March 26, 2014
(Geneva) – A coalition of leading non-governmental organisations has called on governments to reject proposals being made by South Africa and a group of like-minded States that would undermine a Human Rights Council resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests.
A letter calling on States to reject the proposed amendments has been sent to representatives of all UN member States in Geneva. The NGO letter expresses deep concerns regarding the proposed amendments, which would weaken protection of the right to protest compared with a resolution on the same topic passed by the Council last year. The letter emphasises the resolution’s vital importance given recent events around the world and the ongoing incidence of multiple rights violations still committed in the context of protests.
‘Protests play a critical role in contributing to progress on human rights, development, good governance and the rule of law, particularly in repressive and authoritarian States,’ the letter says.
‘We believe that the proposed amendments run counter to the spirit and purpose of this crucial resolution. The fact that they are supported by States, some of whom have recent histories of human rights violations in the context of protests, only serves to further our consternation that their inclusion would weaken the resolution’s effectiveness.’