Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
HRC36 | 33 countries silent regarding violations on the ground
Reacting to a report by UN experts exposing ongoing threats and attacks against human rights defenders across the globe, ISHR calls on States to work together and cooperate with the UN to protect civil society.
In a statement made today at the 36th Session at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), ISHR welcomed the latest Joint Communication Report, which reveals the continued reluctance of States to cooperate with Special Procedures – independent experts mandated by the HRC to respond to individual cases of human rights violations.
ISHR’s Special Procedures focal point Helen Nolan explained that the report compiles letters sent by the experts to States regarding allegations of serious human rights abuses, as well as the State replies. ‘These letters cite very grave cases, yet 33 States have kept silent – offering no explanation or information on what has been done to help the victims,’ said Nolan.
‘What is most shocking is that 11 of the States that have failed to respond are Human Rights Council Members, who clearly have a particular duty to cooperate with the mechanisms that they themselves have created.’
HRC Council Members Bangladesh, Brazil, Congo, Egypt, Hungary, India, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, Qatar and Venezuela are all mentioned in the report as having yet to reply to at least one letter from the Special Procedures. ISHR urged the President to request rapid updates from all non-responding countries.
‘We are also deeply concerned by the fresh cases of reprisals in Egypt, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Uzbekistan. It is completely unacceptable that defenders be targeted for engaging with the UN.’
ISHR also drew attention to steps the Special Procedures could take to increase cooperation, effectiveness and impact, pointing to recommendations crafted by ISHR and 8 other organisations for the 24th Annual Meeting of Special Procedures.
‘The recommendations require action by all countries – Council Members in particular – in order to succeed,’ explained Nolan. ‘We will continue to work with all actors to implement these necessary reforms.’
Civil society spoke of the ongoing human rights crisis in Venezuela this week at the Council making evident that, despite Venezuela’s best efforts to denounce the Fact-Finding Mission, the Mission’s work and that of OHCHR are absolutely essential to victims of violations.
During the General Debate Item 5, ISHR and Association Stop Violences delivered a joint statement highlighting the case of reprisals against woman human rights defender Vanessa Mendoza Cortes in Andorra, following her participation in CEDAW in 2019.
On 22 and 23 March 2023, the Human Rights Council held a general debate on human rights situations requiring the Council’s attention. States and NGOs spoke, and the High Commissioner spoke on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. They drew the Council’s attention to a number of country situations of concern. ISHR delivered a statement, highlighting the human rights situation in four countries: Burkina Faso, Colombia, El Salvador, and Saudi Arabia.
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