Tag - country visit ( 38 )

Report | Country visit: United States of America (A/HRC/35/28/Add.2)

Jul 12 2017

Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai undertook an official mission to the United States of America July 11-27, 2016. The visit was carried out pursuant to his mandate to assess the situation of freedoms of peaceful assembly and association in the country. At a press conference at the end of his visit on July 27, 2016, the Special Rapporteur called the United States "a nation of struggle and resilience," but noted that the country was currently "struggling to live up to its ideals on a number of important issues." The most critical of these issues, he said, were racial, social and economic inequality. Although the focus of his mission was not race or discrimination, the Special Rapporteur said that it was impossible to discuss assembly and association rights without issues of racism pervading the discussions. “Racism and the exclusion, persecution and marginalization that come with it, affect the enabling environment for the exercise of association and assembly rights,” Kiai said, noting that understanding its context means looking back at 400 years of slavery and post-Civil War Jim Crow laws which “enforced segregation and marginalized the African-American community to a life of misery, poverty and persecution.” In more recent times, the Special Rapporteur noted, “old philosophies of... Continue reading →

News | USA: Inequality casts dark shadow over exercise of assembly and association rights, UN expert says

Jul 28 2016

GENEVA / WASHINGTON, DC – The United States of America is struggling to live up to its ideals in the area of racial, social and economic inequality, which is having a negative impact upon the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, United Nations human rights expert Maina Kiai said at the end of his first official fact-finding mission to the country. The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association singled out race as a particularly pernicious issue. He emphasised that while his mandate does not cover racial discrimination, it was impossible carry out his mission “without issues of racism pervading the discussions.” “Racism and the exclusion, persecution and marginalization that come with it, affect the enabling environment for the exercise of association and assembly rights,” Mr. Kiai said, noting that understanding its context means looking back at 400 years of slavery and post-Civil War Jim Crow laws which “enforced segregation and marginalized the African-American community to a life of misery, poverty and persecution.” In more recent times, the Special Rapporteur noted, “old philosophies of exclusion and discrimination were reborn, cloaked in new and euphemistic terms,” such as the so-called “War on... Continue reading →

News | Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association at the conclusion of his visit to the United States of America

Jul 27 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – First let me thank the Government of the United States of America for inviting me to undertake this official mission here from 11 to 27 July 2016. I would also like to thank the Government for its cooperation in organizing the mission, which was extremely fruitful, illuminating and timely. I had productive exchanges with numerous officials at the federal, state and local levels. I appreciate their contributions and inputs which have greatly assisted me in better understanding the situation regarding the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the United States today. Let me also thank the US Government for the crucial role it played in establishing and renewing my mandate and its consistent support for it at the UN Human Rights Council. I also commend the US for the key role it has played at the Council in general, including in relation to the adoption of resolutions on peaceful protests, civic space, LGBT rights and many more issues. During my visit, I have met with hundreds of activists and individuals representing a wide range of perspectives, observed a number of protests at the Republican and Democratic national conventions, and more. I want to thank everyone who took the time to meet with me and share their stories. The diversity, energy and dedication... Continue reading →

Report | Country visit: United Kingdom follow-up mission (A/HRC/35/28/Add.1)

Apr 19 2017

Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai undertook his second official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from April 18-21, 2016, as a follow-up to his official visit to the United Kingdom in 2013. The visit was carried out pursuant to his mandate to assess the situation of freedoms of peaceful assembly and association in the country. At a press conference at the end of his visit on April 21, 2016, the Special Rapporteur noted that the UK takes its role as one of the global leaders in human rights seriously, but cautioned against a series of domestic measures that have resulted in the “closing of space for civil society." “I am concerned about a series of separate measures by the Government – some implemented and others proposed – which, put together, suggest that the Government has a negative view of civil society," he said in his concluding statement. “These moves have, in many instances, been subtle and gradual, but they are unmistakable and alarming.” He highlighted in particular the Government’s focus on countering “non-violent extremism” without a narrow and explicit definition of the term. He specifically referred to the Prevent strategy which focuses on individuals and groups that appear contrary to the “British Values” of democracy, pluralism and... Continue reading →

News | Closing space for civil society in the United Kingdom, Special Rapporteur warns

Apr 21 2016

LONDON – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, warned today against a series of measures resulting in the “closing of space for civil society in the UK”, at the end of a four-day visit to the country. The Special Rapporteur highlighted that the UK takes its role as one of the global leaders in human rights seriously and added that “many people around the world look to the UK as a model for democracy and human rights” and emphasised that “the UK truly should consider its civil society a national treasure.” He noted a number of his 2013 recommendations had been implemented and commended the Government for its continued willingness to constructively engage on human rights in general and on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in particular. “I am concerned about a series of separate measures by the Government - some implemented and others proposed - which, put together, suggest that the Government has a negative view of civil society. These moves have, in many instances, been subtle and gradual, but they are unmistakable and alarming,” said the expert. The Government’s focus on countering “non-violent extremism” without a narrow and explicit definition was worrisome, Mr Kiai noted. He... Continue reading →

News | Statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association at the conclusion of his second visit to the United Kingdom

Apr 21 2016

LONDON - I would like to once again thank the Government of the United Kingdom (UK) for inviting me to undertake this official follow-up visit from 18 to 21 April 2016, which is a follow up to my initial visit in January 2013. This is the first follow-up mission I have conducted during my tenure as Special Rapporteur, and I commend the Government for its continued willingness to constructively engage on human rights in general and on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in particular. It is clear that the UK takes its role as one of the global leaders in human rights seriously. Many people around the world look to the UK as a model for democracy and human rights. The world notices when this country takes positive steps to strengthen its practice of human rights. But it notices even more when it moves in the opposite direction – restricting the space for democracy and human rights. Let me thank the Government for its excellent cooperation in organizing the mission, short as it was. A remarkable number of meetings were set up with members of the executive and legislative branches, and independent institutions, over the past four days. The input and assistance of these officials was extremely helpful. Given the brevity of the visit, I only looked at the situation in... Continue reading →

News | UK: Official follow-up visit by UN expert on freedoms of peaceful assembly and association

Apr 15 2016

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, will visit London from 18 to 21 April 2016 as a follow-up to his official visit to the United Kingdom in 2013. “This visit will give me an opportunity to follow-up on my recommendations and look at any good practices in relation to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association developed by the authorities since my last visit, but also examine remaining challenges in this regard, and advise them how to overcome these,” Kiai said. “I look forward to a renewed constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders I am due to meet,” the independent human rights expert noted. The Special Rapporteur, who is visiting at the invitation of the UK Government, will stay in London where he is due to meet officials and members of Parliament, as well as representatives of independent institutions, including the national human rights commission, and of civil society. The Special Rapporteur will share his preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference on Thursday 21 April at 1 pm at the Foreign Press Association, Award House, 7-11 St Matthew Street SW1P 2JT, London. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists. A... Continue reading →

News | South Korea’s democracy project threatened by regression on assembly and association rights – UN expert

Jan 29 2016

SEOUL – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai today commended the Republic of Korea’s “impressive achievements,” but underlined that its journey to democracy is not yet over. At the end of his first official visit to the country, Mr. Kiai warned that the democracy project is still being threatened by a decline on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. “The project of building democracy and human rights in South Korea is not over; indeed it never truly is, in any nation,” said the independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and promote the realization of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association worldwide. “What we have is a structure, and our solemn task as governments and citizens is to continually build upon that structure, strengthening the foundation and cultivating its resilience.” While the Special Rapporteur applauded the Government’s many human rights achievements, he also highlighted “a trend of gradual regression on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association – not a dramatic shutdown of these rights, but a slow, creeping inclination to degrade them.” Mr. Kiai said that undue restrictions are seeping into every stage of the peaceful assembly process in South Korea, despite... Continue reading →

Report | Country visit: Republic of Korea (A/HRC/32/36/Add.2)

Jan 22 2017

Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai undertook an official mission to the Republic of Korea Jan. 20-29, 2016. The visit was carried out pursuant to his mandate to assess the situation of freedoms of peaceful assembly and association in the country. The Special Rapporteur concluded his visit by congratulating the Republic of Korea on its "arduous journey" from authoritarian rule to democracy, and noted its leading role in the promotion and protection of human rights at the international level. His was quick to caution, however, that "the project of building democracy and human rights in South Korea is not over; indeed it never truly is, in any nation." "What we have is a structure, and our solemn task as governments and citizens is to continually build upon that structure, strengthening the foundation, cultivating its resilience," the Special Rapporteur said during a press conference at the conclusion of his visit on Jan. 29, 2016. Every democratic country will inevitably face challenges, but what concerned the Special Rapporteur during his visit was how the Government of South Korea is addressing them. "I sense a trend of gradual regression on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association – not a dramatic shutdown of these rights, but a slow, creeping inclination to degrade... Continue reading →

News | 유엔 평화적 집회 및 결사의 자유 특별보고관 방한 결과 보고서

Jan 29 2016

(English) 서울 (2016년 1월29일)-공식방한을 초청해 주신 대한민국 정부에 감사드립니다. 이번 한국 방문이 특별보고관으로서 저의 첫번째 공식 아시아 방문이기도 합니다. 또한 한국 정부가 현재 구금 상태인 한상균 민주노총 위원장과의 면담을 포함하여 이번 방한 조사를 위해 큰 협조를 해 주신데 대해서도 감사드립니다. 저는 행정, 입법, 사법부 인사들을 만나뵙고 정보를 얻을 수 있었습니다. 일일이 열거하기가 힘들 정도로 많은 공무원들을 만났습니다. 비록 제가 수 차례 요청했던 정치 지도자들과의 면담은 실현되지 못했지만 만나 뵈었던 공무원들께서 많은 정보를 주시고 지원을 해 주신데 대하여 깊이 감사드립니다. 또한 다양한 시각을 가진 활동가들도 만났고 다수의 시위현장을 방문했으며 세월호 침몰로 아이를 잃은 가족들도 만나고, 안산, 경주, 포항을 방문했습니다. 이를 통해 한국의 시민사회와 민주주의의 역동성을 직접 체험할 수 있었습니다. 저는 서로 단결하여 거리 또는 권력의 중심지로 나아가 자신의 생각을 피력하고 변화를 이끌어내고자 하는 적극적이고 활기... Continue reading →