Global Political Calendar: UN Human Rights Council session, EU meetings

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) kicks off its regular session, and EU leaders hold a virtual summit.

Human rights amid a pandemic

The UNHRC will hold its forty-sixth regular session from February 22 to March 23, 2021, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, with dignitaries representing more than 130 countries addressing the council on their governments' efforts to promote and protect human rights. 

Addressing the human rights issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be among the top topics at the session, as Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, president of the HRC, has said the pandemic has become a "human rights crisis."

It is worth noting that the new U.S. administration has recently vowed to "re-engage immediately and robustly" with the HRC after the Trump administration announced its withdrawal from the organization in June 2018.

EU convenes for COVID-19, security and more

Europe's leaders are set to convene for a double online summit on February 25 and 26, focusing on COVID-19 coordination, security and defense, and relations with the Southern Neighborhood, according to EU Council President Charles Michel.

The EU heads of state and government met on January 21 to discuss the coordination on the bloc's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as testing practices, vaccination programs and the emergence of the new coronavirus variants.  

Meanwhile, the EU has pledged an additional 500 million euros to COVAX, an international program devised to help low and middle-income countries to have more access to COVID-19 vaccines, at the G7 leaders' virtual summit, bringing its contribution to the global initiative to one billion euros.

Day by Day:

Monday: Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko; the 46th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council is held (to March 23); Argentine President Alberto Fernandez visits Mexico.

Tuesday: UN Security Council videoconference on Climate and Security is held; Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan visits Sri Lanka.

Wednesday: Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov visits Russia.

Thursday: EU leaders hold virtual summit on COVID-19 coordination, security, defense (to February 26).

Friday: A quiet day in politics. 

Saturday: The 26th session of China's top legislature takes place (to February 28).

Sunday: El Salvador's 2021 legislative elections kick off.

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