States must end persistent reprisals, threats and attacks against defenders

16.03.2016

States should use the Human Rights Council regular session agenda Item 5 to update the Council on progress in ensuring accountability for alleged cases of reprisals, such as the death of Chinese defender Cao Shunli, ISHR said today.

(Geneva) – States should use the Human Rights Council regular session agenda Item 5 to update the Council on progress in ensuring accountability for alleged cases of reprisals, ISHR said today.

In delivering a statement to the Human Rights Council during the Item 5 General Debate, ISHR called on the Government of China, ‘to update the Council on steps taken to independently investigate the death of human rights defender Cao Shunli.

‘Failing that, the President of the Council should clarify what steps have been taken to ensure that Cao’s tragic death is investigated, and that accountability and appropriate remedies are ensured,’ said Sarah Brooks of ISHR.

Cao Shunli is a Chinese human rights defender who died in March 2014 after being denied access to medical attention. 

‘Last week, the High Commissioner spoke of persistent reprisals against those cooperating with the United Nations,’ said Rumbidzai Masango of ISHR. 

ISHR also addressed the topic of the lack of full cooperation with the Council and its human rights experts, and in this regard welcomed the Special Procedures’ joint communications report contained in document 31/79.

Highlighting cases brought to the Council's attention in the report, Rumbidzai Masango, ISHR’s Africa Human Rights Advocate and Ambassador Bari Bari Fellow, noted the continued trend of attacks and threats against defenders working on land and environmental issues. Giving examples from Indonesia and India where women human rights defenders were arrested and detained, she stressed the glaring lack of response from the States concerned.

Council members are required under GA Resolution 60/251 to ‘fully cooperate with the Council.’ A lack of timely and substantive response to Special Procedures not only undermines the integrity of this forum, but is plainly incompatible with membership.

'It is unacceptable that of the 74 States listed as having not responded to some allegations, 24 are Council members, including: Bangladesh, Burundi, China, Congo, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Mexico, Mongolia, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, UAE, Venezuela and Vietnam,’ said Ms Masango.

A video of the ISHR statement is here.

The full text of ISHR's statement to the Human Rights Council is here.

Contact: Michael Ineichen, ISHR Human Rights Council Advocacy Director on m.ineichen@ishr.ch

Category:

Topic
  • Treaty body strengthening process
  • Human rights defenders
  • Reprisals and intimidation
Mechanism
  • UN Human Rights Council
Country
  • Bangladesh
  • Burundi
  • China
  • Congo (Kinshasa)
  • Ethiopia
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Mexico
  • Mongolia
  • Morocco
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam