Human Rights Council - Session 19

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Summary: Full details of the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council, including key children's rights discussions and information on how NGOs can participate in and follow the session in Geneva.



Coverage


CRIN will posting regular updates on discussions taking place in Geneva. We will also be publishing daily HRC CRINMAILs from Geneva during the second week of the 19th session. To subscribe to our "Child Rights at the Human Rights Council" CRINMAILs, click here.
    • 23 March - Resolution adopted on the rights of the child

    In a resolution (A/HRC/19/L.31) regarding the rights of the child, introduced by Uruguay and adopted without a vote, the Council expressed deep concern that more than 7.6 million children under the age of five died each year, mostly from preventable and treatable causes caused by lack of access to services and called upon States to prohibit and eliminate all forms of violence agaisnt children in all settings.

    Read the resolution in full here 
    The resolution also called for the 2013 annual day on the rights of the child to focus on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.  

      • 23 March - Session closes with the adoption of 41 resolutions

      - Read the concluding press release

      • 23 March - Syria: Mandate for Commission of Inquiry extended

      The Council demanded that the Syrian authorities meet their responsibility to protect their population, and decided to extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council. It also requested the Commission of Inquiry to conduct and continuously update a mapping exercise of gross violations of human rights since March 2011, including an assessment of casualty figures, and to publish it periodically. Read more here.

      • 22 March - Resolution adopted on birth registration

      The resolution calls upon States to establish or strengthen existing governmental institutions responsible for birth registration and the preservation and security of such records. States should identify and remove physical, administrative and other barriers that impeded access to birth registration.

      • 22 March - Special Procedure mandates extended

      The mandates for North Korea, Iran and Myanmar have all been extended by one year.

      • 22 March - Sri Lanka: Resolution calls on government to act

      In a resolution (A/HRC/19/L.2/Rev1) regarding promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, adopted by a vote of 24 in favour, 15 against and 8 abstentions as orally revised, the Council notes with concern that the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka does not adequately address serious allegations of violations of international law. Read more here

      • 22 March - Sri Lanka amongst States under the spotlight

      The Council held a general debate under Item 4 on human rights situations that needed the Council's attention. Both Syria and Iran were on the agenda, as well as the issue of impunity in Sri Lanka, political prisioners in Belarus, the humanitarian situation in Sudan, and 'systematic' abuses in Eritrea. Read more here.

          • 20 March - Panel discussion on HIV and AIDS

          "Funding is now a major challenge", Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said during a panel discussion to give voice to people living with, and affected by HIV and AIDS, including young people. Read more here.

          • 16 March - Council holds debate on the UPR

          Speakers agreed that the focus now was on the implementation of the accepted commitments and in making the process less burdensome through reducing the number of recommendations and by ensuring they were precise, practical and implementable. Read more here.

          • 16 March - UPR reports adopted for Lithuania, Uganda and Timor-Leste

          - Read about the adoptions

          • 16 March - UPR reports adopted for Republic of Moldova, Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda

            - Read about the adoptions

            • 15 March - UPR reports adopted for Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago and Thailand

            - Read about the adoptions

            • 15 March - UPR reports adopted for Ireland, Togo and Syria

            - Read about the adoptions

            • 14 March - Dialogue with Independent Expert on minority issues

            Rita Izsak, UN Independent Expert on minority issues, said young people from both minority and majority communities had different experiences from older generations and brought different perceptions with regard to identity.

            - Read more on the discussions

            • 14 March - UPR reports adopted for Tajikistan, Tanzania and Libya. 

            - Read about the adoptions

            • 12 March - Syria rejects Commission of Inquiry report

            "Unsubstantiated accusations against the Government based on hearsay," is how Syria described the report of the UN Commission of Inquiry, before rejecting it.

            - Read more here

            • 12 March - Iran: States call for prohibiton of juvenile executions

            Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, presented his report and said that the apparent unwillingness of Iranian authorities to cooperate substantively only heightened concerns and seemed to fuel further attention to its human rights record. Several countries joined the urgent call for the prohibition of the execution of juveniles and the establishment of a moratorium on executions. Repression took the form of arbitrary arrests of journalists, human rights defenders and students. Read more.

            • 12 March - Myanmar: Special Rapporteur presents his report

            In the interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human Rights in Myanmar, said that during his recent visit to Myanmar he had seen a positive impact on the human rights situation by new reforms, policies and legislation adopted by the Government of Myanmar. However, clear and serious human rights concerns remained that could not be ignored in the rush to reform. Read more.

            • 12 March - North Korea: Special Rapporteur talks of significant deterioration.

            Marzuki Darusman, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, said that there had been a significant deterioration in the human rights situation in the country and that more than six million people urgently required food assistance. Read more.

            • 9 March - Libya: Council holds dialogue with Commission of Inquiry 

            During the interactive dialogue speakers said that the current situation in Libya presented huge challenges to the promotion and protection of human rights and the country needed the support of the Council not only to guarantee credible investigations of violations but to consolidate the rule of law in the country. Read more.

              • 8 March - A Day in Children's Rights: Daily CRINMAIL

              - Read about the day's discussions
              (including "Children and adminstration of justice" debate).

              • 7 March - A Day in Children's Rights: Daily CRINMAIL

              - Read about the day's discussions

              • 6 March - A Day in Children's Rights: Daily CRINMAIL

              - Read about the day's discussions

              • 5 March - A Day in Children's Rights: Daily CRINMAIL

              - Read our first Daily CRINMAIL

              • 5 March - Discussions on human rights defenders

              The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs), Margaret Sekaggya, today presented her report to the Human Rights Council. In it, she focused on the specific risks and challenges faced by selected groups of HRDs, including journalists and media workers, those working on land and environmental issues, and youth and student protesters.

              Sekaggya expressed particular concern about the perception of youth, in particular the image disseminated by established media outlets: "Youth student protestors are seen as trouble makers rather than groups that can contribute to constructive debate."

              - Read the full item

              • 5 March - Discussions on torture

              Referring to the main purpose of his report - commissions of inquiry into torture - the Special Rapporteur said the report's aim was to encourage the establishment of Commissions and to act as standard setting. "Commissions of inquiry can be a powerful tool," he said, "they can play a complimentary role with other mechanisms". He also said that national commissions of inquiry should be pursued before international commissions".

              Mr Méndez also said that solitary confinement is on the rise around the world. "I'd like to emphasise that solitary confienement is a harsh measure and should be used in only exceptional circumstances," he said, adding that indefinite solitary confinement of particular concern to him.

              - Read the full item

              • 1 March - Council adopts Resolution on Syria

              After a long debate, the Council adopted a resolution (37 votes in favour, 3 against, and 3 abstentions) condemning the continued widespread and systematic violations of human rights and expressing concern at the humanitarian situation.The resolution calls for the Council to remain seized of the matter and to take further action, including after the forthcoming interactive dialogue with the commission of inquiry on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic. Read more, here.

              • 27 Feb - 1 March: High-level segments

              During the high-level segments, where States are invited to address the Council, a number of States made reference to the new Optional Protocol mentioned above. Some States also addressed broader children's rights issues, including Austria on juvenile justice and Armenia on human rights education in schools. Find out what other States were saying about children's rights, here.

              • 29 February - Panel on freedom of expression and the internet

              Navi Pillay, UN Human Rights Chief, said the internet had transformed the human rights movement, resulting in a 'backlash effect' by States seeking to exercise control. The Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said that new standards on human rights were not needed, whilst some speakers pressed for the protection of journalists and bloggers by calling for a draft resolution and a convention. Read about the discussions, here.

              • 28 February - 20 States sign Optional Protocol (CRC Complaints Mechanism)

              Twenty States signed the new complaints mechanism under the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the Human Rights Council session in Geneva today. Mr Drahoslav Stefanek of Slovakia, Chairperson for the Working Group, said: "The Optional Protocol didn't fully meet our expectations, however what we have achieved is an enormous accomplishment." Find out which States have signed

                • 28 February - Council holds urgent debate on Syria

                An urgent debate on Syria took place at the Council with UN Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay, telling the meeting her office had heard reports of a 'rapidly deterioating situation' in the country. Syria responded Syria by condemning the holding of the meeting and said that it was an effort to politicize the High-level Segment of the Human Rights Council. Some UN Member States then took to the floor to express concern about the situation; others were concerned about appeals for regime change in Syria and of those who advocated the use of force and violence to resolve the conflict. Read about the discussions.

                • 27 February - Session opens with announcement of urgent debate on Syria

                The President of the Council announced that an urgent debate on Syria will take place on 28 February. The Russian Federation said it would not object to holding the special meeting, but stressed that the discussion should not result in a written document as that would not be useful to resolving the situation in Syria. Amongst the high level representatives to take to the floor during the opening meeting of the 19th Session were Government Ministers from the United Kingdom, Colombia, Iraq, Uruguay and Mexico. Read more about the opening meeting.

                  In addition to the coverage above, you can also:



                  Programme

                  The programme for the 19th session of the Human Rights Council, due to take to take place from 27 February to 23 March 2012, has been released (see attachment above).

                  OHCHR have also released a Thematic / Country Chart which provides a list of themes and countries to be addressed during the 19th session. View the chart here.

                  Key discussions concerning children

                  • 8 March: Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child
                    (theme: rights of children and the administration of justice).
                    - View the full programme, including list of speakers.
                  • 6 March: Interactive discussion with SR on human rights defenders
                    (with a focus on student and youth defenders)
                  • 20 March: Panel to give voice to people living with, and affected
                    by HIV and AIDS, including young people.
                    - View the full programme, including list of speakers
                  • 7 March: Clustered panel discussion with:
                    - Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children
                    - Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography

                  Other discussions likely to feature children's rights, include:

                  For a full list of panellists for all the above discussions, click here.



                    Submission Deadlines

                    Monday, 13 February is the deadline for the following:

                    • Submission of NGO written statements
                    • Requests for NGO parallel-event rooms (on-line only)

                    The online oral statement request form will open at 2pm (Geneva time), Friday, 24 February 2012.

                    For details on how to submit reports and requests rooms, click here.



                    Children and the administration of justice

                    On 8 March, States, NGOs and independent experts met for the Human Rights Council's 2012 day on the rights of the child under the theme 'children and the administration of justice'.

                    • You can read about the day and access all NGO statements here.



                    Side Events / Statements

                    The following side-events either focus on children or are likely to feature children's rights:

                    • Organisers: World Vision International / Save the Children
                      Topic: "The right to nutrition: key to children's health and survival"
                      Date / Venue: 1pm  - 3pm, 5 March 2012 / Room XXIV
                    • Organiser: Defence for Children International
                      "Detention as a alternative measure"
                      Date / Venue: 1 - 3pm, 5 March / Room XXI
                    • Organiser: American Civil Liberties Union / Penal Reform International
                      Topic: "Solitary Confinement and its human rights implications"
                      Date / Venue: 11am, 6 March 2012 / Room XXIV
                    • Organiser: Penal Reform International
                      Topic: "Female Offenders - What difference can the Bangkok Rules make?"
                      Date / Venue: 1 - 2.30pm, 6 March 2012 / Room XXIV
                    • Organiser: Plan International
                      Topic: "Protecting children from violence in schools- Bridging gaps between standards' and practice"
                      Date / Venue: 1 - 3pm, 6 March / Room XXVII 
                    • Organiser: Defence for Children International (DCI)
                      Topic: "Age limits in juvenile justice" - details to follow
                      Date / Venue: 12pm, 7 March 2012 / Room XXIII
                    • Organiser: World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
                      "Preventing violence against children deprived of liberty: the cases of Benin and Uruguay"
                      Date / Venue: 2pm, 7 March 2012 / Room XXIII
                    • Organiser: Plan International
                      "Children and the administration of justice in Latin-America: a regional perspective."
                      Date / Venue: 12-2pm, 8 March / Room XXIII
                    • Organiser: Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO)
                      "Children of incarcerated parents"
                      Date / Venue: 1 - 3pm, 9 March 2012  Room XXIII
                    • Organiser: The International Organisation for LDCs (IOLDC)
                      "The root causes of the conflict between North and South Yemen
                      and its effects on the human rights situation for children"
                      Date / Venue: 2 - 4pm, 15 March 2012 / Room XXII
                    • Organiser: International Rescue Committee, IRC
                      Topic: "The detention of immigrant children"
                      Date / Venue: 2pm, 21 March 2012 / Room XXIV

                    More side events will be posted as soon as they are announced. Full the list of all side events taking place (beyond children's rights), click here.

                      The following statements either focus on children or feature children's rights:

                      NGO statements

                      • "Juvenile sentencing schemes"
                        Written statement submitted by the Human Rights Advocates
                      • "Restorative juvenile justice"
                        Written statement submitted by the International Federation Terre Des Hommes
                      • "Children and the death penalty"
                        Written statement submitted by Amnesty International
                      • "Lengthy terms of imprisonment and detention of children"
                        Written statement submitted by Amnesty International.
                      • "Preventing children from coming into conflict with the law by building a protective environment"
                        Written statement submitted by Plan International, Inc..
                      • "Children of incarcerated parents"
                        Written statement submitted by the Friends World Committee for Consultation
                        (Quakers)
                      • "Children of parents sentenced to death"
                        Written statement submitted by the Friends World Committee for Consultation
                      • "Status offences and juvenile justice: The criminalisation of street children"
                        Written statement submitted by the Consortium for Street Children
                      • "The death penalty in the Islamic Republic of Iran"
                        Written statement submitted by the International Educational Development
                      • "Appeal for urgent attention to the situation of children living with HIV or with HIV/TB co-infection"
                        Joint written statement submitted by Caritas Internationalis
                        (International Confederation of Catholic Charities).
                      • "The human rights situation in Colombia"
                        Written statement submitted by Amnesty International.
                      • "Moving forward in Somalia"
                        Written statement submitted by the International Educational Development
                      • "Continuing the discussion of children living or working in the street"
                        Written statement submitted by the International Educational Development
                      • "The enduring violence against the albino children in the United Republic of Tanzania"
                        Joint written statement submitted by Franciscans International.
                      • "The situation facing Palestinian children prosecuted in the military court system"
                        Written statement submitted by Defence for Children International.
                      • "Child marriage in India"
                        Written statement submitted by Franciscans International
                      • "Ensuring protection for children in conflict zones in the central African region"
                        Joint written statement submitted by the Women’s Federation for World Peace, International.

                      You can find the above statements and all submissions, here.

                      National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) statements

                      • "Information presented by the Australian Human Rights Commission"
                        (paragraph 33 refers to a UPR recommendation calling on the government
                        to set up a Federal Children's Rights Commissioner).

                      You can find the above statement and all submissions, here.

                       



                        Special Procedures
                        (what are these?)


                        Reports

                        The list of Special Procedure reports (and other reports) has been released.

                        Below are some of the key reports concerning children. Where the report is child-specific, the full report is included. For other reports, CRIN has extracted references to children's rights from the original reports).

                          - View the full list of reports, here


                          Meetings with Special Rapporteurs


                          New mandate appointments

                          The following mandates were established at the 19th session.

                          Mandates extended

                            • Special Rapporteur on Myanmar
                            • Special Rapporteur on Haiti
                            • Special Rapporteur on North Korea
                            • Special Rapporteur on Iran
                            • Special Rapporteur on cultural rights

                            Visit CRIN's Special Procedures pages:

                               



                              Resolutions

                              A total of 41 resolutions were adopted by the close of the 19th session:

                              • Read more about the adoptions here.

                              • The resolutions are available on the HRC Extranet
                                (username: hrc extranet, password: 1session)


                              Rights of the child

                              In a resolution (A/HRC/19/L.31) regarding the rights of the child, introduced by Uruguay and adopted without a vote, the Council expressed deep concern that more than 7.6 million children under the age of five died each year, mostly from preventable and treatable causes caused by lack of access to services and called upon States to prohibit and eliminate all forms of violence agaisnt children in all settings. 
                              2013 annual discussion

                              The resolution also called for the 2013 annual day on the rights of the child to focus on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

                              • Read the resolution in full here.



                              Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
                              (what is this?)


                              Report Adoptions

                              The following States had their UPR reports adopted from 14 - 16 March.

                              • 16 March - UPR reports adopted for Lithuania, Uganda and Timor-Leste

                              - Read about the adoptions

                              • 16 March - UPR reports adopted for Republic of Moldova, Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda

                              - Read about the adoptions

                              • 15 March - UPR reports adopted for Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago and Thailand

                              - Read about the adoptions

                              • 15 March - UPR reports adopted for Ireland, Togo and Syria

                              - Read about the adoptions

                              • 14 March - UPR reports adopted for Tajikistan, Tanzania and Libya. 

                              - Read about the adoptions


                              UPR Discussions

                              On 16 March, an debate on the UPR was held under Item 6.

                              During the discussions, speakers agreed that the focus now was on the implementation of the accepted commitments and in making the process less burdensome through reducing the number of recommendations and by ensuring they were precise, practical and implementable.

                              On 21 March, a panel discussion focused on technical cooperation at the UPR. The objective of the discussion was to share good practices, technical cooperation and capacity building among all relevant actors with a view to promote the implementation of the outcome of the first cycle of the UPR.

                                Further Information

                                Visit CRIN's pages:


                                  NGO Participation

                                  Read about the deadlines for report submissions and booking rooms at the top of this page.

                                  Information note for NGOs - including information on accreditation and NGO parallel events

                                  Written statements

                                  NGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC may submit written statements relevant to the work of the Human Rights Council.

                                  The HRC Secretariat wishes to draw the attention of NGOs to ECOSOC resolution 1996/31, which authorises written statements of: a) 2,000 words for NGOs in general consultative status; and b) 1,500 words for NGOs in special consultative status and on the roster.

                                  NGO written statements are to be submitted in accordance with the guidelines for the submission of NGO written statements:
                                  http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/guidelines.htm

                                  NGOs may submit their written statements to the Council Secretariat electronically to hrcngo@ohchr.org.

                                  OHCHR NGO Liaison Office:

                                  Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
                                  Palais des Nations
                                  CH-1211 Geneva 10
                                  Telephone: + 41 (0)22 917 9656
                                  Email: Civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org

                                   



                                  Sources of Information / Follow the Session

                                  CRIN - sign up to the special HRC CRINMAIL.

                                  Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Press releases are issued by the HRC on a daily basis during HRC sessions and are available on the OHCHR website. In addition, relevant documents are posted on the Human Rights Council extranet (sign up).

                                  Relevant and updated information on the 19th session of the HRC will be regularly posted on the HRC Extranet. Username: hrc extranet - Password: 1session.

                                  A live Webcast service will be available under the Council’s webpage, covering the plenary session online, and will be accessible through this link.

                                  Civil society news and perspectives are available on the CONGO website (Conference of NGOs in consultative relationship with the UN) and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) - ISHR: Human Rights Council daily updates

                                  UN - FAQs about the Human Rights Council



                                  Subgroup on the HRC

                                  Working Group for the HRC (subgroup of the NGO Group for the CRC)

                                  The Working group 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.

                                  The WG’s aim so far has been to ensure that the Human Rights Council addresses the specific rights and situations of children worldwide in its regular work and sessions on human rights. By advocating for the inclusion of its concerns into the Council's Resolutions, the NGO community has ensured better support and coherence between international politics and local realities affecting the realisation of children's rights.

                                  For more information, contact the co-convenors of the NGO WG:

                                  Alan Kikuchi-White, Geneva Representative
                                  SOS-Kinderdorf International
                                  Email: KikuchiA@sos-kd.org

                                  Or Veronica Yates, CRIN
                                  Email: vyates@crin.org

                                  Visit: http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/publications/NGOCRC/subgroup-CHR.asp


                                  pdf: http://www.crin.org/resources/infoDetail.asp?ID=27948

                                  Countries

                                  Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.