Kasha Jacqueline's Remarks on Peaceful Assembly and Association at the Human Rights Council

Kasha Jacqueline

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Peaceful Assembly and Association

Statement of COC Netherlands

- delivered by Kasha Jacqueline on June 21st, 2012

Kasha Jacqueline speaking about Freedom of Assembly at the UN Human Rights Council on June 21st. Photo courtesy of John Fisher.

Thank you Madam President,
We appreciate the work of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of peaceful assembly and association, highlighting State obligations and best practices, including for marginalised groups.  As the Special Rapporteur points out, it is particularly important that States vigorously protect the rights of those who face discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, since the peaceful activities of the most marginalised in society are particularly likely to be oppressed by State or non-State actors.

For example, only three days ago a skills-building workshop organized in my country Uganda for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights  defenders was raided by police and shut down. This incident occurred barely four months after another LGBTI workshop was arbitrarily shut down by the minister of State for Ethics and Integrity. In March Cameroon authorities shut down a workshop in Yaounde that had been organized by LGBT groups.

This has become a regrettable pattern around the world, as we have seen pride parades, peaceful demonstrations and pro-human rights gatherings organized by LGBT organizations dispersed and organizers arbitrarily arrested.

Recent developments include specific anti-LGBT laws and proposals in States including Ukraine, Moldova, and the Russian Federation. In some cases, these laws and proposals would prohibit even expressions of the right to equality for LGBT persons, and constitute a clear violation of international norms.

Numerous human rights defenders have been arrested pursuant to these laws for displaying LGBT-related signs or slogans, and peaceful gatherings have been banned.

We encourage the Special Rapporteur to pay particular attention to this negative trend, which is on the increase, we urge all States to fulfil their human rights obligations, and we call upon the Council not to remain silent in the face of these repeated human rights violations.

Thank you.