Conference room 4 in the UN North Lawn Building has hosted the Third Committee this fall. It was packed as the resolution on Human Rigths defenders was adopted. 
Photo: Norway Mission/Anders Aalbu.Conference room 4 in the UN North Lawn Building has hosted the Third Committee this fall. It was packed as the resolution on Human Rigths defenders was adopted. Photo: Norway Mission/Anders Aalbu

Norwegian UN initiative strengthens the right of peaceful protest

Last updated: 11/28/2011 // Norway’s initiative has resulted in the unanimous adoption of a resolution in the UN General Assembly on strengthening the protection of human rights defenders and the right of peaceful protest. “This UN resolution throws into sharp relief the use of force against protesters that we are seeing in a number of countries. It strengthens our hand when we seek to make governments accountable for violence against peaceful protesters,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a draft resolution put forward by Norway on strengthening the protection of human rights defenders all over the world. The resolution emphasises the important role played by human rights defenders in promoting peace and human rights, and calls on states to take concrete protection measures. This is the first General Assembly resolution to establish the right of peaceful protest. As the concept of peaceful protest has encountered strong opposition from certain countries, the unanimous adoption of the resolution is a breakthrough.  

“With this resolution, the UN is signalling its support to all those who are combating oppressive regimes and human rights violations all over the world,” said Mr Støre. 

Human rights defenders are individuals and organisations that are fighting against discrimination and for justice throughout the world. They include democracy activists, journalists, writers, trade union leaders, lawyers, and campaigners for gay and lesbian rights and for freedom of religion and religious minorities’ rights. 

The General Assembly resolution is the first to reflect the importance of modern forms of communication as a platform for the promotion and protection of human rights. It expresses concern about the targeting of human rights defenders who are reporting and seeking information on human rights violations. 

Norway’s proposal was endorsed by a cross-regional group of 77 countries.


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