Tag - HRC ( 36 )

Report | Imagining a World Without Participation: Mapping the achievements of Civil Society

Apr 11 2017

Has civil society made the world a better place? Where and when has civil society made concrete and identifiable achievements? What would the world look like without civil society? These are the central questions that the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, addresses in this, his final thematic report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Throughout history and across cultures, associational life has enabled people to hold the powerful to account, to advocate for – and directly implement – progressive social changes, and to address many of the tensions inherent to collective human action. From the anti-slavery and anti-apartheid movements, to transnational advocacy campaigns against poverty and inequality, to women’s suffrage movements across the globe, to the countless thousands of human rights groups, grassroots and informal associations, and human rights defenders seeking to improve livelihoods and hold governments to account – the transformative power of civil society is seemingly self-evident. However, civil society’s role in changing societies for the better is deeply contested. The space for civil society globally is closing rapidly. In established democracies as well as autocratic regimes and states in... Continue reading →

News | Kiai in Geneva for final Human Rights Council session as Special Rapporteur

Mar 05 2017

GENEVA – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will be in Geneva March 6-10 to participate in several events surrounding the 34th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. It will be his final appearance on the margins of a Council session as Special Rapporteur. On Monday, March 6, the Special Rapporteur will moderate a side event on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the workplace, a follow-up to his Oct. 2016 report to the UN General Assembly. Other featured speakers include Kate Gilmore (United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights), Deborah Greenfield (ILO’s Deputy Director General for Policy), Raquel Gonzalez (Director of ITUC’s Geneva Office) and Shawna Bader-Blau (Executive Director of the Solidarity Center). The event will take place from 12 to 2 pm (Geneva time) in Room XXI of the Palais des Nations, and will be live-streamed on CIVICUS's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CIVICUS/   The Special Rapporteur will also speak at a side-event on Tuesday, March 7, focusing on civil society and human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. The event, which is being organized by Human Rights House Foundation and a number of other organizations, will be held from 12:30 to 2 pm in Room XII of the Palais des Nations. Other panelists include Michel... Continue reading →

Discussion | Discussion: Mapping the history and achievements of civil society over the past decade

Dec 16 2016

The space for civil society globally has shrunk dramatically over the last 10 years. In established democracies as well as in autocratic regimes and states in transition, laws and practices constraining freedoms of association and of peaceful assembly have flourished. Despite this context, civil society has also made numerous significant achievements over the past decade. NGOs, charities, social movements, religious groups, labour unions, journalists, and other civil society groupings have radically improved societies and peoples’ lives across the globe. Civil society has protected and defended civil and political rights, worked to alleviate poverty and advance development objectives, worked to regulate corporate behaviour, protected the environment, and delivered essential services, to name but a few examples. For his final report to the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur plans to comprehensively codify the achievements and successes of civil society over the last decade. The report is intended to serve as a reminder of just how important civil society is for peace, security, prosperity, social progress and human rights. What’s your opinion and experience? The Special Rapporteur convened an expert consultation to discuss this subject in November 2016 in Bangkok. But he would also... Continue reading →

News | The Assembly and Association Briefing, Vol. 3, No. 4 (Issue 21) – May-June 2016

Jun 21 2016

Issue No. 21 of the Assembly and Association Briefing, the newsletter of Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. In this issue: • Kiai tells Human Rights Council that fundamentalist intolerance is degrading assembly & association rights • Kenya: UNSR tells court that 2015 protest ban violated assembly rights • Contribute to the UNSR’s next report: FoAA rights in the context of labor • Human rights must gain new momentum at World Humanitarian Summit • Problem of closing civic space creeps into UN NGO Committee • Rapporteurs urge India to repeal law restricting NGO’s access to foreign funding • UN expert deplores harsh sentencing of Tajikistan opposition leaders and warns of radicalization • Egypt: Worsening crackdown on protests • UN human rights experts urge Cambodia to stop attacks against civil society • Iran: Denial of adequate medical treatment to political prisoners unacceptable • ‘A travesty of justice’ – UN experts condemn conviction of prominent Iran activist • China: Newly adopted Foreign NGO Law should be repealed, UN experts urge • Somalia: Experts alarmed over growing persecution against trade unionists • Kazakhstan clampdown on land reform... Continue reading →

News | Fundamentalist intolerance is degrading assembly and association rights worldwide – UN expert

Jun 17 2016

GENEVA – The phenomenon of fundamentalism is fueling growing intolerance worldwide, which poses a grave threat to the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, United Nations expert Maina Kiai told the Human Rights Council today in presenting his latest report on religious, free market, political, and nationalist or cultural fundamentalism. “The concept of fundamentalism cannot be limited to religion,” cautioned the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. “It can and should be defined more expansively, to include any movements – not simply religious ones – that advocate strict and literal adherence to a set of basic beliefs or principles.” “At its core, this report is about the struggle between tolerance and intolerance,” Mr. Kiai stressed. “The people of the world speak some 7,000 languages, practice 270 major religions, live in 193 UN Member States and belong to thousands of cultures. But we share only one planet,” the human rights expert said. “We will not always agree. But tolerance towards our differences is the only way to make sure that they do not boil over into violence, oppression and conflict.” For the Special Rapporteur, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are the... Continue reading →

News | In final appearance before Council, Kiai to present reports on fundamentalism, Chile and South Korea

Jun 13 2016

GENEVA – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai is in Geneva this week to present his latest reports to the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. Kiai’s presentation to the Council on June 17 will be his last as Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (his final report to the Council will be presented by his successor in June 2017). Kiai will present two reports covering his country visits to Chile and the Republic of Korea and a third focusing on the impact of fundamentalism on assembly and association rights (FOAA rights). A fourth report contains his observations on the mandate’s official communications with UN Member States and replies between March 1, 2015, and February 28, 2016. The June 17 presentation will take place at the Palais des Nations, Room XX; it is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. The session will be broadcast live on http://webtv.un.org/. Thematic report: Fundamentalism and FOAA rights Kiai’s fourth thematic report to the Council examines the role that that fundamentalist ideologies play in restricting assembly and association rights. Although fundamentalism is often defined in exclusively religious terms, the Special Rapporteur takes a much broader view of the concept in this report. He argues that... Continue reading →

Factsheet | Factsheet: Fundamentalism’s impact on FoAA rights (Human Rights Council report – June 2016)

Jun 09 2016

The Special Rapporteur’s factsheet summarizing fundamentalism and its impact on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, presented in an easy-to use “yes/no” format, with hyperlinks to source materials. The factsheet also addresses the related but distinct phenomenon of "extremism" and how assembly and association rights can help stem its spread. This factsheet draws from the Special Rapporteur’s 2016 report to the UN Human Rights Council and features guidance on: • The definition of various "fundamentalisms," including market fundamentalism, political fundamentalism, religious fundamentalism and national/cultural fundamentalism • How fundamentalism can motivate violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association • States' responsibility to prevent the negative impacts of fundamentalism on the enjoyment of assembly and association rights (including their duty to prevent abuses of these rights by non-State actors) • Examples of fundamentalism drawn from the report • Selected recommendations from the report • And more For the Special Rapporteur’s full factsheet series, please see:... Continue reading →

Report | Fundamentalism’s impact on peaceful assembly and association rights

Jun 17 2016

In recent years, there has been a perceived rise in the expression of fundamentalism in many contexts across the world. Despite the frequent use of the term, “fundamentalism” remains a word that is rarely defined with any specificity. Common use generally centers on religious fundamentalism, and this is perhaps what comes to mind first for most people. But fundamentalism can encompass much more than religion, and in this report the Special Rapporteur takes a much broader view of the term. He believes that fundamentalism can and should be defined more expansively, to include any movements – not simply religious ones – that advocate strict and literal adherence to a set of basic beliefs or principles. Adherence to the principles of free market capitalism, for example, has spawned what has been called “market fundamentalism.” And the unbending belief in the superiority of one ethnic group, race, tribe or nationality can lead to what might be called “nationalist fundamentalism.” Numerous other examples are detailed in this report. This report is not concerned with fundamentalist viewpoints per se, but rather with fundamentalism in action: concrete, specific violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association that are motivated by these viewpoints. The mere voluntary... Continue reading →

News | The Assembly and Association Briefing, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Issue 19) – February-March 2016

Mar 16 2016

Issue No. 19 of the Assembly and Association Briefing, the newsletter of Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. In this issue: • UN rapporteurs provide a roadmap to avoid human rights violations during protests • Human rights defender Berta Cáceres murdered in Honduras; Gustavo Castro Soto remains at risk • UN experts urge Western Australia not to pass anti-protest law • #FOAAat50: Celebrating 50 years of human rights through art and social media • Follow-up visit to the United Kingdom in April 2016 • Next UN General Assembly report to focus on labor issues • Freedom of association and assembly: By the numbers • Special Rapporteur news in brief: February – March 2016 • World briefing: Freedom of assembly and association in the news For a link to the newsletter, click on the image at right or click here (1.9MB file) or here (5.9MB full resolution file). To subscribe to our newsletter, please drop us a line at info@freeassembly.net with the subject line “subscribe to newsletter.” For other recent newsletters, see the links below: The Assembly and Association Briefing, Vol. 2, No. 7 (Issue 16) (Oct. 2015) The Assembly and Association Briefing, Vol. 2, No. 8 (Issue 17) (Nov.-Dec.... Continue reading →

Factsheet | Factsheet: Recommendations on managing assemblies

Mar 09 2016

The Special Rapporteur’s factsheet summarizing his joint 2016 report with fellow mandate holder Christof Heyns, which outlined a series of practical recommendations for the proper management of assemblies. The report was developed based on consultations with over 100 experts and more than 50 UN Member States. This factsheet draws heavily on the report and answers a number of questions regarding the management of assemblies, including: • Do assembly participants forfeit all of their rights if they are not peaceful? • Do human rights protections apply to everyone participating in an assembly? • Do States have a positive obligation to facilitate assemblies? • Should states require demonstrators to obtain prior permission for assemblies? • Can firearms be used to disperse a violent assembly? • Is there a right to observe, monitor and record assemblies? • Does the right to privacy apply in the context of assemblies? • Do businesses have a duty to respect rights in the context of assemblies? For the Special Rapporteur’s full factsheet series, please see:... Continue reading →