Statements during the 44th Session of the Human Rights Council

Despite the current travel restrictions, we continue to work with our Franciscan and other local partners to raise human rights issues directly at the United Nations. An overview of all our statements during this session of the Human Rights Council, delivered either in-person or by video, can be found here.

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on peaceful association and assembly – Sri Lanka (10 July)

Civic space in Sri Lanka, which has already been shrinking over the last year, has come under further pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the Human Rights Council effectively remains the only forum where civil society can still engage in an open dialogue with the government and other States over human rights concerns in Sri Lanka.

However, given Sri Lanka’s announced withdrawal from its commitment to the implementation of Council resolution 30/1 and the increased risks of reprisals against civil society, even this space is under threat. In a joint statement, Franciscans International called on the Human Rights Council to take a more robust approach on Sri Lanka and asked the Special Rapporteur to continue to follow up on the situation in the country.

Full statement

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the International Expert on international solidarity (9 July)

In a joint statement Franciscans International welcomed the report of the Independent Expert, which highlighted how much a human rights-based international solidarity is needed to face the challenge of climate change and acknowledges that its global effects will disproportionately affect the people who have least contributed to creating the crisis. 

Considering the many shortcomings in the responses of governments identified in the report, we again called for the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change, to serve as a focal point for the Council and for a regular dialogue with UN Member States. 

Full statement

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights (6 July)

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have worked closely with our local partners to document people´s struggles against the virus and, even more so, against the severe impacts of many State actions and omissions in response to the crisis. This work is reflected in a written statement Franciscans International submitted to the Council under Item 3 (Promotion and protection of all human rights)

In this oral statement, our International Advocacy Director echoed the call by many prominent voices that we cannot go back to the old normal but need to build back better. Franciscans International also asked the new Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty to expand on his views on the key priorities and challenges that for national and global recovery efforts from a human rights perspective.

Full statement

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants (6 July)

In Central America, migrants and their defenders – those that for example provide shelter, food, or medical and legal services – are facing an increasingly hostile environment. They routinely attacked and harassed by both government and non-State actors, while the militarization of borders is driving migrants to find alternative, and increasingly dangerous, routes.

Fray Armando González OFM from the JPIC Guatemala who, together with his community, works to supports migrants, addressed the Human Rights Council to share some of the many difficulties they experience and call for an end to policies that further deteriorate the already precarious situation faced by migrants or drive them toward using other, more dangerous, routes.

Full statement

Item 2: Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the report of the High Commissioner on the human rights situation in the Philippines (30 June)

Over 27,000 people have been killed by security forces and vigilantes in the Philippines since the government launched its so-called ‘war on drugs’ in 2016. The Franciscan family, wider Catholic church, and civil society has stood as vocal opponents against these violations, offering support to the victims and their families while calling for an end this government sanctioned violence.

Following Council resolution HRC/41/L.20, the High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report on the human rights situation in the country, which details widespread human rights violations and concludes that the practical obstacles to accessing justice within the country are “almost insurmountable.” In light of these findings, Franciscans International renewed its call in two joint statements for the Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry.

Full Statement by Brother Angel Cortez OFM

Full statement by Fr Christian Buenafe O.Carm

UN Photo / Jean Marc Ferré