Governments Must Ensure Freedom of Expression: UN Chief

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré (file)

A spokesman for the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement issued Friday that the Secretary-General has been following closely the recent waves of street demonstrations that have been taking place in several countries around the world.

He is deeply concerned that some of these protests have led to violence and, regretfully, in some instances have resulted in loss of life and serious injuries.

The Secretary-General restates that freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are fundamental rights that must be respected. Upholding these rights is one of the bedrocks of our society and is crucial for advancing democracy, development, and peace, the statement added.

The Secretary-General reiterated his call to security forces to act at all times with maximum restraint and to respond to any acts of violence in conformity with relevant international human rights standards on the use of force by law enforcement officials. He also called on protesters to demonstrate peacefully and to refrain from violence.

As he stated in his address to the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-General urges all States to safeguard civic space and uphold human rights to help deliver on sustainable development and peace.

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Rakesh Raman