On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, a group of 31 specialists from the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations Human Rights system on Saturday called on all Governments to promote and protect the rights to freedom of expression and information.
They also called for protecting the freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association and public participation, which are essential for the full realization of all human rights for all and for the achievement of related development goals.
"States must develop more inclusive political processes and allow the media to play a key role in guaranteeing the right of everyone, including those vulnerable to exclusion and discrimination, to freely access information and engage in meaningful development related discourse.
Individuals and communities, including marginalized ones, must be empowered to claim their rights. Democratic, transparent and participatory decision-making related to sustainable development improves effective delivery of public services, reduces corruption and increases good governance at all levels.
"We are deeply concerned at the ongoing attacks on journalists and human rights defenders involved in demanding good governance and governmental accountability, fighting corruption and protecting the human rights of those living in poverty," they said.
Without free media to advocate for and monitor the implementation of the new set of post-2015 targets, there can be no real development for all marginalized, vulnerable or discriminated against. Not now, not ever." The United Nations human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.
They are charged by the Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on human rights issues. Currently, there are 37 thematic mandates and 14 mandates related to countries and territories, with 72 mandate holders.
In March 2014, three new mandates were added. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity