Respuesta a la Fidh y el CAJ, de Michele Bachelet, Alta Comisionada de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas

24 October 2018

Dear friends,

I would like to thank you for your letter of 5 September 2018, and for your warm welcome on behalf of so many non-governmental organization and civil society actors workings at different level. The letter truely is a reflection of our shared objetive -advancing humar rights everywhere.

Since I assumed the post of the UN high Commissioner for Human Rights, I have reiterated my conviction that humar rights are for all and that the most decisive struggles for human dignity take place on the ground, far remove fron the attention of international community and media. And I stressed repeatedly that I see it as my duty to listen to those who are at the heart of these struggles and take their concerns seriously. I also acknowledged the risks that people face when they stand up to those in power and promised to support them. I pointed out that you, human rights defenders, accomplish so much whithout the recognition you deserve. I am fully aware of the very high price that many activists pay for their efforts, and I commit to doy my best to make their struggle worth the effort. Every day, in my work with States to advance human rights, I will endeavour to be the voice of the voiceless.

I also had the chance to outline some of my thoughts: having the space and channels to obtain information, to express one’s views, to unite with others, to participate in decision-making in areas that influences one’s life is not only a rights, but a precondition for advancing on all fronts. Without civic space it is unlikely that we will progress in relation any of the contemporary challenges -be ir addressing climate change, preventing conflict, reducing inequalities, or maximizing the benefits from new technologies. But this very space, so inalienable and fundamental, is closing in many places.

At AHCHR, we have recognized the need to step up our effort on these issues, and, resources permitting, will strive to develop a better framework for tracking civic space trend; protect civic space anda human rights defenders in a moro coordinated and efective way, including fron reprisals; help build public support for civic space, and pay particular attention to how new technologies impart on civic space and design responses accordingly.

Representatives of the Civil Society organisations

I, and my Office, cannot, will not win these battles alone. In our quest to protect and expand civic space and to protect human rights defenders, we will work with you all hand in hand, more tan ever as our partners, allies and insightful critics.

I greatly look forward to working with you to advance human rights.

Your sincerely,
Michelle Bachelet
High Commissioner for Human Rights