HRC48 Oral Statement on Item 5: Interactive dialogue on the Secretary General’s report on alleged reprisals against those who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms
29 September 2021 7:59 am
48th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 5: Interactive dialogue on the Secretary General’s report on alleged reprisals against those who seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms
Delivered by Ahmed Adam
On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
29 September 2021
We welcome the Secretary-General’s report.
The large number of Member States of this Council identified in the report as serious and repeat offenders of reprisals to silence human rights defenders who exercise their legitimate right to cooperate with the UN is particularly disturbing.
Continuous judicial harassment of Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan, and arbitrary restrictions on the operations of their organisation Odhikar in Bangladesh; travel bans, arrest and detention of Khurram Parvez and raids on offices of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) and Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) in Kashmir by Indian authorities; detention and torture of Alam Zaib Mehsud of Pashtun Tahafuz Movement in Pakistan; continued detention, with denial of medical treatment, of Papuan activist Victor Yeimo by Indonesian authorities; and smear campaigns often with fatal consequences against Karapatan and its secretary general Cristina Palabay in Philippines demonstrate the dangers of cooperation with the UN in some Member States of this Council.
Elsewhere in Asia, including Cambodia and Sri Lanka, fear of reprisals has forced HRDs to resort to self-censorship. Highly authoritarian regimes in Vietnam and Lao PDR have used both draconian regulatory measures and intensive threats against those who seek to cooperate with UN mechanisms.
The UN, the Council and member states need do more to hold states that undermine its legitimacy by committing reprisals accountable including publicly naming perpetrators and taking measures to raise the political cost of their actions. We also call on States, especially Council members, to uphold their moral obligation to prioritise safety and protection of HRDs in responding to reprisals including by assisting in their relocation, where necessary, and making prison visits to defenders detained for engagement with the UN.