The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee held its 27th session in a hybrid manner in Geneva, Switzerland, this week from 21 to 25 February, with 12 of its 18 members participating in person.
The President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Federico Villegas, addressed the Committee at the opening of the session on 21 February. In his address, the President congratulated the newly elected members the new members: (i) Ms. Alamro (Saudi Arabia); (ii) Mr. Tzevelekos (Greece); and (iii) Mr. Viljoen (South Africa). He also congratulated Mr. Lindgren (Brazil) on his re-election for a second term.
The President noted with satisfaction that the representation of women in the Advisory Committee had reached an all-time high following the last elections held in October 2021 and that the Committee was very close to the goal of gender parity.
He provided an overview of the Council’s work since August 2021. He noted with satisfaction the two new mandates granted by the Council to the Committee:
- to conduct a study on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights
- to conduct a study to examines patterns, policies and processes contributing to incidents of racial discrimination and makes proposals to advance racial justice and equality
The President also outlined some of the issues and fundamental principles that would guide his Presidency, including: enhancing the credibility, functionality and efficiency of the Human Rights Council and making it a stable platform to strengthen the spirit of constructive dialogue; engaging with civil society organizations on the multiple roles they can play; and generating a systemic reflection in the Council in 2022 that would bring about more concerted action by the Council in conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction.
In addition, the President briefed the Committee about the upcoming 49th session of the Council.
Finally, Ambassador Villegas recalled that the Council relies on the independent expertise and guidance of the Committee on many issues, including new and emerging ones, and renewed his appreciation for the work done by the Committee towards the common goal of positive impact on the life of rights holders on the ground.
Documentation relating to the twenty-seventh session, including the agenda and programme of work, is available on the Advisory Committee’s session webpage.
During the session, the Committee started working on two new studies mandated by the Human Rights Council: a study on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights (HRC resolution 48/14) and a study on the advancement of racial justice and equality (HRC resolution 48/18).
The Committee took action on two thematic issues.
On the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights, the Committee established a drafting group composed of Buhm-Suk Baek; Milena Costas Trascasas; Ajai Malhotra; Javier Palummo; Elizabeth Salmón; Patrycja Sasnal; Vassilis Tzevelekos and Frans Viljoen. It elected Milena Costas Trascasas as Chair and Patrycja Sasnal as Rapporteur. The Committee decided to seek input through a note verbale requesting stakeholders to submit information for the report by 29 April 2022. The Committee also entrusted the drafting group to explore the possibility of convening before its twenty-eighth session an intersessional seminar on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights, with the participation and involvement of specialists in the field and requested the drafting group to submit an outline of the report to the Advisory Committee at its twenty-eighth session.
On the advancement of racial justice and equality, the Committee established a drafting group composed of Nurah Alamro; Buhm-Suk Baek; Nadia Amal Bernoussi; Lazhari Bouzid; Milena Costas Trascasas; José Augusto Lindgren Alves; Xinsheng Liu; Ajai Malhotra; Javier Palummo; Elizabeth Salmón; Dheerujlall Seetulsingh; Catherine Van de Heyning and Frans Viljoen. It elected Catherine Van de Heyning as Chair and Frans Viljoen as Rapporteur. The Committee also entrusted the drafting group to explore the possibility of convening before its twenty-eighth session an intersessional seminar on the advancement of racial justice and equality, with the participation and involvement of specialists in the field. It also requested the drafting group to submit a preliminary draft of the report to the Advisory Committee at its twenty-eighth session.
The Advisory Committee also held discussions on the review of its methods of work and decided to hold virtual consultations in the intersessional period with Groups of member States and with non-governmental organizations and civil society. It also designated focal points on increasing the visibility of its work on social media, enhancing its engagement with non-governmental organizations and civil society and national human rights institutions, and on its network of Academic Friends.
During its 27th session this week, the Advisory Committee also held discussions on new research proposals for the Council’s consideration. The Committee decided to submit for the Council’s consideration and approval the following research proposals:
- Protection of academic freedom and free flow of research: lessons learned from the pandemic
- Assessing human rights implications of neurotechnologies: towards the recognition of neuro-rights
- New and emerging digital technologies in the military domain and human rights
- The pandemic and its impact on gender equality: lessons for the future
The Committee also held a private meeting with the Bureau of the Human Rights Council and regional and political group coordinators.
On 25 February, the Advisory Committee took note of the appointment of Mr. Lazhari Bouzid, made in the intersessional period through a silence procedure, to replace Ms. Mona Omar on the Working Group on Communications of the Human Rights Council Complaint Procedure following her resignation from the Committee in January 2022.
The 28th session of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee is scheduled to take place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 8 to 12 August 2022.
The Advisory Committee is a body of 18 independent experts serving as a think-tank to the United Nations Human Rights Council. It was established in 2008, pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, to provide studies and research-based advice, as requested by the Council. It meets twice a year. The Committee’s work is implementation-oriented and follows thematic issues linked to the mandate of the Council, namely, the promotion and protection of all human rights. It interacts with States, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and other civil society bodies.
The membership of the Advisory Committee conforms to the following geographical distribution guidelines set out in its establishing resolution: five members each from African and Asian States; three each from Latin American and Caribbean States, and Western European and other States; and two members from Eastern European States.
Following is the list of current members of the Advisory Committee and expiration dates for their respective terms of office:
Nurah Alamro (Saudi Arabia, 2024); Buhm-Suk Baek (Republic of Korea, 2023); Nadia Amal Bernoussi (Morocco, 2023); Lazhari Bouzid (Algeria, 2022); Milena Costas Trascasas (Spain, 2022); Iurii Alexandrovich Kolesnikov (Russian Federation, 2022); José Augusto Lindgren Alves (Brazil, 2024); Xinsheng Liu (China, 2022); Ajai Malhotra (India, 2023); Itsuko Nakai (Japan, 2022); Javier Palummo (Uruguay, 2022); Elizabeth Salmón (Peru, 2023); Patrycja Sasnal (Poland, 2023); Dheerujlall Seetulsingh (Mauritius, 2023); Vassilis Tzevelekos (Greece, 2024); Catherine Van de Heyning (Belgium, 2023); and Frans Viljoen (South Africa, 2024).
 One seat for African States is currently vacant following the resignation of Mona Omar (Egypt) in January 2022.