HRC 55: #EmptyChairs campaign statement to the Item 5: Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms

Published on March 22, 2024


Statement by Akãhatã - Equipo de trabajo en sexualidades y géneros

Thank you, President.

Akãhatã makes this statement on behalf of the #EmptyChairs Campaign.

We thank the Chair of the Coordination Committee for presenting reports on Special Procedures’ work in 2023. We take this opportunity to reiterate the importance of a truly intersectional approach to Special Procedures' work that includes colonialism, race, and class analysis. In that context, Special Procedures have played an important role in demanding an immediate end to Israel's ongoing genocide against Gaza and condemning other States’ complicity.[1] We urge States, especially Global North States, to implement Special Procedures’ recommendations and call for a permanent ceasefire, and immediately stop their support for Israel’s genocide. This Council must concern itself with human rights violations and do away with double standards.

Moreover, we call on Special Procedures to fight ongoing retrogressions and advance standards related to bodily autonomy, gender, gender identity, and sex work, among others.

We are greatly concerned about the impact of the liquidity crisis on Special Procedures’ mandated activities. We urge all States to pay their dues to ensure Special Procedures can fulfill their mandates, including country visits and ensuring robust civil society participation.

In that context, we welcome the reinstatement of written submissions and remote participation for last year's Annual Meeting between Special Procedures and civil society and encourage you to maintain them.

We reiterate our recommendations to the Annual Meeting and call on Special Procedures and OHCHR to expand civil society participation regardless of access, location, resources and language, including by:

  • Issuing calls for inputs before each country visit and thematic report, providing for longer input timelines;
  • Improving information and access for local activists, particularly those living in the countryside and remote areas, wanting to engage in country visits;
  • Convening open civil society consultations with interpretation, remote participation and accessibility measures for persons with disabilities and Indigenous peoples;
  • Regularly consulting and informing civil society regarding the update of the Manual of operations, and ensuring it is available in all UN languages and accessible formats.

Thank you.



[1] See for instance “Gaza: UN experts call on international community to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people,” in which Special Procedures stated: “We are deeply disturbed by the failure of governments to heed our call and to achieve an immediate ceasefire. We are also profoundly concerned about the support of certain governments for Israel's strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilise to prevent genocide.” OHCHR, 16 November 2023.

See also “Arms exports to Israel must stop immediately: UN experts.” OHCHR, 23 February 2024.