Throughout this week, activists, experts and academics will be contributing to our new project on The Right to Protest, which includes articles, interviews, videos and photo essays from around the world. They highlight the power of protest and the many links between social protest and human rights, at a time when people are mobilizing more than ever.
The project kicks off with:
-overview on the rise in large-scale protests worldwide
-interview on the Black Lives Matter movement
-analysis of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo’s 40-year-long fight for justice
-article on protests where the question “Where is Santiago Maldonado?” resounds
-reflections by a former UN Special Rapporteur on state management of assemblies
-an Israeli photojournalist’s project on Palestinians injured by sponge-tipped bullets
This week, we will also dig deeper into how crowd control weapons are used to repress protests, with sometimes fatal consequences, and how states wield digital surveillance to chill the right to protest and persecute social leaders.
From our perspective, social protest and human rights are inextricably intertwined: first, because people often take to the streets to protest violations of their rights. Also, the act of protest itself entails exercising rights, such as to freedom of expression and the rights of assembly, petition and dissent. Finally, state intervention in public mobilizations often ends up violating demonstrators’ rights – to liberty, health and, in the most extreme cases, to life.
CELS and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are two of the 13 national organizations belonging to the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO), which works on Police Brutality and Social Protest as one of its three priority issues. This partnership on The Right to Protest is between openDemocracy, CELS and INCLO, with support from the ACLU.