human rights defenders

51st regular session of the Human Rights Council

Dear civil society,

The Human Rights Council will hold its fifty-first regular session from 12 September to 7 October at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Nada Al-Nashif, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, currently serving as acting High Commissioner, will present the High Commissioner’s oral update at 9 a.m. on Monday, 12 September in room XX.

Event info for in-person and/or virtual participation by NGOs:
Panel discussions to include:
  • Biennial panel discussion on the right to development
    Theme: 35 years on: policy pathways to operationalizing the right to development
  • Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms
    Theme: Overcoming gender-based barriers to freedom of opinion and expression
  • Panel discussion on the future of the right to work in connection with climate change actions, responses and impacts in the context of sustainable and inclusive economies
  • Annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples
    Theme: Impact of social and economic recovery plans in the COVID-19 context on indigenous peoples, with a special focus on food security
  • Panel discussion on the negative impact of the legacies of colonialism on the enjoyment of human right

The Human Rights Council:

The composition of the Human Rights Council at its fifty-first session is as follows: Argentina (2024); Armenia (2022); Benin (2024); Bolivia (Plurinational State of) (2023); Brazil (2022); Cameroon (2024); China (2023); Côte d’Ivoire (2023); Cuba (2023); Czechia (2023); Eritrea (2024); Finland (2024); France (2023); Gabon (2023); Gambia (2024); Germany (2022); Honduras (2024); India (2024); Indonesia (2022); Japan (2022); Kazakhstan (2024); Libya (2022); Lithuania (2024); Luxembourg (2024); Malawi (2023); Malaysia (2024); Marshall Islands (2022); Mauritania (2022); Mexico (2023); Montenegro (2024); Namibia (2022); Nepal (2023); Netherlands (2022); Pakistan (2023); Paraguay (2024); Poland (2022); Qatar (2024); Republic of Korea (2022); Senegal (2023); Somalia (2024); Sudan (2022); Ukraine (2023); United Arab Emirates (2024); United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (2023); United States of America (2024); Uzbekistan (2023); and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) (2022).

The President of the Council is Federico Villegas (Argentina).  The Vice-Presidents are Andranik Hovhannisyan (Armenia); Muhammadou M.O. Kah (Gambia); Katharina Stasch (Germany); and Vice-President and Rapporteur Ulugbek Lapasov (Uzbekistan).

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@yahoo.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on Intergenerational Solidarity, please email the vice chair at susanneseperson@gmail.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Children’s Rights/NY, please visit childrightsny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org.

2022 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated globally on 9 August. It marks the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. The Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is organizing a virtual commemoration of the International Day from 9 am to 11am (EST) on Tuesday, 9 August 2022, focusing on this year’s theme: “The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge. ” Indigenous Peoples, Member States, UN entities, civil society, and the public are all invited.

Background:

Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge. They have an integral collective and community role as carers of natural resources and keepers of scientific knowledge. Many indigenous women are also taking the lead in the defence of lands and territories and advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.

The significance of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge is widely acknowledged: “Long before the development of modern science, which is quite young, indigenous peoples have developed their ways of knowing how to survive and also of ideas about meanings, purposes and values.” As noted by the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, the term “scientific knowledge” is also used to underscore that traditional knowledge is contemporary and dynamic, and of equal value to other kinds of knowledge.

International consultations jointly facilitated by UNESCO and the Internal Council of Science (ICSU) states that “Traditional knowledge is a cumulative body of knowledge, know-how, practices and representations maintained and developed by peoples with extended histories of interaction with the natural environment. These sophisticated sets of understandings, interpretations and meanings are part and parcel of a cultural complex that encompasses language, naming and classification systems, resource use practices, ritual, spirituality and worldviews.”

However, despite the crucial role that indigenous women play in their communities as breadwinners, caretakers, knowledge keepers, leaders and human rights defenders, they often suffer from intersecting levels of discrimination on the basis of gender, class, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Their right to self-determination, self-governance and control of resources and ancestral lands have been violated over centuries.

Small but significant progress has been made by indigenous women in decision-making processes in some communities. They are leaders at local and national levels, and stand at the frontlines of defending their lands, their cultures, and their communities. The reality, however, remains that indigenous women are widely under-represented, disproportionately negatively affected by decisions made on their behalf, and are too frequently the victims of multiple expressions of discrimination and violence.

The Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) highlighted some of the major issues encountered by indigenous women, particularly noting the high levels of poverty; low levels of education and illiteracy; limitations in access to health, basic sanitation, credit and employment; limited participation in political life; and the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence.

Format:

The virtual commemoration will include an interactive dialogue segment with invited speakers, moderated by Ms. Rosemary Lane, Acting Chief of the Indigenous Peoples Development Branch – Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Speakers will share their expertise and experience from their indigenous communities in preserving, reviving, retaining, and transmitting the traditional ancestral knowledge in various fields of communal activities, including but not limited to effective and sustainable climate solutions, use of natural resources, protection of biodiversity, ensuring food security, promoting native languages and culture, and managing indigenous science and medicine. Questions to be discussed include:

  • What is the unique position of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge?
  • What are some of the brightest examples of indigenous women-led processes in solving contemporary global issues through the effective application of traditional scientific knowledge?
  • How are indigenous languages crucial to the development, preservation, and transmission of indigenous cultural and knowledge systems? How are women leading the way in maintaining indigenous languages?
  • What was the effect of applying indigenous scientific knowledge and medicine in alleviating the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemiologic crisis?

Panel Speakers:

Archana Soreng (Kharia) – Member of UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change

Aili Keskitalo (Sámi)  – Former President of the Sámi Parliament of Norway

Zakiyatou Oualet Halatine (Touareg) – Former Minister of Tourism & Handicrafts, Mali

Hannah McGlade (Noongar) – Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Commentary on Panel Discussion by His Excellency Ambassador Diego Pary Rodriguez(Quechua), Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the United Nations

 

More information about International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022 available here: un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/international-day-of-the-worlds-indigenous-peoples-2022.html

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit  ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on Language and Languages, please email the co-chairs at fmhult@umbc.edu or tonkin@hartford.edu. 

WMG’s 2022 HLPF Colour Campaign

As is the feminist tradition of the Women’s Major Group, we’re calling on feminists and allies to wear and bring attention to certain colors on each day of HLPF because #FeministsWantSystemChange! Each of these colors represent feminist demands regarding systemic change in order to really achieve the SDGs! Join us in making feminist analyses heard!

How do I participate on social media / virtually?

  • Snap a selfie or take pictures with your organization or feminist friends wearing the color of the day or holding up a sign with the demand/color of the day, post the picture on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook!
  • Download & post the daily color campaign graphics on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook with the key messages shared for the day. Encourage others to join too!
  • Use the Zoom backgrounds in your virtual meetings and when speaking in a related virtual event!
  • Check out the WMG HLPF 2022 Comms Kit!

How do I participate in person?

  • Wear some clothes or accessories in these colors on each corresponding day while you’re at HLPF!
  • Wear one our color scarves, which will be distributed daily in our WMG morning caucuses

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women-Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bknotts@uua.org or bobbinassar@yahoo.com.

Supporting Human Rights Defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Reality, Challenges, and Obligations

The UN Palestinian Rights Committee , will hold the virtual event “Supporting Human Rights Defenders in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Reality, Challenges, and Obligations” on Tuesday, 7 December 2021 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm (New York Time), via WebEx. The event will also be livestreamed on UN Web TV.

The event will highlight the engagement of the Committee with civil society partners in the implementation of its mandate towards ending the occupation of the Palestinian territory and advancing the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It will shed light on the implications of the Israeli decision of 22 October 2021 to designate six Palestinian human rights and humanitarian NGOs as “terrorist organizations” and more broadly on the work of civil society organizations and human rights defenders in the OPT. Finally, it will underline the role and responsibilities of the international community in the context of a shrinking space for CSOs.

The speakers – Shawan Jabarin (Al-Haq), Heba Morayef (Amnesty International), Michael Sfard (Human rights lawyer) and Omar Shakir (Human Rights Watch) – will brief on the varying dimension of this critical decision and show Israel’s long-time efforts to target organizations that document the ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights and seek to hold Israel accountable.

Participants in the Webex event will consist of the invited panellists, Committee Members / Observers and other Member States. Intergovernmental and civil society organizations as well as the public and media will be invited to follow the event via live stream. While participation in the virtual platform will be limited to UN Member and Observer States, panellists, IGOs ​​and CSOs, the general public can send their questions via the Committee Facebook pageTwitter account  or email dpr-meeting @ un.org.

For further information, please visit un.org/unispal.

Viewers are encouraged to use the hashtags #Rights4Palestine and #ForPalestineRefugees on their social media and to tag the Committee’s social media pages using Twitter & Instagram: @UNISPAL, Facebook: @ UN.palestinianrights.

Watch the live stream on UN Web TV: webtv.un.org

Share live updates from the Committee Twitter account and Facebook page.

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CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, please visit facebook.com/NGOCoRIP. For more information on the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security, please visit ngocdps.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Human Rights, please email the co-chairs at bobbinassar@gmail.com or bknotts@uua.org.