72 UN Rapporteurs issue exceptional joint statement calling for more cooperation and less reprisals

December 13, 2013

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, 10 December 2013, the largest ever body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system urged Governments to coöperate with them, and allow human rights organisations and individuals to engage with the UN “without fear of intimidation or reprisals.” The appeal by the 72 special procedures experts stated that: “Over the years more than 160 UN member States have been visited by at least one of our human rights experts, and a total of 106 States have extended an open invitation to special procedures,”  Around 30 States have not yet accepted a visit by any of our experts while others have given only selective access.  “Unfortunately, it has become a reality that a standing invitation cannot necessarily guarantee that a visit will actually take place.” Mr. Chaloka Beyani said on behalf the group. “The work we do relies heavily on our interaction with civil society, national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, other individuals working on the ground and victims of human rights violations,” the expert explained. “It is of utmost concern that some of these become victims of intimidation and reprisals. The protection of these vital partners is of utmost importance,” he said, calling on world Governments “to respond firmly against any act which threatens them and seeks to obstruct human rights work.Reprisals are a critical challenge facing the UN system and its human rights mechanisms. “We call for the designation of a focal point on the issue of intimidation and reprisals as soon as possible,

[The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders. In March 2014, three new mandates will be added.]

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