ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), and the World Movement for Democracy (the Civic Space Initiative) welcome Dr. Annalisa Ciampi as the new mandate holder of UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of assembly and association, and congratulate her on her appointment.
UN Special Rapporteurs are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country perspective. The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) created the position of Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of assembly and association in September 2010 (HRC resolution 15/21), to respond to growing violations and abuses of these rights.
In resolution 33/32 in June 2016, the HRC extended the mandate for a period of three more years. It reiterates the responsibilities of the mandate holder to include, inter alia, examining, monitoring, advising and publicly reporting on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, with the ultimate goal of their promotion and protection. This includes through individual complaints, studies, technical assistance to governments, country visits, and public outreach.
Following its creation and up until April 2017, the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur was held by Maina Kiai. He has made a significant contribution to providing practical guidance to States on how they should implement their human rights obligations, and standing up for those whose rights were violated. The CSI expresses its appreciation for Maina’s service as mandate holder, and in particular for his support to civil society during this period.
Dr. Ciampi takes on this mandate at a time where the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association are under increasing pressure globally, when the gap between states’ international commitments and national realities is ever wider. The CSI therefore regard the mandate of UN Special Rapporteur as being absolutely critical at this juncture.
The Civic Space Initiative wishes Dr. Ciampi well in meeting these challenges as she seeks to fulfill the mandate of Special Rapporteur, and urges all States to respect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and be responsive to the mandate.
ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, ICNL, and the World Movement each stand ready to support the Special Rapporteur as part of our commitment to defending civic space in all parts of the world.