The UN Human Rights Council, which will assemble in Geneva, Switzerland from Feb. 27 to March 23 for its 19th Session, will address some of the most serious human rights issues faced recently by the international community. Syria, Iran and North Korea as well as Burma / Myanmar top the list, but the agenda of the Council also includes other contentious issues: among them, human rights violations involving companies and governments in the organization of mega-sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics and crimes committed against journalists, not only in countries at war, but also in the context of political persecution and drug trafficking.
Thanks to its consultative status with the UN, Conectas will intervene orally to demand a real commitment on the part of the Council Member States on each of the topics covered by the agenda. Conectas will demand an explanation from Brazilian authorities, particularly with regards to police actions carried out recently in Pinheirinho, in the municipality of Sao Jose dos Campos, and in the center of the city of Sao Paulo, in the neighborhood known as "Cracolândia." Additionally, Conectas will inquire about and demand an end to human rights violations arising from large infrastructure projects, such as the hydroelectric plant of Belo Monte.
"Using the UN system and engaging with diplomats in international fora is a critical aspect of the human rights work. It is important to give international visibility to what we witness on a daily basis as human rights defenders in our work with vulnerable groups in prisons or in authoritarian countries, "said Camila Asano, Coordinator of the Foreign Policy and Human Rights Program at Conectas, who heads the delegation to the UN session composed of three staff members from the organization.
Conectas prepared a briefing paper highlighting the key topics of the session intended for journalists, human rights activists, academics and other stakeholders (read here - only in Portuguese). Updates about the session will be posted on the Conectas Facebook page directly from Geneva.