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Human rights defenders and CERD (HRC38, 2018, OS)

Date : 2018.06.19

IMADR statement on “Human rights defenders and CERD” at the 38th session of the Human Rights Council. Whole text can be read below or downloaded here


IMADR Oral Statement: 38th session of the Human Rights Council

Item 2: General Debate – Oral Update by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

19 June 2018

Speaker: Taisuke KOMATSU

Thank you Mr. President,

We thank the High Commissioner for his last oral update to the Human Rights Council. We share his concerns on the growing threat of chauvinistic nationalism which denies the universality of human rights. Such exclusive ideology is often manifested through racism and racial discrimination against indigenous peoples, minorities, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. In this regard, we echo the High Commissioner’s concerns on the situation in Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Myanmar and the USA.

While we endorse the High Commissioner’s appreciation to a number of States for re-engaging with the treaty bodies, we remain concerned by States’ selective cooperation with the Committees. 77 States parties reportedly failed to meet the reporting obligation under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) which was the largest number of overdue periodic reports among all the treaties.[1] This raises a question on those States’ political will to combat racial discrimination.

Furthermore, we are alarmed by increasing attempts to hinder the human rights defenders’ access to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). We were deeply troubled by an overwhelming number of statements by organisations sympathetic to the Mauritanian government to discredit anti-slavery activists at the CERD session in April. In the same session, the Committee issued the first reprisal letter to the Government of Russia concerning two indigenous rights defenders.[2] As we urge States to refrain from any oppressive measures against human rights defenders, we also encourage the OHCHR to strengthen the institutional response to these concerns.

Lastly, we thank again the High Commissioner for your dedication as a global advocate for human rights. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

We thank you.


[1] HRI/MC/2018/2, paragraph 13


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