We must ensure civil society and human rights defenders can engage with the UN without fear of reprisal

Delivered by Ambassador Barbara Woodward, UK Permanent Representative to the UN:

I’ve the honour to ship this cross-regional assertion on behalf of the United Kingdom and 79 different international locations.

UN member states have repeatedly recognised that civil society and human rights defenders are essential in supporting our work at the UN. We subsequently condemn any act of intimidation or reprisal in opposition to people and teams who cooperate, search to cooperate, or have cooperated with the UN.

We name on States to prioritise and help the significant participation of civil society at the UN. This entails taking motion in opposition to intimidation and reprisals, together with by sturdy investigations, to ensure accountability.

We additionally urge States to cooperate with the ASG for Human Rights, in fulfilling her mandate to handle reprisals. We want a clearly-defined and coordinated method to reply successfully to this rising subject.

We welcome the SG’s most up-to-date annual report, and share his considerations on the rising quantity of reprisals globally and the disproportionate affect on sure teams.
This pandemic has exacerbated current challenges for civic house. It has solely introduced new challenges and dangers, together with:

  • Increased surveillance and hacking;
  • The rise of on-line violence, notably in opposition to girls and women; and
  • The use of emergency measures to unduly limit entry and communication with the UN.

The circumstances documented in the SG’s annual reviews characterize solely the tip of the iceberg. We name for enhancements in knowledge assortment and evaluation to handle gaps in the reviews, similar to climates of fear conducive to self-censorship.

We must ensure all civil society organisations and human rights defenders can engage the UN without fear of intimidation or reprisal. They dedicate their lives to serve their communities, some even risking their lives – they need to not face additional retaliation for participating the worldwide neighborhood.

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