29 February - 04 March 2016


Photos from ISHR's latest side event at the Human Rights Council.


10 Years of the United Nations' Human Rights Council

By Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International
On a panel during the high-level segment of the Human Rights Council's 31st session, Salil Shetty, reflects on the first ten years of the Council. He discusses the achievements and the challenges – highlighting that ‘the very systems put in place to protect human rights are under unprecedented strain’ and identifies six imperatives for the Council in order for it to be fit for its essential purpose over the next decade... more 


Pedro Tzica: Human rights defender from Guatemala 

Pedro Tzicá is a K'iche' Guatemalan human rights defender working on human and environmental rights, as well access to justice and the right to development of indigenous peoples. Tzicá spoke to ISHR about his work, including organising community consultations to defend indigenous peoples’ rights to land and natural resources in the face of mega-projects... more


ishr advocacy

Protection needs of human rights defenders working on economic, social and cultural rights

Defenders play a critical role in securing the right to housing, pushing for adequate health care and ensuring community voices are heard in development projects. Despite this, defenders of economic, social and cultural rights  are among the most isolated and stigmatised. At a side event organised by ISHR and seven international NGOs, economical, social and cultural rights defenders along with international experts discussed the risks they face and good practices in furthering their protection... more

From text to practice: States endorse good practices in the protection of defenders at Human Rights Council

During the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, States widely endorsed seven principles of good practice laid out in the Special Rapporteur’s report. The Special Rapporteur called on States to act and advocate globally for the implementation of the principles in developing protection systems for human rights defenders... more

States: Prevent, investigate and ensure accountability for killing of activists like Berta Caceres

The UN should ensure that Honduran authorities conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation of the murder of human rights defender Berta Caceres, and all States should take legislative, policy and other measures to ensure defenders' protection, ISHR said in a statement before the Human Rights Council... more   

UN Secretary-General: Safeguarding civil society space is vital to promote international peace and security

The UN Secretary-General should prioritise the protection of human rights defenders and civil society space in the UN’s efforts to promote international peace and security, ISHR said at a meeting between Ban Ki-moon and civil society leaders in Geneva. The meeting coincided with the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council... more

States call for protection of civil society space and media freedom: Live-tweet coverage of the High Level Segment @ HRC31

This session of the Human Rights Council is the second at which ISHR has provided live Twitter coverage of the High Level Segment.

This is a summary of those tweets. ISHR will be tweeting #HRC31 updates for the remainder of the session. Follow us @ISHRglobal

Human Rights Council: Adopt resolution on protection of economic, social and cultural rights and defenders

States should support the negotiation and adoption of a strong and substantive resolution on the protection of economic, social and cultural rights defenders, the work of whom is vital to the realisation of such rights and sustainable development, said ISHR... more

Good practices in the protection of human rights defenders: Major new report

A major new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, discussed at this session of the Council, documents good policies and practices in the protection of defenders and makes concrete recommendations to States, business enterprises, donors and other stakeholders to ensure a safe and enabling environment for defenders' work... more



Annual Report and Interactive Dialogue with High Commissioner

The presentation of the Annual Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, followed by an interactive dialogue, is scheduled for Thursday 10 March. The report summarises the work of the Office over the last year. This includes work to strengthen and support UN human rights mechanisms, promote equality and combat discrimination, end impunity and uphold the rule of law, promote human rights in development, widen democratic space, and protect human rights in situations of conflict and insecurity. 

The interactive dialogue following the report provides an opportunity for States and civil society alike to support the independence of the High Commissioner, call for a substantial increase in the budget and resources of the Office, and encourage the High Commissioner to continue and expand his work to protect human rights defenders, prevent reprisals and uphold universal human rights, including the rights of women and LGBTI persons.


A new report on how States should properly manage protests will be presented on 9 March by the Special Rapporteurs on summary executions and on peaceful assembly. The report is the fruit of several online and face-to-face consultations of key stakeholders including civil society, and provides practical recommendations on how international human rights law can be operationalised domestically.

Guidance is given, for example, on prior notification requirements, use of force, training of public officials, police surveillance and non-judicial oversight, whilst the report also contains a chapter on the responsibilities of business. An interactive dialogue will follow the presentation of the report, which was mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 25/38. A follow-up resolution will be tabled by Costa Rica, Turkey and Switzerland at this session of the Council.

China’s Second-Cycle Universal periodic review Mid-Term: A Technical Assessment from Civil Society

With China’s mid-term Universal Periodic Review report due in April, this session of the Council provides an opportunity to reflect on the recommendations made to the State and its responses to them. It is also an occasion to consider the role of civil society in pressing for and assisting with the implementation of accepted recommendations.

With this in mind, ISHR, the Tibet Advocacy Coalition, the World Uyghur Congress and others are organising a side event to discuss good practices and ongoing challenges in fulfilling the potential of the UPR process. More information on the event can be found here

upcoming side events

All these events are held at Palais des Nations, Geneva.

  • Use of force and social protest, Wednesday 9 March, organised by Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) Asociación Civil. This event is scheduled for 10:00-11:00, Room XVIII.

  • China’s new law on counter-terror came into effect, Thursday 10 March, organised by ICT and FIDH. This event is scheduled for 13.00-14.00, Room XXVII.

  • LGBTI persons and torture, Thursday 10 March, organised by Association for the Prevention of Torture. This event is scheduled for 13:00-14:00, Room XXIV.

  • Elections, Thursday 10 March, organised by East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. This event is scheduled for 14:00-15:00, Room XVIII.

  • Human rights in Central African Republic, Friday 11 March, organised by Action internationale pour la paix et le développement dans la région des Grands Lacs. The event details are to be confirmed.

  • Human rights in Myanmar, Friday 11 March, organised by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development. This event is scheduled for 10:00-11:00, Room XVIII.

  • Human rights in Myanmar, Friday 11 March, organised by Human Rights Watch. This event is scheduled for 12:00-13:30, Room XVIII.

  • Human rights in Australia, Thursday 17 March, organised by Franciscans International. This event is scheduled for 11:00-12:00, Room XXVII.

  • Human rights in Bahrain: Assembly, Monday 21 March, organised by CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation. This event is scheduled for 12:00-14:00, Room XXIV.

Please note – This is a selection of the events from the draft full programme of NGO parallel events (as at 19 February 2016), available here.

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ISHR thanks Irish Aid for its generosity in making this publication possible.