16 November 2018, GENEVA – The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue (“the Geneva Centre”) was invited by the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to participate in the fourth informal consultation session on the long-term efficiency of the HRC. The one-day consultation session was held on 15 November 2018 at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG). Permanent Missions, national institutions, international organizations, NGOs and human rights bodies were present at the informal consultative session.

The first part of the session began with discussions on improving the annual programme of work of the HRC. This was followed by discussions on rationalization of resolutions and initiatives of the UN human rights body. The last session was dedicated to the use of information technology to enhance the facilitation of information and raise awareness about the activities of the HRC.

The Geneva Centre – represented by its junior project and communication officer Mr. Blerim Mustafa – attended the consultative session held at UNOG. In his statement to the participants - addressed on behalf of the Geneva Centre, the International Catholic Migration Commission, the International Society for Human Rights, the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities and the African Centre Against Torture -, concrete recommendations were provided to the Secretariat on how to enhance the long-term efficiency of the HRC.   

Under agenda item one, the speaker highlighted the importance of capping the number and duration of interactive dialogues and panel discussions as this would result in significant time-savings for the Council. In the joint position paper, the co-signatories likewise welcomed the proposed adoption of element number eight in the draft non-paper of the Secretariat that calls for a more action- and outcome-oriented format of meetings and presentations of reports of Special Procedures Mandate Holders during the HRC. This would enable different actors to engage in a more efficient and substantive manner, it was underlined.

With regard to the Universal Periodic Review, the speaker appealed to Permanent Missions to consider the dual four-year implementation cycle and six-year review sequences that was proposed by the Geneva Centre during the informal consultation session of 04 October. “This would enable the Council to save 27 hours per annum,” it was stated.

In relation to agenda item two, the co-signatories of the joint position paper informed the Secretariat of the HRC that they align themselves with the recommendations made in the draft non-paper as these proposals would enable the HRC to benefit from long-term efficiency gains and increased rationalization of resolutions and initiatives.

Regarding the last agenda item, the co-signatories took note of the proposal to introduce online reservation for side events, but highlighted that this proposal would “undermine the democratic participation of small- and medium-sized NGOs” as this would require the long-term projection of conferences that can only be assumed by large-sized NGOs having the necessary capacity and resources to pursue this option.

The next consultation session on the long-term efficiency of the HRC is scheduled to take place on 29 November at UNOG. The Geneva Centre and its associates will participate in this session and present its viewpoints on the solutions required to enhance the effectiveness of the work of the HRC.

The joint position paper of the Geneva Centre, the International Catholic Migration Commission, the International Society for Human Rights, the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities and the African Centre Against Torture can be downloaded at: 

- Statement - Fourth Informal Consultation Session

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