VIVAT International actively participated in the preliminary and actual events of the 52nd Human Rights Council in Geneva, February-April, 2023.
Prior to the main events, which officially started on February 28, VIVAT Office in Geneva participated in pre-sessional briefings by the UN Secretariat in Geneva, which explained the order of proceedings for the HRC52. There were also briefings by the Director-General of the Civil Society and the NGO Liaison Unit in preparation for the event. In view of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and to lobby the core group member and observer states, VI Geneva led a delegation to the Permanent Missions of the Holy See, Mexico, Malawi, North Macedonia, Gambia, Costa Rica, Morocco, etc.
HRC52 SESSION ENGAGEMENTS
Altogether, VI Geneva Office delivered eight statements (oral and video) during the Interactive Dialogues and General Debates sessions as follows:
- March 8: Item 3: Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and on the right to non-discrimination in this Video statement delivered by Mr. Edward Havlin
- Context: The UK Government failing to effectively address the needs of people experiencing homelessness in Northern Ireland and their right to adequate housing.
- March 9: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Oral statement delivered by Terence.
- Context: The statement highlights the human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy environment and sustainable development and the ways in which the triple planetary crisis, combined with systemic gender-based discrimination, patriarchal norms, and inequality, is imposing distinct and disproportionate harm on women and girls, threatening and violating their human rights.
- March 9: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Special Rapporteur on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Oral statement delivered by Kevin Crawley
- Context: Young people have begun to assert their rights to a healthy environment through the courts (e.g., the atmospheric trust litigation) by insisting that the government has knowingly violated their rights of life, liberty, and property as well as the government’s sovereign duty to protect public grounds by encouraging and permitting the combustion of fossil fuels.
- March 13: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, with an oral statement delivered by John Mullan.
- Context: The South African Constitution guarantees the rights of all people with disabilities, including children, to freedom from discrimination and equal access to services. The statement highlights the lack of sufficient safeguarding mechanisms for children with disabilities in South Africa.
- March 13: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue on the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, with the oral statement delivered by Fabian Adindu
- Context: The Children Act 2001 of Kenya initially made no mention of children with disability. The inclusion of Articles 53 & 54 in Kenya’s Children Act 2022 is a welcome development.
- March 16: Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children. Oral statement delivered by Fabian Adindu
- Context: Deep concerns about the ongoing practices of separating children from families upon arrival at the U.S.-Mexico border.
- March 17: Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Women. Oral statement delivered by Fabian Adindu
- Context: Belgium is experiencing a serious asylum crisis; thousands of people seeking asylum sleep rough in the streets of major Belgian cities, especially in Brussels, including families with children, unaccompanied foreign minors, and single women.
- March 22: Item 4: General Debate on The Human Rights Situation that Requires the Council’s Attention – Human rights situation in Sri Lanka. Oral statement delivered by Fabian Adindu. Context: The unprecedented economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka has generated a situation in which widespread violations of civil, cultural, economic, political, and social rights continue to take place, especially in the aftermath of the April 2019 Easter Sunday bombings.
STATEMENTS VIVAT INTERNATIONAL CO-SPONSORED:
VI Geneva networked with 15 (collaborating and individual) NGOs to co-sponsor, altogether, 15 videos, oral, and written statements. The statements covered different issues within VIVAT International’s focus areas. Details will be published on our website later.