Item 5 - General Debate

Mr. President,

The right of anyone, individually and jointly, to unhindered access to and communication with international human rights bodies is clearly articulated in international human rights law.

Norway remains deeply concerned by the acts of intimidation and reprisal against individuals and organizations cooperating or seeking to cooperate with the United Nations and its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. In the report by the Secretary-General in August this year, (document A/HRC/30/29) a number of specific cases are brought to the attention of the international community.

Norway strongly endorses the view of the Secretary General that “acts of intimidation and reprisal, no matter how subtle or explicit, are completely and utterly unacceptable and should be halted immediately and unconditionally”. We also call on states mentioned in the Secretary General’s report to respond to the allegations contained therein.

Cases of reprisals against not only individuals or groups concerned, but also their families, legal representatives, non-governmental organizations, and anyone linked to them, take different forms, and range from smear campaigns, harassment, intimidation, prosecutions to direct threats and physical attacks.

There have also been killings, and inhumane treatment has led to tragic deaths.

We cannot accept that cooperation with the UN continues to represent such danger. This runs contrary to the spirit of international cooperation.

On the eve of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, we call on all Member States to support and give effect to the Secretary General’s recommendations as put forward in his August report.

The time has also come to, without further delay, appoint a system wide focal point in the United Nations to address the issue of reprisals in an effective and coordinated manner.

Thank you.