CIVICUS will also engage in the panel discussion on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests; the debate with the Working Group on arbitrary detentions; and the debate with the Working Group on enforced disappearances.
The 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council runs from 13 September to 8 October 2021.
Equal participation in political and public affairs relies on access to information and the protection and promotion of democratic freedoms. In the last two years, these preconditions have been put under severe strain by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation has been impeded by rollbacks in democratic freedoms engendered by governmental response to the pandemic; the growing phenomenon of internet shutdowns; the impact of a growing digital divide; and elections postponed on grounds of both genuine public health concerns but also overreach of emergency powers. We encourage States to support a resolution which highlights and seeks to address these barriers to equal participation.
Crises take interrelated forms which have socio-political impacts. In response to such crises, governments across the world have increasingly imposed internet shutdowns, which have a serious impact on the rights to assembly and other civic-space related rights. Such shutdowns, often implemented hand in hand with other repressive tactics against protesters, facilitate abuses and gross human rights violations committed in the context of peaceful protests. We call on States to engage with the panel discussion on peaceful protests and raise the increasing issue of internet shutdowns.
CIVICUS, together with Article 19, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) and World Movement for Democracy, will be holding a side event to the panel discussion to hear from those on the ground about the implications of the intersection of crises, peaceful protests and internet shutdowns.
Resolution on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights
UN action is only possible with strong engagement from civil society on the ground, who not only provide information and analysis, but are on the front line of ensuring that human rights standards are respected by their own governments, and that violations are held to account. Until such a political cost is established, the only deterrent to States engaging in this practice remains to publicly name them. We recommend that States use the Interactive Dialogue with the Assistant Secretary General to raise specific cases of reprisals.
CIVICUS is an international alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. Though their office in Geneva, they support their partners and members to engage with the UN Human Rights Council, and its ancillary bodies, including the UN Universal Periodic Review, UN Special Procedures, and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. As a non-Voting member of CIVICUS, the New Weddington Isles does not have a direct access to these forums however we are given the means to participate through surveys, written submissions and feedback on draft resolutions.