounts to a crime against humanity under customary international law. 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 is living historic and hugely challenging times. The undermining of Guatemala’s state institutions over many years has led to a collapse in the rule of law and a worsening human rights crisis. The judicial system has been largely stripped of its independence and attacks and threats against human rights defenders and justice operators have been rife. Currently, at least 45 ex-justice operators have been forced into exile, with at least 10 facing criminal proceedings against them in Guatemala. Guatemala’s new President Bernardo Arévalo has promised to re-establish the rule of law, fight against corruption and impunity and address poverty. 

At this session under General Debate 2, the Council will consider the High Commissioner’s report on OHCHR activities including in Guatemala. This is the opportunity for States to speak of their support for effective measures to address corruption, impunity and for the respect of human rights under the new Presidency, and to continue their commitment to monitoring government actions. States should call on Guatemala to use UPR and treaty body recommendations as a road map for the necessary reforms to reintroduce the rule of law, fight impunity and uphold human rights.

States should call on Guatemala to commit to and accept visits of Special Procedures as a means to institute a regime of rights monitoring and recommendations. They should welcome the good news of the three-year renewal of the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner in Guatemala and suggest that the High Commissioner for Human Rights visit the country at his earliest convenience. 

States should urge the government to guarantee the security of indigenous communities and leaders and institute an ongoing dialogue with indigenous communities to hear and respond to their demands. In that regard, Guatemala should sign and ratify the Escazú Protocol as a matter of urgency.

States should call on Guatemala to put the protection of defenders at the heart of the new government’s actions, including through the implementation of the public human rights defenders public protection policy, ordered by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2014.

Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories

The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on ensuring accountability and justice in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including East Jerusalem on 29 February and an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the OPT on 26 March. 

ISHR welcomes South Africa’s proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the situation in Gaza as an important step towards effective measures and accountability for atrocity crimes committed by Israel in the context of its decades-long colonial apartheid imposed over the Palestinian people, including its latest war on Gaza. It also upheld international law in the face of decades of double standards during which the international community failed to take effective measures to ensure Israel complies with international law and the numerous UN resolutions and recommendations by UN special procedures, treaty bodies, and investigative mechanisms. Civil society organisations stressed that by “drawing on the nature of Israel’s military action, and “dehumanising” statements by Israeli government officials, the Court found that Israel’s actions in Gaza are plausibly genocidal”, pending its final decision. These provisional measures which have a legally binding effect, “cannot be carried out without a full cessation of hostilities”, thus can only be effective with a ceasefire.

In a joint statement from January 2024, Special Procedures deplored that they had raised the alarm of the risk of genocide several times and for months, “reminding all governments they have a duty to prevent genocide” and stressing that “not only is Israel killing and causing irreparable harm against Palestinian civilians with its indiscriminate bombardments, it is also knowingly and intentionally imposing a high rate of disease, prolonged malnutrition, dehydration, and starvation by destroying civilian infrastructure”. 

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination raised “serious concerns regarding the obligation of Israel and other State parties to prevent crimes against humanity and genocide.” Responding to arguments of Israel and other States, the Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel reiterated that article 51 which “provides for the use of force by a State in self-defense of the Charter […] is not applicable”.

Special Procedures expressed their profound concern about “the support of certain governments for Israel’s strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilise to prevent genocide”. ISHR and over 180 organisations, deplored the continued transfer of arms to Israel by States, including the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and stress that the provision of military equipment and military support to Israel with the knowledge that they are likely to be used in serious violations of international law, including international crimes, invites charges of complicity. 

ISHR also denounces the defunding of civil society organisations and UNRWA by Western States, a strategy implemented by Israel and discursively imposed by some States to silence the work of human rights defenders and ensure the demise of the Palestinian refugee issue and with it the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. 

We call for an immediate and unconditional release of all Palestinians deprived of liberty without due process, and all Israeli hostages; and the lifting of the 17-year-old illegal blockade and closure of the Gaza Strip, which constitutes collective punishment.

In line with the ICJ provisional measures, and based on the obligations of States under international law, including the Genocide Convention, we urge States to take immediate and effective measures to:

  • Impose a ceasefire and ensure that Israel provides immediate and unhindered delivery of aid to the Gaza Strip;
  • Implement a two-way arms embargo on Israel;
  • Ensure that internally displaced Palestinians return to their areas of previous residence and are provided with safe shelters in accordance with IHL provisions;
  • Support the work of the CoI to investigate the root causes of the situation on both sides of the Green Line, including through providing sufficient resources for the mechanism, to ensure accountability and redress; and 
  • Restore funding of UNRWA and civil society organisations working to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid in the context of starvation and genocide as well as document human rights violations, respectively. 

Mali

In Mali the human rights situation continues to deteriorate, with the government increasingly cracking down on media and opposition voices, significantly narrowing civic space. During the presentation of his last report at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council, the Independent Expert highlighted the threats, physical assaults and attacks on their property defenders faced because of their opinions. Additionally, he recognised that the progress recently made towards the return to constitutional order may not lead to credible, free, fair and inclusive electoral processes unless appropriate measures are taken to address the shrinking civic space in the country. Since the adoption of the defenders’ law in 2018, Mali is yet to fully guarantee the protection of the rights of defenders through its implementation.

In 2020, Mali finally adopted its implementation decree for the HRD law shortly followed by the decision adopted by the Malian government which establishes the characteristics, procedures for granting and withdrawing the professional card of human rights defenders. ISHR continues to ask 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 28 March. 

Nicaragua 

The human rights situation in Nicaragua comes back on the agenda against this session with two planned debates. On 29 February the Group of Human Rights Experts will present its report followed by an interactive dialogue. On 4 March there will be an oral update of the High Commissionner on the situation of human rights in Nicaragua followed by a general debate. 

At the Council’s last interactive dialogue on Nicaragua on 18 December 2023, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights said of Nicaragua: ”Every day the country deviates further from human rights”. 

The last months have shown how true this remains. Upcoming regional elections on the Caribbean Coast (4 March) have provided a context for government crackdowns on opponents. The main indigenous and Afro-descendant political party in the country, YATAMA, has had its legal status revoked and two of its leaders, National Assembly legislator and YATAMA party chair Brooklyn Rivera and YATAMA legal representative Nancy Elizabeth Henríquez were arrested. The whereabouts of Brooklyn Rivera remains unknown. These arrests have been followed by increased militarisation in the territories on the Caribbean coast.  The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression have expressed concern about these and other attacks against indigenous communities in the country. 

Many Nicaraguan human rights defenders remain in exile with no possibility of return. These include Rolando Álvarez who was sentenced to 26 years in prison after strongly criticising government repression last year and was later expelled from the country in mid-January 2024 alongside 17 other clerics. Repression against defenders continues.

States must call on Nicaragua to immediately release all arbitrarily detained people including  Freddy Quezada, subject of precautionary measures by the IACHR; to provide immediate information about the whereabouts of all those disappeared, including poet Carlos Bojorge, detained and disappeared one month ago, and Brooklyn Rivera. 

States should express firm support of the work of the Group of Experts on Nicaragua and of OHCHR and call on Nicaragua to take urgent steps to meet the recommendations made to it by the Group of Experts on Nicaragua, as well as OHCHR and – in the words of Nicaraguan HRD Cristina Huerta made in December at the Council – to call on Nicaragua to ”put an end to the State violence against women and civil society and retake the path to democracy”. 

ISHR is co-organising a side event ”The situation for exiled Nicaraguan activists a year after being released and stripped of nationality” on 5 March, 15.30-16.30pm Geneva time, Room XXVII Palais de Nations. Other co-organisers include the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Paraguay, as well as NGOs CCPR, Race and Equality and PBI. 

Occupied Western Sahara

In October 2023, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention requested the immediate release of 18 Gdeim Izik prisoners from Western Sahara, held for over 13 years in Moroccan jails. In the last six years, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has rendered at least 11 decisions highlighting a systematic pattern of violations of the right to due process and fair trial, arbitrary arrests, torture, as well as violations to the right to freedom of expression, discrimination based on language, ethnicity and religion, especially targeting Saharawi activists advocating for the right to self-determination of Western Sahara. Prior, UN CAT issued five decisions on the Gdeim Izik prisoners, including in the case of human rights activists Enaâma Asfari. 

Western Sahara is a former Spanish colony that remains under Moroccan occupation (despite a 1992 UN-governed agreement for a referendum on independence, which Morocco continues to fail to comply with). In 1990, the General Assembly had reaffirmed that Western Sahara was a question of decolonisation which remained to be completed by the people of Western Sahara.  

We urge States to call on Morocco to implement the decisions of the CAT and the WGAD and unconditionally release the Gdeim Izik arbitrarily detained activists, and all arbitrarily detained journalists and human rights defenders, while putting an end to all forms of harassment and reprisals against prisoners and their family.

We further urge States to call on Morocco to put an end to its crackdown on civil society, particularly Saharawi human rights defenders in the occupied territory, ensure they are able to conduct their human rights work, and provide access to occupied Western Sahara to human rights bodies, including OHCHR, special procedures, and human rights organisations.

As a member of the Human Rights Council and its president, and in line with resolution 60/251, Morocco should “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights” and “fully cooperate with the Council”. In his update to the Council in March 2023, High Commissioner Turk highlighted that his Office has not been granted access to Western Sahara for the last eight years. Local human rights organisations report that international organisations and observers are barred from entering the territory to carry out meaningful human rights documentation and that human rights defenders trying to document and ensure monitoring are being targeted by the State. In a joint statement, Special Procedures decried “the systematic and relentless targeting of human rights defenders in retaliation for exercising their rights to freedom of association and expression to promote human rights in Western Sahara”. They urged Morocco to “stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists standing up for human rights issues related to Western Sahara, and allow them to work without reprisals”.

Saudi Arabia

According to ALQST’s annual report, despite the Saudi authorities’ recent efforts to open up to tourism and host international events, a prevailing climate of closure prevails- independent monitors are denied access to the country, the prison system is shrouded in secrecy, and trials are held behind closed doors. In this ominous atmosphere, and following the almost complete diplomatic rehabilitation of crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, wide-scale violations persist, including but not limited to: further decades-long prison sentences, and even a death sentence, meted out for peaceful social media use; the prosecution of women for their choice of clothing and advocacy for women’s rights; prisoners of conscience held incommunicado beyond the expiration of their sentences; arbitrary travel bans imposed on detainees and their family members in a form of collective punishment; and the execution of 172 individuals carried out over 2023, with several young men at imminent risk of execution for alleged crimes committed as minors. In light of these alarming developments, ALQST and ISHR call on the Council to adopt a resolution mandating an independent international monitoring and investigative mechanism to address the human rights violations perpetrated in and by Saudi Arabia.

Sudan

The humanitarian crisis in Sudan is dire, with millions displaced, widespread attacks on civilians including systematic SGBV as a weapon of war, amidst lack of global attention and adequate funding to respond to the crisis. Sudan faced a total communication blackout on 7 February 2024, following earlier disruptions at the end of January. These shutdowns severely endanger WHRDs and their work hindering their ability to document atrocities and access essential resources such as mobile banking apps. 

Since the attack on Wad Madani in December 2023, WHRDs lost resources, faced displacement, and enormous challenges searching for safe locations across states and neighboring countries. Dozens of WHRDs were harassed, detained, summoned and threatened by both warring parties during the last few weeks. In recent months, the Sudanese Military Forces have intensified attacks on human rights defenders, journalists, and humanitarian workers in their controlled areas. Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have arrested civilians, engaged in looting, and perpetrated sexual violence systematically. WHRDs struggle to operate in these areas as the risks of sexual violence are expanding, with at least 5 WHRDs and first responders detained, summoned, or harassed recently. The attacks, which have resulted in the deaths of 4 WHRDs including 2 journalists and 11 women health workers, have occurred in territories controlled by both warring factions. 

Threats against medical services by RSF and SAF continue to be reported including killings and kidnappings of health workers, attacks on hospitals and theft of medical supplies; exacerbating the humanitarian crisis for millions internally displaced without access to necessities and healthcare, and at risk of diseases such as outbreak of cholera. 

Sudanese rights groups have documented more than 2000 cases of enforced disappearances in Khartoum and other war-affected regions since the start of the war, with victims often detained by RSF or SAF, some killed under unclear circumstances. Detainees endure inhumane conditions, lacking medical care, proper food, and subjected to torture and sexual violence. 

Authorities in safer regions of Northern and Eastern Sudan dissolved resistance committees, active since the 2018 protests. Governors of five States prohibited information dissemination on social media, detaining journalists and activists in three states. Peaceful civic activities are banned or unauthorised in several States, creating hostile environments for WHRDs. The civic space in Sudan is closed with increasing militarisation of the State and communities. During the last three months, Sudanese authorities launched a mobilization campaign to arm civilians, leading to unprecedented threats to women, peace and security and GBV in the areas out of the fighting zones.

The Council will hold, on 1 March, an enhanced interactive dialogue on the comprehensive report of the High Commissionner, presented with the assistance of the designated expert on human rights in Sudan. During the debate, States should reiterate joint civil society calls on the warring parties for an immediate ceasefire and the prompt creation of safe corridors for humanitarian aid organisations and groups, and to guarantee the safety of their operations; an immediate restoration of telecommunications across the country; and cease attacks on health facilities, medical supplies, and health workers, and uphold obligations under international humanitarian law. 

States should also declare their support for joint civil society calls on States to create an immediate long-term protection program for WHRDs; provide support for the Fact-Finding Mission and other international mechanisms mandated to document human rights violations in Sudan, including by ensuring that these entities have the necessary resources to carry out their work effectively; support local initiatives providing humanitarian support to local communities as well as support services to victims, and to support civil society’s documentation and reporting efforts so that the evidence obtained can be used for future judicial proceedings; to call for the disclosure of the whereabouts of the disappeared and the release of detainees, and to urgently address the issue of enforced disappearances and grave violations in detention centers, including gender-based violence; and to call for the reinforcement and protection of medical staff in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Tunisia 

Since 25 July 2021, President Saied has dismantled Tunisia’s democratic institutions, undermined judicial independence, stifled the exercise of freedom of expression and repressed dissent. In June 2023, the High Commissioner urged Tunisia to “change course”,  “respect due process and fair trial standards in all judicial proceedings, cease trying civilians before military courts and release all those arbitrarily detained”. He “expressed deep concern at the increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and press freedom in Tunisia, noting that vague legislation is being used to criminalise independent journalism and stifle criticism of the authorities.” He further addressed the ongoing crackdown “against judges, politicians, labour leaders, businesspeople and civil society actors”. 

The situation has since further deteriorated. Authorities have continued to escalate their crackdown on free speech and peaceful dissent, using unfounded conspiracy, terrorism and expression-related charges against opposition figures, journalists, lawyers, judges and businesspeople. Public remarks from the president about the prosecution of perceived critics have continued to undermine judicial independence. At least 20 people have been in pretrial detention for long periods of time (8 months to more than two years).

In November 2023, civil society organisations warned that the draft law on associations submitted to the Tunisian Parliament on 10 October 2023 would violate the right to freedom of association and endanger civic space in Tunisia. The draft law would grant the government pervasive control and oversight over the establishment, activities, operations and funding of independent groups, which are one of the last remaining counterweights to President Kais Saied’s autocratic rule. We urge States to call on Tunisia to refrain from adopting the proposed draft law and, instead, commit to safeguarding the right to freedom of association as enshrined in Decree-law 88 and under international human rights law binding on Tunisia. The authorities should ensure that associations are able to operate without political interference, intimidation, harassment or undue restrictions.

Moreover, Special Procedures have raised alarm at the collective expulsions targeting sub-Saharan migrants from Tunisia as well as “violence and racist hate speech, including perpetrated by the country’s top leadership and law enforcement officials”. While collective expulsions started being documented in early July, they are ongoing and target asylum seekers, refugees and children, to Libya and Algeria. ISHR reiterates the recommendations by Tunisian civil society, Special Procedures and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to put an end to these practices, and for the authorities to investigate, provide remedies to victims, and hold perpetrators accountable. 

Ukraine

Two years on from the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion and war of aggression against Ukraine, the perpetration of which has involved the widespread commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is vital that the Council continue to mandate mechanisms to investigate violations, promote accountability, support victims, and address root causes of conflict. At the March session of the Council, this should include renewing the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, the work of which is essential to promote accountability for atrocity crimes in Ukraine, as well as address root causes such as the repression and criminalisation of human rights defenders and independent journalists in Russia itself. 

The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on 19 March. The Council will also hold an interactive dialogue on the OHCHR report on Ukraine on 2 April. 

Venezuela

The Human Rights Council session comes as news comes through that Venezuela has suspended OHCHR activities in the country and given personnel 72 hours to leave the country. This in the context of the much-foretold pre-electoral increase in threats and attacks against defenders in Venezuela. The arbitrary detention and disappearance of human rights defenders Rocío San Miguel, president of NGO Control Cuidadano, on 9 February is evidence of this and of a wider pattern of attacks against defenders, as noted by the UN fact-finding mission on Venezuela. The re-activation of the process related to a highly restrictive and much-criticised NGO bill at the start of this year, is a sign of the government’s interest in restricting civil society’s ability to operate. This is no time to reduce efforts to demand the respect of human rights in the country including the respect of the rights of human rights defenders, and to express support for ongoing monitoring and reporting work by OHCHR in the country and by the UN Fact-Finding Mission. 

Venezuela will be the focus of two specific debates during the session. On 19 March, the High Commissioner will present an oral update informed by the conclusions and recommendations of his team in the country. The UN fact-finding mission will provide an oral update on the 20 March. Both of these updates will be followed by interactive dialogues. 

During this session, States must be of one voice in calling for the reactivation of the work of OHCHR in the country. Also, the immediate release of Rocío San Miguel and of Javier Tarazona, arbitrarily detained almost three years ago. States must also express deep concern at the re-introduction of the NGO bill and call on the government to cease threats and attacks against defenders in the country. States should restate the importance of the work of Venezuelan defenders and commit to supporting their work politically and, where possible, financially. 

States must insist on the re-establishment of an effective OHCHR presence in the country and speak to the essential, ongoing work of the UN fact-finding mission, stressing to Venezuela the importance of its cooperation with all the UN bodies and mechanisms with mandates related to Venezuela and with all Special Procedures. 

States’ participation in the two interactive dialogues on Venezuela – through individual and joint statements –  is key to making evident that the human rights situation in the country and the UN’s monitoring and reporting mechanisms remain a priority and reassuring those demanding accountability for human rights violations in Venezuela that they are being heard. 

Yemen

In 2023, Mwatana documented the continuation of human rights violations committed by various conflicting parties in Yemen, including ground and aerial attacks, attacks on vital facilities, child recruitment, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture, sexual violence, attacks on African migrants, denial of humanitarian access, as well as the impact of the widespread presence of landmines and explosive devices. In 2023, over 40 civil society organisations, victims and survivor associations from Yemen launched the Yemen Declaration for Justice and Reconciliation, in which they set forth their common vision for achieving justice that is inclusive, victim-centered, and includes accountability, reparations, and redress. ISHR calls on the international community to address the demands made by Yemeni civil society, including for an independent, impartial, and fair accountability for all crimes under international humanitarian law and international human rights law committed in Yemen, by all parties to the conflict.  Failure to address atrocities in the past has led to a culture of impunity throughout generations. We urge the international community to take effective measures to assess the full extent of civilian harm in coordination with local civil society and call on parties to the conflict to ensure reparation and redress. 

Other country situations

The High Commissioner will provide an oral update to the Council on 4 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:

  • Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan
  • Enhanced interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on  Eritrea
  • ID 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 on the High Commissioner’s oral update on Myanmar, and interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur 
  • Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Iran and Interactive Dialogue on the comprehensive report of the independent international fact-finding mission 
  • with the Commission of Inquiry on  Syria 
  • Enhanced interactive dialogue on the comprehensive written report of the Commission on Human Rights’ South Sudan and 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 High Commissioner and the Independent Expert on Haiti
  • Interactive Dialogue with the International Expert on Colombia, and presentation of the report on the OHCHR activities in Colombia under General Debate 2.

#HRC55 | Council programme, appointments and resolutions

During the organisational meeting for the 55th session held on 12 February, the President of the Human Rights Council presented the programme of work. It includes 6 panel discussions. States also announced at least 29 proposed resolutions. Read here the reports presented at this session. 

Appointment of mandate holders

The President of the Human Rights Council proposed candidates for 12 out of the 14 vacancies for the following mandates

  1. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, member from Africa
  2. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, member from North America
  3. Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order
  4. Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali
  5. Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence
  6. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  7. Working Group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, member from African States
  8. Working Group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, member from Asia-Pacific States
  9. Working Group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, member from Eastern European States
  10. Working Group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, member from Latin American and Caribbean States
  11. Working Group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, member from Western European and other States
  12. Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination, member from African States
  13. Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
  14. Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change

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 55th session

At the organisational meeting on 12 February the following resolutions were announced (States leading the resolution in brackets):

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. Right of the Palestinian people to self-determination (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC)
  4. Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC)
  5. Human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan (Pakistan on behalf of the OIC)
  6. Human rights and the environment (Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia, Switzerland)  – mandate renewal 
  7. Prevention of genocide (Armenia)
  8. The right to work (Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania)
  9. The right to food (Cuba) 
  10. Promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity  (Cuba)  – mandate renewal 
  11. The effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights (Cuba)
  12. The right to adequate housing (Brazil, Finland, Germany, Namibia) 
  13. Combating violence, discrimination, and harmful practices against intersex persons  (Australia, Chile, Finland ,South Africa)
  14. Human rights in Ukraine stemming from the Russian aggression  (Ukraine) 
  15. The role of States in countering the negative impact of disinformation on the enjoyment and realization of human rights (Ukraine, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, UK, US) 
  16. The right to privacy in the digital age (Austria, Brazil, Germany, Liechtenstein, Mexico) –  mandate  renewal 
  17. Cooperation with Georgia (Georgia) 
  18. Situation of Human Rights in the Republic of South Sudan ( Albania, Norway, UK, US) –  mandate renewal     
  19. 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) – mandate renewal 
  20. Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Denmark)
  21. Promoting and strengthening a culture of peace (Gambia, Lesotho, Chile, Mozambique, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Botswana) 
  22. The rights of persons belonging to minorities (Austria, Slovenia, Mexico)
  23. The right of persons with disabilities  (New Zealand and Mexico) 
  24. The situation of human rights in Belarus (European Union)
  25. The situation of human rights in the DPRK (European Union) – mandate renewal 
  26. The situation of human rights in  Myanmar (European Union) – mandate renewal 
  27. Freedom of religion or belief (European Union)
  28. Rights of the child (EU and GRULAC)
  29. Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iceland, Moldova, North Macedonia, United Kingdom) and  the deteriorating situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially with respect to women and children (Iceland and Germany) – two mandate renewals in one resolution.   

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 Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Russian Federation, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uzbekistan. 

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. This session of the Council will provide an opportunity for Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon to accept recommendations made in relation to human rights defenders, as proposed in ISHR’s briefing papers.

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. Annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming [accessible meeting]. Theme: Harnessing multilateral efforts to embed, amplify and realize the rights of persons with disabilities with a focus on full and effective participation and inclusion in society
  2. Panel discussion on countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence [accessible meeting]
  3. Panel discussion on challenges and good practices to realize the right to social security and to provide quality public services [accessible meeting]
  4. Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities [accessible meeting]. Theme: Good practices of support systems enabling community inclusion of persons with disabilities
  5. Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child [accessible meetings]. Theme 1: Rights of the child and inclusive social protection.
  6. Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child [accessible meetings]. Theme 2: Child rights mainstreaming in the United Nations. 
  7. Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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 2024.

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