By Independent UK
Twenty-nine countries are said to retaliate against citizens that help the United Nations with its human rights work in those countries, according to a new UN report.
In previous reports, an average of 15 countries were listed, and never more than 20. This is a record.
The Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) issued the eighth annual report about the condition of the people working with it to identify human rights violations around the world.
It was reported to OHCHR that these people had been abducted, detained, held incommunicado, or had disappeared, according to Andrew Gilmour, the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights.
Other victims lost their jobs, had their homes or offices raided, were targeted by travel bans and asset freezes, as well as being forced to undergo unwanted psychiatric “treatment.” Many cases involved arbitrary detention and torture, sometimes by sexual assault or rape.
Nine of the 29 countries listed are actually members of the Human Rights Council, a Geneva-based group made up of 47 UN member countries. These are Burundi, Egypt, Rwanda, Cuba, Venezuela, China, India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Mr Gilmour said: “It is frankly nothing short of abhorrent that, year after year, we are compelled to present cases of intimidation and reprisals carried out against people whose crime – in the eyes of their Governments – was to cooperate with UN institutions and mechanisms.”