Reprisals and the UPR; create a safe space for civil society

UPR Info brought the issue of reprisals, that CSOs and individuals are now facing as a result of their involvement with the UPR, to attention of the Human Rights Council (the Council) on Friday 25 September 2015.
 
UPR Info’s Executive Director, Roland Chauville, presented an oral statement to the Council to reiterate the need for  “all states to uphold their promises and facilitate and support NGO engagement in the UPR process”. The many opportunities the UPR process has created for CSOs to advance human rights and the cooperation between governments and CSOs, that the mechanism has encouraged, should not overshadow some of the serious concerns UPR Info now has in regards to CSO engagement with the UPR.
 
“There have been cases of reprisals for NGOs working with the UPR” and this contradicts the transparent nature of the UPR process. UPR Info believes that NGOs “should be able to speak publically about human rights, free from reprisals” and is highly concerned with the news that participants from UPR Info’s April Pre-session have “faced intimidations and threats” due to their engagement with the UPR.
 
For the UPR to continue as a tool that can successfully monitor and improve the universal human rights situation civil society actors and human rights activists must be given adequate and safe space within which to work. Roland Chauville, of UPR Info, concluded by reminding the Council of its “legal duty to address reprisals” and called for states to act on their “primary duty to prevent reprisals”.
 
The full statement can be found here.