Interactive Discussion with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
Statement by the United States of America
Human Rights Council, 46th Session
Geneva, March 8, 2021
As Delivered by Meryn Schneiderhan
The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Lawlor for her report highlighting the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders globally and emphasizing the seriousness with which governments must take threats of violence against defenders. We support the independence of her mandate.
In Saudi Arabia, we are concerned about application of security laws to harass, arrest, detain, and sentence defenders and their families for exercising their rights to freedoms of peaceful assembly, of expression and of association. In Nicaragua, the Ortega regime has forced thousands of opposition activists, human rights defenders, and journalists into exile for fear of reprisals. Over 100 political prisoners languish in Nicaraguan jails, including Maria Esperanza Sanchez Garcia, who has been detained for over a year on reportedly false charges due to her work as a human rights activist and critic of the Ortega regime.
Question: Ms. Lawlor, you recommended states protect and enhance existing human rights defender protection mechanisms and ensure that they are gender-sensitive. Can you share some best practices in gender-sensitive protection mechanisms?