The role of key UN human rights mechanisms in addressing reprisals

Several UN bodies and mechanisms, including those below, address incidents and trends of reprisals in their work.

How to contact UN human rights mechanisms

Visit the how to share information about cases page for contact information for all of the mechanisms below.

Special Procedures

Addressing acts of intimidation and reprisal against those who cooperate with the UN in the field of human rights is a priority for special procedure  mandate holders. They have consistently raised concerns about this issue, not only in relation to cooperation with them but also with the wider UN system. For more information see:

Treaty Bodies

The treaty bodies have strongly condemned acts of intimidation and reprisals for cooperation with them. In June 2015, treaty bodies adopted specific Guidelines (“San José Guidelines”) and Committees may adopt either preventive or protection measures to prevent and address such acts. The treaty bodies have appointed rapporteurs, focal points or working groups on reprisals and intimidation who are in charge of aligning different approaches within the treaty bodies, as well as making effective proposals towards an appropriate course of action. For more details, read: How do Treaty Bodies address cases of intimidation and reprisal?

Human Rights Council

Intimidation and reprisals have been discussed and addressed by the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council for many years, including through the adoption of resolutions. In the outcome of the Human Rights Council review  (2011), the Council “strongly rejects any act of intimidation or reprisal (…), and urges States to prevent and ensure adequate protection against such acts.” 

The role of the President of the Human Rights Council is to ensure that the Council proceeds with the appropriate level of dignity and respect in its work to promote and protect human rights. This implies that Members of the Council and all observers, including non-governmental organizations, must be able to contribute freely to the Council’s work and that of its subsidiary bodies and mechanisms. When incidents are raised, the President reacts, including through public statements, meetings and exchanges of letters with the delegation of the States concerned. 

Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

The UPR process provides for the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and regional mechanisms. UPR outcome documents have included information concerning and recommendations on acts of intimidation or reprisal for cooperation with the UN. Allegations in the context of the UPR should be promptly reported to the UPR Secretariat.