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Human rights experts urge nations to protect at-risk civil society actors

A group of UN human rights experts have expressed dismay at decision of Iran to proceed with the execution of juvenile offender Hossein Shahbazi despite repeated calls to halt it
Human Rights. Photp: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Geneva, Dec 10 (MNN) A group of UN and regional human rights experts on Saturday called on nations to strengthen international efforts to support and protect civil society actors increasingly targeted in repressive and life-threatening environments.

“Around the world, courageous individuals, and their organisations at the frontlines of the struggle for human rights are in desperate need of safe refuge and urgent life-saving humanitarian assistance yet face vast barriers to protection,” said UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément N Voule.

In a joint declaration, the experts called on states to uphold their international obligations and ease accessibility to international protection to civil society actors fleeing from violence, including recognition of refugee status and other forms of protection, such as expedited emergency visas.

It also provides recommendations to states to enhance coordination of diplomatic efforts to advocate for open civic space and to support civil society actors under threat.

“As many states join this week’s Summit for Democracy to address the deepening trends in democratic regression and rising authoritarianism, there is an opportunity to move from rhetoric into action,” Voule said.

“This joint declaration offers guidance on specific actions and commitments that States can immediately take to defend civic space and democracy across the world.”

Other experts apart from Clément Voule, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association, are Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Human Rights; Pedro Vaca, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR); and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

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