On 17 September 2021, the UN Secretary-General released his annual report on reprisals and intimidation against individuals and groups seeking to cooperate with the UN on human rights. Once again, the report identifies a high number of threats and attacks aimed at retaliating against defenders and discouraging cooperation with the UN.
Tech tools can provide great opportunities and challenges to document human rights violations, notably in contexts of acute crisis.
The Human Rights Council should not only respond to diverse States and civil society’s calls for the creation of a Special Rapporteur on human right and climate change and to recognise the right to a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, but also recognise the fundamental role of environmental human rights defenders in addressing climate change and safeguarding biodiversity. ISHR also called on the Council to respond to grave human rights violations in Afghanistan, China, and Nicaragua.
The 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 13 September to 8 October 2021, will consider issues including intimidation and reprisals, arbitrary detention, racism, enforced disappearances, climate change and the right to a healthy environment, water and sanitation, and the rights of indigenous peoples and people of African descent, among others. It will also present an opportunity to address grave human rights situations in States including Afghanistan, Burundi, China, Ethiopia, Libya, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela, among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.
This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.
ISHR has published ‘scorecards’ for States seeking election to the UN Human Rights Council for 2022-2024 to help inform voting States’ decisions in the upcoming election.
The 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council was marred by politicisation: a joint statement of 45 countries on the human rights crisis in China, while China fired back with targeted attacks via its diplomatic allies. The message from NGOs and many States was clear: High Commissioner Bachelet has an essential role to play to provide the Council with objective information by starting remote monitoring and public reporting.
For over five years, Assa Traoré, the sister of Adama Traoré, a black French man who was killed at the hands of the police, has faced judicial harassment for campaigning for a transparent investigation to establish the responsibility of the gendarmes, a name given to the paramilitary police officers in France, for the death of her brother and for them to be brought to justice. ISHR joined with the Adama Committee to call on the French Government to urgently put an end to the judicial harassment of Assa Troaré. This harassment diverts the public attention from the justice that is expected for Adama’s death and appears intended to dissuade Assa from continuing her struggle.
ISHR welcomes the Council’s historic consensus decision, led by the Africa Group, to adopt a resolution mandating an independent international expert mechanism to address systemic racism and to promote racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent. The adoption of this resolution is testament to the resilience, bravery and commitment of victims, their families, their representatives and anti-racism defenders globally.
At the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, ISHR along with the Informal Sector Service Center presented a joint statement in Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review expressing concern about the situation of human rights defenders in the country.