Let me now turn to the role of civil society in the proceedings of the Council. Active participation and contribution of civil society organizations is central to the work of the Human Rights Council and makes it a unique forum among other UN intergovernmental organs. It is therefore essential that representatives of civil society operate in a free, open and safe environment that protects and promotes their own human rights. I have personally condemned acts of reprisals in the context of Council and UPR sessions and have repeatedly stated that any acts of intimidation or reprisals against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations and its representatives are unacceptable and must end. It is the Council’s and its President responsibility to address effectively all cases of intimidation or reprisals and to ensure an unhindered access to all who seek to cooperate with the UN mechanism. In this regard, Council resolution 24/24 adopted last September on cooperation with the United Nations in the field of human rights is of utmost importance. It requests the Secretary-General, in cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to designate a United Nations-wide senior focal point on reprisals and aims at promoting the prevention of, protection against and accountability for reprisals and intimidation related to cooperation with the United Nations.
- Human rights
- Civil society engagement