Human Rights Advocates Call for Stronger Civil Society Protection Measures

In a joint declaration released on Friday, UN and regional human rights experts emphasized that more security is needed for civil society representatives who are increasingly being targeted in repressive and life-threatening circumstances.

They asked governments to honor their international duties and make protective measures, such as refugee status recognition and expedited emergency visas, more accessible to civil society actors escaping violence. The declaration was signed by the independent expert and counterparts from Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

They condemned attacks on civil society actors, such as extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, persecution, hostage-takings, arbitrary arrests, and sexual and gender-based abuse. Their declaration also provides suggestions for improving international efforts to promote open civic space and assist people who are threatened.

There is a chance to go from talks to actions as several countries attend this week’s Summit for Democracy to address worsening tendencies in democratic regression and rising authoritarianism.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day in Geneva, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet organized a live question-and-answer session via social media to discuss the need of decreasing inequality and expanding human rights, which are this year’s twin themes.

On Human Rights Day, Friday, the Summit for Democracy came to a close.