We condemn all acts of intimidation or reprisal against those who cooperate with the UN

thanks chair,

I have the honor of making this national statement on behalf of Ireland and 79 other countries, as well as the European Union.

The world owes a debt to civil society actors and human rights defenders. Without their cooperation and meaningful engagement, we here at the United Nations cannot make informed decisions, and UN entities, agencies, missions and human rights mechanisms cannot effectively carry out their mandates.

When individuals or organizations face threats, retaliation or harm when working with international bodies, not only do the individuals involved suffer, but our collective efforts to achieve peace and security, respect for human rights and sustainable development.

We therefore unequivocally condemn all acts of intimidation or retaliation against those who have cooperated or seek to cooperate with the United Nations.

We welcome the Secretary-General’s recent annual report on reprisals and the presentation of this report by Deputy Secretary-General Ilze Brands Kehris last week before the General Assembly. The cases documented in the report demonstrate the breadth of this problem, with reprisals perpetrated by state and non-state actors online and offline, across many countries and regions. It is important that this issue is addressed in a coordinated manner and we therefore welcome the opportunity to discuss it in New York during the Third Committee and in Geneva.

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We share the Secretary-General’s concern about a number of trends identified in the report, notably:

– that women, minorities, members of indigenous communities, peacebuilders and human rights defenders continue to be disproportionately targeted;

– that there is evidence of an increase in online surveillance, privacy intrusions and cyber-attacks being used against victims and civil society;

– that the application of laws and other instruments regulating NGOs and their access to funding have created additional obstacles to civil society engagement and lobbying at the United Nations;

– That anti-terror laws were abused against organizations and individuals for their cooperation with the UN;

– And that these restrictive measures, as well as the stigmatization of public discourse, have deterred victims and civil society from working with the United Nations.

These persistent patterns point to a concerted effort by both state and non-state actors to silence those who speak up and share information with the UN. Fearing retribution and harm, they are forced to exercise self-censorship. This has profound implications for the impact of UN operations on the ground and reflects a broader trend to shut down civil society space worldwide.

We therefore call on all states to take proactive steps to counteract reprisals. This includes conducting sound investigations, fully complying with international legal obligations and ensuring accountability. This includes supporting and protecting victims from threats and violence.

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We also encourage all states to foster safe and conducive environments for civil society in their own countries, including online. Human rights defenders should be able to operate in a safe and open environment, free from coercion, threats of violence and intimidation. They shouldn’t be silenced.

We also call on all member states to promote cooperation with the United Nations and to support the work of the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights. We call on everyone to report all instances of reprisals in their countries, whether committed by state or non-state actors.

We also call on States to provide emergency grants to those who face intimidation or reprisals in conflict situations after engaging in multilateral spaces.

Finally, the United Nations itself bears an increased responsibility when those who work with the organization are targeted. We therefore call on the UN to ensure that it does everything in its power to facilitate a safe and secure environment. This requires a coordinated response from all system authorities and bodies to ensure robust measures are in place to mitigate the risk of reprisals. We welcome initiatives to strengthen United Nations coordination and preparedness on this issue, including the 2020 Guidelines on Protecting and Enhancing Civil Society Space and the Security Council Guidelines on Mitigating Reprisals, and we call on the United Nations to ensure this that these are effectively implemented .

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We also encourage the United Nations to continue its efforts to improve data collection, analysis and documentation of cases and to use this information to actively improve policies and practices to fill the gaps that exist in our collective efforts.

Chairman, those who work or seek to work with the United Nations are doing public service on a global scale. You should therefore never be intimidated, threatened or harmed.

Many Thanks.

Signer:

Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominicans Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Fiji, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta , Marshall Islands, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Palau, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain , Sweden, Switzerland, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, European Union.

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