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Norway's statement on reprisals during 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 all 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.

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.

We are appalled that there have been killings, and that 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.

Norway strongly endorses the view of the Secretary General in his reporting to UN Members States and the international community that “acts of intimidation and reprisal, no matter how subtle or explicit, are completely and utterly unacceptable and should be halted immediately and unconditionally”.

Reprisals against people and organizations who cooperate with the UN and other international organizations constitute serious violations of their rights and are unacceptable attacks on the institutions that the international community has built up and must defend.

We have taken due note of the HRC President’s opening statement of the session regarding reported acts of intimidation and reprisals related to the work in the Council. We thank the President for taking a principled and firm stance in this case, and for following up this important tradition from his predecessors. Resolute and transparent leadership in such cases is crucial in order to maintain the Council’s credibility and to protect the integrity of the international human rights system. 

We strongly believe that the UN as a whole needs a more comprehensive and coherent response mechanism to deal with reprisals. Without further delay a system wide focal point in the United Nations, to address the issue of reprisals in an effective and coordinated manner, should be established.

Thank you, Mr President.