For Immediate Release: October 1, 2010
Washington, DC – Following an announcement that the Human Rights Council has established the first-ever Special Rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association, Human Rights First’s President and CEO, Elisa Massimino, issued the following statement:
“Freedom of assembly and association are bedrock rights essential to democracy and civic action. Yet in many places around the world, governments are restricting the rights of their citizens to meet, to form organizations, and to pursue joint action demanding respect for fundamental rights. That’s why it is so important that the Human Rights Council has established a mechanism to monitor these rights, so that when governments abuse them, the international community is on notice and can respond. We welcome the leadership of the United States at the Council in pressing this agenda forward.
“So much depends on the freedom of civil society to organize and operate without intimidation and threat. When governments abuse the rights of their people, civil society groups are often in the best position to quickly sound the alarm and call for redress. This new Special Rapporteur’s work should complement the work being done by the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders to ensure that the vital voices of civil society are heard.”