What to expect at HRC 44

Published on June 30, 2020

Here’s What to Expect at HRC44

After being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resuming of HRC43 from 15 to 23 June, and after several rounds of consultations on dates and modalities, the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from Tuesday 30 June to Monday 20 July (tentative end date). 

Find below information about restrictions to civil society participation this session, anticipated sexual rights-related resolutions, panels and reports, UPR outcomes, and our online event taking place during the 44th session. Please note that all dates are provisional and subject to change. The latest information throughout the session will be available on the HRC44 page.

Click here to access the full programme of work for HRC44

#emptychairs campaign: nothing about us without us!

The Human Rights Council’s 44th session started today. Despite the travel restrictions and other necessary health measures which effectively bar the participation of most CSOs not based in Geneva, the bureau of the HRC decided to proceed with the session. 

We are very concerned that the proposed modalities of the session will even further restrict civil society participation and engagement, with a disproportionate impact on those in the Global South and where the COVID-19 pandemic is at its peak. The confusion on the modalities, the time frame and even the days and venues of meetings will have a disproportionate impact on CSO’s not in Geneva, giving them limited time to prepare and engage meaningfully. We will be monitoring and calling attention to these barriers and this exclusion throughout our participation in this session.

We cannot proceed with business as usual. We must defend civil society participation and engagement in the Human Rights Council sessions and work more generally as fundamental to ensuring that states respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all and fundamental freedoms for all. We reiterate the rallying call: Nothing about us without us!

  • Elimination of discrimination against women and girls (Mexico)
  • Elimination of female genital mutilation (Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Group)
  • The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests (Costa Rica, Switzerland)
  • Enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement)
  • Business and human rights (Argentina, Ghana, Norway, Russian Federation)
  • Freedom of opinion and expression (Brazil, Canada, Fiji, Namibia, the Netherlands, Sweden)
  • Human rights and climate change (Bangladesh, Philippines, Vietnam)
  • Independence and impartiality of the judiciary, jurors and assessors, and the independence of lawyers (Australia, Botswana, Hungary, the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand)
  • Several mandate renewal resolutions, including for the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (Sweden), the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities (Mexico, New Zealand), the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (Argentina, Ghana, Norway, Russian Federation), the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (Australia, Botswana, Hungary, the Maldives, Mexico, Thailand), the Special Rapporteur on the right to education (Portugal) 

Annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women 

Panel 1: Accountability for women and girls in humanitarian settings (Monday 13 July 2020, 10 a.m. -12 p.m.)

Click here to download the concept note »

Panel 2: COVID-19 and women's rights​ (Tuesday 14 July 2020, 10 a.m. -12 p.m.)

Click here to download the concept note »

Panel discussion on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change (Wednesday 8 July 2020, 1 - 3 p.m.)

Click here to download the concept note »

Panel discussion on the impacts, opportunities and challenges of new and emerging digital technologies with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights (Wednesday 8 July 2020, 9 - 11 a.m.)

Click here to download the concept note »

Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child (Wednesday 1 July 2020, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 3 - 5 p.m.) 

Theme: Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment

Click here to download the concept note »

Annual thematic panel discussion on technical cooperation and capacity-building (Wednesday 15 July, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.)

Theme: Upholding the human rights of prisoners, including women prisoners and offenders: enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building in the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Rules and the Bangkok Rules

Click here to download the concept note »

Click here for a list of all panels and concept notes

A/HRC/44/26

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Intersection of race and gender discrimination in sport

Click here to read the report » and click here to read the SRI submission to this report »

A/HRC/44/57

Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Racial equality in the context of information technology

Click here to read the report when it becomes available »

A/HRC/44/58

Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/51

Report of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls

Women’s human rights in the changing world of work 

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/52

Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences

Combating violence against women journalists

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/29

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Impact of the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers on the human rights of women and girls

Click here to read the report when it becomes available » 

A/HRC/44/33

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Expert group meeting on the elimination of female genital mutilation

Click here to read the report » 

A/HRC/44/36

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/48

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Elements needed for a rights-based global agenda for advancing the right to mental health

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/25

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Civil society space: engagement with international and regional organizations 

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/50

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

Ten years protecting civic space worldwide

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/35

Summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Intersessional interactive dialogue on ways to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of the Human Rights Council on issues affecting them

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/30

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change

Click here to read the report » and click here for the easy-to-read version (in English) »

A/HRC/44/41

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons

Persons with disabilities in the context of internal displacement

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/32

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through non-State based grievance mechanisms

Click here to read the report » 

A/HRC/44/43

Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Connecting the Business and human rights and anti-corruption agendas

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/39

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to education

Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the right to education; concerns, challenges and opportunities

Click here to read the report »

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

Disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/40

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

Click here to read the report when it becomes available »

A/HRC/44/42

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

Right to freedom of association of migrants and their defenders

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/53

Report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Practices of so-called “conversion therapy”

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/44/44

Report of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity

International solidarity and climate change

Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/43/30

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment

Click here to read the report »

Click here for a list of all reports

Only two of the outcomes from the 35th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be adopted during this session of the HRC: Spain and Kuwait. 

The adoption of the rest of the outcomes (Armenia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Sweden and Turkey) has been postponed to the 45th session of the HRC due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 35th session of the UPR was held in January 2020.

Among the two outcomes adopted during this session, SRI collaborated with the Federación de Planificación Familiar Estatal for the UPR review of Spain.

SPAIN

Federación de Planificación Familiar Estatal, SRI

Topics: comprehensive sexuality education, contraception.

Click here to read the submission »

Click here to read the other stakeholder reports submitted during the 35th session of the UPR.

All Reports from the Working Groups, containing all recommendations received by States Under Review can be accessed here.

Online Side Event: Systemic Racism in the United Nations 

Tuesday 14 July 2020, 16h00 to 17h30 CET (to be confirmed)

The United Nations Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations. However, often the UNHRC pursues it’s a laudable ambition by resolutely maintaining two significant fictions; firstly, that colonisation was an accident of the past and secondly, that human rights are fundamentally apolitical.  Both of these fictions are products of white supremacy and patriarchy. A clear, visible and unambiguous manifestation of this was the urgent debate held during the resumed 43rd session of the HRC on “the current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and violence against peaceful protests” initiated by the Africa Group.  The Global North “made clear that they are in it to push their own interests, which are paternalistic and white supremacist in nature.”

In this context, the Sexual Rights Initiative is organizing a side event to examine and explore the nature of gendered racism and racialized sexism, its myriad manifestations in multilateral spaces. The side event will analyse the hypothesis that white supremacy and patriarchy adapts and recalibrates, and uses the ostensible ‘apolitical’ human rights norms to maintain its power and influence and discuss ways to begin dismantling these systems.  The side event will also address the ways in which race is obscured from discussions around gender, including when appropriating concepts that originated in the fight for racial and gender justice by Black feminists. 

Stay tuned for more details and to register for this side event.