The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee this afternoon concluded its 28th session after advancing its studies on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights and on advancement of racial justice and equality. The one-week session, which commenced on 8 August, was the first fully in-person session since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vice-President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Katharina Stasch,addressed the Committee at the opening of the session, reminding how the Committee, as the Council’s “think-thank”, has provided research-based advice to the Council and has allowed it to consider innovative views and perspectives about important human rights issues, including emerging topical themes, and how the Council counts on its independent expertise and its capacity of bringing a wide range of human rights issues relevant to our modern era to the Council’s attention.
In her address, the Council Vice-President offered her thoughts and condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of José Augusto Lindgren Alves and Iurii Alexandrovich Kolesnikov, two valued members of the Advisory Committee, who recently passed away. She also thanked Committee members Lazhari Bouzid and Xinsheng Liu who are completing their terms, acknowledging their valuable contribution to the work of the Committee over the past years.
Ambassador Stasch provided an overview of the Council’s work since the 27th session of the Committee. Speaking of the forthcoming fifty-first session of the Council, scheduled to take place from 12 September to 7 October, she highlighted a number of debates of interest for the work of the Committee, including the enhanced interactive dialogue with the High Commissioner and the International Independent Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement. She also noted how, at the at the end of the fifty-first session, the Council will proceed with the election of nine members of the Advisory Committee.
She thanked the Advisory Committee for its continued work to promote and protect human rights and reminded how the work of the Committee is of crucial importance to the Council, in particular its work to assess the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, and on the integration of a gender perspective in human rights organs and mechanisms. Ambassador Stasch also noted how greater visibility to the work of the Committee is essential, as the potential of the Committee has been under-utilized stressing the meaningful engagement and consultation with groups of Member States as a useful tool in that regard.
Documentation relating to the twenty-eighth session, including the agenda and programme of work, is available on the Advisory Committee’s session webpage.
During the session, which was chaired by Committee member Patrycja Sasnal, the independent body continued working on two studies mandated by the Human Rights Council, a study on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights (HRC resolution 48/14) and a study on advancement of racial justice and equality (HRC resolution 48/18).
The Committee took action on four issues, including two thematic ones.
On the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights, the Committee took note of the outline of the study submitted by the drafting group at this session, and welcomed the inputs received by Member States and other stakeholders in response to the questionnaire circulate after the twenty-seventh session of the Committee. The Committee welcomed the meetings on this issue held in the intersessional period, including a seminar with representatives of indigenous peoples. Finally, it requested the drafting group to submit a draft report at the twenty-ninth session of the Committee, taking into account all the inputs received and the discussions held during the session.
On the advancement of racial justice and equality, the Committee took note of the outline of the study submitted by the drafting group at this session and welcomed the participation of a number of experts from different mechanisms in the discussions held on this topic during the twenty-eight session. The Committee decided to seek input through a note verbale and a questionnaire address to different stakeholders, requesting to submit information on patterns, policies, and processes and other measures, such as legislations, leading to incidents of racial discrimination and make proposals to advance racial justice and equality. Finally, the Committee requested the drafting group to submit a draft report at the twenty-ninth session of the Committee, taking into account the inputs received through the questionnaire and the discussions held during the session.
On research proposals and reflection papers, the Committee decided to submit for consideration and for approval by the Human Rights Council two updated research proposals:
a) Assessing human rights implications of neuro-technologies: towards the recognition of neuro-rights; and
b) Human rights implications of the use of new and emerging digital technologies developed in the military domain used for law enforcement and security purposes.
It also requested Committee member Nadia Amal Bernoussi to prepare, on the basis of her reflection paper and taking into account the discussions held at the current session, a research proposal on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child, for consideration at its twenty-ninth session in February 2023.
On methods of work, the Committee decided to entrust its focal point for engagement with non-governmental organizations and civil society, Committee members Milena Costas Trascasas, to seek input from non-governmental organizations on their engagement with the Committee and requested her to prepare a reflection paper on enhancing the Advisory Committee’s engagement with non-governmental organizations and civil society, to be discussed at its twenty-ninth session in February 2023. It also decided to hold a meeting with non-governmental organizations during its twenty-ninth session in February 2023, also allowing for their remote participation to ensure broader and diverse engagement of these stakeholders.
The Committee also decided to entrust the focal point on enhancing the visibility of the Committee’s work, Committee members Catherine van de Heyning, to prepare a reflection paper on this issue, taking into account the discussions held at the current session and decided that the drafting groups should consider preparing a communication strategy upon the submission of reports and studies to the Council with a view to raising awareness about them.
Finally, the Committee decided to continue considering ways of engagement with the academia and research institutions on the basis of an updated discussion paper to be prepared by the focal point, Committee member Vassilis Tzevelekos. Moreover, it decided to hold virtual consultations in 2023 in the intersessional period with groups of Member States, in collaboration with the regional coordinators for the Human Rights Council.
The 29th session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee is scheduled to take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 20 to 24 February 2023.
The Advisory Committee is a body of 18 independent experts serving as a think-tank to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). It was established in 2008, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, to provide studies and research-based advice, as requested by the Council and meets twice annually. The Committee’s work is implementation-oriented and follows thematic issues linked to the mandate of the Council, namely, the promotion and protection of all human rights. It interacts with States, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and other civil society bodies.
The membership of the Advisory Committee conforms to the following geographical distribution guidelines set out in its establishing resolution: five members each from African and Asian States; three each from Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and other States; and two members from Eastern European States.
Following is the list of current members of the Advisory Committee and expiration dates for their respective terms of office:
Nurah Alamro (Saudi Arabia, 2024); Buhm-Suk Baek (Republic of Korea, 2023); Nadia Amal Bernoussi (Morocco, 2023); Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria, 2022); Milena Costas Trascasas (Spain, 2022); Xinsheng Liu (China, 2022); Ajai Malhotra (India, 2023); Itsuko Nakai (Japan, 2022); Javier Palummo (Uruguay, 2022); Patrycja Sasnal (Poland, 2023); Dheerujlall Seetulsingh (Mauritius, 2023); Vassilis Tzevelekos (Greece, 2024); Catherine Van de Heyning (Belgium, 2023); and Frans Jacobus Viljoen (South Africa, 2024).