HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL TO HOLD ITS FORTY-SECOND REGULAR SESSION FROM 9 TO 27 SEPTEMBER 2019 AT THE PALAIS DES NATIONS IN GENEVA
Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will open the session at 9 a.m. on Monday, 9 September. She will update the Council on the situation of human rights worldwide and on the activities of her Office, and will address, inter alia, the human rights situation in Venezuela and the implementation of the recommendations made by the independent international commission of inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
During the session, the Council will examine over 90 reports on a wide range of issues presented by 25 human rights experts, groups, and mechanisms.
Significant time will be dedicated to the examination of human rights situations in a number of countries, under different agenda items: the reports of the United Nations Secretary-General and High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office (item 2), human rights situations that require the Council’s attention (item 4), and technical assistance and capacity-building (item 10).
Nicolas Koumijan, the Head of the International Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, will present the Mechanism’s first report to the Council on 9 September. The Council will continue its consideration of this country situation on 16 and 17 September, when it will hold a dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar and with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, which will present its final report to the Council.
On Nicaragua, the Council will hold an enhanced dialogue with High Commissioner Bachelet, while on Yemen, it will discuss the report by the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts with knowledge of human rights law and the context of Yemen and the High Commissioner’s report on this human rights situation, including the human rights violations committed since September 2014.
The Council will hold separate interactive dialogues with the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, and the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.
The human rights situations in Ukraine, Libya, Cambodia, Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic and Georgia will also be on the agenda during the session. The High Commissioner will present her comprehensive report on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which will be discussed during an enhanced dialogue on 24 September.
The right to development will loom large at the session. The Council will examine the Report of the Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the implementation of this right and which focuses on the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 17, Partnerships for the Goals. The Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Right to Development will brief the Council on its twentieth session held in Geneva, from 29 April to 3 May 2019, during which the Working Group had continued the discussions on the elaboration of a draft legally binding instrument on the right to development. Finally, the Special Rapporteur on the right to development will present the guidelines and recommendations on the practical implementation of the right to development, with particular attention on, inter alia, meaningful participation in setting development priorities and enjoying development benefits and on measures for accountability when rights are infringed.
The rights of indigenous peoples will be another issue of importance during the session. In line with the United Nations General Assembly resolution 71/178 that proclaimed 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the Council’s annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples – to be held on 18 September - will focus on the promotion and preservation of indigenous languages. The Council will also have before it a thematic study on the rights of indigenous peoples and justice presented by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the study by the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on indigenous peoples’ rights in the context of borders, migration and displacement, and its report on the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In clustered interactive dialogues, the Council will address a range of other human rights issues and themes.
It will discuss the report by the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery that assesses how the future of work, demographic, migration, and the environment may shape slavery in the years to come, and the relationship between private military and security companies and the extractive industry from a human rights perspective, presented by the Working Group on the use of mercenaries.
With the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, the Council will discuss the access to water and sanitation in public spaces and other spheres of life beyond household, and with the Special Rapporteur on hazardous wastes it will examine the principles for the protection of workers from exposure to toxic substances.
The Council will engage with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances on its report and with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, whose report outlines practical experiences of domestic reparation programmes and provides recommendations for the effective design and implementation of such programmes.
In the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the human rights of older persons, the Council will examine her report on the human rights protection of older persons in emergency situations and the requirements for inclusive relief and assistance to respond to older persons’ vulnerabilities.
The Council will discuss the report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on public participation and decision-making in global governance spaces and its impact on a democratic and equitable international order. It will examine a report on the emergence of international legal norms against the extraterritorial use of unilateral sanctions by the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.
The Council will also dialogue with the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, with its Advisory Committee, and with the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, who will discuss intimidation and reprisals against those who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms.
During its biennial panel discussion on unilateral coercive measures and human rights on 12 September, the Council will explore the way forward to a United Nations declaration on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to development.
While the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms have made notable efforts to improve gender integration in its working methods and composition, women are still underrepresented in human rights mechanisms. Therefore, the annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms on 23 September will focus on the gender-responsive initiatives to accelerate gender equality in the work of the Council and its mechanisms.
Mona Juul, seventy-fifth President of the Economic and Social Council, will brief the Council on 13 September.
The Council will consider and adopt the final outcome of the Universal Periodic Review of 14 States: Norway, Albania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Portugal, Bhutan, Dominican Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Qatar, and Nicaragua.
As is the practice, it will hold nine general debates during the session. The general debate on the High Commissioner’s oral update, including on the report of the International Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, the recommendations made by the independent international commission of inquiry on the protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and the human rights situation in Venezuela, will be held on 10 September. The general debate on the promotion and protection of all human rights will take place on 13 and 16 September, while that on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention will be held on 17 and 18 September.
The Council will hold its general debate on human rights bodies and mechanisms on 19 September and on the Universal Periodic Review on 20 September. On 23 September, it will hold general debates on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories and on follow-up to and implementation of the Vienna Declaration, while on 24 September the general debate on racism and racial discrimination will be on the agenda. The final general debate for the session, on technical assistance and capacity-building, will be held on 26 September.
The Council will take action on decisions and resolutions on 26 and 27 September.
Before concluding the session, the Council will elect Advisory Committee members for seven vacant seats: two for the Group of African States, one for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, one for the Group of Western European and other States, two for the Group of Asian and Pacific States, and one for the Group of Eastern European States.
Further information on the forty-second session can be found here, including the annotated agenda, the detailed programme of work, and the reports to be presented.
The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system, made up of 47 States which are responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe. The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 15 March 2006 with the main purpose of addressing situations of human rights violations and making recommendations on them.
The composition of the Human Rights Council at its forty-second session is as follows: Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Eritrea, Fiji, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.
The President of the Human Rights Council in 2019 is Coly Seck, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Council’s four Vice Presidents are Vesna Batistiæ Kos of Croatia, Harald Aspelund of Iceland, Carlos Mario Foradori of Argentina, and Nazhat Shameem Khan of Fiji. Ms. Batistiæ Kos is also the Rapporteur.
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