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Human Rights Council 35th Session 6-23 June 2017

General Debate Item 5 - Human Rights Bodies and mechanisms

Statement of Ireland

16 June 2017

Ireland aligns itself with the EU statement and adds the following.

Mr President,

Reprisals strike at the heart of the operation and efficacy of the work of the Human Rights Council, and all other UN human rights mechanisms, bodies and processes, including special procedures and the UPR.

We are deeply disturbed by the severity and range of reprisals reported in many States, targeting not only the individuals concerned, but also their families, their organisations and any person linked to them. The persistence and intensification of intimidation and reprisals is evidenced in the high number of reports from mandate holders, listed in the Communications report of the Special Procedures (A/HRC/35/44).

We are further extremely concerned by the allegations of reprisals and intimidation against human rights defenders and civil society actors who participated, or intended to participate in the UPR session in May of this year. We remind States of their primary obligation to protect individuals who cooperate with the all UN human rights bodies and mechanisms, including the UPR.

We look forward to the Secretary-General's annual report on reprisals at the 36th HRC session; and we echo the High Commissioner’s appeal for all States to cooperate fully with Assistant Secretary General Andrew Gilmour.

The Special Procedures form a crucial part of the Human Rights Council’s work. We are deeply disturbed by the rising number of incidents of threats or insults directed against Special Procedures mandate-holders, as elaborated on by the High Commissioner in his opening statement at this Session. We remind States of their responsibility under resolution 5/2 to cooperate with, and assist, the Special Procedures in carrying out their mandate.   We urge States to expand their efforts on follow-up and implementation of recommendations by Special Proceduresand to strengthen dialogue with them.

In that regard, we consider that it would be helpful for the Council to explore ways to ensure that country visit reports are considered as quickly as possible after a visit takes place; and that voluntary steps could be taken by States to increase dialogue, for example through use of interactive dialogues to inform on implementation.   

Finally, we noted with interest the letter to the President of the Chair of the Coordinating Committee, circulated in April, on ways to ensure that sufficient opportunities for the Council to interact with the Special Procedures and engage with them in a substantive way.  We agree with many of the practical suggestions contained therein and are ready to discuss with all stakeholders on how this can be progressed.


Thank you