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UK urged to review policies that affect right to peaceful assembly

Updated on February 23, 2013
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Violations or Precautions?

A United Nations expert was sent to the United Kingdom to urge the British government to review and revise a number of polices and legal measures that are having a critical impact on its citizens' right to peaceful assembly and association.

The policing and legal measures include the use of undercover policemen among underground and public movements and groups, which have protested in the near future, and the banning of a certain amount of unions to protest peacefully in public. These measures have been deducted and documented after a draft report to the Secretary-General of the United Nation by an expert on this area of human rights, Maina Kiai.

Mr. Kaia stated that "no matter how old a democracy, there is always space for continued improvements."

During a 10 day visit to Britain Mr. Kiai traveled to London, Belfast and Edinburgh where meetings with high-ranking legal and government official , human rights movements and other groups, took place.

A important point of the expert is the attention given to Article 13 of the Public Order Act, which allows for the prohibition of marches, which has recently used to prevent the English Defense League from protesting. Another "appalling" point stated by Mr. Kiai, was the existence of a blacklist of union members in specific branches of British industry - "It is crucial that strong actions be taken against the making and using of such lists as a deterrence," he wrote within the initial draft report.

The UN has sent independent expert volunteers to document and research the alleged happenings and the accusations involving the British government. Mr. Kiai is also expected to complete a full detailed report on the situation before May, this year.

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