Tag - North America ( 14 )

News | ‘Legitimate concerns’ over outcome of Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases – UN rights experts

Dec 05 2014

GENEVA – A group of United Nations experts on minority issues, racism, people of African descent, the right to peaceful assembly, and on extrajudicial executions have expressed “legitimate concerns” over the decision not to bring to trial the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in the United States. The human rights experts voiced deep concern over the broader pattern reflected in this week’s decision of the Staten Island grand jury not to bring to trial the case of Eric Garner, an African-American who died after a police officer put him in a chokehold. They also recalled a similar decision of St. Louis County grand jury in the case of Michael Brown, an African-American teenager shot and killed by a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, last August. The decisions have sparked a renewed wave of demonstrations across the US against what is considered by many in the African-American community to be unlawful killings and further examples of lethal force being disproportionately used against young African-American men. The UN experts welcomed possible measures to address consistent allegations of inappropriate policing practices in the country, and to build trust between communities and the police proposed by President Barak Obama. However, they highlighted that “they should also... Continue reading →

News | Video: Maina Kiai speaks on the trend of narrowing space for dissent in Canada

May 04 2014

Maina Kiai visited Canada last fall on an unofficial academic visit, during which he met with a wide range of people within civil society. He also took time to sit down with the Voices-Voix Coalition for a brief interview about civic space in Canada. The interview is now available via the link below (in English with French subtitles). In the interview, Kiai speaks about what he sees as a trend toward narrowing space for dissent in Canada and the need for an honest assessment of where fundamental democratic rights stand in the country. He also urges Canadians to exercise their rights to assemble, protest and organize. These rights - and indeed democracy itself - should not be taken for granted. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpoaQI5U9Gs   For more on the Special Rapporteur's work on Canada, see this... Continue reading →

News | Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai to speak in Montreal and Ottawa

Oct 21 2013

United Nations Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai is scheduled to speak at two public events in Canada this week, ahead of his presentation to the UN General Assembly in New York on Oct. 29. The first lecture – “Civil Society: Democracy, Dissent and the Law” – will take place on Oct. 23 at McGill University. The event is part of the university’s Macnaughton Lectures series, and will be hosted by the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be held at Chancellor Day Hall, Maxwell Cohen Moot Court (NCDH 100), 3644 rue Peel, Montreal. It is scheduled to take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information on the Montreal event, please see here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3TrjwEtIFM The second lecture – “The Right to Protest: A Worldwide Perspective” – will be held at 5 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the University of Ottawa. It is being presented by the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS), the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), and Amnesty International Canada. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be held at the Social Sciences Building, 120 University Street, room 4004. For more information on the Ottawa event, please see... Continue reading →

News | Canada: UN experts concerned over recent events in Quebec

May 30 2012

Two United Nations independent experts on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and of opinion and expression today voiced concern over demonstrations in Quebec on 24 May, reportedly involving serious acts of violence and detention of up to 700 protesters. They also urged the federal and provincial governments of Canada and Quebec to fully respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and association of students affected by two new pieces of legislation. In the last four months students have been demonstrating in Montreal and throughout Quebec against the increase of tuition fees which they consider abusive and unjustifiable. The Special Rapporteurs made clear that they are in touch with the Government, which has promised it will clarify these issues. “The recently adopted legislation unduly restricts students’ rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly in Quebec,” warned the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai. “It is regrettable that the authorities have resorted to a restrictive approach, rather than seeking dialogue and mediation to resolve the current situation.” Mr. Kiai drew attention to the new Law no. 78, underscoring that “it shifts the burden of proof and further... Continue reading →