On 14 September 2022, the UN Secretary-General released his annual report on reprisals and intimidation against individuals and groups seeking to cooperate with the UN on human rights. Once again, the report identifies a high number of threats and attacks aimed at retaliating against defenders and discouraging cooperation with the UN.
ISHR’s #EndReprisals database offers a platform where all cases included in the Secretary-General’s reports since 2010 are readily accessible, with detailed information on each case, including the activities of the affected groups or individual defenders, the kind of reprisals they suffered and how these were triggered.
With this database, users can more easily navigate the information contained in the Secretary-General’s reports, and research, analyse, and take action on the cases or situations so that together we can #EndReprisals.
In considering human rights situations around the world, the UN system is profoundly dependent on the crucial information and testimonies provided by human rights defenders and civil society organisations who document situations, abuses and violations. These groups and individuals are essential voices who represent communities that need to be part of the conversations at the UN.
However, many defenders still face unacceptable risks and are unable to cooperate safely with the UN. Each year, the Secretary-General prepares a report that documents acts of intimidation and reprisals aimed at instilling fear or preventing activists and human rights advocates from engaging with the UN, or at punishing those who have spoken to UN and other international bodies.
The #EndReprisals database will also contribute to ISHR’s activities aimed at ensuring that international and regional human rights systems have the mechanisms to prevent reprisals and ensure accountability where they occur. ISHR provides protective publicity to human rights defenders at risk and works to bring cases of alleged intimidation and reprisals to the attention of relevant officials in an effort to press for effective preventative measures and responses.
Eleven States vying for seats at the UN Human Rights Council for 2023-2025 joined ISHR and Amnesty International’s annual pledging event, outlining their commitments to advancing the human rights agenda and fielding questions from civil society.
This week ECOSOC members could break years of deadlock for civil society participation at the UN through a vote that would give consultative status to six civil society groups.