A/HRC/21/18 I. Introduction 1. In its resolution 12/2, the Human Rights Council reiterated its concern at the continued reports of intimidation and reprisals against individuals and groups who seek to cooperate, or have cooperated, with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. The Council condemned all acts of intimidation and reprisals by Governments and non-State actors against these individuals and groups. The Council also expressed deep concern at the seriousness of such reported reprisals and the fact that victims suffer violations of their human rights, including the rights to life, to liberty and to security of person, as well as the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 2. In resolution 12/2, the Human Rights Council invited the Secretary-General to submit an annual report to the Council on alleged reprisals for cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights. 3. The outcome of the review of the Human Rights Council adopted in 2011 contains a strong rejection of any acts of intimidation or reprisal against individuals and groups who cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, and urges States to prevent and ensure adequate protection against such acts.1 4. On 21 October 2011, I participated in a high-level panel discussion on reprisals organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the margins of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly. Reiterating my condemnation of such acts and urging that any allegation of reprisal or intimidation should be investigated, I called for greater efforts to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice, and that appropriate remedies for victims are provided. I also underlined that it was time to go beyond reporting and that States and United Nations human rights mechanisms need to do more. I commended civil society for its consistent efforts to encourage more effective responses. 5. OHCHR takes the issue of reprisals extremely seriously, as demonstrated by numerous interventions made by the High Commissioner and the Deputy High Commissioner. The High Commissioner has repeatedly raised concerns about the threats and violence faced by human rights defenders and civil society activists, including in relation to country-specific situations. In her opening statement at the twentieth session of the Human Rights Council on 18 June 2012, the High Commissioner underlined that the issue of reprisals had attracted particular attention during earlier Council sessions. She reaffirmed her strong condemnation of such acts and made clear that guaranteeing the safety and security of those who cooperate with human rights mechanisms is imperative. She stated that her Office would do its utmost to ensure that States respect their obligation to protect and that there is accountability for any acts of intimidation or reprisals. 6. The President of the Human Rights Council raised concerns about reprisals against human rights defenders. On 5 March 2012, during the nineteenth session of the Council, the President stated that it had come to her attention and that of the Bureau of the Human Rights Council that repeated incidents of harassment and intimidation of civil society representatives had taken place during the Council session. For instance, there had been 1 Human Rights Council resolution 16/21, annex, para. 30; General Assembly resolution 65/281, annex, para. 30. 3

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