Reprisals continue

The report of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights was delivered on 30 September 2020 . The report contains information on alleged acts of intimidation and reprisal, including in follow-up to cases included in the previous report (A/HRC/42/30) and prior to that.

The report notes the Secretary-General’s regret that “the use of national security arguments and legislation, and counter-terrorism strategies by States as justification for blocking access to, or punishment for engaging with” the UN continues at “alarming levels.”  It includes examples of sweeping anti-terrorism laws at the national level, which inhibit international engagement.  And it details cases of individuals charged with terrorism, blamed for cooperation with foreign entities or accused of damaging the reputation or security of the State.

The 45 countries that have been linked to cases listed in the main report and in Annex I and II are: Algeria, Andorra, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Colombia,  Comoros, Cuba, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos People’s Democratic Republic, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Thailand, Turkey,  United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam and Yemen.

Sri Lanka

110.               In February 2020, the High Commissioner noted that Sri Lankans who had travelled to attend sessions of the Human Rights Council had been questioned about their trips (A/HRC/43/19, para. 32). In March 2020, several participants at the Council’s session reported having been questioned before and after travel, and surveilled during Council sessions and NGO side events. In December 2019, the Assistant Secretary-General addressed patterns of intimidation and reprisals in writing to the Government.

111.        Following his July 2019 visit to Sri Lanka (see A/HRC/44/50/Add.1), the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association condemned surveillance of civil society, including incidents that he had witnessed, and reminded the Government of its obligation to ensure that no reprisals occurred against those who wished to interact with United Nations human rights mechanisms.[1] On 8 July 2020, the Government responded. (OHCHR)

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