Thank you Mr. President, and allow me also to thank the panellists for their interventions.
It is unacceptable that the work, physical integrity and lives of those who cooperate with the UN, those who seek to learn about the UN, and those who provide the UN with necessary information and expertise are put at risk.
The credibility and relevance of the United Nations human rights system depends on its ability to interact with right holders throughout the world. If right holders are prevented from providing information to special rapporteurs, treaty bodies, the UPR, the OHCHR and the UN country teams, these systems are undermined**.This is unacceptable!
The impact of insecurity is devastating. The high level of impunity that prevails needs to be addressed. As states, we have a duty to ensure that civil society can speak out in the UN without threats.
Norway is deeply concerned about the findings of the report of the Secretary-General. The report documents a serious and enduring problem that needs not only more visibility, but also more action. We encourage states and relevant UN bodies to give due attention to the content and conclusions of the report. We agree that the time has come to go beyond reporting!
The states mentioned in the report should promptly investigate the alleged cases of intimidation and report back to the Secretary-General and the Human Rights Council. We would welcome a debate on how the Council best can follow up on the findings of this report. We welcome the idea of having national focal points.
We also wish to draw attention to the Secretary General’s report, paragraph 7, on the need to apply the criteria for NGO participation in the UN, in a transparent and fair manner. This is critical!
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank civil society for continuing to raise the issue of reprisals and for demanding more effective responses.