In its bid to be re-elected to the Human Rights Council for 2017-2019, the United Kingdom stated that it has been “a strong advocate of the Human Rights Council and the tools and mechanisms at its disposal for strengthening human rights protection globally.”

As part of this UN human rights protection system, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Mr. Julian Assange was a victim of arbitrary detention, and, in January 2016 requested the United Kingdom and Sweden to give effect to Mr. Assange’s immediate freedom of movement and right to compensation. The Working Group reaffirmed the Opinion in December 2016, when it rejected the request by the United Kingdom for a review of the findings.

Since the Opinion was issued, the Swedish Prosecutor closed the investigation against Mr. Assange and Sweden withdrew the European Arrest Warrant. But, by virtue of statements by the UK Metropolitan Police that Mr. Assange could be arrested for bail violations if he leaves the Embassy, Mr. Assange has been unable to enjoy his right to freedom of movement.

Considering that the United Kingdom is a member of the Human Rights Council and that as such should act as a model for other countries, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) urges the Council to recommend to the United Kingdom to ensure Mr. Assange’s immediate freedom of movement – as requested 21 months ago by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

21 September 2017



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