On Friday, July 10th, I should be in Geneva. It is the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, and for the past six years, I have joined other UN special rapporteurs, independent experts and working group members to participate in this diplomatic forum for human rights.
Alas, this year I’ll be presenting my reports from a laptop in Los Angeles, thanks to the travel restrictions related to the pandemic. In the main, I’ll discuss (and hope to hear reactions to) two reports, one on freedom of expression and the pandemic, the other a country report drawn from my mission to Ethiopia. I will also conclude with some general remarks. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has not yet released my press statement introducing the report, but I have already recorded my opening statement — the text of which I am pasting below.
After the Council airs my statement, Member State delegations have an opportunity to speak, and then I can respond. It’s called an interactive dialogue, and we’ll just have to see how interactive it can be when it’s virtual. It’s possible Member States will raise issues beyond my reports. Several have been staunch supporters of the freedom of expression mandate and I expect to hear their strong support, as is typically the case. Perhaps there will be reactions to recent statements, such as very recent ones concerning serious issues in China or Belarus or India or the Philippines or the United States or many others of varying degrees of repression.
You should be able to follow the proceedings here: http://webtv.un.org/live. I am supposed to begin around 0630 Pacific (1530 Geneva).