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HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL HOLDS TWENTY-FIRST REGULAR SESSION FROM 10 TO 28 SEPTEMBER
Council to Hear Presentations from 19 Independent Human Rights Experts and Bodies; Commission on Inquiry on Syria also to Present Latest Report
4 September 2012

The Human Rights Council will hold its twenty-first regular session from 10 to 28 September 2012 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, during which it will hear presentations from 19 independent human rights experts and bodies and hold panels and discussions on gender integration, economic, social and cultural rights and the empowerment of women; cooperation with United Nations mechanisms and issues of intimidation or reprisals; and access of indigenous peoples to justice.  The 47-member body will also hear from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria that will present its latest report.

On the first day of the session, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will update the Council on the activities of her Office, to be followed by a general debate on the annual report of the High Commissioner. 

During the first week, the Council will hear the presentation of reports and hold interactive dialogues with the following independent human rights experts and bodies: the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for children and armed conflict; the 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; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence; the Special Rapporteur on  human rights and extreme poverty; the Special Rapporteur  the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation; the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity; the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order; the Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery; and the Working Group on the right to development.

Also in the first week, the Council will hold a panel discussion on cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms and issues of intimidation or reprisals (13 September).  General debates will also be held on the Council’s agenda items on the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General, and on the promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development.  The subjects covered in these reports include, among others, maternal mortality, the death penalty, juvenile justice, freedom of expression on the Internet, violence against women, and business and human rights.

At the beginning of the second week, the Council will hear a presentation from the Commission of Inquiry on Syria on their latest report published last month (17 September).  The Council will also hold a discussion on indigenous peoples and their access to justice (18 September); its annual discussion on gender integration, focusing on economic, social and cultural rights and the empowerment of women (20 September); and on how values of reconciliation, peace, freedom and racial equality can contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights (21 September).  General debates will be held on human rights situations that require the Council’s attention, and human rights bodies and mechanisms.

Also in the second week, the Council will hear the presentation of reports and hold interactive dialogues with the following independent human rights experts and bodies: the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples; the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee.

The Council will also approve the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Reviews of Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Philippines, Algeria, Poland, Netherlands and South Africa.

In the third week, the Council will hear the presentation of reports and hold interactive dialogues with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; and the Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of complementary standards to strengthen and update international instruments against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in all their aspects.  Under technical assistance and capacity building, it will hear from the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, and the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan.

Also during the third week, the Council will hold general debates on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories in light of the report of the Secretary-General on follow-up to the report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict; on follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Work; on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration; and on technical assistance and capacity-building.

The reports that the Council will take up will be available at the following link.  The annotated agenda of the Council and the Programme of Work can be read here.

Also during the session, the Council will meet in private twice under its Complaint Procedure.  On 27 and 28 September, it will take action on the decisions and resolutions before it and will also elect members of the Advisory Committee and a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, a Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, and a Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes before closing the session.

The Council will be held in Room XX of the Palais des Nations.  It will start at 10 a.m. on Monday, 10 September.

Composition of the Human Rights Council

The composition of the Council at its twentieth session is as follows: Angola (2013); Austria (2014); Bangladesh (2012); Belgium (2012); Benin (2014); Botswana (2014); Burkina Faso (2014); Cameroon (2012); Chile (2014); China (2012); Congo (2014); Costa Rica (2014); Cuba (2012); Czech Republic (2014); Djibouti (2012); Ecuador (2013); Guatemala (2013); Hungary (2012); India (2014); Indonesia (2014); Italy (2014); Jordan (2012); Kuwait (2014); Kyrgyzstan (2012); Libya (2013), Malaysia (2013); Maldives (2013); Mauritania (2013); Mauritius (2012); Mexico (2012); Nigeria (2012); Norway (2012); Peru (2014), Philippines (2014); Poland (2013); Qatar (2013); Republic of Moldova (2013); Romania (2014); Russian Federation (2012); Saudi Arabia (2012); Senegal (2012); Spain (2013); Switzerland (2013); Thailand (2013); Uganda (2013); United States of America (2012); Uruguay (2012).

The President of the Council is Laura Dupuy Lasserre (Uruguay); Vice-Presidents, Christian Strohal (Austria), Anatole Fabien Nkou (Cameroon), and András Dékány (Hungary); and Vice-President and Rapporteur, Gulnara Iskakova (Kyrgyzstan).


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For use of the information media; not an official record

HRC12/095E