The EU welcomes the 10th anniversary of the Mandate of the Special Rapporteur and the work of the current Mandate holder, Mr Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, as well as of his predecessors.
While we have seen encouraging progress in promoting and protecting freedom of peaceful assembly and of association since 2010, the current situation clearly shows that this Mandate is as relevant as ever.
Looking back, the latest report by the Special Rapporteur reflects on a decade of challenges to these freedoms. It details increasing limitations across the world such as the rise in the adoption of laws related to national security, counter-terrorism and public order; the criminalization of peaceful protest; the indiscriminate and excessive use of force to counter or repress peaceful protest; undue barriers to funding; stigmatization of and attacks against civil society actors; and censorship and surveillance of the digital space. Regrettably, it also confirms that these restrictions have reached multilateral institutions. The challenges are complex and evolving.
Looking ahead, we fully agree with the Special Rapporteur that we need to respond to these violations of the right to freedom of assembly and association. At the same time there are many reasons for optimism and we must seek out concrete opportunities to shape the future in a positive way.
Your report highlights twelve strategic issue areas for developing a future agenda. We note with interest your focus on social and grass-roots movements, women and girls, youth and climate change activism, digitalization of society, accountability and access to justice, labour rights, elections, democratic transitions, post-conflict countries and on times of crisis.
In your opinion, how can these twelve areas be meaningfully reflected in the work of this Council?