Tag - democracy ( 2 )

News | Letter from the UNSR: Our fight isn’t just about closing space; it’s a ‘struggle for future of democracy’

Feb 10 2017

As my time as Special Rapporteur nears its end, I have been reflecting a great deal on my six years in the position - and just how much the world has changed since the Human Rights Council created my mandate in October 2010. Could anyone have imagined what the years 2011-17 would bring? Back then, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association were somewhat neglected in the pantheon of our most cherished rights - known, but rarely in the headlines. In the years since, they have underpinned some of the most cataclysmic political events of the 21st century: revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere; mass protests that forced out leaders in Ukraine, Guatemala, Iceland, South Korea, Burkina Faso and Brazil; citizen movements in Hong Kong, Bahrain, Malaysia, the United States; and so much more. And remarkably, all of this happened while governments everywhere were embarking upon the most comprehensive rollback of civic freedoms since the end of the Cold War: anti-NGO laws, restrictions on protests, increased militarization of police, and campaigns of violence, intimidation, stigmatization and arrests against activists, just to name a few. As Special Rapporteur, I was lucky enough to have a front row seat as these events unfolded - to witness them, to meet with the people who shaped them,... Continue reading →

News | UN Expert urges Thailand to ensure free debate ahead of the constitutional referendum

Jul 26 2016

GENEVA – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, today condemned the alarmingly high number of arrests and charges over public and social media expression brought under military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act in Thailand. The Act, adopted ahead of the constitutional referendum scheduled for 7 August, criminalises expression and access to information about the draft constitution. His call was endorsed by Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai and one other UN expert. Since June this year, it is reported that at least 86 people have been investigated or charged under the government clampdown on dissenting voices ahead of the 7 August vote. Earlier this month, several activists were charged under the Constitutional Referendum Act for a campaign urging voters to reject the draft constitution. A journalist covering the campaign was also arrested and charged with violating the Act. Violation of the Act carries a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, heavy fines and the loss of voting rights for 10 years “I am seriously concerned that military orders and the Constitutional Referendum Act restrict expression and access to information about the draft constitution,” Mr. Kaye said. “The idea of a referendum is to allow for full debate followed by... Continue reading →