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Leading UN human rights experts issue call over reprisals

Chairs of the 10 UN Treaty Bodies use annual meeting in Costa Rica to endorse key protection and prevention guidelines

GENEVA/SAN JOSÉ (26 June 2015) – The heads of the 10 UN human rights expert committees have expressed their condemnation of intimidation and reprisals against individuals and groups who engage and cooperate with them.

At their annual meeting in San José, Costa Rica, the Chairpersons of the 10 UN Treaty Bodies endorsed guidelines on preventing reprisals and enhancing protection of those at risk, reminding States of their responsibility “to avoid acts constituting reprisals and to prevent, protect against, investigate and ensure accountability for acts of reprisals.” 

“It is vital for the effectiveness of our work that people are able to engage freely with us as we monitor how States are implementing the different human rights treaties,” said Emmanuel Decaux, Chairperson of the meeting and of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances. “These guidelines, to be known as the San José Guidelines, set out the approaches and tools the Treaty Body system can use to prevent and protect against reprisals.”

The Chairpersons also used their annual meeting to explore increased cooperation with the Inter-American human rights system on a range of issues, including reprisals. The Chairs held consultations with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Their agenda also included meetings with civil society representatives from across the Americas to hear from people directly affected by human rights violations.

“Our aim in coming to San José, as with previous meetings in other regions of the world, is to bring the Treaty Body system closer to those who implement our recommendations, to enhance cooperation between international and regional human rights protection systems, and to engage with States, national human rights institutions and civil society in the Americas,” said Claudio Grossman, President of the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights which hosted the annual meeting of Chairpersons and Chairperson of the Committee against Torture.

The Chairpersons also had a meeting with Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis and welcomed the commitment expressed by the Costa Rican Government to the strengthening of the Treaty Body system. 

“We are grateful to the Government of Costa Rica for facilitating our annual meeting in San José and for the opportunity to meet President Solis, the first time the Treaty Body Chairpersons have had discussions in this capacity with a Head of State,” said Fabian Salvioli, Vice-President of the annual meeting and Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee. “It sends a strong signal of the importance of the Treaty Bodies’ work, as well as the continued need to strengthen our Committees to meet increasing challenges.”

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In San Jose from 22-26 June:  Birgit Van Hout, Secretary, Annual Meeting of Treaty Body Chairpersons: bvanhout@ohchr.org
In Geneva: Liz Throssell, UN Human Right Office Media Unit: ethrossell@ohchr.org/ +41 22 917 9466 / +41 79 7520488

BACKGROUND:
Treaty Body Chairpersons:
Malcolm Evans, Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture
Emmanuel Decaux, Committee on Enforced Disappearances
Fabian Salvioli, Human Rights Committee
Waleed Sadi, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Yoko Hayashi, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Claudio Grossman, Committee against Torture
Benyam Dawit Mezmur, Committee on the Rights of the Child
Francisco Carrion Mena, Committee on Migrant Workers
Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

For more information about the UN Treaty Bodies:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/Pages/TreatyBodies.aspx

Treaty Bodies at a glance – pdf booklet:
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/TB/TB_booklet_en.pdf

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