Resolution on protection of defenders of economic, social and cultural rights adopted by Human Rights Council !!

March 25, 2016


On 24 March 2016 the ISHR reported that the UN Human Rights Council has adopted the landmark resolution on the protection of human rights defenders working to promote economic, social and cultural rights (see my post of 23 March:

The Norwegian-led resolution was adopted by a vote of 33 Member States of the Human Rights Council to just 6 against. Eight States in the 47-seat Council abstained. Over 150 NGOs from all over the world united to call on Member States of the Council to adopt the resolution and reject a series of 30 hostile amendments proposed by Russia, China, Egypt, Cuba and Pakistan, designed to undermine the protection of defenders and to deny their legitimacy and very existence.

The 6 States that voted ‘No’ on the resolution were not surprisingly Burundi, China, Cuba, Nigeria, Russia and Venezuela. States that abstained were Bolivia, El Salvador, Kenya, Namibia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Viet Nam. Interesting and positive to note that some of the States that had supported hostile amendments (including Ecuador, Indonesia and India) in the end voted in favour of the resolution.

[The resolution affirms the legitimate and essential role of human rights defenders in promoting, protecting and contributing to the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights – including indigenous rights and the right to development – and condemns restrictions and attacks against them by both States and business enterprises. It also underscores the fact that exercise of the rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and public participation can be essential to the promotion, protection and realisation of ESC rights, and that restrictions or violations of these democratic rights may lead and amount to violations of the ESC rights for which defenders are advocating.

The resolution also provides invaluable guidance to States and business as to obligations and good practices in the protection of defenders. For States, such obligations and good practices include developing specific human rights defender protection laws and mechanisms, investigating and ensuring accountability for attacks and reprisals against them, and facilitating access to information and participation in policy and decision-making processes. For businesses, the resolution reinforces the obligation to respect and not interfere with the work of defenders, and to consult closely with defenders to identify, avoid, mitigate and remedy human rights risks and violations associated with business activities and development projects.]

We particularly recognise the principled leadership of Norway in leading the development of this timely resolution,’ Mr Ineichen of the ISHR said.ISHR-logo-colour-high

The systematic but ultimately unsuccessful efforts by a small group of States to undermine the human rights defender resolution paradoxically demonstrate the vital importance and potential impact of this resolution,‘ said ISHR Director Phil Lynch.


Source: Human Rights Council adopts historic resolution on protection of defenders of economic, social and cultural rights | ISHR

2 Responses to “Resolution on protection of defenders of economic, social and cultural rights adopted by Human Rights Council !!”

  1. […] The killing of John Waweru comes cynically shortly after the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the protection of human rights defenders addressing economic, social and cultural rights in March 2016 [see:…] […]

  2. […] and monitoring of recommendations arising from both reports and country visits. [see also:…] Opening remarks by Marta Maurás Perez, Ambassador of Chile to the UN in Geneva […]

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