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56th Session of the UNHRC

56th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

One of GHRD’s main pillars is advocacy, which we achieve through active engagement with UN and EU bodies. At the UN level, we submit oral and written statements and participate in councils to advance minority rights. Our team frequently attends Human Rights Council sessions to collaborate with UN officials and fellow NGOs, working together to further our mission.





56th UNHRC

In the most recent session of the UN Human Rights Council, we attended events highlighting several human rights topics. Some of them are given below.

The struggles of Widowed Women

The organisation Widow RIghts International held a side event discussing the challenges faced by widows. In some countries, widows face significant socio-economic disadvantages such as barriers to changing residence, owning property and making decisions affecting the family. The speakers emphasised the importance of educating women in more conservative societies about their civil rights. They encouraged countries to collect and publish data to assess the extent of challenges affecting widows. 

Improving NGO involvement in UN decision making

The Rosa-Luxembourg-Stiftung organisation held an event outlining how international systems such as the UN Security Council can be used to stifle the implementation of international law. The event emphasised the importance of NGOs in tackling global issues and pressed for greater participation of such organisations in UN sessions. 

Sexual violence against Palestinian women

Palestinian women in Gaza have experienced a high level of violence due to the ongoing conflict, including rape, torture, the confiscation of property, threats and sexual harassment. Israeli soldiers have also posed with the undergarments and private possessions of abducted, harmed and displaced women. This issue has gained the attention of the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women. 

Women's Rights in Afghanistan

The Universal Peace Federation organised an event to discuss the rights of women living under the Taliban, who face restrictions to education and socio-economic autonomy, as well as harsh and unfair jurisdiction. The organisation pressed for gender apartheid to be regarded as a crime against humanity in international law, removing the limits for international tribunals to prosecute responsible parties. 

Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Special Rapporteur on Iran spoke at an event organised by the WomenNC organisation. He expressed considerable concern about the effectiveness of Ian’s Revolutionary courts in upholding justice and ensuring accountability for state violence. There was also notable criticism of the regime’s response to the 1988 protests and the recent Freedom, Life and Women’s movement. 

Development Projects in Tibet

Locals have been displaced by the People’s Republic of China to construct hydroelectric power plants in Tibet. Those who protest peacefully are met with violence and disproportionate force by the state, resulting in the unfair imprisonment of thousands of Tibetans. 

Crackdown on Human Rights in the People's Republic of China

A joint session was held highlighting the PRC’s restrictions on human rights and civil liberties in Hong Kong, Tibet and the Uyghur regions. Zumretay Arkin (World Uyghur Congress), Sarah Brooks (China Director of Amnesty International) and Lhadon Tethong (Tibet Action Institute) were notable participants. The panel requested a mandate for a special procedure in the UN Council regarding rights in the PRC, or the publication of a report on this issue by the UN High Commissioner. 

Human Rights in Sudan

The UN fact-finding mission in Sudan is set to close due to failing to fulfil its objectives as a result of organisational and financial challenges. Participants in the conflict have been able to inflict significant violence on civilians without international accountability. It is critical that a mission is set up with access to conflict zones in Sudan and refugee camps in neighbouring countries. 

Sexual violence in Conflict

The World Council of Churches’ Middle East programme argued for the effectiveness of faith-based initiatives rehabilitating women in conflict zones, especially in cases of sexual violence. The event highlighted the role of grassroots women’s organisations in tackling this issue.