The UN Human Rights Council begins its 46th ordinary session on Monday, the debates of which will take place essentially virtually, due to restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lhe session, held for the first time under the chairmanship of the Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations Office at Geneva, Nazhat Shameem Khan, is marked by their return from the United States to the Council, which they had left in June 2018.
The session, which will run until March 23, will begin with addresses to be delivered by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, United Nations General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, as well as the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis.
Over a period of just over four weeks, the Council will consider 86 reports prepared by different mechanisms linked to the Council, including the Secretary General, the High Commissioner, the various Working Groups and special procedures mandate holders. In total, the Board will hold more than thirty interactive debates with mandate holders (specific procedures).
This session begins with a high-level segment involving, from Monday 22 February to Wednesday 24 February, senior officials representing more than 130 countries, who will address human rights issues of particular interest to their country or who arouse their concern.
Bachelet will present an update on the activities of the Office of the High Commissioner on Thursday, February 25 – including the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala, Colombia and Honduras – as well as several reports prepared by her – himself and by the Secretary-General (the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights; the question of the realization of economic, social and cultural rights everywhere in the world, relation between the realization of the right to work and the enjoyment of the human rights of persons with disabilities, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment …). These presentations will be followed by a general debate, which is expected to continue the next day.
In addition to examining the reports of the High Commissioner on situations in certain countries and regions of the world, the Council will consider plans to hold several thematic debates (fight against racism and discrimination twenty years after the adoption of the Declaration and the Durban Program of Action, the biennial high-level panel discussion on the issue of the death penalty will be held, the role of poverty reduction in the promotion and protection of human rights, annual debate on the rights of people with disabilities and children).
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