Transcript: UN expert lists Canada and Switzerland as major abusers of freedom of assembly

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.

1 Response to “Transcript: UN expert lists Canada and Switzerland as major abusers of freedom of assembly”

  • Quebec is a peaceful province in Canada. Students have been rioting to get free university fees. They have smashed windows of cars, stores, attacking police, walking nude in the streets…etc. Some groups have become very violent especially the Black Block group. The government came out with a law (78) to protect civilians when the students want to protest. The law says that they must produce an itinerary of their protest to police 48 hours before if the group will be larger than 50 people. This is to protect the civilians and the store owners as well as the protesters.

    Please review your info as this is a mistake. Students are allowed to protest but because they do this violently the government as imposed safety measures for all. What is the problem with this. Why have you omitted countries that have no right to protest whatsoever…please make sure you have a balanced view of your opinion. Please contact a Quebec official to get updated and unbiased info on the situation…you have been given info from wrongful sources it seems.

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