HRHF recognises the inherent value in the consensus approach taken by the Council to highlight and embrace the central role of civil society in addressing the world’s human rights challenges. Following today’s Council action, we look forward to working with the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to ensure strong recommendations in her future report, and to work with states to ensure greater protection for civil society in times of crisis.

On 12 July, the Human Rights Council passed the resolution, titled “Civil society space: COVID-19: the road to recovery and the essential role of civil society“, by consensus on the penultimate day of its 47th session. Previous Human Rights Council resolutions focused on civil society space, including the most recent in 2018, have been put to a vote.

In the run-up to yesterday’s action by the Council, HRHF had joined a number of civil society organisations in pushing for an even stronger resolution, including with specific outcomes focused on the issue of access to resources for civil society. Access to resources remains a serious challenge for members of the network of Human Rights Houses, including the more than 80 member organisations which work directly with communities across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Western Balkans to protect and promote human rights. Nonetheless, yesterday’s action lays the groundwork for important reporting by the High Commissioner on this topic.