CIVICUS at the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

The opening week of the 37th Session of the UN Human Rights Council will commence with the high level segment which will include approximately 99 high level speakers including top political leaders from UN member states as well as UN Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres, and the President of the General Assembly amongst others.
To note is the oral update given by the High Commissioner for human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, on the 7th March which will address a number of pressing issues on the Councils agenda as well as bringing to light issues that are not being properly addressed by the Council and merit further attention.
Of interest to CIVICUS will be reports on the safety of journalists, the report on effectiveness and reform of the Human Rights Council, the report on Human Rights Defenders and People on the move by Michel Forst, SR for Human Rights Defenders. Also of note, the right to privacy and a number of country specific situations. CIVICUS will be following many discussions where civic space is touched upon and will continue to advocate for an enabling environment for civil society.

Thursday, 1 March 14:00 - 15:00 (Room XXVII) | Human Rights & Citizenship in the Gulf Region | Organised by: SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, CIVICUS, International Federation for Human Rights, and Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme

Across the Gulf Region, the relationship of citizenship and human rights has become a central issue. This event will examine how the authorities have increasingly sought to strip human rights defenders of their citizenship as a reprisal for their perceived political views and legitimate human rights work. See full invitation.


  • Tor Hodenfield, CIVICUS
  • Tara O'Grady, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights
  • Mohamed Sultan, Bahrain Center for Human Rights
  • Abdelbagi Jibril, Darfur Relief & Documentation Centre
  • Moderator: Asma Darwish, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights

Friday, 2 March 11:30 - 13:00 (Room XXIV) | Ethiopia: The role of the international community in ending impunity and ensuring accountability for violations of fundamental rights | Organised by: Defend Defenders, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia, and CIVICUS

The event will provide an opportunity to examine the state of civic space in Ethiopia and the setbacks in has suffered over the last decade. Civic space has become increasingly controlled and restricted as human rights defenders have faced threats, arrests, and detention while attempting to exercise their rights to assembly, association, and expression. This even will ook at these threats and trends. See full invitation.


  • Yared Hailiemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
  • Tsedale Lemma, Editor-In-Chief, Addis Standard Magazine
  • Bayisa Wak-Woya, Director, Global Refugee & Migration Council 
  • Moderator: Hassan Shire, Executive Director, DefendDefenders

Friday, 2 March 15:00-16:30 (Room XI) | Counterterrorism, Emergency Powers, and the Protection of Civic Space | Organised by: Article 19, ECNL, CIVICUS, ICNL, World Movement for Democracy, and International Federation for Human Rights

The use of exceptional national security and emergency powers to combat terrorism has become increasingly common. The event will look at how counterterrorism measures and emergency powers have increasingly resulted in the restrictions of fundamental freedoms, including the rights to assembly, association and expression. See full invitation.


  • Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
  • Kerem Altiparmek, Ankara University, Faculty of Political Science
  • Yared Hailemariam, Director, Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia
  • Lisa Oldring, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Sonia Tanic, Representative to the UN, International Federation for Human Rights
  • Moderator: Nicholas Miller, International Center for Not-for-Profit Law

Thursday, 15 March 15:00-16:00 (Room XXII) | The Link Between the Deterioration of Human Rights in Egypt and the Massive Violations in the Gulf States | Gulf Center for Human Rights | International Federation for Human Rights | OMCT | International Service for Human Rights | CPJ | ALQST | CIVICUS | CPJ

A look at the middle east governments' coordinated efforts to target human rights defenders and journalists across the region. See full invitation.


  • Yahya Al-Assiri, Director of ALQST for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
  • Justin Shilad, Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Nardine Al-Nemr, Academic & Activists from Egypt
  • Sara Brandt, Advocacy & Campaigns Officer, CIVICUS

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