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ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS condemn attacks on UN Special Rapporteur

Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Frank La Rue, has come under fire by governments attempting to erode the independence of the Special Rapporteur and, more broadly, all Special Procedures mandate-holders at the Human Rights Council, say ARTICLE 19 and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS).

After presenting his first annual report to the Human Rights Committee in Geneva on 2 June, La Rue received critical responses from Egypt (on behalf of the African Group), United Arab Emirates (on behalf of the Arab Group), and Pakistan (on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference). Individual delegations such as Algeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Sudan and Yemen also reacted negatively. Many of them argued that he should be stripped of his position.

Expressing support for the Special Rapporteur's work, ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS condemned the attacks against La Rue, which they say violates the Special Rapporteur's right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The state representatives claimed La Rue's report deviated from his mandate. The specific issue inciting the vitriol was the Special Rapporteur's decision that the concept of "defamation of religions" violates international standards on freedom of expression. "Under the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate-Holders, Special Rapporteurs must be independent in carrying out their mandate," said ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS.

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