The Human Rights Council will hold its twenty-sixth regular session from 10 to 27 June 2014 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
Highlights of the three-week session will feature a wide range of issues including presentations by the commission of inquiry on Syria, by the Special Rapporteur on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and by the Independent Expert on the Central African Republic, and interactive discussions on the issue of safety of journalists and combatting child, early and forced marriages.
The session will be opened by the President of the Council, Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon. On the first day, Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, will present an update on the activities of her Office, marking the last time she does so before stepping down as High Commissioner in August this year. Ms. Pillay’s presentation will be followed by a general debate on the annual report of the High Commissioner.
The composition of the Council at its twenty-sixth session is of the following 47 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Czech Republic, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela and Viet Nam.
As of 1 January 2014, the President of the Council has been the Ambassador of Gabon, Baudelaire Ndong Ella. Serving as the Council’s four Vice Presidents are Kateřina Sequensová of the Czech Republic, Alberto D’Alotto from Argentina, Maurizio Enrico Serra of Italy, and Dilip Sinha from India as Vice-Presidents. Ms. Sequensová is also the Rapporteur of the Council.
Meanwhile the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said that the Sri Lankan government has been notified of the details of the team that will conduct the investigations into human rights violations.
A spokesperson for the OHCHR said that a broad outline of the structure for the investigation, and the appointment of Sandra Beidas to lead it, was sent to the government in a letter last week. A formal announcement on the two senior pro bono experts that will be supervising the UN inquiry on Sri Lanka is also likely in Geneva today.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ravinatha Aryasinha will also address the UNHRC 26th Session today. He is expected to respond officially to a letter issued to the Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, detailing the structure of the investigation and the roles assigned to staff members on the investigation team.
International judge on the Khmer Rouge War Crimes Tribunal Silvia Cartwright has already been named as the first of the two experts