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Human Rights Geneva Bulletin FES

UN GenevaEditorial

Geneva, June 2015

Dear friends of FES,
We are happy to introduce the latest version of the FES Geneva human rights newsletter.
The Department of Global Policy and Development of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) runs offices in New York and Geneva, which work in close collaboration with the United Nations and related international organizations. As a result o
f Geneva’s consequent role as the world capital of human rights and humanitarian activities, a major focus of our work at FES Geneva lies with human rights issues. The current Human Rights Team Geneva comprises our new program officer Hannah Peters, replacing Felix Kirchmeier who left FES after almost ten years of service, Noreen Eberle, Assistant Program Manager, as well as myself.
In this issue, we will look at current events and issues of climate change and human rights leading up to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December, outline key events and questions in the area of Business and Human Rights and reflect how UN mechanisms and Treaty Bodies can inform international agreements from a human rights approach.

For further information, please see the human rights logo of FES Geneva and (in German only).
We hope you will find our selection useful and look forward to suggestions and feedback
Hubert René Schillinger, Director FES Geneva


Human Rights and Climate Change

The Universal Periodic Review
Business and Human Rights
Human Rights Training Courses
More Geneva Human Rights Events
International Agenda

Human Rights and Climate Change

dry river bed by Shever & Kimmrs Tackling climate change through immediate and drastic emission reduction while mitigating the already apparent and future impacts of climate change is one of the most pressing challenges faced by the international community today.
Under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) countries committed to creating a new international climate agreement at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015 (COP 21).
At COP 21, state actors from developed, developing and emerging countries are called upon to use this opportunity to clearly define internationally binding targets on carbon emission reduction, energy efficiency and adaptation and mitigation strategies to climate change. In order to make a significant contribution to mitigating climate change while simultaneously promoting growth and development the outcome agreement needs to be based on consultations with actors from civil society and local communities.
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung supports the process of rapprochement of different positions and interests by strengthening the dialogue between social and political actors from industrialized, developing and emerging economies as well as civil society actors.
The following activities lie at the core of FES Geneva's Human Rights and Climate Change work:
  • The Geneva Climate Change Concertation Group (GeCCco): As an informal roundtable for improved networking and coherence between NGOs working in the field of human rights and climate change, GeCCco was launched in 2014 by FES, Earthjustice and Ciel. This platform offers exchange opportunities on ongoing processes not only in relation to COP 21 and the ADP drafting process but also to the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures.
  • Cooperation with UN Treaty Bodies and Special Rapporteurs to move debates on a human rights approach to climate change forward.
  • Development of strategies for further anchoring the topic of climate change and related issues in the Human Rights Council, namely by organizing side events during the sessions.

  Recent Geneva Human Rights and Climate Change events

Public Side Event at the 29th Session of the HRC: Corporate Action for Climate Justice and Human Rights

17 June 2015, 01:00 - 03:00 pm, Palais des Nations, Room 3025, Geneva, Switzerland

At this Side Event human rights risks and challenges for business created by climate change were discussed. The meeting was organised by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.
Practitioners from business, trade unions, governments and human rights organizations shared their experiences and ideas for effective approaches to injecting human rights in climate change actions in the lead-up to the Paris conference.


Expert Workshop: Corporate Action for Climate Justice and Human Rights

17 June 2015, 09:00 - 12:00 am, Geneva, Switzerland

Expert Meeting 17 June 15In the run-up to the COP 21 climate conference in Paris at the end of this year, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and FES Geneva organized an expert workshop to discuss human rights risks and challenges for business created by climate change. While the main obligations are on governments, companies are in a powerful position to mitigate the disproportionate impact of climate change on the most vulnerable and help them adapt.


Human Rights and Climate Change - Side Event to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council

06 March 2015, 01:00 - 03:00 pm, Room XXVII, UN Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Side Event at HRC 28 on CC & HROn 6th of March the HRC held a full-day panel in the official program of the HRC addressing the issue of climate change. To complement the governmental discussions, FES, jointly with many NGOs active in this field, hosted a Side Event to offer civil society perspectives and debate claims on future action by the HRC and the UNFCCC to strengthen policy coherence and human rights protection in climate related action.



NGO coordination meeting on the UNFCCC ADP negotiations

06 February 2015, 01.00-03.00 pm, CAGI conference room, Geneva, Switzerland

NGO meeting ADPFES, Earthjustice and CIEL, as initiators of GeCCco (Geneva Climate Change concertation group) organized a coordination meeting at the occasion of the Geneva session of the UNFCCC ADP negotiations that took place from 8-13 February. The meeting helped to coordinate the NGO communities focused on the HRC and the UNFCCC respectively.


More information on UNFCCC ADP


Read more

 The Universal Periodic Review (UPR)



The Universal Periodic Review (UPR)  is an unique mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, which consists of the review of human rights policy and practice of all UN Member States, once every four and a half years. In 2012 the first cycle of the procedure has been completed and the second started. Again, all 193 member states will be reviewed by the international community. NGOs have the opportunity to submit written civil society reports reflecting civil society perspectives. Despite the weaknesses of the process this mechanism is the sole opportunity to combine and evaluate information from government, civil society and UN treaty bodies.
Calendar of the review of the 2nd cycle (2012-2016)


  Recent Geneva UPR Events

Public UPR Side event on Workers’ Rights in Panama and Honduras on the occassion of the 22nd session of the UPR Working Group

07 May 2015, 12.30 - 02:30 pm, Palais des Nations, Room XXIV, Geneva, Switzerland

On 6 and 8 May, Panama and Honduras underwent their second UPR review. FES supported civil society actors in both countries in submitting reports to the review, in both cases focusing on workers’ rights. The joint side event discussed the submissions as well as the human rights performances of both governments.

Read more

Business and Human Rights


  Recent Geneva Business and Human Rights Events

Conference on legal accountability of business for human rights impacts

14 - 15 March 2015, Château de Bossey, Switzerland
NHRIs B&HRThe aim of the proposed dialogue was to strengthen NHRIs' capacities to participate effectively in the coming international processes in which the possible development of legal frameworks addressing business' human rights responsibilities will be addressed.

This aim was met by reaching the following objectives:
  • Allowing for exchanges on NHRIs' knowledge regarding current and future processes that may lead to development of new legal frameworks on business and human rights
  • Increasing NHRIs' knowledge of research and perspectives relevant to development of new legal frameworks on business and human rights
  • Strengthening mutual understanding amongst NHRIs of experiences and perspectives on legal frameworks on business and human rights
  • Identifying common goals amongst NHRIs for the current and future processes towards new legal frameworks

Brainstorming Session on Business and Human Rights: Access to Justice and Extraterritorial Obligations
26 February 2015, 03:30 - 06:00 pm, Geneva, Switzerland

Geneva for Human Rights-Global Training and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung jointly organized a Brainstorming Session on Business and Human Rights.

The brainstorming session focused on access to justice for victims and human rights defenders as well as extraterritorial obligations of State parties. The aim was to sensitize the actors involved, to offer a space for discussion and to exchange views on ways to improve the existing tools, as well as to carefully prepare the forthcoming first session of the negotiations on the binding instrument. 


To read the contribution of Prof. Shane Darcy (Irish Center for HR), please click here

To read the contribution of Prof. Sigrun Skogly (ETO consortium / Lancaster University), please click here

Read more

Geneva Human Rights Training Courses

Recent Human Rights Training Courses

2015 Individual Human Rights Training Courses
In the first six month of 2015 civil society activists from Uruguay, Nepal and Brasil, recommended by our FES country offices, were selected to participate at Human Rights training courses at our Geneva-based partner organizations Geneva for Human Rights, the Geneva Academy and the International Service for Human Rights.

Training Course for National Human Rights Institutions on international human rights mechanisms
04 - 08 May 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

The training, developed especially for staff of National Human Rights Institutions world-wide, supported participants in
• Expanding their knowledge of the functioning of UN human rights mechanisms;
• Identifying concret
SDGse opportunities for NHRIs' effective engagement;
• Participating in sessions of UN human rights mechanisms;
• Identifying practical ways of effective engagement with the UN mechanisms, such as report writing and following up;
• Engaging with colleagues from the OHCHR and NGOs as well as with states; and
• Exchanging experiences and best practices with peer NHRIs participating in the training
Read more

HRCMore Geneva Human Rights Events

Recent Human Rights Events

Human Rights Council: 29th regular session
15 June - 03 July 2015, Geneva, Switzerland
Program of work

High-level roundtable discussion at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council on Accountability Mechanisms for implementing the SDGs
18 June 2015, 01:00 – 03:00 pm, Palais des Nations, Room XVII, Geneva, Switzerland

In the context of tSDGshe UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015, this side event to the 29th session of the HRC discussed the importance of human rights principles in informing the debates on accountability for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting addressed issues of claims and standards for accountability, as per existing international human rights law, as well as considerations how the Universal Periodic Review mechanism currently in place at the HRC could best serve as a model for a future SDG accountability mechanism.


Click here for the audio recording of the event

Informal trade union meeting on CESCR General Comment on "Rights at Work"
12 June 2015, 06:15 - 10:00 pm, Geneva Switzerland

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights published a draft of their upcoming General Comment on ICESCR Article 7 on “just and fair conditions at work,” calling for comments and submissions by all interested stakeholders. To facilitate input by trade unions, FES Geneva offered this informal dialog with Committee Members ahead of the official “Day of General Discussion” on the issue.

Read more

Ensuring the Right to Food through Human Rights Impact Assessments - Side Event to the 28th Session of the HRC
11 March 2015, 05:30 - 06:30 pm,  Palais des Nations, Geneva Switzerland

At this expert round-table, the results of the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA)-study “Owning seeds, accessing food” were discussed. Following recent experiences in implementing HRIA in practice, the panelists discussed the strengths and shortcomings of the HRIA approach and identified challenges for future HRIAs. The discussion also focused on the potential role of the UN human rights system in strengthening HRIAs and in supporting its use in public policy making.


   Upcoming Human Rights Events

Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights
06 - 10 July 2015, Palais des Nations, Room XX, Geneva, Switzerland

At its 26th session, on 26 June 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9 by which it decided “to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.” The first session of the WG will take place from 06 - 10 July.

More info on the first session of the WG

Human Rights Council: 30th regular session
14 September - 2 October 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

23rd session of the UPR Working Group
02 - 13 November 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

4th Annual United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights
16 -18 November 2015, Geneva, Switzerland

International Agenda

 HR LogosUpcoming international Human Rights Events

Third International Conference: Financing for Development  
13 - 16 July 2015, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda
25 - 27 September 2015, New York

Paris Climate Change Conference - UNFCCC COP 21 / CMP 11  
30 November - 11 December 2015, Paris
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung

FES Geneva Human Rights Team

Hubert Schillinger, Hannah Peters, Noreen Eberle
Geneva Office
6 bis, Chemin du Point-du-Jour
CH - 1202 Geneva
Tel: +41 (0)22 733 34 50
Email: hpeters@fes-geneva.or,

FES Geneva HR Website
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