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Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

photo by un.orgGovernments of United Nation’s member countries do not provide sufficient responses concerning UN’s requests about human rights defenders. The responses often are general or evasive and not easy to understand, says the report of Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

He notes, that the countries ignore the violations against human rights defenders and those cases are not investigated or are shelved.

According to Forst’s information, human rights defenders attacks may take a variety of forms: personal threats or threats against members of defenders’ families smear campaigns, death threats, physical attacks, kidnapping, judicial harassment, murder and other forms of police harassment or intimidation.

Special Rapporteur recommends UN member states the following recommendations:

  • Ensure that human rights defenders can exercise their functions and remove the obstacles that some national laws may place in the path of legitimate activities.
  • Combat impunity for threats and violations aimed at human rights defenders by mounting impartial enquiries and ensure that their perpetrators stand trial and that victims obtain compensation.
  • Respond more satisfactorily to communications received from the Special Rapporteur, by providing him with any information required.
  • Pay particular attention to the most exposed groups: environmental defenders; defenders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights; women defenders and those who work for women’s rights; defenders who work in the area of business and human rights; those who work in an area exposed to internal conflict or a natural disaster; defenders living in isolated regions.
  • Establish a national human rights institution or reform an existing institution.
  • Ensure that human rights defenders can participate without hindrance in the mechanisms of the United Nations and regional intergovernmental organizations.