The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold its thirty-ninth regular session from 10 to 28 September 2018 in the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
At the opening of the session at 9 a.m. on Monday, 10 September, the Council will hear an update on the situation of human rights worldwide and on the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights by Michelle Bachelet, the newly appointed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
During the three-week session, the Council will engage with 25 independent human rights experts, groups and mechanisms, who will present 58 reports, to be considered on a range of human rights issues and country situations, including final reports on Myanmar and Burundi. The Council will also consider 35 reports by the Secretary-General, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and others. It will hold three panel discussions; discuss final outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review for 14 States; elect members of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee and appoint Special Procedure mandate holders and a member of a Working Group; and take action on decisions and resolutions on 27 and 28 September before concluding the session.
The Council will discuss a number of reports, inter alia, the report by the Working Group on arbitrary detention on consular assistance and diplomatic protection for persons deprived of liberty and the linkages between arbitrary detention and instances of torture and ill-treatment; the report of the Independent Expert on the various manifestations of the social exclusion of older persons and the impact on their human rights; the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence who will present his future areas of interest such as the fight against impunity and re-establishment of civic trust, further development of the area of guarantees of non-recurrence, and transitional justice and non-State actors; as well as reports by the United Nations Secretary-General, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and her Office, including on the death penalty, youth and human rights, mental health, privacy in the digital age, and draft guidelines for States on the effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs.
The Council will also engage in interactive discussions with the Special Rapporteurs on hazardous substances and wastes, on contemporary forms of slavery, on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures, and on safe drinking water and sanitation; with the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; and with the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and the 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, whose report focuses on the human rights impact of the recruitment of children by non-State armed groups, including mercenaries and private military and security companies.
The Council will dedicate significant time to discussing the right to development at this session, as it is scheduled to consider the consolidated report of the Secretary-General and the High Commissioner on the realization of this right, discuss the Special Rapporteur’s annual report that emphasises the consequences of inequalities within countries on the enjoyment of the right to development, and examine the report of the Working Group on the right to development on its nineteenth session held from 23 to 27 April 2018.
It will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by holding a high-level panel discussion, and an interactive dialogue with Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide.
Further, the Council will hold a discussion on a written update by the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on the human rights situation in that country; hear an oral update by the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan followed by an interactive dialogue; and discuss with the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar its final comprehensive 400-page report to the Council. As for the situation of human rights in Burundi, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner on the final report to the Council on the Mission by her Office to improve the human rights situation and accountability in this country, and an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi, which will also present its final report. On the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, the Council will hear an update by the independent, international commission of inquiry, established by the resolution adopted at the Council’s twenty-eighth special session held on 18 May 2018, to investigate the alleged violations of international law in the context of large-scale civilian protests that began on 30 March 2018.
The Council will hold an enhanced interactive dialogue on a comprehensive report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including in the context of the electoral process, and will also engage with the High Commissioner on the report and an oral update on the human rights situation in Yemen, including violations and abuses since September 2014. In addition, the Council will discuss the High Commissioner’s reports and oral updates on Ukraine and Libya, and engage in dialogues with Special Procedure mandate holders on the situation of human rights and technical assistance in Cambodia, Somalia, Sudan and the Central African Republic.
As for the human rights of indigenous peoples, the Council will hold its annual half-day panel discussion focusing on the means of the participation and inclusion of indigenous peoples in the development and implementation of strategies and projects in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and consider the annual study of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the theme of free, prior and informed consent. The Council will also consider the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights report on activities to promote the respect for and the full application of the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In the context of racism and racial discrimination, the Council will hear an oral update by the High Commissioner on follow-up to the implementation of the programme of activities within the framework of the International Decade for People of African Descent, and hold an interactive dialogue with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent.
Also, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue with its Advisory Committee, its annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout its work and that of its mechanisms, and a discussion on the report of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on a United Nations declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Final outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review for Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan, Tuvalu, Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, Russia, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, and Cuba will be discussed and adopted on 20 September.
As at every regular session, the Council will hold nine general debates: on the High Commissioner’s oral update on 11 September, on the promotion and protection of all human rights on 14 September, on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention on 18 September, on human rights bodies and mechanisms on 19 September, and on the Universal Periodic Review on 21 September. On 24 September the Council will hold two 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 and Programme of Action. The general debate on racism and racial discrimination will take place on 25 September, while the general debate on technical assistance and capacity-building will be held on 27 September.
The President of the Council will appoint two independent expert mandate holders, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, and a member of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent. Also at the session, the Council will elect four members to fill the vacant seats at the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, one from the Group of African States, one from the Group of Asia-Pacific States, one from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States, and one from the Group of Western European and other States.
Further information on the thirty-ninth session can be found here, including the annotated agenda, 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 thirty-ninth session is as follows: Afghanistan, Angola, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Togo, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Venezuela.
The President of the Human Rights Council in 2018 is Vojislav Šuc, Permanent Representative of Slovenia to the United Nations Office at Geneva. The Council’s four Vice Presidents are Cristóbal González-Aller Jurado of Spain, François Xavier Ngarambé of Rwanda, Evan P. Garcia of the Philippines, and Juan Eduardo Eguiguren of Chile.
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