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Interactive Dialogue on Secretary General’s Report on Reprisals
September 29, 2022

Interactive Dialogue on Secretary General’s Report on Reprisals

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

As Delivered by Patrick Elliot

Human Rights Council – 51st Session

Thank you, Madame Vice President.

The United States remains deeply concerned about ongoing reprisals against civil society, including human rights defenders, designed to intimidate and deter them from engaging with international human rights and international law mechanisms.

Threats and harassment by government officials, including through spurious charges of criminal, extremist, or terrorist activity; unjust detentions; enforced disappearances; and forced repatriations continue to be used by certain States to silence defenders and to chill criticism.

We continue to see reports of such actions by governments, including Belarus, the People’s Republic of China, and Venezuela against civil society members who engage with the international community.

Supporting the work of civil society, including by advocating for their safe access to international organizations like the UN, remains a U.S. priority. We are deeply concerned by the President’s report yesterday that Nicaragua has blocked an indigenous expert, Mrs. Alfred Cunningham, from returning to her home country due to her work on EMRIP. This is unacceptable.

We call on States to publicly condemn reprisals against individuals engaging with the UN. We further call on the UN to effectively address this issue, including by supporting victims and pushing for greater accountability.

Our question is: How can the international community combat the use of digital technologies for reprisals against civil society actors cooperating or sharing information with the UN?

I thank you.