Thematic Reports

Report: Comparing States’ treatment of business and associations (A/70/266)

Sep 16 2015

In this report, Maina Kiai’s third to the United Nations General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur compares the enabling environments that States, multilateral organizations and other actors create for businesses and associations, and highlights instances where they are treated inequitably. Although businesses and associations are distinct bodies that pursue different motives, they share similarities, most notably that they are both non-State actors and vehicles to unite people to pursue a particular goal, whether economic, political, social, cultural or otherwise. Despite those similarities, the Special Rapporteur has found that States and others often impose more burdensome regulation upon associations, both in law and in practice, with businesses receiving more favourable treatment. The net result is that for businesses the enabling environment — defined broadly as action or inaction by States and other actors to promote a particular non-State sector — is typically much better than it is for associations. Businesses were chosen … Continue reading →


Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  business civil society enabling environment sectoral equity UNGA UNGA70

Report: Assembly and association rights in the context of natural resource exploitation (A/HRC/29/25)

Jun 03 2015

The global economy relies heavily on the availability and exploitation of natural resources. With that demand has come a plethora of concerns relating to the sustainability of economic growth and its impact on the climate, the environment and, more generally, on human rights. Despite the high stakes, citizen engagement in the natural resources sector is notoriously difficult. Secrecy cloaks decision-making processes and outcomes; there is a lack of mechanisms through which interested parties may express their concerns; discussions are often highly technical; and, above all, the financial stakes are often massive. This opaque and lucrative environment presents ideal conditions for corruption to thrive, a challenge with which many resource-rich countries have to contend. In this report, Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai examines the role that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association play in opening space for genuine and effective participation across the spectrum of natural resource exploitation … Continue reading →


Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  extractives HRC HRC29 natural resource exploitation natural resources thematic reports

Report: Multilateral institutions and their effect on assembly and association rights (A/69/365)

Oct 28 2014

In Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai’s previous reports, he has focused on States’ obligations to ensure the free exercise of the rights to peacefully assemble and to associate at the national level. In this report, the Special Rapporteur examines the exercise of these rights at the international level – specifically in the context of multilateral institutions. Increasingly, global governance is becoming fragmented and diffused among a broad range of multilateral entities, ranging from well-known bodies such as the United Nations and World Bank to lesser-known ones. The decisions of these institutions can have a profound impact on the lives of ordinary people across the globe as these institutions institute development projects, spur economic and political reform, help shape international law, and more. Yet much of this impact upon ordinary people occurs without ordinary people’s input. The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are equally fundamental and protected at … Continue reading →

Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  multilaterals thematic reports UNGA UNGA69

Report: Threats against groups most at risk (A/HRC/26/29)

May 13 2014

Backlash from the Arab Spring of early 2011 continues to be felt globally, with space for civil society actors increasingly shrinking. In recent years many States have responded to people’s assertions of peaceful dissent by violently clamping down on peaceful protests and other forms of assembly, unduly restricting the ability of associations to form and operate, and physically assaulting civil society actors. While those actions have negatively affected all who exercise their rights to peacefully assemble and freely associate, certain groups are at particular risk of having their space all but vanish. In this report, UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai focuses on the challenges facing groups that are often relegated to the margins of society, both in their daily lives and in the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. He hopes to cast the spotlight on the ways in which the denial of the … Continue reading →

Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  at-risk groups HRC HRC26 thematic reports

Report: Elections and Freedom of Assembly and Association (A/68/299)

Sep 21 2013

Elections are a unique moment in the life of any nation, determining the direction of policies and priorities. No other event better exemplifies the right to public participation. And no other time requires more robust exercise and protection of the freedoms of assembly and association. Worldwide, however, space for dissent is shrinking around election time – whether it is harassment of civil society groups in Zimbabwe, death threats against activists in Nicaragua, or smear campaigns against election monitors in Malaysia. This report – the the Special Rapporteur’s first to the UN General Assembly – documents countless threats to the freedoms of assembly and expression in the context of elections. The Special Rapporteur believes that threats to freedom of assembly and association during election periods should be among our deepest concerns, because elections confer legitimacy on governments – and a vibrant civil society is essential for legitimate elections. The report was … Continue reading →

Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  elections UNGA

Report: Civil Society’s Right to Funding and Resources (A/HRC/23/39)

Apr 24 2013

Restrictions on funding have become a major existential threat to associations across the world, as governments increasingly use the financial noose as a way to silence peaceful dissent. Under international law, freedom of association encompasses not only the right to form and join an associations but also to seek, receive and use resources – human, material and financial – from domestic, foreign, and international sources. Sadly, the number of barriers to seeking such resources are increasing. This April 2013 report from UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai documents many examples: In Ethiopia, for instance, a law introduced in 2009 prohibits human rights associations from receiving more than 10 per cent of their overall resources from foreign sources. In Russia, a July 2012 law requires foreign-funded organizations engaging in “political activities” as so-called “foreign agents.” States are obliged to facilitate, not restrict, access to funding so that associations can effectively take part … Continue reading →

Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  civil society funding HRC

Report: Best Practices in Promoting Freedoms of Assembly and Association (A/HRC/20/27)

May 21 2012

The right of peaceful assembly covers not only the right to hold and to participate in a peaceful assemblies but also the right to be protected from undue interference. It further protects those monitoring peaceful assemblies. The right to freedom of association ranges from the creation to the termination of an association, and includes the rights to form and to join an association, to operate freely and to be protected from undue interference, to access funding and resources and to take part in the conduct of public affairs. In this report, Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai highlights best practices worldwide that promote and protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. This report also provides recommendations and conclusions regarding best practices and provides an overview of the Special Rapporteur’s activities during the first year of his mandate. The report’s document number is A/HRC/20/27. It is available in all … Continue reading →

Categories:   Thematic reports
Tags:  best practices HRC

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