CIVICUS at the UN Human Rights Council – 38th Session
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During the 38th session of the Human Rights Council (18 June -6 July), CIVICUS worked with human rights defenders and fellow civil society groups to hold 6 side events, make 9 oral statements, and support the attendance of 5 human rights defenders, as part of country-specific advocacy missions.

The meeting of member states, UN officials and civil society was largely overshadowed by the withdrawal of the United States from the Council. The US has traditionally been an advocate of open societies within the Council and helped establish critical roles for civil society rights, including the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly. The US exit raises concerns about which state(s) will fill the power vacuum, not just related to the civic space agenda, but the Council's wider multilateral mission to address grave human rights violations. The Council proceeded with its negotiations, but there were signs of further disengagement from member states. 
Resolution on civil society space

The Resolution affirms civil society's contribution to international and regional organisations (including the UN) and further requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on progress made in improving civil society engagement in this regard to the Council by 2020.
Resolution on peaceful protests

The Resolution requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a thematic report on new technologies, including information and communications technology, and their impact on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies, including peaceful protests, and to submit it to the Human Rights Council in two years’ time.
Special Rapporteur on Eritrea renewed

The Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea. CIVICUS welcoms the renewal, as there have been no significant improvements in the situation in Eritrea and no steps have been taken to hold perpetrators of crimes against humanity accountable.
CIVICUS is an international alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. Though our office in Geneva, we support our partners and members to engage with the UN Human Rights Council, and its ancillary bodies, including the UN Universal Periodic Review, UN Special Procedures, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Reviewing the threats and trends related to civic space in the EU was a central area of engagement for CIVICUS at the council. Ratings for the 28 member states have been generated to assess, freedom of association, assembly and speech across the union. See Europe index.
The Council coincided with the Football World Cup. Delegations from all 32 competing countries were at the Human Rights Council, which provided an opportunity to show diplomats & delegates how their countries' civic space scores compare. See tournament index.
Civil Society Responses to US Withdrawal From UN Human Rights Council

Following the announcement of the United States withdrawal from the United Nations Human Rights Council, a number of civil society organisations offer their opinions on the resulting impact on the work of the Human Rights Council.
Why the Human Rights Council matters to grassroots activists

The value of the Human Rights Council is greater than the sum of its parts. Despite the imperfect human rights records of its members, it remains an unequalled platform to raise human rights violations at a multilateral level (between 193 countries), and foster interaction between decision-makers and members of some of the world's most vulnerable communities.
Wanted: Strong UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Joint statement on the selection criteria for the next UN High Commissioner, who has the mandate and responsibility to protect the rights of  7+ billion people.
Outcomes & resolutions from UN Human Rights Council

Joint statement on the adoption of a number of global resolutions related to civil society space, and peaceful protest as well as a number of country specific outcomes.
Response to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights update

CIVICUS welcomed the High Commissioner's final update and shared his particular concerns about civic space restrictions in Bangladesh and attacks on citizen in Nicaragua, which has resulted in at least 170 deaths.
New Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

This session was the first of the new Special Rapporteur on FOAA, and CIVICUS noted the significance of his first report on the state of citizen rights, as well as the efforts he is undertaking to consult civil society actors.
Civic space in Eritrea

Joint statement on the need to renew the Special Rapporteur on Eritrea's mandate to monitor some of the most egregious human rights violations happening in sub-Saharan Africa.
Civic Space in Egypt, Tanzania and Vietnam

CIVICUS is concerned by the rapid deterioration of the civic space conditions in Egypt, Tanzania and Vietnam, and presented areas where countries are not meeting their obligations.
UAE: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Report

Joint statement notes that the UAE has not implemented any of the 17 recommendations relating to civic space. We regret that no recommendations pertaining to citizen rights were accepted by the government.
France: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Report

In our Universal Periodic Review submission, we documented that since its last review, France only partially implemented one of the two recommendations it received relating to civic space.
Israel: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Report

Joint statement notes that Israeli authorities continue to commit systematic and gross human rights violations against Palestinians.  The unlawful detention of Palestinian human rights defenders was also emphasised.
Serbia: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Report

Joint statement notes the intimidation, attacks and harassment of human rights defenders and journalists who report on sensitive issues, such as transitional justice, corruption or government accountability. 
Burundi: Adoption of Universal Periodic Review Report

Joint statement notes that torture and the inhumane treatment of citizens have become commonplace in Burundi since its last Universal Periodic Review. 
Ethiopia at a crossroads: What can we do to support civic space reform?
Preventing the entrenchment of civic space restrictions in Tanzania
The state of civic freedoms in Bahrain ahead of parliamentary elections
Human rights in Eritrea: Reflections on progress, pitfalls and prospects
Backsliding on Civic Space in the European Union
Human rights in the Gulf: digital rights
CIVICUS and its partners have submitted joint UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on seven countries (Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chile, Eritrea, Macedonia, Vietnam & Yemen) in advance of their review session in January 2019.
The CIVICUS Monitor is a dynamic research tool that provides regular updates and monitoring of core civil liberties around the world. The tool allows users to track violations against freedom of speech, association and assembly.
For more information about our work at the United Nations, visit our website. For any enquiries please contact