Key human rights concerns discussed with High Commissioner for Human Rights


As part of an informal exchange between the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid al-Hussein, with States and Civil Society, ISHR raised several issues of immediate concern. 

Speaking on behalf of ISHR, Vincent Ploton raised the following 4 issues:

1. Expressing our grave concern at the withdrawal of States from the International Criminal Court, with accountability and an end to impunity being essential for stable, just and peaceful futures.

2. Expressing our grave concern at the continued human rights violations in Burundi and the Government’s acts and declarations of non-cooperation with various UN human rights bodies and mechanisms. We call on States to uphold the integrity of the Human Rights Council by taking meaningful and concrete steps towards the suspension of Burundi unless and until there is full and good faith cooperation with the recently appointed Commission of Inquiry.

3. Asking the High Commissioner for an update on the development of a publicly accessible, regularly updated database on defenders in detention, as called for by ISHR and a group of 60 States in June 2015.

4. Expressing the need for the High Commissioner to get involved in the ongoing process of treaty body strengthening, and to make sure that the process is open to all relevant actors including States, treaty body members themselves, OHCHR Secretariat, civil society and national human rights institutions. The High Commissioner should ensure that the treaty body strengthening process is inclusive, rights oriented and impactful.

Speaking alongside the High Commissioner were Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore and Assistant Secretary General Andrew Gilmour. Mr Gilmour provided further details on his work to counter reprisals against those who seek to cooperate with the UN. The High Commissioner and several States echoed ISHR’s concerns around withdrawals from the International Criminal Court and the situation in Burundi. Mr al-Hussein took note of ISHR’s questions on human rights defenders in detention and the need for his engagement in the treaty body strengthening process.  

Photo: FlickR/US Mission in Geneva


  • Human rights defenders
  • NGOs
  • Reprisals and intimidation
  • United Nations
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Burundi