UN experts warn Assange arrest exposes him to risk of serious human rights violations

UN Photo/Mark Garten Press Briefing by Ms. Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. She tweeted that the explusion of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London exposed him to “risks of serious human rights violations”.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Independent UN rights experts on Thursday said the arrest of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange by police in the United Kingdom, after the Ecuadorian Government decided to stop granting him asylum in their London embassy, exposed him to “the risk of serious human rights violations”, if extradited to the United States.

Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, Agnes Callamard, tweeted that in “expelling Assange from the Embassy” and allowing his arrest, it had taken Mr. Assange “one step closer to extradition”. She added that the UK had now arbitrarily-detained the controversial anti-secrecy journalist and campaigner, “possibly endangering his life”.

Mr. Assange took refuge inside the embassy in 2012, to avoid extradition to Sweden by the UK authorities where he faced charges, since dropped, of sexual assault. But he also faces US federal conspiracy charges, relating to the leak of a vast number of Government documents to his Wikileaks website, by the former US intelligence analyst, Chelsea Manning. The US argues that publication by the investigative site, endangered the lives of its citizens working overseas.

According to reports, the UK will now assess whether to extradite the Australian national to the US, where he faces up to five years in prison. The UK has reportedly given assurances in writing to the Ecuadorian Government that Mr. Assange will not be extradited to a country where he could face torture, or the death penalty.

After appearing in a central London courtroom on Thursday, Mr. Assange was found guilty of failing to surrender to the court in 2012, and now faces up to 12 months in prison.

The UN independent expert on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, issued a statement following the arrest, saying that “this will not stop my efforts to assess Mr. Assange’s claims that his privacy has been violated. All it means is that, instead of visiting Mr Assange and speaking to him at the Embassy…I intend to visit him and speak to him wherever he may be detained.”

In a statement last Friday, Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, said he was alarmed by reports that an arrest was imminent, and that if extradited, Mr. Assange could be exposed to “a real risk of serious violations of his human rights, including his freedom of expression, his right to a fair trial, and the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

UK urged to ‘abide by international obligations’

Last December, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, urged the UK to “abide by its international obligations” and allow Mr. Assange safe passage out of the embassy.

“States that are based upon, and promote the rule of law, do not like to be confronted with their own violations of the law, that is understandable. But when they honestly admit these violations, they do honour the very spirit of the rule of law, earn enhanced respect for doing so, and set worldwide commendable examples,” said a statement released by the Working Group.

In December 2015, the Working Group concluded in its opinion No. 54/2015 that Mr. Assange – who at the time had a European arrest warrant issued against him for an allegation of crimes committed in Sweden ‑ was being arbitrarily deprived of his freedom and demanded that he be released.

“Under international law, pre-trial detention must be only imposed in limited instances. Detention during investigations must be even more limited, especially in the absence of any charge” said the experts. “The Swedish investigations have been closed for over 18 months now, and the only ground remaining for Mr. Assange’s continued deprivation of liberty is a bail violation in the UK, which is, objectively, a minor offense that cannot post facto justify the more than 6 years confinement that he has been subjected to since he sought asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador.”

“Mr. Assange should be able to exercise his right to freedom of movement in an unhindered manner, in accordance with the human rights conventions the UK has ratified,” the experts added.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Don’t let smoking steal life’s breathtaking moments, urges UN health agency

Mergers: Commission clears Vodafone’s acquisition of Liberty Global’s cable business in Czechia, Germany, Hungary and Romania, subject to conditions

From UN Assembly podium, Central African Republic leader appeals for lifting arms embargo

MWC 2016 Live: Roshan CEO opens up on Afghanistan challenges

Aidex: the Global Humanitarian and Development Aid Event

A quarter of Americans have no retirement savings

Myanmar and UN agriculture agency agree framework to improve nutrition and food security

These countries are pioneering hydrogen power

A Sting Exclusive: Disaster risk resilience, key to protecting vulnerable communities

Stricter rules to stop terrorists from using homemade explosives

The global suicide rate is growing – what can we do?

India and the US: 5 ways the countries compare

Draghi sees inflationary bubbles

UN Security Council condemns Taliban offensive as a blow against ‘sustainable peace’

Drone regulation is necessary to democratize the sky for humanity

Australian homes are turning to solar power in record numbers

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

2021-2027 EU Budget: €378,1 billion to benefit all regions

Youth leaders share positive visions of the future, as Guterres launches UN75 in New York

ITU Telecom World 2017: exploring smart digital transformation

Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of DSME by HHIH

Universal Health Coverage in the EU: Are we really leaving no one behind?

Civil society organisations disenchanted with “Youth Guarantee”

Mergers: Commission prohibits Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom

Here’s why e-mobility must be at the heart of the green recovery

EU plans pan-European network of cybersecurity services

AI will drive the societies of the future. Will the governed consent?

European Business Summit 2014 Launch Event: “Energising Industrial Growth”

UK Labour Party leader Corbyn readies to change Brexit political backdrop

Brexit: Is there anybody supporting a non-violent separation?

Migration: Commission steps up emergency assistance to Spain and Greece

Three UN workers killed following Benghazi car bomb attack, as Security Council meets in emergency session, honours their ‘ultimate sacrifice’

Future fit: 3 ways fashion can be more sustainable

This Chinese megacity is building a massive car-free district

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: The European regions on the path to recovery

How do we design an inclusive energy transition?

Brexit: PM May must hush Boris Johnson to unlock the negotiations

MEPs take stock of the EU’s foreign, security and defence policy priorities

European Semester Autumn Package: Bolstering inclusive and sustainable growth


Stigmatized, shunned and shamed, International Widows’ Day draws attention to their unique needs

Protection of transported animals: Parliament establishes inquiry committee

Non-performing loans: banks need to mitigate the risk of potential losses

Rohingya crisis: EU strengthens humanitarian support with €10 million

How do we upskill a billion people by 2025? Leadership and collaboration will be key

South Asia can become an innovation hub. Here’s how

Brexit: Citizens’ rights remain a key priority for MEPs

Inaction over climate emergency ‘not an option’ says UN Assembly chief

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

Boris as UK Premier to be cornered if attempting a no-deal Brexit

Electronic cigarette – is it really a safer alternative to smoking?

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

What does global health translate into?

These countries have the highest minimum wages

Reforms in Latvia must result in stronger enforcement to tackle foreign bribery and subsequent money laundering risks

Texting is a daily source of stress for 1/3 of people – are you one of them?

New malaria vaccine trial in Malawi marks ‘an innovation milestone’, declares UN health agency

Why practicing medicine privately at home is still a (difficult) option?

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

EU mobilises emergency assistance following floods in Ukraine

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s