Statement to the Organisational session for the 17th cycle of the HRC

Published on December 09, 2022

Thank you, President.


Action Canada for Population and development makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

We acknowledge the work by the President and bureau, in the past year including on the continuation of council meetings. We also acknowledge the Secretariat's work towards ensuring the possibility of hosting civil society side events during HRC 51. We look forward to organising more side events in the coming year.

As observers of the Human Rights Council, we have repeated and continue to repeat our concerns with these so-called efficiency measures. The so-called efficiency measures privilege convenience over the Council's effectiveness, which should concern all of us. The lack of general debates during the June sessions has severely impacted civil society participation. It is particularly true for feminist groups and groups that work on issues of gender and sexuality. It is concerning that the session, where many reports and resolutions on rights related to gender and sexuality are presented and where many feminist activists and defenders seek to participate, does not have general debates.  It means that there are fewer avenues to address the Council, including on new and emerging areas. We reiterate our request that the incoming bureau prioritises and evaluate the efficiency measures early next year.

We also reiterate the importance and significance of maintaining hybrid modalities for the Council. Hybrid modalities have enabled the participation of many activists, especially those coming from the Global South, and should be a permanent modality of engagement for all stakeholders of the HRC.

We urge this Council and the incoming bureau to prioritise civil society concerns, and only then can the institution be effective and human rights-based. Civil society must be a part of,  heard, and taken into account throughout the processes involving the HRC. It has always been and continues to be ready to ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights with the Council and its mechanisms.

Thank you.