AG/RES. 2680 (XLI-O/11)

Promotion of the rights to freedom of assembly and of association IN THE AMERICAS

(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 7, 2011)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

BEARING IN MIND the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, which establish that all persons shall be entitled to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolutions AG/RES. 2579 (XL-O/10) “Human Rights Defenders: Support for Individuals, Groups, and Organizations of Civil Society Working to Promote and Protect Human Rights in the Americas”; AG/RES. 2612 (XL-O/10) “Increasing and Strengthening Civil Society Participation in the Activities of the Organization of American States and in the Summits of the Americas Process”; AG/RES. 2344 (XXXVII-O/07) “Citizen Participation and Strengthening of Democracy in the Americas”; AG/RES. 2351 (XXXVII-O/07) “Civil Society Organizations and the Protection of Human Rights and Promotion of Democracy”; AG/RES. 1915 (XXXIII-O/03) “Increasing and Strengthening Civil Society Participation in OAS Activities,” CP/RES. 759 (1217/99), “Guidelines for the Participation of Civil Society Organizations in OAS Activities,” CP/RES. 840 (1361/03), “Strategies for Increasing and Strengthening Participation by Civil Society Organizations in OAS Activities”, and the “Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”; (more…)

 

25/05/2011 08:03 – Thomas Hammarberg´s latest Human Rights Comment – In Belarus, the crackdown on opposition politicians, civil society groups, human rights defenders and media continues. While no less than seven hundred demonstrators were arrested in the evening after the elections of 19 December, several of them have now been brought to court, have faced unsubstantiated charges and received extreme sentences.

The presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov, who was badly ill-treated, has now been sentenced to five years of hard labour for having protested against election fraud. Others who stood trial with him got between three and three and a half years in prison.

The charge was “organising mass disturbance”. The court held the well-known activists among the 30 000 peaceful demonstrators at Independence Square responsible for the broken windows on the House of Government caused by a small number of hooligans some distance from the main and orderly demonstration.

False charges against peaceful demonstrators

No proof has been shown for such a link between the peaceful mass demonstration and the violent actions by a few at the doors of the government site. The connection was rather that the police – after having failed to protect this building – responded by attacking the peaceful demonstrators with brutal, excessive force.

The politicised court procedures have been accompanied by stigmatising statements by government officials. Human rights defenders have been accused of being traitors and a fifth column. These attacks acquired a particularly senseless and menacing dimension after the terrorist attack at Minsk metro station on 11 April – as if there was any connection between this awful crime and human rights defence. One of those targeted was Ales Bialiatski, the head of the Human Rights Centre “Viasna”.

Human rights defenders targeted

There have been numerous reported cases of intensified restrictions of general activities of human rights defenders and activists. They have been harassed and repeatedly questioned by law-enforcement officers. Private homes of leading members have been searched, warnings issued against individuals and organisations, and computers and data storage devices confiscated. The offices of major human rights defence organisations, such as Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, and of independent media have been searched. (more…)

 

During its 141st session, held in March 2011, the IACHR decided to create an Office of the Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, in view of the petitions it has received and in the interest of giving greater visibility to the important role human rights defenders and justice operators have in building a democratic society in which the rule of law is in full effect. As a result, the Unit has now been turned into the Office of the Rapporteur.

The website of the Rapporteurship on Human Rights Defenders is now online and accessible HERE: http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/defenders/default.asp

 

Promotion Mission of the ACHPR SR on HRDs in CAR

The Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights on the situation of human rights defenders in Africa, Mrs. Lucy Asuagbor, will undertake a promotion mission from 6 to 16 June 2011 in Central African Republic.

 

Brussels, 18 May 2011 – 9512/2/11 REV 2 – PRESSE 115 – The EU expresses its grave concern about the situation unfolding in Syria and the deployment of military and security forces in a number of Syrian cities. It strongly condemns unacceptable violence against peaceful demonstrators, the increasing number of fatalities and calls on the Syrian security forces to exercise restraint instead of repression.

The EU urges the Syrian Government to address the legitimate demands of the Syrian people through political reforms which must be brought forward and implemented without delay in the framework of a process of inclusive national dialogue.

The EU deeply regrets that the lifting of the Emergency Law has not translated into practice.

The EU reminds the Syrian authorities of their obligation to respect Human Rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and the rights of peaceful assembly, as well as free access of the media and to respect the integrity and dignity of arrested persons and their right to a fair legal process. The EU calls for an immediate release of political prisoners and human rights defenders. (more…)