13 March 2007 - Child Rights at the Human Rights Council 20
- UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Issues and events for the 4th session [event]
- Agenda and Issues
- Special Events: Violence against children and Disability
- Petition on the Special Procedures
- Child rights at the Human Rights Council
- NGO Statements and written submissions
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UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Issues and events for the 4th session
The fourth session of the UN Human Rights Council opened yesterday in Geneva. In a video message, the recently appointed Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said that the world was watching to see if the Council would live up to its promise. He hoped that the Council's members would work together to promote an objective and universal approach to human rights.
The Human Rights Council (HRC) was created on 15th March 2006 with the almost unanimous adoption of General Assembly Resolution A/Res/60/251. It held its first session on 19-30 June 2006. The fourth session takes place from 12 March to 5 April 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland.
The new Human Rights Council carries high expectations - it was established with the hope that it could be more objective, credible and efficient in denouncing human rights violations worldwide than the highly politicised Commission on Human Rights.
In her introductory statement, Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said poverty and discrimination were both the causes and the consequences of the most egregious violations of human rights and attacks on human dignity. Armed conflict, whether internal or international, inevitably increased the threats to life and the vulnerability of civilians. Yet, poverty and war were often perceived as akin to natural disasters, unfortunate and deplorable things that happened, but that were essentially unavoidable and for which no one could really be held responsible.
Agenda and issues
On 15 March, the Council will hold an interactive dialogue with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour on her annual report. Her report is available here: http://www.crin.org/resources/infodetail.asp?id=12759
The Council will continue with its review work of its mechanisms and will hear progress reports from its two intergovernmental working groups on the Universal Periodic Review, and on the review of mandates, which includes segments on the Complaints Procedure, the Expert Advice Body and the Special Procedures.
For more details of events and meetings, check the 'Orders of the day' on the HRC website or see the programme of work.
During the session, the Council will hear the Special Procedures of the Council present their reports. Country mandates will present reports on the situation of human rights in Burundi, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
In terms of thematic mandates, reports will be presented on minority issues, effects of economic reform policies and foreign debt on human rights, racism and racial discrimination, extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, freedom of religion or belief, human rights of migrants, protection of human rights while countering terrorism, freedom of opinion and expression, physical and mental health, education, sale of children and child prostitution, indigenous people, torture, violence against women, human rights and transnational corporations, human rights defenders, internally displaced persons, people of African descent, arbitrary detention, and enforced or involuntary disappearances.
Reports submitted to the HRC by Special Procedures are available on the OHCRC website and selected reports are available on the CRIN website here: http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=12237#3
Two special events are scheduled to be held during the session: on violence against children and on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Violence Against Children, Monday 19 March, 3pm, Palais des Nations
Following the launch of the UN Study on Violence Against at the 61st session of the UN General Assembly in October 2006, a resolution was adopted which extended Paulo Pinheiro's mandate as Independent Expert for another year.
His activities are to serve as follow-up to the Study and include:
- dissemination of the Study findings
- identification and dissemination of proven and promising practices
- networking and information sharing
This special event at the Human Rights Council will be an opportunity for Pinheiro to present his Study to the Human Rights Council, but also to engage governments and civil society to discuss follow-up.
More information here: http://www.crin.org/violence/search/closeup.asp?infoID=12627
The Disability Convention, Monday 26 March, 3pm, Palais des Nations
A new UN Disability Convention will be inaugurated on 30 March 2007 and will then open for signatures and ratification. The obective of this meeting is to raise awareness of the Convention in the Council and to identify the issues that the Council may integrate in its work in order to contribute to the promotion of the treaty and to its future implementation.
The Human Rights Commission adopted several resolutions that addressed the human rights of persons with disabilities, and the Convention in particular. However, the Council has not previously discussed this Convention, which is a landmark human rights treaty.
In this sense, it would be beneficial to discuss the practical issues that the Council, OHCHR and States, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders, will need to address in the following months to promote the Convention and prepare the ground for its follow up and implementation.
In this regard, the event is intended to be practical and forward-looking, focussing on the key issues that the international community will need to take into account to promote and implement the Convention.
- More information about the event: http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=12716
- More information about children and the Disability Convention: http://www.crin.org/themes/ViewTheme.asp?id=5
Sign the Petition in support of the Special Procedures
A global petition in support of the system of Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council was opened on 6 March 2007.
Several governments are using the review of the Special Procedures that is under ways within the HR Council as an opportunity to make proposals which would cripple the ability of all the Special Procedures to fulfil their mandates effectively. The aim of this global petition is to galvanise support for the Special Procedures through the electronic and hard copy collection of signatures from individuals from all over the world.
Individuals and organisations are encouraged to sign the petition and to forward it to other individuals and organisations that would be interested in supporting this initiative. The following groups could be approached to support the petition:
National NGOs, who use the Special Procedures system or who have an interest in the Human Rights Council more broadly.
Parliamentarians, particularly those with a human rights interest, or who are members of human rights parliamentary committees, bearing in mind that parliamentarians are also victims of human rights violations and their cases are taken up by the Special Procedures;
National human rights institutions, who can use the recommendations of the Special Procedures in their work and, internationally at least, are seeking to forge a closer relationship with the Special Procedures.
United Nations Associations, which are independent of the UN; many have a strong interest in human rights and UN reform
National bar associations, relevant both because of the role played by the Special Procedures in interpreting and developing the law, but also because the theme of independence of judges and lawyers, as well as individuals who are members these professions, are subject of action by the Special Procedures.
Information about the petition is also available in the following languages: Arabic , French and Spanish
Full details: http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=12782
Child Rights Caucus
During the second and third week (starting 19 March) of this session, the Subgroup for the Human Rights Council of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child will be organising morning briefings with Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts at the UN building.
These briefings are an opportunity for NGO representatives, UN agencies and government delegates to share information on activities, issues and upcoming events related to children's rights.
A list of guests will soon be made available here: http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=12237&flag=event.
Location: Room 3023, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Time: 9 - 10am, starting 19 March
CRIN and the Subgroup for the HRC will be producing daily updates from the Human Rights Council from 19 March. These updates will available on the CRIN website, will be sent out via this email list and will be distributed in hard copy format at the UN in Geneva.
Child rights and the Human Rights Council
The Subgroup for the Human Rights Council of the NGO Group for the Convention on the Rights of the Child, brings together NGOs willing to promote the rights of the child at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In April 2006, the Subgroup presented a call for action to all Permanent Representatives at the United Nations in Geneva and called on the Human Rights Council to act on four specific child rights issues: violence against children - sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - children affected by armed conflict and displacement - children in conflict with the law.
Whilst conscious of the need to mainstream children’s rights into the entire human rights system, those NGOs felt that children have specific needs and concerns that necessitate the adoption of an explicit children’s rights focus by the Council. They also urged the Human Rights Council to ensure meaningful and substantive participation of children’s rights NGOs and other independent human rights institutions for children’s rights in the work of the Council including consultations during the universal periodical review.
In its latest written submission to the fourth session of the HRC, Members of the subgroup call on the Human Rights Council to:
- Put the rights of the child on the agenda of the Human Rights Council for at least two days a year with one day for general discussions and one special day
- Ensure a rights of the child perspective is adopted throughout the work of the Human Rights Council, and in particular in the Special Procedures and Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
- Implement a process for meaningful child participation in the work of the Council.
Full statement: http://www.crin.org/resources/infodetail.asp?id=12666
NGO Statements and written submissions:
Children with disabilities: Written Statement prepared by World Vision for the 4th session of the Human Rights Council (12 March - 5 April 2007). The statement is submitted in light of the recently adopted UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities which will open for signatures on 30 March 2007.
Corporal Punishment: The human rights imperative to ban all corporal punishment, Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. Members of the HRC should be leading… BUT, of the 47 states on the Council, only five have prohibited all corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home; only eight have prohibition in place in all forms of alternative care. Almost half have yet to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in schools and penal institutions. In six states, there is no clear prohibition in any setting and corporal punishment such as whipping of children is still prescribed as a court sentence.
Juvenile Justice: Juvenile Sentencing: Written statement for the 4th session of the Human Rigths Council, in particular for the special event on violence against children. The organisation is also a member of the Subgroup of the NGO Group on the Human Rights Council.
Palestine: Child fatalities in Gaza: written statement to the Human Rights Council, Defence for Children International - Palestine Section. This statement is designed to supplement the September 2006 report (A/HRC/2/5) and January 2007 report (A/HRC/4/17) of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the OPT, John Dugard, and more specifically, paragraphs (21) and (8) respectively of these reports, concerning civilian casualties resulting from Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip in the second half of 2006.
- More NGO statements and submissions will be made available here
- Reports submitted to the HRC by Special Procedures are available here
- Sign up to special CRINMAILs
- Website of the Subgroup for the Human Rights Council, NGO Group for the CRC
This update has been produced by CRIN. All previous updates are available on the website. To subscribe, unsubscribe or view archives, visit http://www.crin.org/email.
Further information about the Human Rights Council is available on the CRIN website at: www.crin.org/hrc. To submit information, email us on email@example.com. CRIN, c/o Save the Children, 1, St John's Lane, London EC1M 4AR, UK.