June 30, 2016
The Center for Inquiry pressed member states to protect a wide range of fundamental human rights at the 32nd regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, held June 13 through July 1, 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.
CFI was represented by main representative to the UN Michael De Dora, who delivered two oral statements to the Council: on the relationship between freedoms of opinion, expression, association, and assembly (VIDEO | PDF ); and on the human rights crisis in Bangladesh (VIDEO | PDF). CFI also joined a joint written statement urging the Council to take concrete steps to reverse the deteriorating climate for freedom of expression in Bangladesh.
In addition to these statements, De Dora attended negotiations with member states and leading human rights groups on several important resolutions under consideration this session: on protecting civil society space, on human rights on the Internet, on addressing violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), and on the protection of the family.
CFI was amongst more than 240 organizations urging the Council to approve the civil society space resolution, more than 80 urging the Council to approve the Internet resolution, and more than 600 organizations urging the Council to approve to approve the SOGI resolution — and to reject hostile amendments to of these resolutions led by Russia (civil society, Internet), China (Internet) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (SOGI, minus Albania). All three resolutions were adopted despite the strong opposition. Unfortunately, the Council also approved the deeply flawed resolution on protection of the family.
Prior to the Council session, De Dora also attended and spoke at a three-day private conference on freedom of religion or belief and sexuality held at the United Nations in Geneva, featuring leading activists and scholars from around the world.
The UN Human Rights Council meets three times each year to consider and debate resolutions related to basic human rights. You can learn more about CFI’s work at the UN here.