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Norway's statement on reprisals during general debate

STATEMENT, 21 September 2016

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 that was published by the Secretary-General last week, (document A/HRC/33/19) a number of specific cases are brought to the attention of the international community. We are deeply concerned by the increasing number of cases of reprisals.

Norway strongly endorses the view of the Secretary General that “… that all such acts, no matter how seemingly subtle or explicit, are without exception unacceptable and must 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. This runs contrary to the spirit of international cooperation.

Norway therefore appreciates that the SG concludes that in light of the increasing caseload, he will strengthen the UNs collection of information and reporting on reprisals and intimidation. We welcome the SGs commitment to “make use of existing staff to take up the issue within the United Nations system and with Member States, and to advise the High Commissioner and me as appropriate”.

Norway also appreciates the principled and strong leadership on this issue by HRC President Choi.

Thank you for your attention.