Call for inputs to a report on human rights defenders anti-corruption work


Deadline
15 October 2021
Issued by
Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Purpose
To inform SR’s report to be presented to the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2022

Background

Twice a year, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders calls for inputs to inform her thematic studies to be presented at the Human Rights Council in its March session and at the General Assembly in October.

The mandate on the situation of human rights defenders was established in 2000 by the Commission on Human Rights, the predecessor of the Human Rights Council, to support the implementation of the 1998 United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly referred to as the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

In May 2020, Ms. Mary Lawlor (Ireland), was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The protection of human rights defenders is the Special Rapporteur's overriding concern. To this end, the Special Rapporteur seeks, receives and examines information on the situation of human rights defenders in order to establish cooperation with Governments and other interested actors and recommend effective strategies to better protect defenders.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Ms. Mary Lawlor, will dedicate her next thematic report to the issue of human rights defenders working on anti-corruption. This report will be presented at the 49th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2022.

Objectives

In line with the Human Rights Council's request to study trends, developments and challenges to human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur will focus her next thematic report on the situation of human rights defenders who work on issues of anti-corruption.

It is widely recognized that corruption undermines the realization and enjoyment of human rights as well as the functioning of and legitimacy of public institutions and processes and the rule of law. The climate in which human rights defenders and anti-corruption activists can work safely is one of the pre-conditions for a healthy democracy. The Special Rapporteur has received increasing reports of the pernicious impact of corruption on the enjoyment of human rights. She noted with concern that human rights defenders who work on corruption are often attacked for exposing or researching abuse of power, graft, bribery, fraud and other related malpractices. Despite often very challenging circumstances, some have achieved notable success in their work against corruption.

The Special Rapporteur has identified defenders working against corruption as a priority of her work, as outlined in her 2020 report the General Assembly (A/75/165), in communications sent to governments and other actors, and during meetings with human rights defenders. She has also held a series of consultations with human rights defenders working on anti-corruption issues.

Specific objectives of the report:

  • Assess the nature of risks, threats and attacks on human rights defenders who work on anti-corruption issues, from State and non-State actors. Emphasis will be provided to:
    • the nature and extent of risks to human rights defenders engaged on anti-corruption work;
    • emerging trends and patterns of difficulties faced by human rights defenders working against corruption in different regions of the world;
  • Identify and explore effective preventive and protection measures and lessons learnt in the protection of human rights defenders working on anti-corruption. Discuss practical ways to improve their implementation and dissemination;
  • Highlight success achieved by human rights defenders working on anti-corruption;
  • Provide a platform for dialogue between stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge across regions;
  • Share examples of useful steps taken by States, UN entities, businesses, International Financial Institutions (IFIs), Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and human rights defenders

Methods of work

In order to achieve the specific objectives of the report, different activities and outputs are planned. In particular:

  • A questionnaire distributed to relevant stakeholders including UN Member States, international and regional organizations as well as national human rights institutions and civil society will help identify current trends in threats to human rights defenders working on anti-corruption, as well as good practices and lessons learnt.
    • All submissions received in Word accessible formats will be published in OHCHR website unless the submitter clearly indicated that they did not wish to have their input be made publicly available when submitting their response.
  • Analysis of communications and press releases on human rights defenders working on anti-corruption issues sent by the mandate to States and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Consultations with human rights defenders to collect testimonies and identify common experiences;
  • On-line expert meetings will be held to assist the Special Rapporteur in the identification of recommendations to the different stakeholders involved in the protection of human rights defenders working on issues of anti-corruption and on good practices and lessons learnt to prevent violations.
    • The aforementioned consultations and expert meetings will be held following the Chatham House Rule (participants are free to utilize the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) or of any other participant, may be revealed).

Expected Outcomes

These activities will inform the Special Rapporteur's report to the Human Rights Council in March 2022. They will also provide an opportunity for human rights defenders and experts to meet and exchange experiences and ideas, with a view to strengthening the protection of human rights de-fenders and to sharing successful practices.

Key questions and types of input/comments sought

The questionnaires can be downloaded below in English (original language), Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish (unofficial translations).

Questionnaires for Member States
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

Businesses and International Financial Institutions
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

National Human Rights Institutions and International
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

Inter-Governmental Organizations and Civil society
العربية | 中文 | English | Français | русский | Español

Input/comments may be sent by e-mail. They must be received by 15 October 2021 18:00 CEST.

E-mail address
E-mail subject line
Input for report on human rights defenders anti-corruption work
Word limit
2500 words
File formats
Word or pdf
Accepted languages
English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese

Treatment of inputs/comments received

All submissions received in Word accessible formats will be published on OHCHR's website unless the submitter clearly indicated that they did not wish to have their input be made publicly available when submitting their response.