Complaints from Lanka about freedom of assembly: UN Rapporteur

Saturday, 14 June 2014 00:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Maina Kiai has received complaints from Sri Lanka, the Rapporteur said in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council’s 26th Session. “Various practices also threaten and impede the exercise of assembly rights by marginalised groups and those most at risk. For example, women in many parts of the world are subjected to police violence, harassment and judicial intimidation when they exercise their rights to peacefully assemble. I have received complaints in this regard from Cambodia, Cuba, India, Sri Lanka, and Zimbabwe,” the Special Rapporteur said in his statement. In his report Maina Kiai notes that international human rights law is clear in its definition of discrimination and categorical in stating that non-discrimination and the achievement of equality are the foundational principles on which human rights standards rest. He says international human rights law also recognises that individuals belonging to marginalised groups fully possess the right to freely associate and assemble peacefully. “In fact, such groups – which are often excluded from more mainstream political participation – have an even greater need for alternative means to participate in the public sphere. Peaceful assemblies and associations are crucial herein. In ratifying international human rights instruments, States have placed upon themselves the responsibility to ensure that these rights are respected, protected and fulfilled at the national level,” he added. He also noted that surveillance tactics which can legitimately be used to prevent criminal activity are often employed selectively against groups engaged in peaceful assemblies – Colombo Gazette