HRC37 | Key issues on agenda of March 2018 session

21.02.2018

The 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 26 February to 23 March 2018, will consider issues including the protection of human rights of migrants, torture and human rights defenders. It will also present an opportunity to address grave human rights situations in States including Burundi, Syria, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Eritrea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Honduras, and Guatemala among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.

The UN Human Rights Council (the Council) will hold its 37th regular session at Palais des Nations in Geneva from 26 February to 23 March 2018.

Stay up-to-date: Follow @ISHRglobal and #HRC37 on Twitter, and look out for our Human Rights Council Monitor.

Don’t miss this side event organised by ISHR:

  • Implementing the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders on Tuesday 20 March 2018 at 16:00 at Palais des Nations, Room XXII.  

 

#HRC37 | Thematic areas of interest

Here are some highlights of the session’s thematic discussions.

Protection of human rights defenders working in the context of people on the move

Migration-related issues will be prevalent in the first part of the Council session. This focus on the theme of migration is timely, as States are currently negotiating the Global Compact for Migration. In an open letter sent on 21 February, High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid urged States to develop a compact that ‘explicitly recognizes and fully conforms to the existing international human rights framework as the authoritative protection agenda for all migrants’. In this regard, the attention of the Council and its Special Procedures is critical.

The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders will present a thematic report on the situation of defenders of the rights of people on the move. The report by the Special Rapporteur Michel Forst highlights the challenges facing human rights defenders globally, which can often be exacerbated when those individuals and organisations seek to protect and promote rights of migrants and refugees and others ‘on the move’. Read here ISHR’s detailed analysis of these documents.

The report aligns well with the OHCHR Principles and Practical Guidance for the protection of the Human Rights of Migrants in Vulnerable Situations, namely Principle 18 which states that States should ‘respect and support the activities of human rights defenders who promote and protect the human rights of migrants’.

Finally, the Council will consider the report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, whose report is expected to focus on torture and other forms of ill-treatment in the context of migration. This document will also be considered at the upcoming session of the Council.

ISHR is also cosponsoring a side event which examines how to, in the context of an increasingly restrictive environment which tends to consider migration as a security issue, stakeholders can collaborate to advance the recommendations of UN human rights experts. The event is organised by the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), in cooperation with International Detention Coalition and with the support of the Swiss Permanent Mission, will hold a side event on 2 March 2018 at noon till 13:30 at Room XXIII, Palais des Nations.

Reprisals

During its last session, the Council adopted a resolution on reprisals. The resolution established a dedicated dialogue to address acts of intimidation and reprisals at each September Council session. Through the resolution, the Council also affirmed the particular responsibilities of its Members, President and Vice-Presidents to investigate and promote accountability for reprisals and intimidation. 

Reports of cases of reprisals not only continue, but grow. While the passage of this resolution, as well as the appointment of the UN Assistant Secretary General as the Senior Official on addressing Reprisals are indications of action taken by the UN on this issue; ISHR remains deeply concerned over reprisals against human rights defenders and other civil society actors who try to engage with UN mechanisms. 

As requested by Council Resolution 12/2, the General Debate under Item 5 of the Council is a key moment for States and civil society to raise and follow up cases of reprisals, and to push for accountability for such acts. 

During the organisational meeting held on 12 Feburary, the President of the Council again stressed the importance of ensuring the safety of those participating in the Council’s work, and the obligation of States to prevent intimidation or reprisals. It is important that the international community acts and works collectively to this end. He did not elaborate on how he intends to handle allegations of reprisals, given his immediate predecessor’s reluctance to vigorously denounce and seek accountability for such calls. In line with previous calls, ISHR expects the President to publicly identify and denounce specific instances of reprisals by issuing formal statements, conducting press-briefings, corresponding directly with the State concerned, publicly releasing such correspondence with and from States, and insist on undertakings from the State concerned to investigate, hold the perpetrators accountable and report back to the Council concerning measures taken.

Institutional strengthening of the Council

At a time where human rights violations continue at an alarming rate, it is of utmost concern that the key UN human rights organ is facing budgetary cuts and is forced to reduce the time allocated to discuss human rights situations across the globe. It is of further concern that these measures are being developed without adequate consultation with civil society organisations, particularly those working at the national and regional levels, and may ultimately limit civil society space and participation in the Council.

The Council President had initiated a restructuring of the programme of work of the Council in order to decrease the meeting times due to budgetary restrictions for 2018. ISHR participated in the informal consultations held on 12 February and 19 February 2018 and raised a number of concerns including the lack of consultation with non-Geneva based organisations and the potential limiting of space for civil society participation.

ISHR considers that any efforts to strengthen the Council should focus on its accessibility for rights holders and impact on the ground, rather than mere efficiency.

Acting preventatively and responding to country situations of concern

Norway announced during the organisational meeting held on 12 February 2018 that it plans to present a another joint statement (co-sponsored by Switzerland, Sri Lanka and Colombia), as a follow up to the joint statement delivered on behalf of 69 States on 12 September 2017 at the Council.

The States had called for operationalising the Council’s prevention mandate under paragraph 5f of General Assembly Resolution 60/251 on two levels.

First, they identified the prevention of violations at the ‘root-cause’ level. In this regard, they called on States to commit to engage in preventing human rights violations from happening by implementing their obligations and building domestic human rights resilience including through international dialogue and technical cooperation.

Second, they highlighted the Council’s mandate to respond promptly to human rights emergencies, by translating early warning into early action. They called for the examination of information provided by the High Commissioner and civil society in an objective and non-selective manner in order to decide whether the situation merits and/or may benefit from early preventive action.

ISHR urges States to join this commitment and to take into consideration relevant and objective criteria for initiating Council action. ISHR also reiterates the call made in a joint civil society paper published on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Council that sets out steps towards a more accessible, effective and protective Human Rights Council.

Other key thematic reports

The body working on developing a treaty on bussiness and human rights, the open-ended inter-governmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises (known as IGWG), will also present its third report to the Council. ISHR is concerned about the limited protection for human rights defenders in the current elements discussed at the last session. Any process towards drafting a business and human rights treaty should effectively prevent and respond to cases of reprisals.

The Council will consider the annual report of the Secretary-General on the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights in all countries. The Special Rapporteur on the right to food, the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing and the Special Rapporteur on cultural rights will present their reports to the Council.

The High Commissioner will also present his report on the relationship between the realisation of the right to work and the implementation of the sustainable developments goals in accordance with States’ obligations under international human rights law.

The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief, the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, and the Special Rapporteur on minority issues will all submit their annual reports to the Council.

#HRC37 | Country-specific developments

Burundi

During the 36th session, the Council passed two resolutions on Burundi; one led by the European Union extending the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry and a second resolution by the African Group that requested OHCHR to urgently dispatch a team of three experts to engage with the Burundian authorities and all other stakeholders to collect and preserve information, to determine the facts and circumstances in accordance with international standards and to forward to the judicial authorities of Burundi such information in order to establish the truth and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable. Read here ISHR’s analysis of the two resolutions.

At the 37th session, the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi will present an oral briefing to the Council. ISHR recalls that the President of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi highlighted the lack of will of the Burundian authorities to fight against impunity in his report to the Council 36th session. In addition, the High Commissioner will give an oral briefing of the Council on the mission of the OHCHR.

Furthermore, the Secretary-General’s report on Burundi noted that OHCHR continued to receive allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses, primarily by the State and affiliated actors, including killings, enforced disappearances, torture and ill-treatment, more than 1,000 arbitrary arrests and detentions and restrictions on the freedoms of association, expression and movement. Burundi’s vice president criticised the report, suggesting that the Secretary-General has been transformed into an opposition member.

ISHR continues to remain highly concerned about the human rights situation in Burundi and its refusal to cooperate with the Council’s mechanisms, which both clearly warrant an invitation to the General Assembly to consider the suspension of Burundi as a member of the Council. 

For more information on the situation of human rights defenders in Burundi, check ISHR Briefing Paper for the UPR here.

Palestine

The High Commissioner will present to the Council his report on producing a database of all business enterprises engaged in certain specified activities related to the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The report shows progress made towards the consolidation of the database, including the methodology adopted by OHCHR, recalls the normative framework used, and makes a preliminary analysis of the most common explanations given by companies for their involvement in the listed activities and makes recommendations.

China

Since Xi Jinping's assumption of power in 2013, the situation for human rights defenders in China has gone from bad to worse. Where there once was a little room to manoeuvre, activists are nearly completely blocked. Where once China violated its own laws, it now manipulates its laws and regulations so as to silence dissent legally. And where violations were once exclusively domestic, as well as in Xinjiang and Tibet, China is increasingly brazen in extraterritorial measures and attacks on non-citizens.

Five current cases illustrate the sense of impunity with which Chinese authorities trample on the rights of civil society actors. ISHR has discussed many of them in detail, but in short they include:

  • the baseless house arrest since 2010 of Liu Xia, a poet and the widow of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo;
  • the prolonged detention of rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang, who has been held incommunicado, and without charge or access to lawyers since July 9, 2015;
  • the seizure and disappearance in January 2018 of bookseller Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen previously forcibly disappeared from Thailand in October 2015;
  • the detention and prosecution for inciting separatism of Tashi Wangchuk, a Tibetan cultural rights and education advocate; and
  • the punitive disbarment in January 2018 and, later that month, arbitrary detention of Yu Wensheng, a prominent human rights lawyer.

ISHR has organised a letter with nearly twenty other human rights organisations to call on the Council and its Member and Observer States to take clear and concrete actions to press China to fulfil its international human rights obligations by redressing the serious deterioration of human rights in the country.  

Other country situations:

The High Commissioner will present his annual report in the last interactive dialogue of his term. Read here ISHR and other regional and international human rights organisations’ open letter to the Secretary General on the selection process of the next High Commissioner.

The Council will hear reports on and is expected to consider resolutions addressing a range of country situations, in many instances involving the renewal of the relevant expert mandates. They include:

  • The High Commissioner will present his reports on Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia, Afghanistan and give oral updates on the situation of human rights in Haiti, Yemen, Ukraine, Libya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  • OHCHR will present its report on Cyprus and an oral update on Eritrea.
  • The Council will consider the written update of OHCHR on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.
  • The Council will consider the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Syria and renew its mandate.
  • The Council will consider the report of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan and the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
  • The fact-finding mission on the situation of human rights in Myanmar will present an oral update to the Council and the Special Rapporteur on Myanmar will also present her report to the Council.
  • The Council will consider the interim report of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights in Iran and Cambodia.
  • The Council will hold an interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic.
  • The Independent Expert on Mali will present his report to the Council, who will also hold an interactive dialogue on the human rights situation in Mali.
  • The Council was intending to consider the report of the Special Rapporteur on Iran, Asma Jahangir, however due to her death, it is currently unclear whether and how the report will be considered. 

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): States to be reviewed

During this session the Council will adopt the UPR reports which list the recommendations the State under review is expected to implement of the following 14 countries: Czechia, Argentina, Gabon, Ghana, Peru, Guatemala, Benin, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Pakistan, Zambia, Japan, Ukraine and Sri Lanka.

ISHR supports human rights defenders in their interaction with the UPR. We publish and submit briefing papers regarding the situation facing human rights defenders in some States under review and advocate for the UPR to be used as mechanism to support and protect human rights defenders on the ground. This session of the Council will provide an opportunity for Peru to accept recommendations made in relation to human rights defenders, as proposed by ISHR’s briefing paper.

#HRC37 | Council programme, appointments and resolutions

During the organisational meeting for the 37th session, the President of the Human Rights Council presented the programme of work. It includes seven panels of discussion and 81 reports. States also announced 27 resolutions.

Appointment of mandate holders

The President of the Human Rights Council has proposed candidates for the following nine vacancies of mandate holders to be filled at this session:

  1. Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
  2. Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence
  3. Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali
  4. Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order
  5. 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, member from African States
  6. 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, member from Eastern European States
  7. 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, member from Latin American and Caribbean States
  8. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), member from Africa
  9. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), member from North America

In view of the pending appointments, it is relevant to recall that in appointing mandate holders, the President of the Council is required to give particular attention to the need to avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest. Mandate holders should also be genuinely committed to the independence and effectiveness of the special procedures system, and have a demonstrated commitment to civil society engagement and participation.

Officers of the Human Rights Council

Newly appointed members of the Bureau for the 12th cycle comprises of the following Ambassadors:

  • Mr Vojislav ŠUC (Slovenia), President of the Human Rights Council
  • Mr Evan P. GARCIA (Philippines), Vice President
  • Ms Antje LEENDERTSE (Germany), Vice President
  • Ms Marta MAURÁS PEREZ (Chile), Vice President and Rapporteur
  • Mr François Xavier NGARAMBÉ (Rwanda), Vice President

ISHR organised the annual reception for civil society to welcome the new Council President. You can read Mr Šuc’s opening speech to the participants here.

Panel discussions

During each Council session, panel discussions are held to provide member States and NGOs with opportunities to hear from subject-matter experts and raise questions. All panel discussions will be broadcast live and archived on http://webtv.un.org. Seven panel discussions are scheduled for this upcoming session:

  • The annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming will take place on 26 February 2018 from 16:00 to 18:00. This panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities of the promotion and protection of human rights in the light of the UPR mechanism. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • High-level panel discussion on the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action will take place on 28 February 2018 at 16:00 to 18:00. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child will take place on 5 March 2018 from 09:00 to 11:00 and from 16:00 to 18:00. This panel will discuss the protection of the rights of the child in humanitarian situations. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities will take place on 7 March 2018 at 16:00 to 18:00. This panel discussion will address the human rights of persons with disabilities with regard to the standards set in article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on access to justice and the policies and practices developed under its guidance.  The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • High-level panel discussion on violations of the human rights of children in the Syrian Arab Republic will take place on 13 March 2018 at 09:00 to 11:00. The concept note of the panel is available here.
  • Debate on promoting tolerance, inclusion, unity and respect for diversity in the context of combating racial discrimination will take place on 16 March 2018 at 09:00 to 11:00. This panel will be held in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The concept note will soon be made available here.

Resolutions to be presented to the Council’s 37th session

At the organisational meeting the following resolutions were announced (States sponsoring the resolution in brackets):

  1. Resolution on torture and negative impact of corruption in the fight against torture (Denmark)
  2. Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur (Brazil, Germany)
  3. Resolution to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on Mali (Togo on behalf of African States)
  4. Resolution to promote freedom of religion, conscience, thoughts, beliefs and address discrimination (European Union)
  5. Resolution on the rights of the child focusing on children in humanitarian situations (European Union)
  6. Resolution on the prevention of genocide (Armenia)
  7. Resolution on human rights and technical assistance in Georgia (Georgia)
  8. Resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures (Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement)
  9. Resolution on the right to work (Egypt, Greece, Indonesia and Mexico)
  10. Resolution on rights of minorities with focus on youth (Austria)
  11. Resolution on cultural rights and preservation of cultural heritage (Cyprus, Switzerland, Iraq, Serbia, Greece, Argentina)
  12. Resolution on human rights in Syria and renewal of mandate of the Commission of Inquiry (UK, France, Germany, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, USA, Qatar)
  13. Resolution on the integrity of the judiciary (Russia)
  14. Resolution on the rights of persons with disabilities and their access to justice (Mexico, New Zealand)
  15. Resolution on contribution of the Human Rights Council in the effective combat against drugs: human rights perspective in the promotion of effective coordination (Mexico, Albania, Brazil, Greece, Portugal, Poland)
  16. Resolution on role of good governance in the implementation of the 2030 agenda (Poland, Australia, Chile, South Africa)
  17. Resolution on economic and social rights (Portugal)
  18. Resolution on combatting intolerance based on religion or belief (Pakistan on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation)
  19. Resolution on the promotion of human rights through sport (Greece, cross-regional)
  20. Resolution on renewal of mandate of the Commission on South Sudan (USA)
  21. Resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the environment (Switzerland, Macedonia, Croatia, Moldova)
  22. Resolution on the right to adequate housing (Germany, Brazil, Finland, Namibia)
  23. Resolution on the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Iran (Sweden)
  24. Several resolutions will deal with aspects of the sustainable development goals (SDGs), including a resolution on operationalisation of human rights in the implementation of the SDGs (Denmark, Chile); a resolution on an integrated approach of the Human Rights Council for the implementation of the SDGs (South Africa) ;
    a resolution on operational synergies with human rights and SDGs (Ecuador); and a resolution on the promotion of human rights and implementation of the SDGs through the efficient delivery of public services (Azerbaijan and cross-regional group).

#HRC37 | Side events

  • Implementing the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders is an event organised by ISHR that will take place on 20 March 2018 at 16:00 in Room XXII.  In the month of International Women’s Day and the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the event will highlight the experience of women human rights defenders and the implementation of the Declaration as well as share findings and recommendations related to a recent joint research on implementation carried out by the Colombian Commission of Jurists, the Tunisian League for Human Rights and ISHR.

Furthermore, ISHR will co-sponsor the following events:

  • Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants is an event organised by ISHR, Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), International Detention Coalition and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations. It will take place on 2 March 2018 from noon till 13:30 at Room XXIII. The panellists will discuss how to enhance the rights of migrants and of those defending their rights with a focus on the on-going process to negotiate the Global Compact on Migration.
  • Shrinking Democratic Space in India is an event organised by Human Rights Defenders Alert – India, Forum-Asia, OMCT and ISHR aiming to bring together human rights activists, academics, writers, UN and State representatives to discuss the shrinking democratic space in India and on how national authorities and the international community can collaborate to address challenges for a comprehensive protection of civil society and for an enabling environment for its work. It will take place on 2 March 2018 at 15:00 to 16:30 in Room XXV.
  • The Targeting and Persecution of Activists and human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia is an event organised by Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) and co-sponsored by ISHR. It will take place on 7 March at noon to 13:00 in Room VIII. The event will examine Saudi Arabia’s continued targeting and persecution of activists, journalists, and human rights defenders and the legislative framework that authorities use to pursue them.
  • Peace process in Colombia:Ongoing resistance and absence of governmental institutions is an event organised by Dominicans for Justice and Peace (OP), Provincia Dominicana de San Luis Bertrán, Colombia, Universidad Santo Tomás, Bogotá, Pax Romana, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), International Network of Human Rights (RIDH), International Platform against Impunity and Race and Equality. It will take place on 7 March 2018 at 14:30 to 15:30 in Room XII. The event will discuss obstacles that challenge the implementation of the Peace Accords in Colombia, paying special attention to the way in which said obstacles have a negative impact on the rights of indigenous peoples, peoples of African descent and social leaders.
  • The Situation of Human Rights and Upcoming Elections in Egypt: Facilitating Radicalisation is an event organised by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and co-sponsored by ISHR, that will take place on 9 March at 13:30 to 15:00 in Room XXIII. The event will address the deterioration of the human rights situation in Egypt and the dangers of the international community's failure to respond.
  • The use of the judiciary in Bahrain to target human rights defenders and other activists is an event organised by CIVICUS and FIDH in co-operation with Americans for Human Rights & Democracy in Bahrain (ADHRB), the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) and co-sponsored by ISHR. It will take place on 13 March at 11:00 to 12:30 at Room XXIV. The event will address the politicisation of the judiciary to criminalise human rights defenders. 
  • Combatting Atrocity Crimes, Corruption, and Impunity in Mexico is an event organised by the Mexican Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and ISHR. It will take place on 13 March 2018 from 13:30 to 15:00 at Room XXI. The panel, which includes Mexican grass roots human rights defenders as well as Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal, will propose a series of recommendations to address the alarming rate of impunity in Mexico.
  • Human rights violations in Egypt and in the Gulf States is an event organised by FIDH, CIVICUS, the Gulf Center for Human Rights, and co-sponsored by ISHR. It will take place on 15 March 2018 at 15:00 till 16:00 in Room XXIII. The event will focus on the interlinked plight of human rights defenders in Egypt and the Gulf States as both are facing ongoing targeting by their own governments as well as explore measures for coordination and advocacy at the international level.
  • Peru: Impunity for Serious Human Rights Violations and the UPR: The Pardon to Fujimori is an event organised by National Humans Rights Coordinator Peru, Amnesty International Peru, International Commission of Jurists and ISHR. The panel will discuss the effects of the pardon granted to Alberto Fujimori on victim´s rights to justice, truth and reparation, and in terms of compliance with Peru´s recommendations under the third Universal Periodic Review, as well as the perspectives of Peruvian defenders regarding the role the international community can play in the fight against impunity. It will take place on 16 March 2018 at noon till 13:30 at Room XXVII.

Other key side events at the Council:

States and NGOs are holding a series of events. You can download the list of State events here and NGO events here.  

  • Counterterrorism, Emergency Powers, and the Protection of Civic Space is an event organised by Civic Space Initiative and the European Centre for Non-for-Profit Law and will take place on 2 March 2018 (exact time and location TBC). The panellists will discuss the different measures and negative impact on human rights of permanent, and complex states of emergency as well as identify possible ways to further regulate the use of such powers so to minimise negative effect on human rights and related freedoms.
  • Protecting the Freedoms of Expression and Religion or Belief for All: Sharing good practices in promoting inclusion, diversity and pluralism is an event organised by ARTICLE 19 and the Canadian Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva and will take place on 6 March 2018 at 11:00 to 12:30 at Room XXIV. The event will focus on a discussion of what stakeholders are doing at the national level to promote inclusion, diversity and pluralism, and how international human rights mechanisms can more effectively drive forward an implementation agenda on this issue.
  • Crimes against humanity in North Korean political prisons is an event organised by the International Bar Association (IBA) based on an IBA inquiry report that focuses on evidence of crimes against humanity committed in North Korea’s political prisons. It will take place on 14 March 2018 at 14:00 and will include on the panel the IBA war crimes Committee co-chairs, Federica d'Alessandra and Greg Kehoe, Mark Harmon and the Special Rapporteur on DPRK, Tomas Ojea Quintana.
  • Defending the Rule of Law: dispatches from the global frontlines is an event organised by the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) that will take place on 14 March 2018 at 14:30 to 16:00 at Room XXIV. The event will include a panel discussion on global trends and national examples with ICJ’s regional directors for Asia-Pacific, Africa, MENA, Europe and Central Asia, and Central America, together with ICJ’s Secretary General Sam Zarifi.
  • Defending our land and nature is our right is an event organised by FIDH on 16 March 2018 at 10:00 till 11:30 at Room XXIV. The project Defender la tierra y la naturaleza es nuestro derecho by Broederlijk Delen and local partners, focuses on the protection of  human rights defenders working on the environment in the context of extractive industries, in four Latin American countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru). The discussion will focus on recurring patterns of criminalisation and violence against defenders across the region, triggered by a development model based on extractive industries.

Other key events in March 2018:

On the occasion of the Geneva human rights film festival, ISHR will support an event called Defending the Defenders which will take place on 10 March 2018 at 20:30 at the Espace Pitoëff as part of the International film festival and forum on human rights. The event is co-presented with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAE), the European Union's mission to the United Nations and other international organisations in Geneva, ISHR, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and Lawyers Without Borders Switzerland. It marks the 20th anniversary of the Declaration on human rights defenders and will bring together defenders from Guatemala and Bahrain as well as international human rights experts.

 

 

Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré