Benin UPR: Protect civic space and its defenders

At the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, during the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) report of Benin, ISHR and Changement Social Benin delivered a joint statement encouraging Benin to do more for the protection of defenders in the country.

In the 4th cycle of the UPR, Benin accepted 234 recommendations out of the 258 recommendations received. The Benin delegation highlighted that structural reforms concerning areas, including child protection, violence against women and prison overcrowding were initiated. While the intervening States commended Benin’s efforts and appreciated their acceptance of the majority of recommendations, civil society speakers raised some concerns, especially human rights defenders’ lack of protection.

ISHR and Changement Social Benin jointly pointed out in their statement that crucial recommendations focusing on justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, legal access to the African Court of Human Rights and protection of human rights defenders were only noted. In particular, human rights defenders have increasingly been facing challenges in recent years resulting in shrinking civic space within Benin. 

Therefore, ISHR and Changement Social Benin call on Benin : 

  • To open up civic space and to continue fostering dialogue with civil society as societies must be built with inclusive dialogues and the involvement of all actors
  • To ratify the Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to render these rights effective
  • To reconsider its position on granting legal access to the African Court on Human Rights.

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