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EI welcomes the appointment of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to association and assembly

Mr. Maina Kiai, chairman of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KNHRC), has been appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special UN Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for a period of three years.

The Special Rapporteur will submit each year to the United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly a report covering activities relating to his mandate.

"This new position is a recognition that the trade union rights are integral to the universal fundamental human rights and are the foundation of democracy. It is EI's and its members' experience that organised teachers and education workers achieve greater dignity; improve the status and welfare of their profession and deliver the highest quality services to children, the public and the community. Trade unions improve societies, however there is a growing trend to restrict freedom of association and rights to collective bargaining, particularly in the education sector," said EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen.

EI considers this new Special Rapporteur position as a welcome complement to the monitoring role carried out by the International Labour Organisation under the supervisory mechanisms.

The Council resolution regarding the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, adopted on 30 September, in addition to appointing a special rapporteur, also calls upon States to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, including in the context of elections and including persons belonging to minorities and those espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs, human rights defenders, trade unionists and others seeking to exercise or to promote these rights, and to take all necessary measures to ensure that any restrictions on the free exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law.

EI also welcomes the UN Human Rights Council's vote to appoint a special rapporteur to look into the human rights record in Iran.

Earlier this month, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released an interim report to the Council on the human rights situation within Iran, noting “many areas of continuing concern" and encouraging the Government in Tehran "to fully guarantee freedom of expression and assembly".  

The UN resolution calls on the Iranian Government to grant access to the country for the independent human rights expert who will take up the rapporteur position.

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