From IJRC News Room <[email protected]>
Subject International Justice Resource Center
Date June 30, 2020 6:58 AM
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Human Rights Bodies: Schedule and Procedural Changes Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
(July 2020)

Posted: 28 Jun 2020 11:00 PM PDT
[link removed]

First hearing of the ECtHR by videoconference
Credit: ECtHR via Twitter
Universal and regional human rights oversight bodies are beginning to hold
virtual sessions, following postponements and cancellations as a result of
the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-March 2020, almost all human rights bodies
started suspending their meetings and travel through at least June, with
the United Nations treaty bodies postponing all in-person meetings through
August 2020. Quarantine measures in many of the bodies’ host countries are
further impacting the way staff and appointed experts can carry out their
work. However, many human rights bodies have adopted measures that will
enable them to continue some of their work remotely. On May 1, the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights became the first human rights
body to announce that it would hold a virtual period of sessions in July
2020. This month, several regional universal and regional human rights
bodies will meet virtually, including the African Commission and Peoples’
Rights, which will swear in four new commissioners during its session.
As more information becomes available in the month of July, this post will
be updated. For future or past monthly updates on human rights bodies’
schedule & procedural changes, see the IJRC monthly overviews. To view
human rights bodies’ past and future activities, visit the IJRC Hearings &
Sessions Calendar.
Overview
The UN has suspended most meetings and conferences in Geneva, limiting
entrance to those who must be on UN premises for essential official
business. See UNOG, Meeting and Events Calendar. The UN’s decision to close
its headquarters to all but essential work and meetings, together with
States’ decisions to recall diplomats, has suspended all non-essential
activity at the UN headquarters through at least July 31. See UN Secretary
General, Letter to staff on extension of telecommuting, 12 June 2020.
Authorities in Switzerland and New York state have begun to ease certain
restrictions, but both continue to maintain strict social distancing rules.
As restrictions ease, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) has
announced that it will gradually resume intergovernmental meetings at UN
premises in Geneva, limiting the number of in-person meetings and complying
strictly with social distancing rules.
United Nations human rights treaty bodies will not hold in-person sessions
until the end of August 2020, at the earliest. See OHCHR, Information note
on human rights treaty bodies summer sessions, 15 May 2020. Additionally,
UN special procedure mandate holders have not scheduled country visits
until August. The Universal Periodic Review Working Group’s upcoming
sessions, including its May 2020 session, will be postponed several months.
The UN Human Rights Council will hold some in-person meetings during its
44thSession, which is scheduled to take place from June 30 to July 20,
2020. The Council session will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual
meetings that may be followed via UN Web TV.
Regionally, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR), the
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Inter-American Court of Human
Rights (IACtHR), and the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) have
scheduled virtual sessions and implemented measures to address COVID-19’s
effect on their working methods. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
has one virtual hearing scheduled for July and has also implemented a
series of “exceptional measures.” [ECtHR Press Release] In
the Gambia, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Washington, D.C., and France, authorities
have also implemented varying restrictions regarding travel, events, and
social distancing that will affect these bodies’ activities and staff.
Neither the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Intergovernmental Human
Rights Commission (AICHR) nor the Arab Human Rights Committee have
announced changes to their schedules. However, the AICHR did hold its 31st
Meeting virtually, from June 9 to June 10, 2020.
UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies
On May 15, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
announced that the UN human rights treaty bodies will not hold any
in-person sessions through at least August 2020. See OHCHR, Information
note on human rights treaty bodies summer sessions, 15 May 2020. This means
that six treaty bodies’ upcoming sessions will be postponed. They are
the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the Human Rights Committee, the
Committee Against Torture, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination, the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disability, and
the Committee on the Rights of the Child. See id. The Committee on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights completed its February session, and
its subsequent session is scheduled for September. The Committee on the
Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
does not have a session scheduled until October, but it had already
postponed or suspended activities planned for March 2020. The Committee on
Enforced Disappearances was the first body to announce that it would hold a
virtual session. It opened its virtual 18th Session on May 4.
During their sessions, treaty bodies review States’ reports and responses
to a specific list of issues through the State reporting procedure, receive
additional information from nongovernmental organizations and national
human rights institutions, engage in an interactive dialogue with each
State’s representatives, and then adopt concluding observations detailing
the progress and remaining challenges in the State’s implementation of the
treaty.
Committee on Enforced Disappearances 
The Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) opened
its virtual 18th Session on May 4, 2020. During the session, which was
originally scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 9, the Committee
only adopted the session agenda and programme of work, and adopted lists of
issues for Panama and Brazil ahead of their interactive dialogues. The 18th
Session will stay open until the first day of the CED’s 19th Session to
allow the CED to adopt additional documents. The 19th Session is scheduled
to take place from September 7 to 25. During the 19th Session, the CED will
hold interactive dialogues with Colombia, Iraq, Mongolia, and Switzerland
to assess their compliance with the Convention for the Protection of All
Persons from Enforced Disappearances. It will also adopt list of issues for
the Czech Republic, Greece, Mali, and Niger ahead of their interactive
dialogues. For more information on the CED, visit IJRC’s Online Resource
Hub. 
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW
Committee) will hold its 76th Session virtually, from June 29 to July 9,
according to its NGO information note. While the CEDAW Committee postponed
its interactive dialogues with Bahrain, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Gabon,
Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mongolia, and Panama to assess their compliance with
the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
Women, civil society members may still submit written information
to [email protected]
Following the 76th Session, the CEDAW Committee Pre-sessional Working Group
will hold its 78th Session virtually, from July 13 to 17. During its closed
meeting, the Working Group will prepare list of issues for Bolivia,
Indonesia, Peru, Russia, South Sudan, and Uzbekistan ahead of their
interactive dialogues. The Working Group will also prepare lists of issues
prior to reporting for Norway, Slovakia, and Slovenia to consider as part
of its simplified reporting procedure. For more information on the CEDAW
Committee, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Committee Against Torture 
The Committee Against Torture (CAT) will hold its 69th Session virtually,
from July 13 to July 30. The 69th Session was originally scheduled to take
place from April 20 to May 15, but was postponed due to COVID-19. During
the 69th Session, the CAT had scheduled an interactive dialogue with
Bolivia to assess its compliance with the Convention against Torture and
Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The CAT was also
going to consider list of issues prior to reporting for Afghanistan,
Argentina, Bahrain, Ireland, Mali, Panama, Paraguay, and Korea as part of
its simplified reporting procedure. As of June 29, the CAT has yet to
announce its programme of work for the July session. The CAT interactive
dialogues with Cuba, Iceland, Kenya, Montenegro, the United Arab Emirates,
and Uruguay have been postponed until the CAT’s 72nd Session, which is
currently scheduled for April or May 2021. For more information on the CAT,
visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. 
Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture 
The Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) held the opening and closing
meetings of its 41st Session virtually, as well as an informal meeting with
States parties, from June 15 to June 19. The SPT session information is
confidential, but the SPT publishes annual reports on its activities. Its
sessions generally provide its 25 members—an independent group of experts—a
chance to report on and discuss upcoming and recent activities related to
specific States, regions, and thematic priorities.
The SPT had previously suspended its March visit to Argentina and postponed
its planned missions to Bulgaria, Australia, and Nauru. [OHCHR Press
Release: SPT] For more information on the SPT, visit IJRC’s Online Resource
Hub.
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has
postponed its 23rd Session, which was scheduled to take place from March 9
to 27, until August 17 to September 4, 2020 (subject to confirmation). The
CRPD will not hold interactive dialogues with States or adopt concluding
observations during this session. The Committee has postponed all dialogues
and the adoption of concluding observations to future sessions. According
to its informative note, the CRPD is currently identifying the programme of
work for the 23rdSession.
Following the CRPD’s 23rd Session, the CRPD Pre-sessional Working Group
will hold hold its 14th Sessionvirtually from September 7 to 18, subject to
confirmation. During its closed session, the Pre-Sessional Working Group
will prepare list of issues for Andorra, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Israel,
Kazakhstan, Togo, and Zambia. It will also prepare list of issues prior to
reporting for Chile and Qatar to consider as part of its simplified
reporting procedure. According to the CRPD’s informative note, the deadline
for written submissions is July 17. For more information on the CRPD, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
has postponed its 101st Session, which was scheduled to take place from
April 20 to May 8, until August 4 to 28. The CERD had scheduled interactive
dialogues with Denmark, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Singapore, and
Switzerland to assess their compliance with the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. In August, the CERD is
scheduled to hold interactive dialogues with Bahrain, Belgium, Bolivia,
France, Niger, and Thailand. For more information on the CERD, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Committee on the Rights of the Child
The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has postponed
its 85th Session, which was scheduled to take place from May 11 to 29,
until September 7 to 25. The CRC was scheduled to hold interactive
dialogues with Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Eswatini
(Swaziland), and Tunisia to assess their compliance with the Convention on
the Rights of the Child. It will now hold interactive dialogues with these
countries in September. Moreover, the CRC will hold a Pre-sessional Working
Group session virtually, from June 29 to July 3. During the session, the it
was scheduled to consider list of issues prior to reporting for Mauritius,
New Zealand, and Sweden to address in its simplified reporting procedure.
For more information on the CRC, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Human Rights Committee 
The Human Rights Committee has postponed activities planned for
its 129th Session, which was scheduled to take place from June 29 to July
24, to the 130th Session and future sessions. The 130th Session is
currently scheduled to take place from October 12 to November 6, 2020.
During the 129th Session, the Human Rights Committee had scheduled
interactive dialogues with Armenia, Cambodia, China (Hong Kong & Macau),
Iraq, Panama, Qatar, and Russia to assess their compliance with the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). During the
session, the Human Rights Committee was also going to consider list of
issues prior to reporting for Burundi, Congo, Gabon, Guyana, Indonesia, and
Iran as part of its simplified reporting procedure.
Previously, the Human Rights Committee suspended its March 2020 session
with two weeks left on its agenda. The Committee did hold constructive
dialogues with States, and later adopted concluding observations and
pending list of issues remotely. [OHCHR Press Release: Concluding
Observations] For more information on the Human Rights Committee, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. 
Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of
Their Families
The Committee on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and
Members of Their Families (CMW) has postponed its 32nd Session, which was
scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 3. The CMW had scheduled
interactive dialogues with Cabo Verde, Chile, Paraguay, and Rwanda to
assess their compliance with the International Convention on the Protection
of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. During
the session, the CMW was also going to consider and adopt list of issues
for Syria ahead of its interactive dialogue, and consider list of issues
prior to reporting for the Congo and Nigeria as part of its simplified
reporting procedure. Its next session is scheduled to take place
in October. For more information on the CMW, visit IJRC’s Online Resource
Hub. 
UN Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council, an intergovernmental deliberative body, will hold
its 44th Session from June 30 to July 20 in Geneva, Switzerland. In-person
attendance will be considerably restricted in order to comply with social
distancing rules and prevent the spread of COVID-19. All participants are
encouraged to follow Council meetings via UN Web TV and enter conference
rooms only to take the floor.
State delegations not wishing to participate in person will be able to
deliver their statements by prerecorded video-messages. Members of civil
society organizations with ECOSOC status will also be able to participate
in interactive dialogues and meetings. However, only one representative per
organization will be allowed in a meeting room. The UNOG will issue a badge
to organizations registered via the Indico system and to individual
participants. Civil society members wishing to participate in person must
register via the Indico system (even if they have permanent accreditation
to UNOG) and will need to show both badges prior to entering a meeting
room. No “official” side events will be held during the 44th Session
(online or in-person). Any events happening on the sidelines of the session
will be considered independent events and wont be publicized in the
Bulletin of Informal meetings by the Secretariat. For more information on
attendance and participation, see an additional explainer by the HRC-net
and the Human Rights Council’s Draft Information note for return to
in-person meetings. The Draft Information note was last updated on June 25
and is subject to change. For the most recent version, visit the “Quick
links” section of the NGO Participation in the Human Rights Council page.
According to the session agenda and the OHCHR press release, the Human
Rights Council will review reports from the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, the UN Secretary General, outcome reports from the Universal
Periodic Review Working Group on specific States, and reports from UN
special procedures mandate holders. The list of reports is available on the
session’s webpage.
Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Working Group
The Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group has postponed its
36th Session, which was scheduled to take place from May 4 to 15, until
November 2 to 13, 2020 (the current date for its 37th Session). [OHCHR
Press Release: UPR] According to its tentative timetable, the Working Group
was scheduled to hold interactive dialogues with Belarus, Liberia, Malawi,
Mongolia, Panama, the Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, the United
States, the Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, and Libya regarding their
obligations under UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
human rights instruments to which the State is party, the State’s voluntary
pledges and commitments, and applicable international humanitarian law.
The UPR Working Group’s 37th Session will be postponed until January 2021,
the predicted date for the 38th Session, and all subsequent sessions will
be postponed accordingly. [OHCHR Press Release: UPR] As a result, the last
session of the 3rdUPR cycle will take place in January 2022. [OHCHR Press
Release: UPR] For more information about past, present, and future UPR
sessions, including timetables and lists of troikas (a group of three Human
Rights Council Member States that facilitates the review of each country),
visit the UPR sessions webpage or visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. 
Special Procedures
United Nations independent human rights experts and monitoring bodies,
known as UN “special procedures,” have cancelled or postponed their
scheduled country visits and sessions considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five independent experts have scheduled country visits beginning in August,
and only the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances has
held a virtual session.
The UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues agreed to visit Paraguay from
August 3 to 14, 2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive
measures on the enjoyment of human rights agreed to visit Venezuela from
August 3 to 14, 2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced
persons agreed to visit Mexico from October 5 to 13, 2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment agreed to visit the Maldives from November 1 to 10,
2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers agreed
to visit Lebanon from November 3 to 10, 2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the
highest attainable standard of physical and mental health postponed the
visit to New Zealand, originally scheduled for March 23 to April 3, 2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief postponed the
visit to Malaysia, originally scheduled for March 26 to April 8, 2020.
The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and
children postponed the visit to Mexico, originally scheduled for May 11 to
May 19, 2020.
The UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent postponed its
26th Session, which was scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 3,
until November 30 to December 4, 2020, in Geneva, Switzerland.
During their country visits, special procedures mandate holders assess both
the overall human rights situation in the country and the issues specific
to their thematic focus. Experts also meet with civil society, government,
and national human rights institutions when they visit a country. Their
findings are published later in reports addressed to the UN Human Rights
Council and the UN General Assembly. See OHCHR, Country and other visits of
Special Procedures. For up-to-date information on forthcoming country
visits, review the Special Procedures’ Visits document and visit the OHCHR
website. For more information on each special procedure, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Regional Bodies
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) will hold its
28th Extraordinary Session virtually, from June 29 to July 1, 2020. During
the session, four new ACHPR Commissioners will be sworn in. They are, Marie
Louise Abomo (Cameroon), Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga (Zambia), NDiame Gaye
(Senegal), and Alexia Gertrude Amesbury (Seychelles). The new Commissioners
were elected during the 33rdOrdinary Session of the Executive Council of
the African Union pursuant to the African Union Assembly decision Ex.CL.
Dec/1225(XXXVI). The four outgoing Commissioners whose terms have ended
are: Soyata Maiga (Mali), Yeung Kam John Yeung Sik Yuen (Mauritius), Lucy
Asuagbor (Cameroon), and Lawrence Murugu Mute (Kenya). The Extraordinary
Session will be live streamed on June 29 from 09:00am to 10:30am (GMT).
Civil society members may register for the public sessions via Zoom.
The ACHPR will also hold its 66th Ordinary Session virtually, from July 3
to August 7, 2020. The public session, which will take place from July 13
to July 24, will be live-streamed via YouTube. Additionally, there will be
an opportunity to participate in the public session (Zoom password: 125610)
and in the ACHPR Closing Ceremony (Zoom password: 040960) on August 7, via
Zoom. The 66th Ordinary Session was originally scheduled to take place from
April 22 to May 12, 2020, but was postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19
pandemic. [ACHPR Press Release: Session] The ACHPR has, so far, not
announced any suspension of deadlines for parties to communications
(complaints) pending before it. For more information on the ACHPR, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights 
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) held its
57th Ordinary Session virtually from June 1 to 26, 2020. [AfCHPR Press
Release: Virtual] During the session, the Court examined 16 applications
and rendered 10 judgments.
Previously, the African Court suspended its 56th Ordinary Session a week
before the session was scheduled to end. [AfCHPR Press Release: COVID19]
The African Court held two hearings prior to the session ending, and was
also scheduled to examine 20 applications and render six judgments before
it suspended the session. [AfCHPR Press Release: 56th Session] It is
unclear how the 56th Session’s suspension impacted its review of
applications and judgments.
Moreover, since March, the Court has ordered non-essential staff to work
from home and “key departments with limited staff to carry out their duties
on shift-basis until further notice.” [AfCHPR Press Release: COVID19] These
measures, aimed at “ensur[ing] staff safety and business continuity,” will
continue until further notice. [AfCHPR Press Release: Virtual] On May 18,
the Court also announced that it would suspend the computation of all time
limits (with the exception of time limits related to Provisional Measures)
until at least July 31. [AfCHPR Press Release: Suspension] For more
information on the ACtHPR, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
European Committee of Social Rights 
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has scheduled its 314th
Session from July 6 to 10, 2020. The 314th Session will likely be held
virtually given that the ECSR previously held its 313th and 312th sessions
virtually. [ECSR Press Release: 312 Session; ECSR Press Release: 313
Session] The Committee has announced that it will proceed with all of its
“essential activities,” including its collective complaints procedure.
[ECSR Press Release: Complaints]
As a result of the lockdown measures that have been adopted by most
European States, the ECSR also suspended all deadlines for parties with
pending collective complaints from March 25 to May 15, 2020. [ECSR Press
Release: Deadlines] While the ECSR initially stated that it would extend
the deadline-suspension period if the lockdown measures were not lifted or
reduced by April 30, it has yet to provide an update regarding the
deadline-suspension measures. [ECSR Press Release: Deadlines]
During its sessions, the ECSR generally reviews States’ reports on their
implementation of the European Social Charter, considers collective
complaints alleging violations of the Charter, and follows up on the Turin
process to improve implementation of the Charter at the continental level.
According to the ECSR’s calendar for national reporting, the ECSR will
consider State reports concerning employment, training, and equal
opportunities from the Netherlands, Sweden, Croatia, Norway, Slovenia,
Cyprus, and the Czech Republic throughout the 2020 calendar year. The ECSR
will consider simplified reports on the same topic from France, Greece,
Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, and Finland throughout the
2020 calendar year. Simplified reports focus on areas of non-conformity
identified in the Committee’s previous conclusions. For more information on
the ECSR, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has one Grand Chamber hearing
scheduled for July. See ECtHR, Calendar of Hearings. The ECtHR will hold a
Grand Chamber hearing via videoconference in the case Vavřička v. the Czech
Republic (no. 47621/13) and five other applications (nos. 3867/14,
73094/14, 19306/15, 19298/15 and 43883/15) on July 1, 2020. The time of the
hearing has not been published, but the hearing will be recorded and made
available on the Court’s website on July 2. The Court has been closed to
the public since March 16. [ECtHR Press Release]
The Court had previously cancelled all hearings scheduled for March and
April, but has continued its “essential activities,” such as the review of
priority cases. The Court has also implemented “exceptional measures” in
response to the COVID-19 pandemic in line with decisions by France, where
its seat is located, and the Council of Europe on this issue. [ECtHR Press
Release] These measures include the suspension of the six-month time limit
for submitting applications to the Court – a requirement under Article 35
of the European Convention on Human Rights – beginning on March 16; the
suspension of the time limits allotted in proceedings that are currently
pending before the Court, beginning on March 16; and the adoption of
additional procedures, which the ECtHR has not elaborated on, to examine
urgent requests for interim measures during this time. [ECtHR Press
Release] All of the exceptional measures will be in place until June 15.
[ECtHR Press Release: Extension] As of June 29, the ECtHR has not expressly
extended the exceptional measures.
Moreover, on April 15, the European Court announced various measures that
it will implement to ensure that its staff is protected “from contracting
and potentially spreading COVID-19” during the Court’s confinement period
described above. [ECtHR Press Release: Functioning] These measures defer
activities that “cannot be carried out remotely and…are not critically
urgent.” [ECtHR Press Release: Functioning] During this time, the Court
will continue to issue single-judge decisions, but will not notify the
applicant(s) of such decisions until normal activities resume; the Court
will not notify respondent States until after the confinement period,
unless the case is urgent; the ECtHR Grand Chamber, chambers, and
committees will examine cases under a written procedure; and, only the
Deputy Section Registrar (rather than the ECtHR Registrar) will sign
decisions and judgments. Except for Grand Chamber and particularly urgent
cases, the Court will continue to adopt judgments and decisions but will
postpone their delivery until the end of the confinement period. [ECtHR
Press Release: Functioning] For more information on the ECtHR, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights 
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) will hold its
176th Period of Sessions virtually, from July 6 to 10, 2020. [IACHR Press
Release: Sessions] Hearing requests that have already been submitted will
remain in consideration. [IACHR Press Release: Sessions]
While the IACHR will continue its “core functions” with respect to its
petition and case system, precautionary measures, and monitoring
activities, it has adopted a series of measures and procedural changes in
response to the COVID-19 pandemic that will impact deadlines, schedules,
and timeframes for its various working methods. [IACHR Press Release: Work
System] For now, and subject to new COVID-19 developments, the staff of the
IACHR Executive Secretariat will work remotely. [IACHR Press Release: Work
System] The IACHR will continue to process precautionary measures as usual,
but it will not deactivate any precautionary measures in which the parties
fail to provide updated information during this period. [IACHR Press
Release: Work System]
Regarding its petition and case system, the IACHR has suspended upcoming
deadlines for petitions, cases, and friendly settlements from March 19 to
May 21, 2020 (it has yet to announce whether this period will be extended).
There are some exceptions. The suspension period does not apply to the
six-month rule for filing petitions under Article 46(b) of the American
Convention, the timeframe that States must abide by under Article 51 of the
Convention, and the time limit for States to respond to a new petition
under Article 30(3) of the IACHR Rules of Procedure. [IACHR Press Release:
Extension] The IACHR has stated that it will continue to communicate with
parties regarding interrupted or extended deadlines, and has encouraged
individuals to continue to submit information on petitions, cases, and
precautionary measures via the online portal. [IACHR Press Release: Work
System] To contact the IACHR directly, email: [email protected]
Moreover, the IACHR has created a Rapid and Integrated Response
Coordination Unit for the COVID-19 pandemic (known as SACROI COVID-19, its
Spanish acronym). [IACHR Press Release: SACROI] The SACROI is part of the
IACHR’s strategy to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the enjoyment of
human rights in the region. [IACHR Press Release: SACROI] It is tasked with
gathering evidence of COVID-19’s impact on human rights, monitoring State
responses to the pandemic, identifying urgent cases within the petition and
case system so that the IACHR can act in a timely manner, providing
technical assistance for the development of State policies with a focus on
human rights, following up on and monitoring recommendations, and
conducting outreach and capacity building, among other tasks. [IACHR Press
Release: SACROI] On April 10, 2020, the IACHR adopted a resolution
on COVID-19 and Human Rights in the Americas, one of the main, initial
results of the SACROI. For more information on the IACHR, visit
IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will hold
its 135th Regular Session virtually, from June 1 to July 31. [IACtHR Press
Release: Virtual] The session was originally scheduled to take place from
April 13 to 24, 2020. [IACtHR Press Release: Session] The IACtHR announced
on May 20 that it will resume the computation of all deadlines that are
currently pending before it. [IACtHR Press Release: Resumes] It is the
first human rights oversight body to resume the accounting of deadlines.
Initially, the IACtHR suspended deadlines from March 17 to May 20, 2020.
[IACtHR Press Release: Deadlines] For more information about the IACtHR,
visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub.
ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission 
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Intergovernmental Human
Rights Commission (AICHR) has not yet released any statement regarding
changes to its planned activities. As of June 29, the AICHR calendar has a
Special Meeting scheduled from July 30 to August 3 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The
AICHR held its 31st Meeting virtually, from June 9 to June 10, so it is
possible that the AICHR Special Meeting will also be held virtually.
ASEAN announced its gift shop and other spaces in its secretariat would be
closed to the general public, but has not made any announcements regarding
its own events or staffing. News reports indicate Indonesia has imposed
quarantine requirements that may impact ASEAN and AICHR staff.
[JakartaGlobe] Vietnam announced the cancellation of the ASEAN summit
scheduled for early April, after imposing its own travel restrictions.
[Reuters] This information is not reflected on the ASEAN website.
Arab Human Rights Committee
The Arab Human Rights Committee has also not made any official
announcements regarding the coronavirus pandemic, although its chair –
through the Committee’s Twitter feed – urged States to mitigate the social
and economic impacts of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. On
March 24, 2020, the League of Arab States announced restrictions on staff
working in person at headquarters, specifically excluding female employees
with children and employees with health conditions from entering the
premises, which may impact the Committee’s work. Egypt has also imposed a
curfew and other measures which may impact staff of these institutions.
[Reuters] 
Additional Information
The International Justice Resource Center has put together a webpage
compiling supranational human rights bodies’ guidance on States’
obligations to respect human rights in their COVID-19 mitigation
efforts. See IJRC, COVID-19 Guidance from Supranational Human Rights
Bodies. The webpage includes resolutions, press releases, and other
statements from universal and regional bodies as well as their parent
intergovernmental organizations, organized by issue area and by the body or
organization that issued it. See id.
For more information on other suspended sessions or the various human
rights monitoring bodies, visit IJRC’s Online Resource Hub. To stay
up-to-date on international human rights law news, visit IJRC’s News
Room or subscribe to the IJRC Daily.


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