The 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 26 February – 5 April 2024, 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 Sudan, Nicaragua, Venezuela, China, Syria, South Sudan, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Myanmar, Eritrea, occupied Palestinian territory/Israel, among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.
ISHR made the following statement to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018.
Thank you Mr President.
ISHR was struck by three elements, in particular, of the update.
First, we were struck by the increase in attacks, restrictions and reprisals against defenders of economic and social rights in States. The High Commissioner mentioned China, Honduras, Iran and Sudan. Let us be clear. There can be no sustainable development without respect for ESC rights and ESC rights defenders. States that attack or fail to protect ESC rights defenders violate the rights for which they advocate for. They also demonstrate a manifest lack of commitment to the 2030 Agenda. This is not win-win. It is lose-lose for everyone, and particularly for the poor.
Second, we are deeply concerned at the flagrant lack of cooperation – or the highly selective cooperation – with this Council and its mechanisms by certain members, including Burundi, the Philippines and Venezuela. Adherence to membership standards is essential to this Council’s legitimacy, influence and impact on the ground. It is also a legal obligation which should be promoted by the President and the Bureau, and enforced by Member States of the General Assembly.
Finally, like the High Commissioner, we are inspired by the many human rights defenders worldwide who continue to stand up and speak out, often in the face of retaliation and repression. Across the globe, people are protesting against power, prejudice and privilege – whether on the streets in Women’s Marches or on social media in #MeToo. They’re demanding participation, accountability, representation and respect for fundamental rights. In these people and movements, on this International Women’s Day, in this year of the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, there is cause for celebration, ambition and hope.
Watch the statement here:
Contact: Salma El Hosseiny, Human Rights Council Advocate, ISHR at [email protected]
For many rights holders, victims and human rights defenders, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) provides a vital lever increasing pressure for change at the national level, while for others it provides the last resort or only opportunity to expose violations, seek accountability, and garner support for their essential work towards a fair, equal and sustainable world. We need the HRC to be credible, effective and accessible to everyone. This is only possible if States ensure that remote and hybrid participation of civil society is maintained; that international law is upheld universally; promptly and adequately respond to HRDs’ demands for accountability; lead and support HRC action in line with objective human rights criteria; and ensure that HRC members live up to their responsibilities, including full cooperation with the HRC and its mechanisms.
ISHR joins 25 other NGOs in calling for the UN Human Rights Office's return to Venezuela and the release of political detainees, including Rocío San Miguel, amidst rising repression.