It was delivered by Ambassador Barbara Woodward, the United Nations Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom.
I am honored to be able to make a cross-regional statement on behalf of the United Kingdom and 79 other countries.
UN member states have repeatedly recognized that civil society and human rights advocates are crucial in supporting our work at the United Nations. Therefore, we condemn intimidation or retaliation against individuals and groups who have cooperated with, are trying to, or have cooperated with the United Nations.
We urge countries to prioritize and support the meaningful participation of civil society in the United Nations. This includes taking action against intimidation and retaliation, such as through strong investigations, to ensure accountability.
We also urge countries to cooperate with the ASG for Human Rights in carrying out her mission to deal with retaliation. A well-defined and coordinated approach is needed to effectively address this growing problem.
We welcome SG’s latest annual report and share concerns about the increasing number of retaliations worldwide and the imbalanced impact on specific groups. This pandemic exacerbated existing challenges to civil space. It only poses new challenges and risks, including:
- Enhanced surveillance and hacking.
- The rise of online violence, especially against women and girls.When
- Use of emergency measures to unreasonably restrict access and communication with the United Nations.
The cases described in SG’s annual report are just the tip of the iceberg. Call for improved data collection and analysis to address report gaps, such as climates that may encourage self-censorship.
We need to enable all civil society organizations and human rights advocates to engage the United Nations without fear of intimidation or retaliation. They devote their lives to serving their communities, and some even endanger their lives. We should not face further retaliation for our involvement in the international community.
We must enable civil society and human rights advocates to engage with the United Nations without fear of retaliation.
SourceWe must enable civil society and human rights advocates to engage with the United Nations without fear of retaliation.