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Copenhagen summit: voices of those affected ignored and transparency disregarded, says ARTICLE 19

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 22 December 2009 - The outcome of the Copenhagen summit was deeply disappointing. It failed to deliver the legally binding and fair global climate deal sought by civil society organisations and individuals, and promised by many governments. The process lacked transparency, and restrictions on freedom of expression were widespread.

"Whilst at the summit, we were especially alarmed by various restrictions on human rights - notably freedom of expression and the right to protest - which were imposed during the Copenhagen meeting," says Dr Agnes Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

Over one thousand people were arrested during the middle weekend of the summit and also many accredited non-governmental organisation representatives were unable to attend the final stages of the meeting. Too much of the political negotiations took place behind closed doors and were led by the principal CO2 emitting states.

The resulting political document, the Copenhagen Accord, represents the summit's marginalisation of the voices, interests and participation of the states and peoples who are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Progress can only be made by honouring and elaborating upon the transparency provisions contained in the text and the drafting of a legally binding agreement at the next possible opportunity. ARTICLE 19 calls on states to resist adopting any such legally binding agreement in small groups without the participation of countries and communities most exposed to climate threats. A planet-saving treaty requires a multilateral approach in which all voices may be heard.

Read ARTICLE 19's analysis of the Right to Information and Freedom of Expression in Climate Change debates in English. (The report is also available in Spanish, French, Portuguese and Arabic).

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