Two thirds of the activities of the United Nations system takes place in Geneva, making it a key centre of international co-operation and multilateral negotiation. CIVICUS’ main focus currently concentrates on the human rights mechanisms, most notably the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary bodies such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Special Procedures, but also on the Treaty bodies. CIVICUS also works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

This week kicks-off the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council (27 February – 24 March 2017), which will include a number of high level discussions on various issues, such as: the right to privacy, rights of persons with disabilities, rights of minorities, and rights of children. Over the course of the month CIVICUS will be running a number of advocacy activities, including the organization of side events, coordination of joint statements, and the sponsorship of human rights defenders from around the world to come address the council.

Calendar of CIVICUS co-sponsored events at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

WHEN: Wednesday, 1 March, 15:00-16:30
TITLE: A human rights based approach to the SDGs and Paris Climate Agreement
WHERE: Palais des Nations, room (XXIV) | More Information

WHEN: Friday, 3 March, 13:00-14:00
TITLE: Backsliding on civic space in democracies
WHERE: Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room (XXI) | More Information

WHEN: Monday, March 6, 12:00-14:00
TITLE: Freedom of association and assembly in the workplace
WHERE: Palais Des Nations, Geneva, Room (XXI)

WHEN: Wednesday, March 15, 13:30-15:00
TITLE: Zimbabwe - UPR on the ground
WHERE: Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room (XV)- Building A, 2nd floor

Overview of 33rd Session

The 33rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC33) was held from 13-30 September, 2016. It was the last session during the symbolic anniversary of 50 years of the Covenants and 10 years of the Council itself. The session concluded with the adoption of a number of substantive decisions with important implications for civil society. Among other actions, the Council took significant measures to address restrictions on civic space in Burundi, Cambodia and Ethiopia, appointed the first-ever UN Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and initiated a process to further develop a guiding framework on the right to participation in public affairs. In total the HRC33 administered the following:

  • Held 4 high level panel discussions
  • Considered 66 reports
  • Adopted 30 resolutions
  • Organised over 200 side events
  • Adopted the outcomes of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of 14 countries
  • Appointed 5 new Special Procedures mandate holders


Johannesburg Office
25  Owl Street, 6th Floor
Johannesburg, 2092
Tel: +27 (0)11 833 5959
Fax: +27 (0)11 833 7997


Geneva Office
11 Avenue de la Paix
Tel: +41 (0)22 733 3435


Washington DC Office
CIVICUS World Alliance
1775 Eye Street NW Suite 1150
Washington DC 20006, USA

New York Office
205 East 42nd Street, 15th Floor
New York, New York, 10017


London Office
Unit 60
Eurolink Business Centre
49 Effra Road
SW2 1BZ, London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7733 9696