How to share information about cases of intimidation and reprisals  

Quick guide on submitting information in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish

The mechanisms referred to below have developed specific ways to address and respond to allegations of intimidation and reprisal against those cooperating with them or with the UN in general in the field of human rights.

Please note that the informed consent of the alleged victim is a prerequisite for the information to be reported on and action to be taken.

Information about allegations of intimidation and reprisals can be shared with the respective mechanisms as follows:

Human Rights Council and Universal Periodic Review

Special Procedures

Treaty Bodies

Please contact the Secretariat of the
Human Rights Council or the Universal Periodic Review

- Special procedures mandate holders concerned, using their respective generic email address (see list of email addresses)

- Urgent action email address urgent-action@ohchr.org or through an online questionnaire

Acts of intimidation and reprisal for cooperation with the treaty bodies

Respective treaty bodies:

- Individual complaints procedures: Petitions Team: petitions@ohchr.org

Senior Official on UN Systemwide Efforts

In addition, a specific e-mail address - reprisals@ohchr.org - has been created to receive information on alleged cases of intimidation or reprisal for cooperation with the UN on human rights, or in follow-up to cases contained in previous reports of the Secretary-General on reprisals. Alleged cases can be reported throughout the year.

Please note that copying this email address in all submissions related to reprisals and intimidation for cooperation with the UN on human rights will facilitate appropriate follow-up.


Submissions on intimidation and reprisals

Submissions on either thematic trends and patterns or individual cases* are welcome all throughout the year, as indicated above. In addition, the deadline to receive information for the report of the Secretary-General on “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights” - Deadline: 1 May.

Reporting period - 1 June to 31 May
*submissions on incidents that take place during May will be accepted until 31 May. Contact for submissions - reprisals@ohchr.org

More information and past reports - OHCHR reprisals webpage: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Reprisals/Pages/Reporting.aspx

Guidelines for submission of Cases

The annual report of the Secretary-General summarizes main trends and contains a selection of cases brought to the attention of the UN, with the decision to include cases made on the basis of the principles of do no harm and informed consent. We would welcome contributions on either thematic trends and patterns or individual cases from the reporting period of 1 June to 31 May through reprisals@ohchr.org.

Before submitting your case information, please ensure that:

  1. There is a direct link between the reported incident and the cooperation with the UN, and that the case falls within the scope of Human Rights Council resolution 12/2, namely reprisals or intimidation against those who:

    (a) Seek to cooperate or have cooperated with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, or who have provided testimony or information to them;

    (b) Avail or have availed themselves of procedures established under the auspices of the United Nations for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and all those who have provided legal or other assistance to them for this purpose;

    (c) Submit or have submitted communications under procedures established by human rights instruments, and all those who have provided legal or other assistance to them for this purpose;

    (d) Are relatives of victims of human rights violations or of those who have provided legal or other assistance to victims;

    *Refer also to Human Rights Council resolution 42/28 (A/HRC/42/L.33/Rev.1)

  2. Consent has been obtained from the alleged victim or his/her family to share the information and this is clearly indicated in your email, meaning: 1) the victim or his/her family has been informed and has understood the possible security risks and 2) the victim or his/her family has agreed to have his/her case included in the UN reprisals report (NOTE: case information may also be shared with OHCHR confidentially and for information only, and therefore will not be included in any report. Please indicate this clearly on your submission);

Please also note, where relevant:

  1. Whether the alleged act of intimidation or reprisal has been referred to in any official UN publication (UN report, press release, public statement, video of UN conference etc.) and, if so, the reference to this publication, including document symbol number where relevant, is provided.
  2. If you are aware of any Government response to an action taken on a case – whether in writing, public statement, or in a meeting.
  3. If a case has already been submitted to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, following his designation in October 2016 as the UN senior level official to prevent and address intimidation and reprisals, whether for information only or whether requesting action. Note: all letters written by the Assistant Secretary-General to concerned Governments remain confidential, but the action taken may be mentioned in the report, as well as potentially any written response from the Government.
  4. Whether the information being submitted entails follow-up/updates/developments to an ongoing case or a case that was reflected in a previous report. As the report includes a specific section on follow up, information in relation to cases included in the previous reports is particularly welcome. This information could for instance concern continued acts of reprisal or indicate measures that have been taken by the relevant State to investigate or prevent future reprisals from occurring. Please note that also for follow-up information the requirements mentioned above must be adhered to.

Guidelines for submission of general trends and thematic issues

You may also consider submitting analysis, observations and input to the report on the following:

  1. Patterns and trends during the reporting period, including any changes observed from previous years (e.g. increase or decrease of cases recorded in a specific community or measures taken against a specific group). A summary of trends in a specific country or region can be submitted in addition to case information.
  2. Thematic observations – in relation to, for example:
    • gender-related intimidation and reprisals and the specific experiences of women and LGBTI persons
    • retaliation specific to the peacekeeping context and that which concerns the protection of civilians
    • intimidation and reprisals specific to the context of development, including for example complaints where international accountability mechanisms are involved (e.g. the World Bank and the IMF, as both institutions are considered part of the UN family). This may include, for example, projects related to agribusiness, extractive industries, and large-scale energy initiatives
    • intimidation and reprisals related to international criminal legal procedures, including for example cases and examinations that are part of UN bodies and UN regional/country tribunals (pertaining to reprisals against victims, legal representatives, witnesses, etc.)
    • situations with a humanitarian context where intimidation and reprisals are affecting the distribution of aid or service delivery by the UN, or more generally the fulfilment of the human rights of affected persons or communities who are cooperating with the UN (for example, their rights to education, health, access to water and sanitation)
    • specific targeting of government departments, civil society organizations or individuals that have cooperated with the UN, including those facing administrative and legal repercussions for their actions – e.g. budget cuts, selectively applied laws or regulations, or measures undermining their legal legitimacy or ability to acquire and maintain funding to survive (Note: country specific input may overlap with submission of specific cases)