Statements during the 45th session of the Human Rights Council

The Council is conducted its September session in a hybrid form, with participants engaging both virtually and in-person. We continue to work closely with Franciscans and other grassroots partners to ensure that urgent human rights issues are raised, even when representatives are unable to travel to Geneva themselves.

An overview of all our statements, delivered either in-person or by video, can be found below.

End of session statement (7 October)

In a joint final statement, 14 civil society organizations shared their reflections on key outcomes, as well as missed opportunities, of the 45th session of the Council. This included a number of key priorities for Franciscans International throughout the session, among others the right to a healthy environment, the rights of migrants, and the human rights situation in the Philippines. A shortened version was delivered in-person at the Council.

Full statement (English)

Item 6: UPR Outcome of Kiribati (29 September)

Franciscans International welcomed the adoption of all recommendations related to climate change during its Universal Periodic Review, in particular its commitments to adopt an inclusive and participatory approach. However, as a nation, the survival of Kiribati depends on the serious commitment of the international community. We urged the Council to consider resolutions to establish a mandate for a special rapporteur on human rights and climate change as well as to recognize the right to a safe, clean and healthy and sustainable environment

● Full statement (English)

Item 4: Situations that require the Council’s attention (25 September)

During the general debate on situations that require the Council’s attention, Franciscans International again raised the importance of establishing a Special Procedure mandate on human rights and climate change. While acknowledging on-going efforts, we emphasized that the Council currently lacks the means to address the climate crisis in a comprehensive way and that this new mandate would be one way to ensure a long-term focus on this issue and bring a human rights dimension into climate change policies.

Full statement (English)

Item 4: Situations that require the Council’s attention (25 September)

In July 2020, the High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report detailing widespread violations in Philippines committed during so-called ‘war on drugs’. The government has rejected the findings of the Office of the High Commissioner and refuses any meaningful steps to ensure accountability for the victims. In a joint statement, Franciscans International calls on the Council to launch an independent international investigation as a step toward ending impunity in the Philippines

Full statement (English)

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples (24 September)

West Papua remains the most militarized region in Indonesia. Now, the COVID-19 outbreak has aggravated the humanitarian crisis with increased violence against indigenous Papuans and new restrictions on the freedom of movement and freedom of assembly. At the Human Rights Council, Brother Alexandro Rangga OFM called on the Indonesian government to scale-down the military presence and open access of Papua to the international community.

Full statement (English)

Annual panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples (24 September)

Indigenous human rights defenders in Guatemala face a perilous situation: in the first six months of 2020, there have been at least 667 attacks and crimes against them, including 14 assassinations. At the Human Rights Council, Franciscans International called attention to the case of Bernando Caal, a Q’eqchi Mayan defender and community leader, whose sentence of 7 years and 4 months in prison for protesting the imposition of Oxec hydroelectric projects was recently upheld, despite multiple violations of his right to due process.

Full statement (Spanish)

Item 3: General Debate (22 September)

The COVID-19 pandemic has again exposed the linkages between environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, and the emergence of pandemics: the result has been a catastrophic impact on peoples’ health and their enjoyment of human rights. In a joint statement, Franciscans International reiterated its support for the joint appeal “The Time Is Now” and called on the Human Rights Council to recognize without delay the right of all to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

● Full statement (English)

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on toxic wastes (21 September)

Despite catastrophic disasters in Mariana and Brumadinho since 2015, at least 40 tailing dams in Brazil’s Minas Gerais State remain at risk of collapse. Instead of ending impunity for mining related cases, the government is seeking the further flexibilization of environmental licensing procedures. At the Human Rights Council, Dom Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo – President of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil – called attention to ongoing violations and critical situations in Brazil and urged the government to comply with its international human rights obligations.

● Full statement (English and Portuguese).

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on water and sanitation (16 September)

During the presentation of his last report to the Council, Franciscans International thanked Mr. Léo Heller for his work as Special Rapporteur over the past six years, in particular for his contributions to give practical meaning to international law. FI also expressed its concern over ongoing problems related to privatization and access to water in Guatemala and El Salvador that were highlighted in the Special Rapporteur’s work.

Full statement (English)