GENEVA (21 November 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.”

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NEW YORK (24 October 2011) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya today presented to the UN General Assembly her fourth report and her essential guide to the right to defend human rights*, a key document aimed at supporting those who stand for our rights by increasing understanding of the 1998 UN Declaration on human rights defenders and awareness on the dangers they face.

“Implementing the Declaration is an essential precondition for creating an environment that allows human rights defenders to carry out their work,” Ms. Sekaggya said recalling that it sets out the rights and responsibilities crucial to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. “However, more than 12 years after its adoption by the General Assembly, the Declaration is not sufficiently known either by Governments or by human rights defenders themselves.”

“The aim of the report is twofold: to increase the awareness of States of the rights provided for in the Declaration and to serve as a practical tool to defenders working to ensure respect for the rights to which they are entitled under this instrument,” she said.

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GENEVA (14 October 2011)– The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Maina Kiai, warned that the current public draft of the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations in Cambodia – if adopted – risks breaching the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

“The current draft NGO Law contains a set of problematic provisions, raising concerns over a potential negative impact on Cambodian citizens’ democratic participation in furthering the development of their country,” warned the UN rights expert. Welcoming a recent statement by the Ambassador of Cambodia to the UN Human Rights Council promising “further consultations,” he called on the authorities to review the draft law in open and meaningful discussions with associations and NGOs.

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Brussels, 8 October 2011 A 399/11 – The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

“The High Representative wishes to express her concern over the 11 year prison sentence given to Iranian Human Rights Lawyer and activist, Ms Narges Mohammadi, a founding member and Executive Chair of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi’s “Centre for Human Rights Defenders” (CHRD).

The High Representative is also concerned about Ms. Mohammadi’s health and the reports that she may not be receiving the medical attention she needs.

The High Representative has called on Iran numerous times to respect the work of human rights lawyers and activists. The sentence against Narges Mohammadi is yet another example of unjust persecution of those who show the courage and determination to stand up for human rights in Iran.”

 

Brussels, 8 September 2011 A 351/11 – The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

“The High Representative welcomes the release on bail by the Bahraini authorities of the medical staff who had been detained in the wake of unrest this spring. The High Representative again urges the Bahraini authorities to conduct all trials of civilians in civilian courts, with due process and full rights to a fair and transparent trial, as promised by His Majesty King Hamad last month.
The High Representative also looks forward with great interest to the upcoming conclusions of the independent Commission of Inquiry on the events surrounding the unrest earlier this year”