On 29 September 2020, ADHRB has delivered an oral intervention at the United Nation Human Rights Council session 45 during interactive debate under item 5.
We are particularly concerned about the increasing cases of acts of intimidation and reprisal committed against those willing to cooperate with the UN and its different mechanisms.
Human Rights defenders and activists continue to be targeted for their actions. They are particularly targeted when they engage or try to engage, with the international community. Human rights defenders and activists are often the targets of travel bans, imposed by the government to prevent them from participating in the Human Rights Council. These practices are in total violation of the right to freedom of expression and they are also against the functioning of the Council, which recognizes the important role played by civil society.
Moreover, episodes of reprisals also occur during the Council itself. During the HRC44th session, one of our team members has been approached by an Iraqi delegate after her intervention on Spain’s UPR in an act of intimidation because of her intervention. These kinds of conduct cannot be tolerated as they violate the rules of the Council. The role of NGOs in the Council is fundamental to ensure the participation of civil society and a democratic process. Countries have the obligation to respect their role and trying to interfere in NGOs’ actions constitutes a violation of the rules of the Council and freedom of expression.
We thus urge all members of the HRC to stop all different forms of intimidation or reprisal against human rights defenders and activists before or during the Council and to respect their role.