HRC 52 - Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders


52nd session

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders

15 March

EU Intervention


Mr President,

The EU thanks the Special Rapporteur for her report, and reiterates its strong support to her mandate.

As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on human rights defenders, we welcome the focus of your report on highlighting the achievements of human rights defenders.

Every day, human rights defenders undertake valuable work to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Their efforts benefit us all, and they deserve our appreciation and respect.

These efforts also deserve our protection, as it is often undertaken at great personal risk. The EU continues to strongly condemn any acts of intimidation, violence, threat, harassment or reprisal, including launching politically motivated trials, against human rights defenders, including those particularly vulnerable to attack, such as women human rights defenders, LGBT defenders, land, environmental and indigenous peoples’ defenders and others. We will also continue to work to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders to carry out their work, without undue interference. This includes online as well as offline spaces. The EU recalls that States have the obligation to enable human rights defenders to exercise their right to freedom of opinion and expression and to ensure their safety both online and offline.

Special Rapporteur, we echo your assertion that success is a collective effort. Support networks are critical in supporting human rights defenders to achieve their goals.

The protection of human rights defenders remains a central priority of our Global Europe Human rights and Democracy Programme. The EU has developed guidelines on engaging with human rights defenders that aim to enhance EU action to support and protect them, and to promote their important work – put simply, to ensure the EU is a strong support for Human Rights Defenders.

Special Rapporteur,

What are the priority concrete steps states can take to better provide for the protection of Human Rights Defenders, both online and offline?