The following statement has been issued by a group of United Nations independent human rights experts*

GENEVA (3 February 2011) – “Recent events in several countries are an expression of the frustration felt by many individuals whose voices have been neglected or ignored by their own Governments.

Over the past several weeks, men and women in many countries, including Belarus, Egypt and Tunisia, have expressed grievances related to, among others, lack of employment opportunities and infringements on the right to an adequate standard of living, including the rights to food and housing, which have been exacerbated by the increasing cost of food and other basic commodities. They have also denounced the denial of their right to participate meaningfully in decision-making, underscoring the indivisibility of all human rights: civil, cultural, economic, political and social.

We are alarmed at increasing limitations on the right to freedom of expression and information imposed by Governments actively seeking to suppress the rising number of voices who wish to be heard. We are particularly concerned by ill-treatment and arbitrary arrests of protesters, journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers. We are disturbed at the major disruptions in communication networks and transmissions of news so essential to the modern world. (more…)

This video is about ordinary human rights defenders from various parts of the world. Human Rights Day, marked annually, is this year dedicated to human rights defenders who battle against discrimination.

More videos from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are available on: http://www.youtube.com/user/UNOHCHR

In relation to the UN Secretary-General’s annual report to the Human Rights Council on reprisals against persons cooperating with United Nations, the Office of the High-Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is inviting civil society to send information on cases of reprisals that fall within the scope of Human Rights Council resolution 12/2.

Submissions should:

- give attention to the necessity to preserve the security of the persons concerned; please indicate if the victim (or his/her family) has agreed to be mentioned in this report and has been informed accordingly;

- indicate if the alleged reprisal has been referred to in any UN documents;

- provide follow-up information, if any, on the 14 cases included in the 2010 report (e.g. additional reprisals, measures taken by States to investigate, etc.

The deadline for sending in submissions is 16 February 2011. Submissions should be sent to reprisals@ohchr.org.

The next report is expected to cover the period between April 2010 and February 2011.

For more information, see the original invitation by clicking here.

The United Nations office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, pays tribute to the work of human rights defenders globally.

This year’s Human Rights Day on 10 December is dedicated to Human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.

More videos from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) are available on: http://www.youtube.com/user/UNOHCHR

Brussels, 10 December 2010 17712/10 PRESSE 341 – On the occasion of Human Rights Day, on 10 December, the European Union pays tribute to the many human rights defenders worldwide dedicating their lives to promoting and protecting people’s fundamental rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We recognise and support the work of these courageous individuals who work to put an end to human rights violations wherever they occur around the world.

This year’s Human Rights Day celebration highlights the work of human rights defenders who fight against discrimination. The struggle against all forms of discrimination is a priority for the EU, be it at home or abroad. Discrimination can take many forms and the EU works closely with civil society campaigners worldwide in their fight against discrimination. The European Union calls upon all governments to ensure that laws and practices do not prevent legitimate and peaceful human rights work in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. (more…)