The United Nations has listed India and Israel, two best allies, among 38 shameful countries, which it said had carried out reprisals or intimidation against people cooperating with it on human rights, through killings, torture and arbitrary arrests.
According to sources, The annual report from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres included allegations of ill-treatment, surveillance, criminalisation, and public stigmatisation campaigns targeting victims and human rights defenders were also included on the list.
Authorities repeatedly charged human rights activists with terrorism or charged them for cooperating with foreign entities or damaging the state’s reputation or security, it added.
“There is a worrying bias in the use of national security arguments and counter-terrorism strategies by states as an argument for barring access by communities and civil society organisations to the United Nations,” the report said.
Women supporting the UN had reported intimidations including rape and being subject to online slander attacks, and UN staff often encountered people who were too afraid to speak to them, even at UN headquarters in New York and Geneva.
“The world owes it to those brave people standing up for human rights, who have responded to requests to provide information and engage with the United Nations, to ensure their right to participate is respected. Punishing individuals for cooperating with the United Nations is a shameful practice that everyone must do more to stamp out,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote in the UN annual report.
The 38 countries included 29 countries with new cases including, Bahrain, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Myanmar, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Sudan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour, who will present the report to the Human Rights Council next week, said in a statement that the cases in the report were the tip of the iceberg. “We are also frequently witnessing legal, political and administrative barriers used to threaten and mute the civil society,” he said.