Dear Diary: Reflections from HRC 55

The 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council ran from February 26 to April 5, 2024--the longest session in history! Our colleagues at the Sexual Rights Initiative and members of Action Canada's team attended the HRC to deliver joint statements during Canada's adoption of its Universal Period Review, and to observe side events, resolutions, and dialogues on human rights issues including intersex rights, abortion, food security, and Palestinian rights.

Our team put together a short series of diary entries capturing some reflections of our time in Geneva. Check it out below!

Dear Diary, 

This week I attended the Human Rights Council for the first time and got to make a statement for Canada’s Universal Periodic Review. It was really cool to bring the demands of our partners to a new space and make connections between different rights issues.

The most enlightening part for me was seeing the Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories present her report Anatomy of a Genocide. It was very compelling, and telling to see how different states and other actors engaged.

Yours truly, 
Lona (she/her) 
Public Engagement Officer, Action Canada

Dear Diary, 

This session has had some really great side events, parallel to the official programme of work, at the intersections of sexual rights and economic and racial justice. Highlights include events on food sovereignty in Palestine, on defenders fostering accountability for atrocity crimes, and of course the commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Progressive activists coming into Geneva from around the world is also such a wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas, be in solidarity with one another even as we come from, and work, in different contexts, and to do some strategising for future engagement.

Anthea (she/her)
Advocacy Advisor - Universal Periodic Review, Sexual Rights Initiative 

March 25, 2024
Dear Diary,

Today Canada was reviewed on its human rights record, and I delivered a statement on behalf of 23 civil society organizations calling for greater accountability and transparency on how Canada implements recommendations on how to uphold human rights. 

I am deeply invigorated by the voices of fellow human rights advocates at the HRC who are pushing for justice and change at all levels. And I am really grateful to our wonderful colleagues at the Sexual Rights Initiative for their wisdom (and really great tours of the UN campus). 

Libby (she/her)
Communications Officer, Action Canada

Dear diary, 

This week I talked with diplomats, UN agencies, civil society organizations and human rights experts about the connections between sexual and reproductive rights and housing, migration, Canada’s foreign policy and human rights accountability processes.  

I believe that advocacy for human rights has to happen at every level of policy making and across social movements to secure sexual and reproductive rights for everyone, everywhere.  

Meghan Doherty
Director of Global Policy & Advocacy, Action Canada

April 05, 2024
Dear Diary, 

Today, this HRC session has ended after six weeks of meetings, informals, and dialogues. The Council adopted 34 resolutions that aim to advance human rights worldwide. It’s been a tough session, given what is happening in Gaza and the failure of States to address it properly. Still, it was also inspiring to see civil society come together in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

I am really happy with the adoption of the resolution on the rights of Intersex persons. It is the very first resolution on the matter to be adopted by the Council, and it is an important step to protect rights and address violations.

Gustavo (he/him)
Advocacy Advisor - Human Rights Council and Treaty Monitoring Bodies, Sexual Rights Initiative

Banner compilation of HRC diary entries with hand drawn cartoons of each staff person
Posted on 2024-03-25
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