OMAN : Expression of support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

22/06/2015
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June 22, 2015 - The undersigned organisations express their support to Mr. Maina Kiai the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and welcomes his statement at the UN Human Rights Council.

On 17 June 2015, at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council Mr. Maina Kaia made a statement and presented his report on his visit to Oman in September 2014. He expressed his dismay at alleged reprisals against civil society members, who had engaged with him during his visit and stated ‘ I am disappointed that the authorities did not take my observations in the spirit in which they are offered, that of constructive dialogue’.

During the mission he met with Government bodies and members of civil society and raised concerns regarding restrictions on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly. To date however, the Omani Government has failed to address these concerns and has attempted to intimidate the Special Rapporteur and civil society members.

In his statement Mr. Maina Kiai outlined how broadly worded legal provisions give excessive discretion to Omani authorities and create uncertainties about what actions attract penalties. He also noted that peaceful assemblies were dispersed without explanation and activists targeted. In terms of the right to freedom of association he expressed concern regarding the registration of organisations and the authorities power to restructure associations to ‘promote efficiency’.

On a more global level the Special Rapporteur said that despite reporting little improvement in the exercise of the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and association he remains optimistic due to the ‘ incredible courage and determination of activists and ordinary people who refuse to be cowed or defeated, even if it means paying with their lives’.

The undersigned organisations once again express their on-going support for the work of the Special Rapporteur and his team and calls on the Government of Oman to fully co-operate with him and the UN mandate on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association in addition to implement the recommendations set out in the country report.

Signatories :
Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI)
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Front Line Defenders (FLDs)
Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

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