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Impact of the coronavirus disease pandemic on contemporary forms of slavery and slavery-like practices - Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences [EN/AR/RU/ZH] (A/HRC/45/8)

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Human Rights Council
Forty-fifth session
14 September–2 October 2020
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Summary

Tomoya Obokata was appointed as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, by the Human Rights Council in March 2020. He assumed his functions on 1 May 2020. The present report is his first report to the Council.

The present report contains reflections on and analysis of the impact that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has had on contemporary forms of slavery and slavery-like practices, and recommendations on how various stakeholders could mitigate the impact of the pandemic. It also contains an overview of the methods of work that the new Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, intends to implement and promote during his tenure.

I. Introduction

  1. In March 2020, the Human Rights Council appointed Tomoya Obokata from Japan as the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences; he assumed his tenure on 1 May 2020. The Special Rapporteur gratefully acknowledges the trust that the Council has placed in him by appointing him as mandate holder. The present report is submitted pursuant to Council resolution 42/10, in which the Council renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences.
  2. In light of the global health, social and economic challenges posed by the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Special Rapporteur examines in the present report how this crisis exacerbates existing vulnerabilities to contemporary forms of slavery. He also identifies the new risks it brings, and outlines the impacts on the estimated 40.3 million people who were trapped in situations of modern-day slavery before the outbreak. In addition, the report contains a brief section outlining the methods of work of the newly appointed Special Rapporteur.
  3. The Special Rapporteur wishes to express his deep appreciation and admiration to his predecessor for her important work in combating slavery and slavery-like practices during her two terms as mandate holder between 2014 and 2020. Through her thematic work, for example on bonded labour, the Sustainable Development Goals, domestic servitude, slavery in supply chains, child slavery and the gendered dimensions of contemporary forms of slavery, the former mandate holder consistently advocated for ending all forms of slavery by 2030. Through her country-specific work and 10 official country visits, she not only provided valuable analysis and insight into country situations and drew attention to the concerns and issues surrounding slavery and slavery-like practices therein, but also made constructive and action-oriented recommendations.