Tag - elections ( 24 )

News | Malaysia: UN rights experts call for the protection of NGOs working for free and fair elections

Jun 07 2012

A group of United Nations human rights experts, including Maina Kiai, called on the Government of Malaysia and other parties involved to respect and protect the legitimate work of an umbrella group of NGOs campaigning for reform of the electoral process in the lead-up to the general election, scheduled to take place by April 2013. The UN independent experts on human rights defenders, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression urged the authorities to protect effectively one of the directors of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), Ambiga Sreenevasan, and other Bersih members, against acts of harassment and intimidation by various groups of individuals. Ms. Sreenevasan has been the subject of credible threats against her life in the past months. She has been labelled by various groups as an enemy of the State and a traitor, who should be expelled from the country, because of her advocacy work with Bersih calling for reform of the electoral process. Effigies of Ms. Sreenevasan were also burned. Recently she had to cancel her participation in a public event because of fears for her safety. “I am seriously concerned by these disturbing acts of harassment against a prominent woman human rights defender who is being targeted because of her legitimate human rights activities... Continue reading →

News | Algeria: Upcoming elections must address civil society’s legitimate demands on freedom of association

May 04 2012

United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Maina Kiai, today urged the Algerian authorities to seize the unique opportunity offered by the upcoming legislative elections to ensure that the new regulations for civil society organizations, adopted at the end of last year, adequately meet the requirements of international human rights law. “The legislative elections, scheduled on Thursday, 10 May 2012, must address civil society’s legitimate demands and uphold freedom of association,” Mr. Kiai stressed. “While the Arab Spring paved the way for a more inclusive participation of civil society, it is highly regrettable that Algeria has now taken a step backwards in relation to freedom of association by placing more rigorous limits on the scope of associations’ activities or their access to funding.” The human rights expert voiced particular concern about many provisions of Law 12-06 on associations adopted in December 2011, which imposes new controls and restrictions on the establishment of associations and their access to foreign funding. Under the new law, the formation of an association requires prior approval by the authorities, who can now reject a registration application without referring the matter to a judge, as was previously the case.... Continue reading →

News | Senegal: “Make everyone heard in the run-up to Presidential elections,” urge UN experts

Feb 24 2012

Two United Nations independent experts urged on Friday the Senegalese authorities to respect without any delay the freedoms of peaceful assembly and of expression, and to take all necessary measures to ensure free, fair and transparent Presidential elections, which reflect the will of the Senegalese people. They also called on all parties to refrain from using violence before, during and after the elections. “The current electoral process provides a major opportunity to ensure that all persons, including those who embrace minority or dissenting views or beliefs, to participate in the democratic debate in Senegal,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, and the Rapporteur on freedom of expression and opinion, Frank La Rue. The first round of the Presidential elections is due to take place on Sunday, 26 February. Since the publication of the list of Presidential candidates last January, several demonstrations, sometimes non-peaceful, have taken place in Dakar and in other cities. “All attacks against the freedom of peaceful assembly must immediately end,” Mr. Kiai underscored. “The authorities must respect international law and standards related to the freedom of peaceful assembly as well as national legislation which... Continue reading →

News | Egypt: UN experts alarmed at violence and clampdown on fundamental freedoms in run-up to elections

Nov 21 2011

A group of United Nations independent experts today expressed alarm at the degree of violence and deterioration of the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association which have led to loss of life in Egypt, ahead of parliamentary elections planned for 28 November 2011. “The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is an inherent element of democracies,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Maina Kiai, expressing deep concern at reports announcing the death of protesters in violence over the weekend. “The Egyptian authorities must stop using violence and engage immediately in a genuine national dialogue with all groups of society. An independent investigation should be immediately initiated into the cause of death and escalation of violence.” For the UN Special Rapporteur on summary executions, Mr. Christof Heyns, “the use of lethal force is not an option when controlling demonstrations, dissent must be tolerated and not restrained with excessive force which can lead to loss of life. I strongly urge the security forces to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid the escalation of violence and take immediate measures to protect the right to life of the demonstrators.” “The right to freedom of expression is a cornerstone for... Continue reading →