Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/4/37, 24 January, 2007
eporting year, the Special Representative participated in numerous events organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) including the World Social Forum in Karachi, Pakistan, the Carter Center Conference in Atlanta, United States of America, the World Forum of Human Rights in Nantes, France, the First International Conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights in Montreal, Canada, and the 2nd Human Rights Defenders’ Forum in Asia, held in Bangkok.
II. THE WORK OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN THE FIELD OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
A. Legal context for activities for the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights
17. The economic, social and cultural rights, discussed further in section B below in the context of various activities of defenders, are protected by the following provisions in the ICESCR: article 6 (the right to work); article 7 (the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work); article 8 (the right of everyone to form trade unions and join the trade union of his choice, including, inter alia, the right to strike); article 9 (the right to social security); article 10 (widest possible protection to be accorded to the family; marriage with the free consent of intending spouses; special protection to be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth; special measures of protection and assistance for all children and young persons); article 11 (the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food, clothing and housing); article 12 (the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health); article 13 (the right to education); and article 15 (the right of everyone, inter alia, to take part in cultural life). Furthermore, States parties have an obligation to guarantee that all ESCR are exercised “without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status” (art. 2 (2)) and must be applied equally to men and women (art.
3). It is in the context of this provision that in chapter III below, the Special Representative focuses on defenders who are at particular risk, namely those who defend the rights of indigenous people and minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons and women human rights defenders.
B. Human rights defenders and their work on economic, social andcultural rights
6. The right to health
74. (…) In August 2004 a communication was sent to the Government of Nepal concerning members of the Blue Diamond Society, an NGO that provides outreach work for LGBTI persons and campaigns to combat HIV/AIDS. A private writ had been filed to close down the organization on the grounds that it “promoted homosexuality” and 39 members were arrested on the street without charge and held without food or water for 15 hours. Three members were alleged to have been beaten and raped by the police. In December 2005, a communication was sent to the Government of Jamaica, concerning Lenford “Steve” Harvey who was killed allegedly because of his activities in the defence of the rights of marginalized people in Jamaican society, including persons living with HIV/AIDS.
III. DEFENDERS AT PARTICULAR RISK . In January 2006, the Special Representative sent her concerns to the Government of Nigeria concerning a draft bill which would, if approved, introduce criminal penalties for public advocacy or associations supporting LGBTI rights. In June 2006, a communication was sent to the Government of Poland concerning the Director of the National In-Service Training Centre who was dismissed by the Minister for Education, allegedly for his involvement in the publication and dissemination of a Council of Europe manual on human rights education for young people, which included issues in relation to sexual orientation.[[37 ]] For a description of the situation by country see the Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/4/37/Add.1, March 27, 2007, from which extracts are transcribed below.[]
link to full text of the Report: Report-SR Human Rights Defenders-2007-eng