UN censors 42 nations for retaliating in opposition to human rights activists and journalists

Palestinian journalist, Mohammad Awad, reporting from the sector. Credit score: UNESCO
  • by Thalif Deen (The United Nations)
  • Inter Press Service

When you cooperate with the United Nations and complain about human rights abuses in your house nation, likelihood is you’ll find yourself in jail, persecuted, tortured or below authorities surveillance.

The 42 nations embrace a number of the world’s worst authoritarian regimes, recognized for his or her huge human rights abuses.

Highlighting plenty of “worrying traits” over the previous yr, UN Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres’ annual report particulars how folks – primarily victims of human rights abuses, human rights defenders Human Rights and Journalists – have confronted reprisals and intimidation from States and non-State actors.

This included folks detained, focused by restrictive laws and monitored each on-line and offline. Individuals who tried to cooperate with the UN, or had been perceived to take action, had been additionally affected.

In a 3rd of the nations cited within the report, people and teams, together with civil society organizations (CSOs), both avoided cooperating or solely agreed to report their instances anonymously for concern of reprisals. . “Regardless of optimistic developments, together with shared pledges and pledges by member states in opposition to retaliation, this report reveals how persons are being prosecuted and persecuted for elevating human rights issues with the federal government. ‘UN”.

“And we all know that, as stunning as that quantity is, many situations of reprisals go unreported,” says Below-Secretary-Normal for Human Rights Ilze Manufacturers Kehris.

The 42 states talked about within the report (which covers the interval from Could 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022) embrace Afghanistan, Andorra, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lao Folks’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Maldives, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, State of Palestine, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Viet Nam and Yemen.

Dr. Simon Adams, President and CEO of the Heart for Victims of Torture, the most important worldwide group that treats survivors and advocates for an finish to torture all over the world, informed IPS that the UN is an neutral humanitarian group devoted to the development of humanity.

“When sure States or armed teams understand civil society activists or journalists who converse to the United Nations as threatening their pursuits, they violate the “religion in basic human rights” that the Constitution of the United Nations embodies. proudly,” he mentioned.

“We the peoples”, wherever we’re on the planet, have the appropriate to talk on to UN representatives with none malicious authority leaning on our shoulders, tapping our telephones or threatening us. detention or disappearance,” he mentioned.

Human rights defenders within the nations talked about within the UN Secretary-Normal’s report not solely deserve our respect and solidarity, they want safety, mentioned Dr Adams.

When Secretary-Normal Antonio Guterres final week congratulated Ales Bialiatski and the organizations Memorial and Heart for Civil Liberties on being awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, he mentioned this yr’s recognition shines a light-weight on the ability of civil society for peace.

“Civil society teams (CSOs) are the oxygen of democracy and catalysts for peace, social progress and financial development. They assist maintain governments accountable and produce the voices of weak folks to the halls of energy.”

But at present, civic area is shrinking the world over, the Secretary-Normal warned. ?

“Human rights defenders, ladies’s rights defenders, environmental activists, journalists and others threat arbitrary arrest, lengthy jail sentences, smear campaigns, crippling fines and violent assaults,” he mentioned. -he declares.

“As we congratulate this yr’s winners, allow us to pledge to defend the brave defenders of the common values ​​of peace, hope and dignity,” mentioned António Guterres.

Within the meantime, responding to the choice of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to determine an impartial mechanism to watch the human rights scenario in Russia, Agnès Callamard, Secretary Normal of Amnesty Worldwide, mentioned his group welcomed the choice to lastly deliver Russia’s human rights document below scrutiny.

Below Vladimir Putin’s management, she identified, “the nation has seen its political opposition crushed, NGOs and grassroots activists banned, impartial media shut down and civil society as an entire diminished to ashes”.

“Russia’s illegal aggression in opposition to Ukraine couldn’t be a clearer demonstration of Vladimir Putin’s longstanding disregard for all times and human rights.”

Callamard mentioned the institution of this vital mechanism could be a long-awaited lifeline for civil society in Russia, impartial media and lots of others who oppose the crackdown.

“We name on all States to help the speedy implementation of this monitoring and reporting mandate, and to totally help victims of human rights and humanitarian regulation violations dedicated by nationwide authorities.”

“We name on the Russian authorities to heed the clear message that the Human Rights Council is sending with the institution of this mechanism, and to essentially change course to finish its violations within the nation and stranger,” she mentioned.

Offering an replace on the army regime in Myanmar, UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric informed reporters on October 6 that in line with UNESCO (United Nations Instructional, Scientific and Cultural Group ), a minimum of 170 journalists have been arrested for the reason that army coup in Myanmar final February. yr.

Practically 70 journalists, together with 12 ladies, are nonetheless detained. UNESCO has additionally recorded over 200 incidents of media repression, together with murders, arrests, detentions, felony instances, imprisonments and raids on newsrooms.

Forty-four journalists, together with seven ladies, had been convicted of felony offenses by native courts, he mentioned. Moreover, media employees report that they expertise digital surveillance from cellphones and social media platforms. UNESCO stays dedicated to defending and defending their freedom of the press.

In the meantime, the UN report says surveillance of people and teams cooperating with the UN continues to be reported throughout all areas with rising proof of on-line surveillance and cyberattacks. The large digital transition accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic has additionally elevated challenges associated to cybersecurity, privateness and entry to on-line areas.

One other worrying international pattern is the use and impression of restrictive laws that forestalls and punishes cooperation with the UN, in some instances leading to folks being sentenced to lengthy jail phrases or positioned below home arrest. Recurring and comparable allegations of bullying have been reported in plenty of nations, which can point out a pattern.

One other international pattern is self-censorship, selecting to not cooperate with the UN or doing so anonymously amid issues for his or her security. Elevated surveillance and scrutiny, together with the concern of felony legal responsibility, has created what the report calls a “chilling impact” of silence, stopping folks from cooperating additional with the UN and dissuading others from doing so. in line with the report.

As in earlier years, the report reveals that intimidation and reprisals disproportionately have an effect on sure populations and teams, together with representatives of indigenous peoples, minorities or these engaged on environmental and local weather change points, in addition to individuals who could expertise discrimination based mostly on age, gender orientation and gender.

“The dangers confronted by ladies victims, in addition to ladies human rights defenders and peacebuilders, who share testimonies and cooperate with the UN, stay daunting. We’ll proceed to work to make sure that everybody can safely interact with the UN,” mentioned Manufacturers Kehris, in the course of the presentation of the report back to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The report, entitled “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms within the area of human rights” (A/HRC/51/47), comprising quite a few annexes detailing country-by-country instances, might be considered on-line: https://www.ohchr.org/en/paperwork/thematic-reports/ahrc5147-cooperation-united-nations-its-representatives-and-mechanisms

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