‘Disruptive trend’ in retaliation against UN cooperators continues – Global issues

For the one-third of the countries included in the report, individuals and groups did not cooperate or only agreed to report on an anonymous basis, because fear of retaliation.

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights (OHCHR) Ilze Brands Kehris told UN Dong Nhan Quyen Association on Thursday.

Report, Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rightsdetailing how victims of human rights abuses, human rights defenders and journalists have been subjected to reprisals and threats by States and non-State organizations – including being detained, targeted by restrictive laws, and surveyed both online and offline.

Wide base of retaliation

All highlighted cases occurred between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022 and involved individuals and groups that cooperated with United Nations human rights mechanisms or used human rights procedures. United Nations procedures to share information and testimonies and seek redress of human rights violations and abuses.

Those who try to cooperate with the UN, or are believed to be doing so, are also affected.

Ms. Brands Kehris said: “Despite the positive progress, including the joint commitments and commitments of Member States against retaliatory actions, this report shows once again the extent to which people are pursued and persecuted for raising human rights concerns with the UN.”

Worrying trend

According to the report, surveillance of individuals and groups in cooperation with the UN continues to be reported in all regions, with growing evidence of attacks and extensive online surveillance.

Furthermore, massive digital change is accelerated by COVID-19 The pandemic adds to the challenges related to cybersecurity, privacy and access to online spaces.

At the same time, the use and impact of restrictive government laws that prevent and punish cooperation with the UN, has resulted in several years of long prison terms or house arrest.

And repeated and similar intimidation allegations have been reported in many countries, which may indicate a pattern, OHCHR said.

‘Cooling effect’

Self-censorship, choosing not to cooperate with the UN or doing so anonymously amid concerns about their safety, is becoming another global trend.

Increased surveillance and tracking, as well as fears of criminal liability, have created what the report calls the “cold effect” of silence when reporting violations, preventing people from cooperating. further with the UN and prevent others from doing so.

As in previous years, the report found that intimidation and retaliation disproportionately affected certain populations and groups, including representatives of indigenous peoples, minorities or those working in environmental issues and climate change, as well as who may be discriminated against on the basis of age, sexual orientation and gender.

The OHCHR senior official said: “The risks posed to women victims, as well as to women human rights defenders and peacemakers, who shared testimony and cooperated with UN”.

No tolerance

To that end, she said the Human Rights Council “and the entire United Nations system must continue to send a clear message of zero tolerance for intimidation and retaliation and must act to address the issue.” subject firmly.
We need to better support, empower and protect those who join us, often in response to mandates established by Member States.

“The impact of our work and our reputation depend on it, and first of all, we owe it to the people who put their trust in us.”

Click here for a list of Countries mentioned in the report.

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