New mandate for protection of human rights defenders
Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Støre commented: “Supporting human rights defenders has high priority in Norway’s efforts to strengthen human rights and is an investment in the rule of law and democracy.”
Following negotiations led by Norway, the UN Human Rights Council decided on Thursday 24 March to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders for another three years.
The objective of the mandate is to protect human rights defenders. These include both groups and individuals who campaign for others’ rights, often at a risk to themselves and their families.
The proposed resolution met broad regional support and was unanimously adopted by the Council. The support of the international community is important. It gives encouragement and recognition and can also provide effective protection for this vulnerable group. Many countries would like to limit human rights defenders’ room for action.
The Special Rapporteur, Margaret Sekaggya, makes country visits and monitors the situation of human rights defenders and engages in dialogue with the national authorities.
“The Special Rapporteur’s mandate enhances the international community’s ability to react to human rights violations and oppression,” said Mr Støre.
The resolution on renewing the mandate was adopted at the 16th session of the Human Rights Council, which ended on Friday 25 March. Norway is a member of the Council for the period 2009–12.