Wednesday, 7 December 2016

United Nations requests Governments of Sweden and United Kingdom to allow Julian Assange "freedom of movement"

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has concluded its 77th regular session from 21 to 25 November in Geneva.

The Working Group has a mandate to investigate allegations of individuals being deprived of their liberty in an arbitrary way or inconsistently with international human rights standards, and to recommend remedies such as release from detention and compensation, when appropriate.

During the session, the Working Group adopted 18 opinions concerning 43 persons deprived of liberty. The adopted opinions will be transmitted to the Governments concerned and the sources. These opinions will also be published on the website of the Working Group.

The UN expert group also considered four requests for review* of previous opinions, submitted by the Arab Republic of Egypt, the State of Kuwait and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Working Group concluded that the requests did not meet the threshold of a review as enshrined in paragraph 21 of its methods of work,** and that they were thus not admissible.


In the light of the foregoing, the Working Group renders the following opinion: The deprivation of liberty of Julian Assange is arbitrary and in contravention of articles 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and articles 7, 9 (1), (3) and (4), 10 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It falls within category III of the categories applicable to the consideration of the cases submitted to the Working Group.

Consequent upon the opinion rendered, the Working Group requests the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom to assess the situation of Mr. Assange, to ensure his safety and physical integrity, to facilitate the exercise of his right to freedom of movement in an expedient manner and to ensure the full enjoyment of his rights guaranteed by the international norms on detention.

The Working Group considers that, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, the adequate remedy would be to ensure the right of free movement of Mr. Assange and accord him an enforceable right to compensation, in accordance with article 9 (5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. [Adopted on 4 December 2015]

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