Overview of GANHRI’s engagement at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council

During the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council (22 February – 24 March 2021) GANHRI delivered two statements focused on climate change and human rights defenders, key priorities in the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan.

NHRIs from across all regions called on states to uphold their human rights obligations in the context of climate change and climate policies

At the end of 2020 GANHRI’s Annual Conference, NHRIs adopted an Outcome Statement affirming that “a human rights-based approach leads to more sustainable and effective climate action and climate policies” highlighting their strong engagement in addressing the human rights impacts of climate change.

In an effort to reiterate how climate change and its human rights impact is a strategic priority for GANHRI and its members, GANHRI’s Chairperson Freddy Carrión Intriago delivered a statement during the General Segment at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council, focusing on the need of including a human rights-based approach when addressing climate change.

The statement reaffirmed the vital role of NHRIs in tackling climate change and how they have developed a practical set of strategies to apply to their mandates and functions to promote and protect human rights.

GANHRI also highlighted the vital contributions given by UN treaty bodies in further elaborating on the obligations of States to respect and fulfill human rights in the context of climate change alongside with the advisory role that NHRIs carry at a national level.

“We are encouraged that the Secretary General’s Call to Action includes a focus on supporting and building the capacity of NHRIs, and look forward to the UN’s ongoing support to NHRIs worldwide in collaboration with GANHRI.”

GANHRI will continue supporting NHRI members worldwide in advancing on these commitments, and pursuing the work in strengthening the existing fruitful partnerships with the UN system in order to assist and encourage the work of NHRIs across the world.

The prevalence of killings, and death threats, against human rights defenders in many parts of the world is highly alarming and requires urgent action in response

In response to the report presented at HRC46 by the Special Rapporteur on Human rights Defenders, GANHRI delivered a statement underlying the commitment of NHRIs in protecting civic space and promoting and building cooperative partnerships with Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).

The Marrakech Declaration, adopted by NHRIs in 2018 following the 13th International Conference, welcomed the positive and legitimate role that HRDs have in contributing to the realisation of all human rights.

The Marrakech Declaration and NHRIs’ commitment are highly relevant against the backdrop of ongoing challenges facing human rights defenders as well as new threats arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

GANHRI is in the process of developing a Global Action Plan to follow-up and support its members in the implementation of the Marrakech Declaration.

This will include supporting NHRIs build capacities in monitoring human rights violations, establishing mechanisms for the protection of HRDs, as well as promoting their work in protecting human rights. A gender perspective will be integrated across the Action Plan.

States must meet their obligations to ensure that no human rights defenders are killed for their work” affirms Ali Bin Samikh Al-Marri GANHRI’s Secretary during the statement.

Strong and independent NHRIs themselves are HRDs which require protection, and we support the Special Rapporteur’s call on States to adequately resource NHRIs, as they have an important role to ensure effective monitoring and reporting on the implementation of State human rights obligations, as well as responsibilities of non-State actors, including businesses.