UN cancels all human rights side events because of Covid-19

March 4, 2020

Late last week, Swiss authorities took the unprecedented step of prohibiting large public events in response to a growing number of coronavirus cases. As a consequence, events such as the International Motor Show, which attracts a half-million people and Swiss watch exhibits, which draw enthusiastic crowds of thousands of people, have been canceled.  See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/03/03/another-covid-19-casualty-the-2020-human-rights-film-festival-of-geneva-fifdh/

Human Rights spokesman Rolando Gomez says 200 side events will be canceled until the end of this council session on March 20.  He says that is an unfortunate, but responsible measure to take in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.  He tells VOA the meetings generally attract on average 4,000 to 6,000 participants during the course of the session. He says those side events are very important.

I should point out just as a technical note they are not official council side events,” said Gomez. “They take place in parallel and they are important as they inform the discussions in the formal proceedings. Of course, those lobbying efforts will continue unabated, which are important.” Side events are organized by non-governmental organizations and states.  The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights also has spent a lot of time and effort in organizing several gatherings aimed at exploring particular aspects of human rights that demand a more comprehensive hearing and analysis. They will not be held.


2 Responses to “UN cancels all human rights side events because of Covid-19”

  1. yveslador Says:

    Thanks for this update Hans,

    We can add that this cancelling affects first and most the testimonies of victims of HR violations. Being currently in the Palais, we can see that a number of other events do continue to be held. But they are more officials. Is it a coincidence ? Really ? In order to stop the coronavirus, the meetings of 30-80 people are cancelled but the big UN meetings continue. And at the Conference on Disarmament the side events are not cancelled. Incredible to see how the SRAS-Cov-2’s contamination capacity targets so specifically human rights NGOs, ins’t it ?!!!

    Best Yves


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