Transcript from today’s concluding remarks by Maina Kai, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Video of full speech above.
…I cannot address all the questions that have been brought in. But I would like to refer to just a few things. One is that breaches of freedom of association and breaches of peaceful assembly cut across the entire world. There’s not a single region in this world that has not received a communication from my mandate regarding violations or alleged violations. They cut across, and the breaches are both in law and in practice.
There are some places, some countries, where the laws are particularly harsh in terms of restricting the freedom of association, and for these ones, I’ll just mention just a few: in Algeria, Belarus, Canada, in particular in terms of the province of Quebec, Ethiopia, Jordan, Malaysia, Russian Federation, and Switzerland, in the Canton of Geneva, especially. But I’ve also got to note that in some of these countries, these laws are being challenged in court, as is in Malaysia and as well in Switzerland.
But what I’m trying to show with this is that the risk to the freedom of expression cuts right across the world and there’s no country exempt from them, and there’s no way I will pick and choose which countries I will pay attention to.