ARTICLE 19 welcomes the renewal of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression for a period of three years at the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The resolution (A/HRC/25/L.2/Rev.1), adopted by consensus by the UN Human Rights Council, recognises that the effective exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression “is essential for the enjoyment of other human rights and freedoms, and constitutes a fundamental pillar for building a democratic society and strengthening democracy”. More than 55 States from across regional groups co-sponsored the resolution.
“This UN mandate is of great importance. The space for expressing dissent is being squeezed, both online and offline, and people across the globe are facing unprecedented threats for exercising their right to freedom of expression” said Thomas Hughes,, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.
“It is essential that in the coming three years States increase their support for the mandate, so that together we can meet the challenges in protecting and promoting this fundamental right and ensure accountability for violations” Hughes added.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression was created in 1993, and has been held by three people since then. A new Special Rapporteur will be appointed in June 2014, as Frank La Rue from Guatemala leaves office after serving two terms totalling six years in the post.
ARTICLE 19, along with Amnesty International, the International Service for Human Rights, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, and Reporters without Borders have developed a checklist that sets out the requirements prospective candidates should meet for the position of UN Special Rapporteur on the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
Applications for the position must be submitted by 3 April 2014.