The office of the United Nations Special Rapporteur has put out its annual report on the freedom of assembly and association worldwide. Detailing the tumultuous year, the report discusses closing spaces for civic engagement and retaliation against human rights defenders. People fundamentally need to engage in their societies, and they will continue to do that no matter what the cost – even if it means risking their safety, their liberty or even their lives.
The report also details places in which progress was palpable, illustrating just how powerful assembly and association rights can be in motivating change – and why people fight so hard to exercise these rights. Massive protests led to the ousting or impeachment of national leaders in Brazil, Iceland and South Korea. They also forced the governments of Turkey and Poland to withdraw regressive legislation on child sexual assault and abortion, respectively.
These stories and more are summarized in this report, Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai’s third and final “yearbook” of assembly and association rights – a year-end summary of the major developments of 2016, including important news events and the key activities of his mandate.