HRHF’s International Advocacy Officer, Matthew Jones, provides an overview of HRHF’s priorities alongside partners for the upcoming 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

At the Council session, HRHF will raise and address issues faced by Human Rights Houses and their members as well as wider civil society. This is within HRHF’s focus to promote and advance the freedoms of expression, association, assembly, and the right to be a human rights defender.

Specifically, our priorities for the session are:

  • Ukraine – HRHF will host a delegation in Geneva to focus on freedom of expression and the situation of political prisoners. We will deliver an oral statement on Ukraine during the interactive dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • Hungary and Poland – HRHF will host a delegation and with them co-sponsor a side event on the independence of the judiciary, specifically addressing attacks on judges.
  • Reprisals – HRHF has taken part in a process that is set to lead to a new UN resolution on reprisals during the session. We seek to raise attacks against defenders, lawyers and journalists for engaging with international human rights mechanisms, as well as the type of policies and legislation that governments enact to try to stop and thwart defenders from engaging, such as restrictions on foreign funding and travel bans. We will raise several country situations during the interactive dialogue on reprisals.
  • National human rights follow-up systems  In a new resolution, HRHF will seek language encouraging governments to seek meaningful and systematic dialogues with their civil society on their human rights obligations.
  • Human rights in counter-terrorism – In a resolution set to be adopted by the Council, we will seek language that addresses the human rights effects of anti-extremism and anti-terrorism legislation.
  • Georgia  We will deliver an oral statement on Georgia during the interactive dialogue with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  • Candidate countries for membership of the Human Rights Council – Among Eastern European Group members, Moldova, Poland, and Armenia are all running for two seats on the Council from next year. HRHF sees this as an opportunity to push the governments of these States to make commitments around their domestic human rights policies and make assurances that they will actively engage with their civil societies in relation to their membership.

HRHF will be tweeting from the session.

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