30 Jun 2020 – 20 Jul 2020
Venue: Palais des Nations
The 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council is taking place in Geneva from 30 June to 21 July 2020. During the session, the Council will review reports on a wide range of human rights issues and situations of concern and will engage in over 30 interactive dialogues with human rights experts, groups and mechanisms. The High Commissioner will present an oral update on human rights and the impact of COVID-19.
Update on human rights and the impact of the COVID-19
The High Commissioner presented an oral update on human rights and the impact of COVID-19, on 30 June 2020.
Without rapid and decisive national and international action, the pandemic will put an end to hopes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
The Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights is a strong and principled framework for coordinated action to realise a rights-based recovery, including the human right to a healthy environment.
We need to build a new economy that is environmentally sustainable, equitable and fair and inclusive. I encourage all States to ensure that economic aid and stimulus packages for businesses stipulate that beneficiary companies should follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights .
Rights of the child through a healthy environment
Every year, the Human Rights Council dedicates a full day to discuss a specific children’s rights theme. This year, the Annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child, took place on Wednesday 1 July, and focused on the theme: Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment. (concept note)
Morning panel 10:00-12:00 (CEST): “A healthy environment as a child rights concern: setting the scene”
Chair: H.E. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, President of the Human Rights Council
Opening statement: Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Moderator: H.E. Walter Stevens, Ambassador and Head of the European Union Delegation to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
- Clarence Nelson, Member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
- Maria Neira, Director – Environment, Climate Change and Health, WHO
- Junior, Child environmental human rights defender
This panel was an opportunity to identify good practices while providing guidance on how to integrate a comprehensive child rights-based approach into environment-related law, policy and practice and bringing concrete suggestions on how States, the international community and the private sector can be held accountable and fulfill their obligations to realize children’s rights through a healthy environment.
Afternoon panel 15:00-17:00 (CEST): “Ensuring children’s rights through a healthy environment: a call to action”
Chair: H.E. Socorro Flores Liera, Vice-President of the Human Rights Council
Moderator: H.E. Ricardo González Arenas, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Uruguay to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
- David Boyd, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
- Sanjay Wijesekera, Director of Programmes, UNICEF and Henriette Ahrens, Deputy Director of Programmes, UNICEF
- Juliana, Child environmental human rights defender (Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative)
This panel was the opportunity for States, international organizations, the private sector, civil society organizations, academics and other participants to identify and share concrete commitments to realize children’s rights through a healthy environment.
Various institutions and high-level experts from around presented a joint Call to Action to the HRC outlining 7 key commitments that governments must make to protect children’s right to a healthy environment.
Statements and calls
- Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment Statement: Respond to children’s call for environmental action
- Joint Call to Action for the HRC Annual Full-Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child (24 institutions)
- UNEP Statement
- Nordic-Baltic Countries Statement (I delivered by Estonia)
- Nordic-Baltic Countries Statement (II delivered by Iceland)
- Slovenia Statement
- Earthjustice Statement
It is time for global recognition of the human right to a healthy environment – recognition that can lead to stronger policies, at all levels, to protect our planet and our children.
Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, at HRC44 Annual Day on the Rights of the Child
Promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change
On 8 July, the Council will hold a panel discussion on promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change.
Appointment of mandate holders
The Human Rights Council will also appoint four new mandate holders, including for the position of Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes.
At the end of the session, the Council will take action on decisions and resolutions. Among these, a resolution on Human rights and climate change proposed by Bangladesh, Philippines, and Vietnam.
- A/HRC/44/30 | Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
- A/HRC/44/44 | International solidarity and climate change – Report of the Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity
Press and News Releases
- Youth activist speaks up for environmental protection at Human Rights Council | UN News | 1 July 2020
- Human Rights Council begins its annual full-day meeting on the rights of the child with a panel discussion on setting the scene for a healthy environment as a child rights concern | 1 July 2020
- Human Rights Council opens forty-fourth regular session, hears High Commissioner’s update on the human rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic | 30 June 2020
- Human Rights Council to hold its forty-fourth regular session from 30 June to 20 July 2020 | 25 June 2020
Who to follow on Twitter at this session
@UN_HRC | UN Human Rights Council
@tichy_e | H.E. Amb. Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations Office at Geneva, President of the Human Rights Council in 2020
@UNHumanRights | The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights)
@mbachelet | United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
@SREnvironment | Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment
@obioraokaforc | UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity
@CRINwire | Child Rights International Network
@ISHRglobal | The International Service for Human Rights
@URGthinktank | Universal Rights Group (URG)
@Geneva_Academy | Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
@YvesLador | Special Representative of Earthjustice in Geneva
@duycks | Senior Attorney – Climate and Energy Programme at the Center for International Environmental Law
@ChildRightsCnct | Child Rights Connect
@CERI_Coalition | Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI)