COUNCIL MONITOR - 9 - 13 June 2014
9 - 13 June 2014


ISHR has welcomed 20 human rights defenders to Geneva for intensive advocacy training on the use of the UN human rights system.

The participants are active at this session of the Council on issues such as women’s rights, corporate accountability, freedom of expression and association, and LGBT rights.

View photos here



Sir Nicolas Bratza, former President of the European Court of Human Rights

The issue of reprisals against individuals who seek to cooperate with the UN human rights system, of which there are recent very grave examples, is one of the most pressing challenges facing the UN Human Rights Council.

Such reprisals violate international human rights law; they impede the Council’s ability to discharge its mandate effectively; they threaten the integrity of the Council as the primary human rights organ of the United Nations; and they thereby undermine the credibility of the work of the United Nations as a whole in the field of human rights… more


ISHR, together with the Ville de Genève and Legal Resources Centre, is hosting an exclusive premiere screening of the film Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the new South Africa on Thursday 19 June in Geneva.

Mr Sachs, a renowned South African freedom fighter, will be in Geneva for a Q&A session and reception following the screening.

If interested, you may request an invitation to this event.


We must speak truth to power, says High Commissioner in her final address to the Council

‘The nature of human rights advocacy is to speak truth to power, to confront privilege and entrenched hierarchy', said the High Commissioner Navi Pillay as she addressed the Human Rights Council for the final time. Reflecting the risks inherent in human rights advocacy, Ms Pillay paid particular attention in her address to the situation of human rights defenders around the world… more

Working Group on business and human rights calls for States to ensure protection for defenders

States should ensure protection for human rights defenders who raise awareness of the impacts of business activities, the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations has told the Human Rights Council… more

47 States condemn human rights violations in Bahrain

A joint statement by 47 States on the ongoing human rights violations in Bahrain, ‘urges the Government to release all persons imprisoned solely for exercising human rights, including human rights defenders', 'to appropriately address reports of ill-treatment and torture of prisoners' and to 'allow the OHCHR to establish a country office with a full mandate'.

Argentina’s decision to join the statement marked a breakthrough. Unfortunately Brazil, having joined the previous statement in September 2013, chose not to add its voice to the latest calls to Bahrain.

Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly criticised for focus on the risks to LGBTI

LGBTI organisations and defenders are particularly vulnerable to violations of their rights to assemble and form associations, said the Special Rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly in his report to the Council. The Special Rapporteur drew attention to recent legislation in Russia, Uganda and Nigeria that targets organisations that work on LGBTI issues.

The Special Rapporteur was criticised as a result, including by Pakistan, who stated that ‘there is no consensus on the controversial notion of LGBTI rights and therefore this notion should not be propagated as part of universally agreed human rights’.

States must stringently regulate the use of force during peaceful protests

Protests do not lose their status as ‘peaceful’ on the basis of a few violent protesters, said the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, calling for States to implement international standards on the use of force. Egypt picked up on this aspect of the Special Rapporteur’s report, ‘agreeing’ that in some cases force is necessary, and implying that its Law 107/2013 is a model of regulation of public assemblies and welcoming the ‘global trend’ to implement similar legislation ‘in line with States’ obligations under international human rights law’.


Belarus, Eritrea, DPRK, and Syria to be discussed by the Council

Belarus, Syria, Eritrea, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be under the spotlight this week as the Council considers reports on the situation in these countries. Human rights defenders face difficulties in all these countries, with the Special Rapporteur on Belarus paying particular attention to ongoing imprisonment, scrutiny and harassment faced by defenders in that country. The Special Rapporteur calls for Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release all political opponents, human rights defenders and activists who have been convicted solely for the exercise of their political and other rights.

Council to examine gender stereotyping and its impact on women’s human rights

The annual full day discussion on women’s rights will take place this week, and will include a discussion on how to combat gender stereotyping, recognising this as a fundamental barrier to realising women’s human rights. The panel discussion will seek to highlight the obligation of States to address stereotyping and to identify good practices.

The Working Group on discrimination against women, which also reports to the Council next week, recommends that girls’ equality in education should be ensured, that school curricula should break down these stereotypes and that schools should encourage girls to engage in ‘non-traditional’ vocational skill areas and academic disciplines.



Bahrain: Human Rights Council should act to condemn violations and protect defenders

A group of 46 States has used the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council to express serious concern about the human rights situation in Bahrain, including in relation to 'the repression of demonstrations' and 'the continued harassment and imprisonment of persons exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression, including human rights defenders and journalists'… more

Council must combat LGBT discrimination and reprisals

ISHR has called on the Council to ensure that all persons can exercise the right to unhindered communication with the UN, and to ensure that it pays adequate attention to the violations suffered by LGBTI people by establishing a process to systemically monitor and report on their situation… more

End attacks against people for exercising rights to freedom of expression and association

Human rights defenders and civil society activists continue to be harassed, arrested and detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, the International Service for Human Rights has told the UN Human Rights Council…more

Council should adopt resolution on business and human rights

ISHR has called on the UN Human Rights Council to ensure that any resolution on business and human rights adopted at its 26th session contains concrete calls for States to support and protect human rights defenders who work on issues of business and human rights, and to investigate and ensure accountability for attacks and harassment against such defenders… more

Human Rights Council: regulate use of force and uphold right to protest

The UN Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution to stringently regulate the use of force by law enforcement officers, particularly in relation to the policing of protests, the International Service for Human Rights has said… more


ISHR thanks Loterie Romande for supporting the Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Programme.


The situation of women’s rights 20 years after the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights
16 June, 13:00, room 16

Ending violence against women: framework for accountability
17 June, 13:15, room 17

Repression, reprisals and detained human rights defenders in the Gulf region: Qatar and Kuwait in focus
18 June, 14:00, room 22

Universal Periodic Review for newcomers
19 June, 11:30, room 26

All events take place in the Palais des Nations, Geneva


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ISHR would like to thank Irish Aid for its generosity in making this publication possible.