CHRI to hold panel discussion on ‘Small States at the Human Rights Council’

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is organizing a panel discussion on the margins of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on Sep 12, 2017.

The panel discussion – ‘Small State at The Human Rights Council: Building Capacity, Strengthening Presence and Developing Outreach’ - will be held at Palais des Nations (Room no. XXIII). CHRI in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana to the United Nations Office in Geneva , International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Permanent Mission of Republic of Singapore in Geneva is organizing the event.

The participants in the panel discussion will be H.E. Dr. J.R. Deep Ford, Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana; H.E. Ms. Rhoda M. Jackson, Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of the Bahamas; Karen McKenzie, Head, Human Rights Unit, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Nitya Menon, Deputy Permanent Representative (UN), Permanent Mission of the Republic of Singapore. CHRI Director Sanjoy Hazarika will moderate the session.

The main aim of the event is to contextualize and highlight under representation of the Commonwealth Small States within HRC and understand the challenges faced by them. Of the 52 member states of the Commonwealth, 31 are designated small states. While 19 Commonwealth countries have been appointed to the HRC, only four (Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius and Maldives) have been Small States.

Since the institution of the Special Procedures was established, only six Commonwealth Small States – Jamaica, Fiji, Malta, Maldives, Mauritius and Namibia – have had one or more of their nations appointed as Special Rapporteurs. Further, only four Small States – Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia and Maldives – have so far participated in the capacity of troika in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

The event will discuss and raise awareness of the need for inclusion of under-represented States. It will also develop a strategy plan with representatives from Small State mission, civil societies and other stakeholders.