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Statement: Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council | Joint Statement

March 7, 2016

The following joint oral statement by Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and Asian Legal Resource Centre was submitted but was among the statements of  eleven NGOs that could not be delivered during the Interactive Dialogue with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) due to time constraints of the HRC.

Joint Oral Statement to the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a non-governmental organizations in Special Consultative status and the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organizations in General Consultative status

Mr. President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and the Asian Legal Resource Centre welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders.[1] Our work confirms Mr. Forst’s observations of the many serious challenges facing defenders; we highlight three of those concerns.

States increasingly use laws that are non-compliant with international human rights standards that delegitimize or criminalize the work of defenders, subjecting them to surveillance, prosecutions, arbitrary arrests and detention, and restricted rights to freedoms of expression, assembly and association. Many states prosecute defenders, including lawyers, for exercising rights including Thailand,[2] Malaysia,[3] Cambodia,[4] and shockingly States that are members of this Council — China,[5] Saudi Arabia,[6] Bangladesh,[7] the United Arab Emirates and Viet Nam.[8]

Statement: Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council | Joint Statement