Tag - North America ( 14 )

Factsheet | Factsheet: United States of America country visit (July 2016)

Jun 15 2017

The Special Rapporteur’s factsheet summarizing his official visit to the United States of America in July 2016 highlights issues surrounding the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and is presented in an easy-to use “yes/no” format, with hyperlinks to source materials. This factsheet draws heavily from the Special Rapporteur’s report on the United States visit, which was presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2015. It provides details and analysis of: • Problems related to the United States extensive use of a permit system for authorizing peaceful assemblies • The increasingly militarized police response to peaceful assemblies • Discriminatory policing of assemblies held by minority communities • The effect of so-called "right to work" laws on workers' ability to exercise their association rights in the workplace • Restrictions on migrant workers' ability to exercise their assembly and association rights • The US election campaign finance system's impact on association rights • The United States Government's response to the report • And more The factsheet also gives background information on the United States, including vital statistics and its “scorecard” on ratifying key UN human rights treaties. For the Special... Continue reading →

News | UN rights experts urge lawmakers to stop “alarming” trend to curb freedom of assembly in the US

Mar 30 2017

GENEVA – Two UN human rights experts are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the “alarming” trend of “undemocratic” anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Since the Presidential Elections in November, lawmakers in no fewer than nineteen states have introduced legislation restricting assembly rights by various degrees. The moves come just as the United States is seeing some of the largest and most frequent protests in its history. “Since January 2017, a number of undemocratic bills have been proposed in state legislatures with the purpose or effect of criminalizing peaceful protests,” the experts said. “The bills, if enacted into law, would severely infringe upon the exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly in ways that are incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law and with First Amendment protections. The trend also threatens to jeopardize one of the United States’ constitutional pillars: free speech.” Concerns about the implication of these bills were recently raised by the experts in a recent communication sent to the US authorities on 27 March 2017. The bills come amid a wave of US protests over the past few years... Continue reading →

Report | Canada Communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2017

Feb 28 2017

This page summarizes cases raised with Canada by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2017 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from Canada. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) – the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of Canada, French). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) None Second Report (March 16, 2012 to February 28, 2013) Joint allegation letter, 24/05/2012. Case no. CAN 1/2012. State Reply: 23/07/2012; 01/10/2012. Allégations de restrictions arbitraires au droit de réunion pacifique et de l‟usage disproportionné de la force contre des manifestants dans le contexte de mobilisations... Continue reading →

Report | United States of America communications: May 1, 2011 to February 28, 2017

Feb 28 2017

This page summarizes cases raised with the United States of America by the Special Rapporteur between May 1, 2011, (when the Special Rapporteur took up his functions) and February 28, 2017 (the date of the last public release of communications). Communications are released to the public once per year. This page also contains observations on these communications and on responses received from the United States. Communications and observations are divided into sections based upon which observation report they originally appeared. Each communication is referenced as urgent appeal (UA), allegation letter (AL), joint urgent appeal (JUA) and joint allegation letter (JAL) - the hyperlinks lead to these documents. This is followed by the date the communication was issued, as well as the case number and the State reply (also hyperlinked if available). Summaries and communications are published only in the language of submission (in the case of the United States, English). First Report (May 1, 2011 to March 15, 2012) Joint urgent appeal, 21/12/2011. Case no. USA 23/2011. State Reply: None to date. Alleged excessive use of force against peaceful protesters who were assembled in various cities throughout the United States of America. Joint urgent appeal, 23/02/2012. Case no. USA 24/2011. State Reply:... Continue reading →

News | Native Americans facing excessive force in North Dakota pipeline protests – UN expert

Nov 15 2016

GENEVA – A United Nations human rights expert has accused US security forces of using excessive force against protesters trying to stop an oil pipeline project which runs through land sacred to indigenous people. Law enforcement officials, private security firms and the North Dakota National Guard have used unjustified force to deal with opponents of the Dakota Access pipeline, according to Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. Some of the 400 people held during the demonstrations had suffered “inhuman and degrading conditions in detention,” Mr. Kiai added. Protesters say they have faced rubber bullets, teargas, mace, compression grenades and bean-bag rounds while expressing concerns over environmental impact and trying to protect burial grounds and other sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Tensions have escalated in the past two weeks, with local security forces employing an increasingly militarized response to protests and forcibly moving encampments located near the construction site,” the rights expert said. “This is a troubling response to people who are taking action to protect natural resources and ancestral territory in the face of profit-seeking activity,” he noted. “The excessive use of State... Continue reading →

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 →

News | Freedoms of assembly and association: UN expert announces first official visit to the USA

Jul 07 2016

WASHINGTON / GENEVA – United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will visit the United States of America from 11 to 27 July 2016 to make an in-depth assessment on the extent to which the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are enjoyed in the country. Mr. Kiai’s visit will be the first information-gathering mission to the United States by an 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. “The United States was the main driving force behind the establishment of my mandate in 2010, and its recent renewal for another period of three years,” the expert noted. “This visit will give me an unique opportunity to gather first-hand information on any good practices developed at the federal and state level in relation to the exercise of the rights falling under my mandate, but also to examine existing challenges in this regard, and advise the authorities how to overcome these”, he said. During his sixteen-day visit, at the invitation of the Government, the Special Rapporteur will travel to Washington DC; New York, NY; Baltimore, MD; Ferguson, MO; Cleveland, OH; Phoenix, AZ; New Orleans, LA; Jackson, MS; and Philadelphia, PA, where he will meet with... Continue reading →

Discussion | Discussion: A call for information ahead of the Special Rapporteur’s July mission to the United States

Jun 28 2016

If you’ve been following our newsletter, you’re probably aware that Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai will be making an official visit to the United States of America from July 11-27, 2016. Kiai is visiting at the invitation of the US Government, so that he can make an in-depth assessment of the country’s promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The Special Rapporteur will meet with government officials, civil society and others, traveling to Washington, DC, and a number of other cities throughout the country. He’ll then hold a press conference announcing his preliminary findings in Washington, DC, on July 27. The situation surrounding assembly and association rights US presents a number of intriguing and important issues. But the US is also a big country: 50 States, 318 million people and nearly 10 million square kilometers. That makes it hard to cover everything and meet everyone in roughly two weeks. To that end, the mandate is putting out a general call for information ahead of the mission. What are the most pressing issues related to assembly and association rights in the United States at the moment? What issues do you think the Special Rapporteur should look into? What would you like to see covered in the final report? How to submit:... Continue reading →