Why did they meet?
State Secretary Jens Frølich Holte expressed the need to have direct multilateral dialogue, both with the international community and with grassroots human rights organizations. The meeting touched upon several pertaining human rights issues, including the role of protection mechanisms to human rights defenders and journalists, as well as issues regarding torture and megaprojects.
Grassroots organizations main concerns
During the meeting, different participating organizations voiced to the State Secretary some of the challenges that human rights defenders and journalists are facing when doing their job. They presented special concerns when it came to the risk they suffer when carrying out their work. Even if protection mechanisms exist, they are falling short in providing sufficient help. The organizations believe that there are existing gaps in sensitive topics such as preventive measures or psychological assistance.
The human rights defenders also expressed a great concern regarding the practice of torture, especially towards inmates in detention centers and towards migrants. The organizations claimed that even if there is a torture victims’ care program, its implementation falls short when it comes to providing timely and efficient attention.
The third point generating a great degree of concern to human rights defenders is the development of megaprojects and the way that such projects are affecting indigenous peoples. The main request here is to include the demands of indigenous peoples in the processes. The organizations stated the importance of appropriate consultations and structural measures to ensure correct consultations.