Maina Kiai visited South Asia last month on an unofficial visit that included stops in Nepal and Bangladesh.
During his visit, he took time to sit down for an interview with Indian journalist and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad of Communalism Combat. The interview is available here, or by clicking the video below.
In the wide-ranging interview, Kiai speaks about the role of the Special Rapporteur mandate, the “dumbing down” of the media when it comes to human rights issues, the true meaning of democracy, and India – including the difficulties he faced in trying to visit the country on his trip to the region.
Miana Kiai reiterated the points he made about elections in his 2013 report to the UN General Assembly – namely, that a healthy democracy is not only judged by the quality of its elections, but also by whether the State allows the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and how freely people are allowed to express dissent.
“A democracy is not about elections,” Kiai said. “In fact you judge a democracy by what happens between elections.”
The interview was filmed in September 2014, after a consultation in Kathmandu, Nepal, which hosted civil society activists from all over Asia, including Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.