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Secretary General’s Report on cooperation with the UN- Item 5- Statement by Ireland

Human Rights Council – 33rd Session (13 September – 30 September 2016)
Item 5 General Debate
Statement by Ireland

20 September 2016

Ireland aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.

Mr President,

Ireland welcomes the Secretary General’s latest report on cooperation with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The report suggests that acts of intimidation and reprisal continue to be perpetrated by government officials or representatives of the State. We reiterate the Secretary General’s call on governments to make clear that such acts will not be condoned, and to ensure accountability when they arise. We underline the obligation on states to protect those who cooperate with the UN in accordance with the State’s obligation to respect and protect the rights to freedom of opinion, expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Ireland notes with concern reports of efforts by certain states to prevent civil society actors from working with the UN human rights bodies and mechanisms, including the Council. Ireland supports the continued focus of the President of the Council on this issue and shares the High Commissioner’s view that ‘it is essential that victims, defenders, activists and other civil society groups be empowered to cooperate with and contribute to the Council’s work without obstruction and fear of reprisals’.

It is clear that intimidation and reprisals against civil society and human rights defenders frustrate the work of this Council and the entire UN system. These acts also deprive the UN and its Member States of the knowledge necessary to discharge their mandates and responsibilities effectively. Furthermore, States must not avoid scrutiny but rather, engage constructively with OHCHR and ensure that Special Procedures are enabled to undertake their key work.

Finally, Ireland is in full agreement that a coordinated approach across all UN stakeholders is necessary to address cases of reprisals effectively, with strengthened information collection and reporting across the United Nations system.

Thank you, Mr President.