The following statement was delivered by Luxembourg on behalf of the UN Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect in Geneva during the Interactive Dialogue on the UN Secretary-General’s report on reprisals at the 54th session of the Human Rights Council.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of Friends of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P).
We thank the Secretary General for his report and are deeply alarmed about ongoing reprisals against civil society actors.
Repression of civic space and independent voices can be one of the early warning signs for, and precursors to human rights crises and possible atrocity crimes. This includes reprisals against and harassment of those cooperating with the UN system, legislation curtailing the exercise of fundamental freedoms, arbitrary criminal prosecutions, systematic violations of due process rights, arbitrary detention, smear campaigns, and intimidation of activists’ family members.
We must become better at ensuring the protection of human rights defenders and wider civic space, including through targeted follow-up action on information provided by the UN system, including the Secretary General’s report. We call on all Member States to put into place protection mechanisms for victims, survivors and human rights defenders and to speak up loudly, clearly and consistently against reprisals.
We must speak up, not only for the victims, but indeed for the integrity of the UN human rights system.