Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders: Mandate renewed!

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UN Human Rights Council, Geneva. Photo: UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

March 2017 - During its 34th session, the UN Human Rights Council adopted by consensus the resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, thereby extending the mandate of Michel Forst by three years.

The renewal of a strong mandate is important and allows Mr. Forst to continue his efforts to protect human rights defenders around the world. Human rights defenders are imperative to the promotion and protection of all human rights, as underscored by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in his statement to the Council on 27 February 2017:

“Human rights defenders must be able to freely participate in the Council and engage more broadly with the UN without fear of reprisal. This is critical to our work and to the credibility of Member State.s”

In introducing the draft mandate to the Council for adoption, Ambassador Hans Brattskar, Permanent Representative of Norway, underlined that this resolution, as previous General Assembly and HRC resolutions, outlines: “…the crucial role that human rights defenders have in the promotion and protection of human right and fundamental freedoms.”

Norway extends its sincere appreciation to all 84 co-sponsors of the resolution. The broad, cross-regional support emphasizes an important recognition of human rights defenders` legitimate work, and Norway encourages all states to ensure that defenders may work freely, without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

The following countries co-sponsored the resolution:

Albania, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Czech Republic, Chile, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Djibouti, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Greece, Haiti, Honduras, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palestine, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, and Zambia.