UN Adopts Norwegian Human Rights Proposal

9/26/2008 // The UN Human Rights Council adopted 27 March a proposal put forward by Norway to renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders for a further three years.

“Norway has been giving high priority to supporting the efforts of human rights defenders for a number of years,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The purpose of the mandate is to protect human rights defenders – both groups and individuals such as Shirin Ebadi and Aung San Suu Kyi – who often risk their own safety standing up for human rights.

“The fact that we have secured the broad support of the UN for this mandate is essential for their further efforts. These are courageous women and men who give hope to those who are oppressed, and are therefore important for bringing about change,” said Mr Støre.

Many countries would like to restrict human rights defenders’ activities and manoeuvrability. It was therefore very difficult to reach agreement on the text, which was unanimously adopted in the UN Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur conducts country visits and responds to a great many enquiries from human rights defenders all over the world.

“The Council’s decision provides a good basis for the UN Special Rapporteur’s important efforts to protect human rights defenders. The mandate is an important step in enhancing the international community’s ability to react to human rights violations and oppression,” said the Foreign Minister.

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