HRC 50 – EU Intervention: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

(Source: EEAS)

Mr President,

The EU thanks the Special Rapporteur for the presentation of his most recent reports on access to resources and on protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests during crisis situations. We actively follow the Mandate’s work and support its renewal at the 50th Session of the Human Rights Council.

Mr Special Rapporteur,

The EU shares your view that access to funding is essential to the existence of Civil Society organizations as they contribute, inter alia, to the realization of human rights, the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and COVID-19 recovery. We therefore continue supporting Civil Society across the world through various initiatives led by the Global Europe Civil Society Organizations programme for the period 2021–2027 worth €1.5 billion. We are concerned about the reported trend of increasing undue restrictions in relation to funding and we call for a safe, enabling and thriving environment for civil society organizations, where access to resources is recognized, respected and promoted.

The EU is also concerned about the expansion of human rights violations and abuses in the context of peaceful protests. Everyone’s voices should be heard, be it offline or online. Hostile approaches often only deepen underlying crises. Instances in which the proportionality of police action is questioned must be investigated, be it in the EU or elsewhere. We echo your key recommendations that responses to peaceful protests, including the use of emergency laws, technology, force or arrests, must be grounded in respect for international human rights standards and that full accountability for human rights violations and abuses must be ensured. The EU applauds the courage of peaceful protesters, including human rights defenders, who risk their lives while demanding respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in highly restricted environments.

Mr Special Rapporteur,

Both presented reports underline the need for harmonizing domestic legal norms with States’ international obligations. What concrete steps can the international community undertake to follow-up on the recommendations and how can your Mandate assist in this regard?

Thank you.

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