NGOs criticize communication at Human Rights Council
37th Session of the Human Rights Council, High-Level Panel: 70th Anniversary of the UDHR and 25th of VDPA, Palais des Nations, 28 February 2018, Geneva, Switzerland. OCHCHR/Pierre Albouy
Civil society organizations have requested improvements in the way communication and the release of information is handled by the UN Human Rights Council. The organizations sent a letter to the president of the Council, Ambassador Vojislav Šuc, on March 6, in which they claimed that the delay in the provision of information can prevent NGOs from being able to participate effectively in the work of the Council, as mandated by the General Assembly.
To illustrate the point, the organizations reported that on March 2, an urgent debate took place on the situation in Eastern Ghouta, in Syria, in the Human Rights Council. Member and Observer States were informed about the debate the day before, on March 1, but civil society was only notified at the last minute, making it difficult for the organizations to participate in the discussions.
“Just like States that are observers of the Council, NGO observers are an integral part of the Human Rights Council’s work. They should be provided with all information, simultaneously with other observers,” said the organizations. Moreover, they pointed out that these delays significantly affect the work of civil society organizations not based in Geneva.
The letter was signed by Conectas, the International Service for Human Rights, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies and a number of other organizations.
• Click here to read the letter in full.