Firstly, on your first visit to the UN General Assembly in this capacity, we extend our sincere congratulations on your appointment.
We welcome your first report on the situation of human rights defenders in which you set out your priorities and ways of working. We commend the points you raise including on the importance of paying attention to those human rights defenders that are most marginalized, vulnerable, and exposed to threats and violations. We note that women human rights defenders are also targeted for or exposed to gender-specific threats and gender-specific violence. What are the main challenges to ensuring accountability in cases where human rights defenders are killed?
The Covid-19-pandemic is having a massive impact, also affecting your activities. One consequence we have all witnessed is the increase in virtual meeting places and the importance of access to open, free and secure information and communications technologies. Responding to threats and harassment towards human rights defenders online is becoming even more important. What are the best ways to address and reduce the challenges that human rights defenders face online? And what can you do to address this in your work?
Madame Special Rapporteur,
The Mandate continues to prove its relevance and significance, both in setting the standards and in bringing attention to concrete cases where human rights defenders are under threat. We look forward to work together in the coming years to continue to contribute to the safeguarding of human rights defenders. We call on all states to support this cause.