7th Session of the Human Rights Council

7th Session of the Human Rights Council
Geneva, Switzerland 10th-28th March 2008

 

The Human Rights Council was set up mainly to address human rights violations. Each member nation of the Council must be approved individually and directly by a majority (96 of 191) of the members of the General Assembly in a secret ballot. Council members serve a three-year term and their membership is limited to two consecutive terms.

Femme Africa Solidarité being a non-governmental organisation that is greatly concerned about the negative impacts conflict has on African Women’s lives, decided to use the forum provided by the meetings of the Human Rights Council to highlight the adverse effects of these wars and possible solutions on women. One of the organisation's objectives is also to promote and strength African women leadership in conflict prevention, management and resolution .

Since inception in 1996, FAS has focused specifically on echoing women’s voices from conflict zones and campaigned to engender the peace processes. In 1997 FAS sent a delegation of 19 African women to conduct an election observer mission in Liberia designed to assist the electoral reconstruction of the country. The following year, FAS and Advocacy for Women in Africa (AWA) organized a solidarity mission of “The African Women Peace Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea”. Its aim was to encourage and support women’s peace initiatives in both countries through visiting the displaced camps and organizing an advocacy mission to AU leaders.

In 2004 FAS carried out advocacy work on the Darfur situation by inviting women from Darfur to the Human Rights Commission to speak about violence during conflict. When the Human Rights Commission was replaced by the Human Rights Council in 2006, FAS continued to take part in it. Due to its close ties with networks on the ground in Africa, FAS has been able to share information and concerns about the evolution of women’s human rights and the deteriorating situation in Darfur. It has written and presented many statements emphasizing the importance of engendering the peace process and ending violence against women.

At this year's conference, FAS has organised to bring six Sudanese women from Darfur to have a panel and hold several meetings with Ambassadors, ministers and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, Ms Sima Samar. The panel meeting will focus on, among other things, the current situation of women in Darfur, the way forward and what international, civil, non-governmental organisations as well as governments can do to help the women. This panel has been co-sponsored by World YWCA.

FAS Activities planned at this year's session are :

12:00 – 14:00 Panel “ The Road to Peace and Justice: Sudanese Women Speak on Darfur”
Palais des Nations, Room 24

Saturday 15th
9:00 – 17:00 Training : “United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 : A Legal Instrument Regarding Women, Peace and Security”
Maison des Associations
8, Rue du Vieux-Billard,
Rachel Carson Room, Ground Floor.

Monday 17th
9:00 – 13:00 Training : “Introduction to CEDAW, Human Rights Council and African Union Legal Instruments”
Maison des Associations,
8, Rue du Vieux-Billard,
Rachel Carson Room, Ground Floor

Background

During its 72nd plenary meeting on the 15th March 2006, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 60/251 which established the Human Rights Council as one of its subsidiary organs. The Human Rights Council replaced the Commission on Human Rights which had existed for 60 years. The 47-nation UN Human Rights Council is replacing the former 53-country Commission and is now a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly, rather than one of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The Council has the same geographic distribution of seats as the General Assembly. The 47 seats in the Council are distributed among the UN’s regional groups as follows: 13 for Africa,. 13 for Asia, 6 for Eastern Europe, 8 for Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7 for Western European and Others Group.
The successful candidates among African States are : Algeria, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia and Zambia.

UN Sec Gen Opens 7th Session of the HRC» PDF

Special Rapporteur Report on Sudan, Ms Sima Samar » PDF

Special Rapporteur Report on violence against women, Mr Yakin Erturk» PDF