UN Secretary-General denounces cases of reprisals against NGOs engaging in the UPR

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be presenting at the 24th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) starting today his annual report "Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights". The report describes specific cases of reprisals against NGOs engaging with human rights mechanisms, including the UPR.

The Secretary-General cites the case of Bahrain where "the newspaper Al-Watan published, on 25 September 2012, the names and photographs of participants in the universal periodic review of Bahrain, including Mohammed Al-Maskati, Maryam Al-Khawaja, Dr. Nada Dhaif, Dr. Mondher Alkhoor, Jalila Al-Salman and Said Yousif, who were accused of 'discrediting Bahrain in Geneva'. In addition, on 16 October 2012, Mr. Al-Maskati was reportedly summoned to Al-Hoora Police Station for interrogation, detained overnight and charged the next day with 'rioting and participating in an illegal assembly'."

In the Philippines, Ms. Matutina, Secretary-General of Panalidan! Mindanao, "has been subjected to several incidents of threat and harassment and that, since she was a member of the Philippine UPR Watch delegation to discuss the human rights situation in Mindanao in the context of a side event during the nineteenth session of the Human Rights Council, members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines accuse Ms. Matutina of being a member of the New People's Army, the armed wing of the communist party."

In concluding his report, Ban Ki-moon reiterates that "reprisals and intimidation against individuals cooperating with the United Nations in the field of human rights are unacceptable" and calls on the HRC to "act to address cases of reprisal in a coherent and systematic manner and use the various tools it has at its disposal."