49TH SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
The 49th session of the Human Rights Council took place from 28 February to 1 April 2022
Urgent debate on Ukraine
On 4 March 2022, the Human Rights Council convened an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Ukraine. Both GANHRI’s Chairperson and Ukraine’s NHRI delivered statements during this debate.
Reports by the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Oral updates and country reports delivered by the High Commissioner on the work of her Office covered country situations including Afghanistan, Guatemala, Myanmar, Nicaragua, the Tigray region of Ethiopia, and Ukraine.
The National Human Rights Commission of Croatia delivered a statement on behalf of the European Network of NHRIs in response to the Commissioner’s thematic report on the need to advance a human rights framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of older persons.
Interaction with Special Procedures mandate holders
The Human Rights Council engaged in interactive dialogues with a variety of Special Procedures mandate holders. Many NHRIs participated in these dialogues via video statements, including:
- Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, to whom the NHRIs of Malaysia and Morocco delivered statements.
- Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, to whom the NHRIs of Burundi and India delivered statements.
- Special Rapporteur on the right to food, to whom the National Human Rights Commission of India delivered a statement.
Panels and Annual Discussions
The 49th Session of the Human Rights Council saw the continuation of panels and discussions taking place on the protection and promotion of human rights during the Covid-19 pandemic. NHRIs also engaged in the following discussions:
- The NHRIs of Burundi and India delivered statements during the Meeting on technical cooperation in protecting human rights of vulnerable persons in and after Covid-19 pandemic.
- The High Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian Federation delivered a statement during the Panel on access to Covid-19 vaccines.
- The National Human Rights Council of Morocco delivered a statement during the Panel on public policies on Covid-19.
NHRIs’ engagement and participation in such discussions constitutes an important aspect of the global response to Covid-19 as it is related to several cross-cutting human rights issues. Furthermore, NHRIs emphasized the need for international cooperation on this matter, in addition to protecting and ensuring the rights of those individuals and groups who have been made vulnerable due to the pandemic.
Adoption of UPR reports
The Council adopted the UPR Working Group reports on Hungary, Suriname, Samoa, Greece, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Eswatini, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, and the Republic of Ireland.
The NHRIs of Samoa and Ireland delivered statements upon the adoption of the reports. The Human Rights Commission of New Zealand delivered a statement of its mid-term report following New Zealand’s 2019 UPR report.
GANHRI’s engagement with the Human Rights Council and support to NHRIs
GANHRI’s statement for the General Segment focused on the role of NHRIs in the implementation of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) and the engagement of NHRIs individually and collectively supported by GANHRI during the process of adoption of the GCM and leading to the upcoming International Migration Review Forum in May 2022.
In the statement for the Urgent Debate on the situation in Ukraine, GANHRI called for the protection of civilians and the respect of international human rights and humanitarian law by all parties to the armed conflict. GANHRI also expressed its support to the NHRI in Ukraine and called for the protection of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights and all the NHRI staff, and reminding international bodies, authorities and parties to the conflict of the 2015 Kyiv Declaration on the Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations which calls on them to support the activities of NHRIs and refrain from all type of reprisals and any other form of intimidation as a result of the NHRI mandated activities.
During the Interactive Dialogue with the UN special rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (SR), GANHRI welcomed the report on non-toxic environment presented by the SR and expressed concerned over the disproportionate impacts of pollution that certain individuals and groups unjustifiably bear. GANHRI also expressed its commitment to continue its work in further reinforcement of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and welcomed the SR reference in his report on the vital role that NHRIs have played in defending this right.
GANHRI’s Head Office supported NHRIs to engage with the Human Rights Council providing guidance and timely response to inquiries from NHRIs for the drafting and delivery of their video-statements.
Resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Council at the 49th Session
The Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted 35 resolutions; 17 were adopted by a recorded vote, including “The negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights” and “Recognizing the contribution of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, in conflict and post-conflict situations, to the enjoyment and realization of human rights.”
The remaining resolutions were adopted by consensus, such as “Strengthening the Voluntary Technical Assistance Trust Fund to support the participation of Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States in the work of the Human Rights Council” and “Freedom of religion and belief.” The text of the resolutions and the results of vote are available here.
In the resolution on the situation in Ukraine (A/HRC/49/L.1) the HRC called for immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and to respect the independence of humanitarian agencies and the protection of humanitarian personnel. The HRC also encouraged relevant thematic special procedure mandate holders, within their respective mandates, to pay particular attention to the situation of human rights in Ukraine.
The HRC decided to establish an independent international commission of inquiry, constituted by three human rights experts, to initiate a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into all alleged abuses and violations to end impunity and ensure accountability for those responsible.
The HRC in the resolution on human rights defenders (A/HRC/49/L.9) stressed the positive, important and legitimate role of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, in promoting and protecting human rights, strengthening understanding, tolerance and peace, and contributing to conflict prevention and resolution and post-conflict reconstruction. The HRC condemned the violence against and the criminalization, intimidation, attacks, torture, enforced disappearance, killing of and all other human rights violations or abuses against human rights defenders, including women, environmental and indigenous human rights defenders.
The HRC also underlined the importance of national human rights institutions, established and operating in line with the Paris Principles, in the continued engagement with human rights defenders, their role monitoring and making recommendations about the situation of human rights defenders and the need for the protection of NHRIs including in conflict and post-conflict situations.
In the resolution on negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/49/L.6) the HRC strongly urged all States to refrain from imposing, maintaining or implementing unilateral coercive measures contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter of the United Nations and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, and to take concrete measures to mitigate the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on humanitarian assistance.
The HRC urged States to resolve their differences through dialogue and peaceful means, and prevent the impact on socioeconomic conditions of family members, particularly women and children, adversely affected by unilateral coercive measures, and expressed concerned over the increasing negative effects of unilateral coercive measures on the environment and natural resources leading to serious violations of human rights of targeted populations.
The HRC urged States and other stakeholders to promote and preserve multilateralism and to take the measures necessary to strengthen bilateral, regional and international cooperation aimed at addressing the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the full enjoyment of all human rights.
HRC49 NHRIs Statements
Panel on access to covid-19 vaccines
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation
Speaker: Ms. Tatiana Moskalkova, High CommissionerDownload
Annual debate on rights of persons with disabilities
Morocco: Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme
Speaker: Mrs. Zhour El Hour, MemberDownload
Panel on public policies on covid-19
Morocco: Conseil National des Droits de l’Homme
Speaker: Mr. Mourad Errarhib, Directeur de cabinet
Urgent Debate Ukraine
Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)
Speaker: Carlos Ernesto Camargo Assis, GANHRI’s Chairperson, Ombudsperson Defensoría del Pueblo Colombia
Ukraine: Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
Speaker: Ms. Liudmyla DENISOVA, Commissioner for Human Rights
ITEM 2: General Debate on HC Oral Updates
Colombia: Defensoría del Pueblo (Report HC on Situation of human rights in Colombia)
Speaker: Mr. Carlos Camargo Assis, Defensor del PuebloDownload
Guatemala: Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos (Report HC on Situation of human rights in Guatemala)
Speaker: Mr. Jordan Andras AndradeDownload
Honduras: Comisionado Nacional de los Derechos Humanos
Speaker: Ms. Blanca Izaguirre, Comisionada Nacional de los Derechos Humanos de Honduras
Report HC on Situation of human rights in HondurasDownload
ITEM 3: ITEM 4: ID on HC report on Myanmar
Malaysia: Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
Speaker: Jerald JOSEPH, Vice-Chairperson
Meeting on technical cooperation in protecting human rights of vulnerable persons in and after covid-19 pandemic
India: National Human Rights Commission
Speaker: Hon’ble Chairperson Justice Mr. Arun Kumar Mishra
Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme
Speaker: Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, Chairperson of the CNIDH