In advance of the 21st Session of the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which examines the human rights records of a country every 4.5 years, CIVICUS has made three submissions on unwarranted restrictions on the rights of freedom of expression, association and assembly and human rights defenders in Kenya, Kuwait and Turkey. The submissions provide substantive recommendations to the States under Review (SuR) to create an enabling environment for civil society and ensure greater protections for human rights defenders.
In Kenya , CIVICUS, National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya and the North Rift Human Rights Network raise concerns about threats faced by civil society activists, human rights defenders and journalists working on sensitive issues including land rights and gender rights from state security agents, government representatives and non-state actors. The submission further examines restrictions on freedom of assembly including the use of excessive force to disperse peaceful protests and legislation to target civil society organisations.
In Kuwait, CIVICUS and the Gulf Center for Human Rights examine the escalating criminalization of online activism, including judicial harassment of individuals and human rights defenders who utilize social media to express dissenting views. The submission further highlights the government’s continued attempts to undermine the free exercise of the rights to freedom of assembly and association of Kuwait’s stateless Bedoun community.
In Turkey, CIVICUS’ joint submission with the Helsinki Citizen’s Assembly (hCa) discusses the legislative and extra-legal measures taken by the government to curb civil society activism and freedom of association. The submission highlights threats to freedom of expression and assembly including arbitrary restrictions on media freedoms and access to information and the unwarranted judicial persecution of peaceful protestors and journalists in the country.