Human Rights Council renews mandate of Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders; affirms defenders must be protected by state & non-state actors

Author: Michael Ineichen, International Service for Human Rights, Published on: 24 March 2017

"HRC34 | Council unites to stand with human rights defenders", 23 Mar 2017

The UN Human Rights Council – the world’s peak human rights body – has today adopted a resolution which affirms the vital and legitimate work of human rights defenders and extends the mandate of a UN expert tasked to support and protect them. The resolution, led by Norway and strongly supported by a coalition of leading NGOs and human rights experts, was adopted by consensus and without amendment after attempts to weaken it by States including Russia, China, Cuba and Pakistan were soundly defeated. 'Through this resolution the Council has sent an important signal that human rights work is legitimate, and that human rights defenders must be respected and protected by States and non-state actors,' said ISHR’s Director of Human Rights Council Advocacy, Michael Ineichen. The renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, comes at a vital time. In his most recent report, the Special Rapporteur compiled disturbing evidence that human rights defenders are under 'unprecedented attack', including 'increasing killings'.

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