55th session of the Human Rights Council

The 55th session of the Human Rights Council took place in Geneva at the Palais des Nations from 26 February to 5 April 

Reports by the High Commissioner for Human Rights 

Oral updates and country reports delivered by the High Commissioner on the work of his Office covered country situations including Cyprus, Haiti, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Sudan and the Palestinian occupied territories. 

The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights delivered a statement in response to the High Commissioner’s oral updates on Ukraine. 

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 oral and video statements, including: 

  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to food, to whom the NHRI of Burundi delivered an oral statement. 
  • The Special Rapporteur on torture, to whom the NHRIs of Burundi, Morocco and Ukraine delivered statements.  
  • The NHRIs of Burundi and Georgia delivered oral statements in response to the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. 
  • The NHRI of Burundi delivered an oral statement in response to the report Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. 
  • The Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, to whom the NHRI of Morocco delivered an oral statement. 
  • The Special Representative of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict, to which the NHRIs of Colombia, India and Ukraine delivered statements. 
  • The NHRI of Palestine delivered an oral statement in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights Palestinian occupied territories since 1967. 

Interaction with Human Rights Council-mandated investigative bodies 

The Council also addressed serious country specific human rights situations, including on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and Myanmar. The Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights presented a video statement in the interactive dialogue with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry of Ukraine. 

Panels and Annual Discussions 

The 55th session of the Human Rights Council saw the continuation of panels and discussions taking place on the protection and promotion of human rights. NHRIs engaged in the following discussions: 

  • The NHRI of Qatar delivered an oral statement in the panel of countering religious hatred. 
  • The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions, along with the NHRIs of Qatar and Morocco delivered oral statements during the panel on challenges and good practices to realize the right to social security and to provide quality public services. 
  • In addition, the NHRIs of Scotland and Morocco presented statements during tto the annual debate on the rights of persons with disabilities.  
  • Lastly, the NHRIs of India, Scotland and Morocco delivered statements during the annual discussion on the rights of National Human Rights Commission of India, along with the Scottish Human Rights Commission delivered video statements, while the National Human Rights Council of Morocco made an oral statement to the annual discussion on the rights of the child. 

Adoption of UPR reports 

During the 55th session of the Human Rights Council, the UPR outcome reports of Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan, Tuvalu, Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Cameroon and Cuba were adopted.  

The NHRIs of Cameroon, Germany and Canada delivered statements upon the adoption of the report of their respective countries. 


GANHRI’s engagement with the Human Rights Council and support to NHRIs 

In a statement delivered at the 55th session Human Rights Council General Segment, GANHRI Chairperson Maryam Al-Attiyah recalled the 40th anniversary of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment and the importance of upholding its principles of human dignity, justice, and prevention of cruelty.  

In this intent, GANHRI in collaboration with its partners, will implement a year-long campaign to promote the ratification and implementation of the Convention and its Optional Protocol, as well as to celebrate and showcase the positive experiences and good practices of NHRIs at domestic level. With the Kiyv-Copenhagen Declaration adopted last November at the 14th International Conference of NHRIs on Torture and Ill-Treatment, NHRIs from across regions unanimously committed to redouble their efforts to prevent and address torture and other ill-treatment. Finally, we reiterated our call to States to protect and strengthen existing NHRIs and to establish Paris Principles compliant NHRIs where they do not yet exist. 

Moreover, in response to the Special Rapporteur on torture report, we delivered a statement highlighting the importance of regular and transparent monitoring by national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to prevent torture, along with the urgent global necessity for prison reform. 

During the Interactive Dialogue with the newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities at the 55th Human Rights Council, we delivered a statement on behalf of GANHRI welcoming the SR’s report and her priorities for the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities during her tenure.  

As independent institutions with a broad human rights mandate, NHRIs worldwide play a vital role in championing the rights of persons with disabilities and promoting inclusivity, equality, and dignity for all. We welcomed the critical issues identified by the Special Rapporteur, which coincide with those that NHRIs address in their daily work.  

We particularly welcomed her intent to continue promoting the inclusion of disability in all efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as to address the specific and disproportionate impacts of climate change on persons with disabilities. Finally, we called upon all States to fully cooperate with the mandate in order to advance the rights of persons with disabilities. 

Lastly, GANHRI engaged in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders in response to the report which focused on challenges faced by child and youth human rights defenders.  

We shared the Special Rapporteur’s concern about the legal and societal barriers preventing the participation of young people in civic space, and the various forms of reprisals they can face as a result of their human rights work 

We welcomed the mention of the role that many national human rights institutions play in providing and facilitating access to complaint mechanisms to child and youth defenders in the report. We urged all States to take concrete steps to address the specific challenges faced by child and youth human rights defenders, in line with the recommendations of the report.  


Resolutions adopted by  the Human Rights Council at the 55th Session  

The Human Rights Council adopted 34 resolutions and decisions; 12 were adopted by a recorded vote, including “the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights”.  

The remaining resolutions were adopted by consensus, such as “support systems to ensure community inclusion of persons with disabilities” or “role of States in countering the negative impact of disinformation on the enjoyment and realization of human rights”.  

The text of the resolutions and the results of votes can be found here. 

In the resolution “Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: effective national legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture” (A/HRC/55/L.15), the Human Rights Council recalled the absolute prohibition of torture, and highlighted in particular Article 2 of the UN Convention against Torture according to which each State party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction. The Council also underlined the essential role played by effective domestic mechanisms oversight as part of the apparatus of the prevention of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and that protection against such acts can be strengthened by non-judicial means of a preventive nature, including regular visits to places where persons are deprived of their liberty. The Council commended the work of civil society, national human rights institutions and national preventive mechanisms in this context. 

The Human Rights Council called upon all States to adopt and implement effective legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures to prevent torture and other ill-treatment in places of detention and other places where persons are or may be deprived of their liberty. States stressed the for a victim and survivor-centered and age and gender responsive approach in the fight against torture and other ill-treatment. 

Furthermore, the Council welcomed the establishment of national preventive mechanisms and called on States to States “to establish, appoint, maintain or enhance other independent and effective mechanisms, for example, national human rights institutions in accordance with the Paris Principles and ombudsperson institutions”. Lastly, Member States emphasized the need for cooperation with UN treaty bodies and effective follow-up to recommendations received by national and international independent monitoring bodies. 

The resolution on the “Mandate of Special Rapporteur on the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” (A/HRC/55/L.1/Rev.1) renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur as the Special Rapporteur on the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment for three years.  

It requested the continuation of studies on human rights obligations related to the enjoyment of a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, in dialogue with governments and civil society and relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, the Council asked the Special Rapporteur “to work on identifying challenges and obstacles to the full realization of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment and protection gaps thereto, including in the context of sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals”. The resolution also calls on the Special Rapporteur to apply an “age-sensitive and disability-inclusive approach” and a “gender perspective” to the evaluation of human rights and the environment. 

Concerning the decision on “Remote participation modalities for hybrid meetings of the Human Rights Council” (A/HRC/55/L.29), the Human Rights Council explicitly recognized the benefits that remote participation brings to in-person meeting in the conduct its work, including for small island developing States and least developed countries, as well as of civil society by “reducing the barriers to participation in both formal and informal meetings of the Council during its sessions” and in the work of its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms. It expressed deep concerns at the disproportionate impact of the discontinuation of such modalities on small island developing States, least developed countries and civil society.  

In this context, the Member States decided to request the General Assembly to consider authorizing the practice of remote participation “for all its future formal and informal meetings during its sessions, its organizational and intersessional meetings, the meetings of its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms, including the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, in accordance with its previously agreed extraordinary modalities” put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 

Watch the HRC55 UN Webcast


HRC55 NHRIs and GANHRI Statements

Panel discussion on countering religious hatred constituting incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence

  • Qatar: National Human Rights Committee; Speaker: Ms. Maryam Bint Abdullah Al-Attiyah, Chairperson

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Panel discussion on challenges and good practices to realize the right to social security and to provide quality public services

  • Qatar: National Human Rights Committee; Speaker: Mr. Sultan Bin Hassan Al-Jamali, Secretary General
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  • Morocco: Conseil national des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Ms. Saadia Wadah, Member
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  • Network of African National Human Rights Institutions; Speaker: Thami Alaoui, Chargé de l’interaction avec le système des Nations-Unies
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Annual debate on rights of persons with disabilities

  • Scotland: Scottish Human Rights Commission; Speaker: Ms. Jan Savage, Executive Director
  • Morocco: Conseil national des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Elie ElBaz, Member
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Annual discussion on the rights of the child

  • India: National Human Rights Commission of India; Speaker: Ms Anita Sinha, Joint Secretary
  • Scotland: Scottish Human Rights Commission; Speaker: Ms. Jan Savage, Executive Director
  • Morocco: Conseil national des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Ms. Malika Benradi, Member
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ITEM 1 : General Segment

  • GANHRI: Speaker: Ms. Maryam Bint Abdullah Al-Attiyah, GANHRI Chairperson
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on sale of children

  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on housing

  • The Netherlands: Netherlands Institute for Human Rights; Speaker: Ms. Carolina Duque de Barbara Crittin, GANHRI Human Rights Officer
    Country mission report
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on freedom of religion

  • India: National Human Rights Commission of India; Speaker: Mr Dnyaneshwar M. Mulay, Member

ITEM 3: ID with SR peaceful Assembly on report on law enforcement in the context of peaceful protest

  • India: National Human Rights Commission of India; Speaker: Mr Devendra Kumar Nim, Joint Secretary
  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on cultural rights

  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on the right to food

  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on torture

  • GANHRI Speaker: Ms. Maryam Bint Abdullah Al-Attiyah, GANHRI Chairperson
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  • Ukraine: Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights; Speaker: Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights
    Country mission report
  • India: National Human Rights Commission of India; Speaker: Mr. Surajit Dey, Registrar
  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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  • Morocco: Conseil national des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Ms. Saadia Wadah, Member
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on disabilities

  • GANHRI Speaker: Mr. Elie ElBaz, Member of CNDH Morocco
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  • Georgia: Public Defender’s Office; Speaker: Ms. Irine Chikhladze, Deputy Public Defender
    Country mission report
  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on counter-terrorism

  • India: National Human Rights Commission of India; Speaker: Mr. Rajiv Jain, Member
  • The Philippines: Commission on Human Rights; Speaker: Mr Richard Palpal-Latoc, Chairperson

ITEM 3: ID with SR on human rights defenders

  • GANHRI, Speaker: Ms. Carolina Duque de Barbara Crittin, Human Rights Officer
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  • Burundi: Commission nationale indépendante des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Mr. Sixte Vigny Nimuraba, President
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ITEM 3: ID with SR on right to privacy

  • Morocco: Conseil national des droits de l’homme; Speaker: Ms. Malika Benradi, Member
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ITEM 3: ID with SRSG on children and armed conflict

  • Ukraine: Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights; Speaker: Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights
  • India: National Human Rights Commission of India; Speaker: Mr. Bharat Lal, Secretary General
  • Colombia: Defensoria del Pueblo; Speaker: Luis Andrés Fajardo, Sr Vice Defensor

ITEM 4: ID with CoI Ukraine

  • Ukraine: Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights; Speaker: Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights

ITEM 6: UPR outcomes

  • Cameroon: Commission des droits de l’homme du Cameroun; Speaker: James Mouangue Kobila, Président
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  • Canada: Canadian Human Rights Commission
  • Germany: German Institute for Human Rights; Speaker: Marie-Valentine Shaw, GANHRI Assistant Human Rights Officer
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ITEM 7: ID with SR on OPT

  • State of Palestine: Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine; Speaker: Ms. Ola Adawi, International Relations Officer
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ITEM 7: General Debate

  • State of Palestine: Independent Commission for Human Rights of Palestine; Speaker: Ms. Ola Adawi, International Relations Officer
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ITEM 10: ID on HC oral report on Ukraine

  • Ukraine: Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights; Speaker: Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights
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