Here’s What to Expect at HRC46

Published on February 23, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions imposed by Switzerland have meant that the HRC 46 will be an online session with modalities for informal negotiations, voting and statements undecided four days before the HRC is due to begin. The 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from Monday 22 February to Tuesday 23 March (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 46th session. Please note that all dates are provisional and subject to change. The latest information throughout the session will be available on the HRC46 page.

#Emptychairs Campaign: nothing about us without us!

Cooperation with civil society is an essential part of the Human Rights Council’s mandate. However, in 2020, travel restrictions and other health measures had an important impact on organisations that are not based in Geneva. The challenges for participation are likely to be exacerbated at this 46th session given the delays in confirming participation modalities, the probable capping of NGO speaking slots during general debates, and uncertain modalities regarding civil society access to online informal negotiations and public listing of side events. While remote participation is a much-needed alternative, and its advancement should be encouraged, it should not be understood as a substitute for attending the session in person. At the same time, remote participation should be maintained and strengthened to allow for more effective remote and online participation during and after the pandemic. For practical information on participation this session, please see this infographic prepared by HRCNet. SRI and partners raised concerns about restrictions to civil society participation in HRC sessions, in the HRC’s ‘efficiency process’ and regarding the impact of the UN budget crisis in a series of joint statements in 2020. We will continue to monitor and call 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 in the Human Rights Council 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!

  • Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity (Burkina Faso, Colombia, Estonia and New Zealand)
  • Guaranteeing the right to health through equitable access to vaccines in response to pandemics and other health emergencies (Ecuador)
  • Question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights  (Portugal)
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: role and responsibility of police and law enforcement officials in preventing and combating torture (Denmark)
  • The negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (Azerbaijan on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement)
  • The right to food (Cuba)
  • Cultural rights (Cuba)
  • The effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (Cuba)
  • Several mandate renewal resolutions including for the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment

 

Annual high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming
Theme: The state of play in the fight against racism and discrimination 20 years after the adoption of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action and the exacerbating effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on these efforts (Monday 22 January 2021, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.)
Click here to download the concept note »

Biennial high-level panel discussion on the question of the death penalty
Theme: Human rights violations related to the use of the death penalty, in particular with respect to whether the use of the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crime rate (Tuesday, 23 February 2021, 9 to 11 a.m )
Click here to download the concept note »

Meeting on the role of poverty alleviation in promoting and protecting human rights (Friday 26 February 2021, 10 - 12 p.m.)
Click here to download the concept note »

Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child (Monday 1 March 2021, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 4 - 6 p.m.) 
Theme: Rights of the child and the Sustainable Development Goals
Click here to download the concept note »

Annual interactive debate on the rights of persons with disabilities (Friday 5 March 2021,  4 - 6 p.m.) 
Theme: Participation in sport under article 30 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Click here to download the concept note »

Debate on the midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent
(Friday 12 March 2021, 4 - 6 p.m.)
(Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination)​
Click here to download the concept note »

A/HRC/46/19
Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) pandemic on the enjoyment of human rights around the world, including good practices and areas of concern
Click here to read the report » 

A/HRC/46/27
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities 
Rights of persons with disabilities
Click here to read the report  »

A/HRC/46/28
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment
Human rights and the global water crisis: water pollution, water scarcity and water-related disasters
Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/46/29
Report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights
The role of credit rating agencies in debt relief, debt crisis prevention and human rights 
Click here to read the report when it becomes available »

A/HRC/46/30
Report of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief
Combating anti-Muslim hatred
Click here to read the report  when it becomes available»

A/HRC/46/33
Report of the Special Rapporteur on on the right to food
Right to food
Click here to read the report » 

A/HRC/46/33
Report of the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights
Covid-19, culture and culture rights
Click here to read the report when it becomes available » 

A/HRC/46/35
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Final warning: death threats and killings of human rights defenders
Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/46/36
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
Human rights impact of counter-terrorism and countering (violent) extremism policies and practices on the rights of women, girls and the family
Click here to read the report »

A/HRC/46/38
Report of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context 
Twenty years on the right to adequate housing: taking stock - moving ahead 
Click here to read the report when it becomes available »

A/HRC/46/46
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights 
Panel discussion on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change
Click here to read the report when it becomes available »

A/HRC/46/47
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Relationship between the realization of the right to work and the enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.
Click here to read the report »

The topic of this report is related to the current call for submissions by the CRPD Committee to develop its General Comment on the right to work.

A/HRC/46/67
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief
Click here to read the report »

All 14 of the outcomes from the 36th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be adopted during this session of the HRC: Andorra,  Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Jamaica, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama, and United States of America. The 36th session of the UPR was held in November 2020.

Among the 14 outcomes adopted during this session, SRI collaborated with organizations and activists in preparing reports for the UPR reviews of Croatia, Honduras, Malawi, Panama and the United States of America.

CROATIA

B.a.B.e. Be active. Be emancipated
Topics: Gender inequality, gender based violence, workplace discrimination and harassment, gender equality, violence against women, abortion, sexual and reproductive health and rights
Click here to read the submission »

HONDURAS

Plataforma Derechos Aquí y Ahora Honduras and Akahatá
Topics: Sexual and Reproductive Rights (SRHR) and the human rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, Bisexual, Intersex (LGBTI) population, women, youth, adolescents, girls and boys.
Click here to read the submission »

MALAWI

Community Health Rights Advocacy and African Sex Workers Alliance 
Topics: Sex workers’ rights, criminalisation of adult sex work, police violence and corruption, violence and discrimination against sex workers, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, access to sexual and reproductive health services, HIV and AIDS
Click here to read the submission »

PANAMA

Mujeres con Dignidad y Derechos de Panamá y la RedTraSex, Akahatá
Topics: Sex Work-Discrimination and Gender Violence-Right to Equality before the law and non-discrimination-Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Click here to read the submission »

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

Anonymous human rights defender
Topics: Acceptance of international norms, sexual and reproductive health and rights, sexual rights, abortion; sex work; sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression; equality, non-discrimination; cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, torture; right to remedy
Click here to read the submission »

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