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IFEX members welcome UN expert on freedom of assembly and association

The special rapporteur may be asked to report on election protests like this one in Iran
The special rapporteur may be asked to report on election protests like this one in Iran

Socialist Alliance

The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution creating an UN expert to report on how countries are promoting freedom of assembly and association - a move applauded by ARTICLE 19, Freedom House, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) and other IFEX members.

The landmark resolution establishes a UN special rapporteur who will research, monitor and report on the increasing restrictions and attacks on civil society organisations and political associations worldwide.

The expert will have a three-year mandate and will report her/his findings back to the Council, as well as provide recommendations for best practices.

Sixty-three states from every region of the world co-sponsored the resolution, despite concerns raised by China, Russia, Cuba, Libya and Pakistan.

"Restricting freedom of association and assembly to stifle voices of dissent has become a tactic of choice for authoritarian regimes," said Freedom House. "Special rapporteurs remain the UN's most important tools for promoting and protecting human rights."

The resolution also calls on governments to respect the right of individuals and non-governmental organisations to assemble peacefully and associate freely, for instance in elections or trade unions.

Election protests in Iran, political demonstrations in Moscow, and marches by women dissidents in Cuba are the kind of topic the expert could be expected to report on, U.S. Ambassador Eileen Donahoe told reporters after the resolution was approved.

Freedom House had called on the Human Rights Council to establish a special rapporteur on freedom of association in its last two report cards on the UN human rights body.

"The passage of this resolution demonstrates that hard work by the United States and other countries that support fundamental human rights can achieve important successes and overcome the detrimental regional bloc voting that has marked many of the Council's actions in the past," said Freedom House. "We hope to see more positive actions like this in the future."

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