UN Human Rights Council 51: Statement for the Interactive Dialogue on the Secretary-General’s Report on Reprisals

F.P. Report

LONDON: UK Human Rights Ambassador, Rita French, delivered a statement on the cases of reprisals in Venezuela, Belarus and China, calling on them to be ceased.

Rita French

Thank you, Madame Vice President.

The United Kingdom welcomes the Secretary General’s report and its focus on the need to address the significant problem of reprisals against individuals co-operating with the UN. We reiterate the Report’s concerns on the continued targeting of women that seek to engage in peace and security processes.

As the #EndReprisals Campaign makes clear, the UN is the final arena in which individuals and entities promoting peace and justice can confront abuses. States present here today have a collective responsibility to ensure that the UN is a safe space for those that courageously come forward.

Madame Vice President, when human rights defenders or other members of civil society co-operate with the UN, they are helping us to achieve our collective mission. Reprisals damage the UN, and by extension, all Member States.

We are dismayed that cases of reprisals continue to be commonplace, including in Venezuela, Belarus and China. What makes this even more abhorrent is where reprisals take place in this Council. Members of this Council, who have been elected with the mandate that they will uphold the highest standards of human rights.

Madame Vice-President,

What can be done to address the chilling effect of reprisals on the valuable engagement by human rights defenders in UN processes?