48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Item 3 - Briefing by ECOSOC President; Briefing by the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission on the work of the Commission (HRC res. 45/31), presentation of SG/HC thematic reports, reports of WG right to development and WG private mil. sec. companies followed by General Debate
Statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway - On behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries
(Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden)
22 September 2021
The Nordic and Baltic countries thank the briefers. It is regrettable that the Council did not get to hear from the Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, as per resolution 45/31.
Securing a safe and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders, including those working for peace and security, is a top priority for our countries.
We are deeply disturbed that civil society representatives and human rights defenders experience more incidents of harassment, threats and violence, online as well as offline, to prevent – or even punish – them for engaging with UN entities.
We are particularly concerned by targeting of women human rights defenders, peacebuilders, and minorities, as well as attacks against journalists and other media workers.
Civil society plays a crucial role for the functioning of international institutions, in fostering sustainable peace and for realizing the 2030 Agenda.
Intimidation and reprisals undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the UN, including the human rights system.
States must do more to prevent, investigate and ensure accountability for reprisals, as well as to combat impunity for such acts.
And, we should improve transparency and accountability by facilitating more engagement with civil society at the UN, including by addressing the backlog and granting consultative status to those NGOs seeking to engage with us.