The 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council was marred by politicisation: a joint statement of 45 countries on the human rights crisis in China, while China fired back with targeted attacks via its diplomatic allies. The message from NGOs and many States was clear: High Commissioner Bachelet has an essential role to play to provide the Council with objective information by starting remote monitoring and public reporting.
For over five years, Assa Traoré, the sister of Adama Traoré, a black French man who was killed at the hands of the police, has faced judicial harassment for campaigning for a transparent investigation to establish the responsibility of the gendarmes, a name given to the paramilitary police officers in France, for the death of her brother and for them to be brought to justice. ISHR joined with the Adama Committee to call on the French Government to urgently put an end to the judicial harassment of Assa Troaré. This harassment diverts the public attention from the justice that is expected for Adama’s death and appears intended to dissuade Assa from continuing her struggle.
ISHR welcomes the Council’s historic consensus decision, led by the Africa Group, to adopt a resolution mandating an independent international expert mechanism to address systemic racism and to promote racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent. The adoption of this resolution is testament to the resilience, bravery and commitment of victims, their families, their representatives and anti-racism defenders globally.
At the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, ISHR along with the Informal Sector Service Center presented a joint statement in Nepal’s Universal Periodic Review expressing concern about the situation of human rights defenders in the country.
Nearly sixty countries expressed joint concerns at ‘persistent impunity for human rights violations since April 2018’ in Nicaragua, urging the authorities to take meaningful steps toward a ‘peaceful solution to the country’s socio-political crisis’.
Faced with the appropriation of their name, Peruvian NGO Madres en Acción is pushing back, filing a legal action to recover it. In an amicus brief in support of the action, ISHR argues that trademark law is being used to attack defenders and this must stop.
The 68th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights will be held in online, from 14 April to 4 May 2021. The African Commission session will be preceded by the NGO Forum, which will be held online on 12 and 13 April 2021.
Should businesses advocate for human rights defenders? What is the relationship between companies’ economic activities and civil society? The United Nations, through the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, has shed further light on the role of businesses by recently releasing a guidance for companies on ensuring respect for human rights defenders.
A new ISHR report maps China’s presence and influence in the UN economic and social affairs system, highlighting potential risks for civil society participation and the promotion and protection of human rights.
18 organisations* share reflections on the key outcomes of the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the missed opportunities to address key issues and situations. A shortened version was delivered at the Council. Full written version below.