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Human rights defenders must be at core of treaty process & outcomes, says Intl. Service for Human Rights

…[M]ore must be done by all States…to guarantee that the protection of human rights defenders and the creation of an enabling environment for their work is at the core of any binding treaty…Ecuador and the OHCHR secretariat made important efforts to facilitate the participation of human rights defenders at the first session, but more must be done to safeguard their contribution…The Chair and secretariat must…put in place a clear process to prevent acts of intimidation or reprisals against individuals participating, or seeking to participate, in the IGWG…[A] successful treaty process must serve to expand not only the protection of human rights by affected communities and individual rights holders on the ground, but also to enhance their capacity - and that of those defending them - to claim those rights safely…A prospective treaty should reaffirm the State duties to protect and support defenders working on corporate accountability…The outcome of the IGWG also ought to reaffirm the business obligations to engage with defenders, to refrain from interfering with their work, and to act proactively to protect them if a failure to act would lead to avoidable harm…