GENEVA / ASSANGE HUMAN RIGHTS

12-Apr-2019 00:01:47
UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said her office expected “all relevant authorities to ensure that Mr. Assange’s right to a fair trial is upheld” including “any extradition procedures that may take place.” UNTV CH / UNIFEED
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STORY: GENEVA / ASSANGE HUMAN RIGHTS
TRT: 1:47
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 12 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
SHOTLIST
FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, Palais des Nations exterior

12 APRIL 2019, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, press room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Clearly there are several UN independent experts within the human rights system who are following this case very closely, and we are in touch with them obviously – so it is being handled by the UN human rights system. From the OHCHR’s side, what I can say is that we expect all relevant authorities to ensure that Mr. Assange’s right to a fair trial is upheld by the authorities, including any extradition procedures that may take place.”
4. Med shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“No, no there’s no deliberate silence, there’s no decision not to speak out. We decide whether or not to speak out on a particular case, or a particular country – we have to assess a lot of different criteria before we decide. We have to measure the effectiveness of our voice, we have to measure whether other parts of the UN system have sufficiently engaged. In the case of Mr. Assange, the UN human rights system has been very engaged. As you know, the group on Arbitrary Detention had declared his detention arbitrary. I can’t remember when this was, but it was a couple of years ago, and now several Special Rapporteurs are engaged on it. So, no, no, certainly, you know Ms. Bachelet and you know our office, we don’t hold back when we feel our voice can make a difference. As I said, we are following the case. We expect all relevant authorities to ensure that Mr. Assange’s case is dealt with full regard for his due process rights, for his rights to a fair trial including in any extradition proceedings.”
6. Wide shot, dais
7. Wide shot, journalists
STORYLINE
UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said her office expected “all relevant authorities to ensure that Mr. Assange’s right to a fair trial is upheld” including “any extradition procedures that may take place.”

Responding to questions from reporters in Geneva today (12 Apr), Shamdasani said several Special Rapporteurs commented on the case, including the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, Joe Cannataci, who is still seeking to visit Assange. She said OHCHR was in touch with the Special Rapporteurs, “so it is being handled by the UN human rights system.”

Asked if UN High Commissioner for Human rights was being deliberately silent on the Assange case, Shamdasani said, “No, there’s no deliberate silence, there’s no decision not to speak out.” She explained that OHCHR needs to assess a lot of different criteria before it decides to speak out on a particular case, it has to "measure the effectiveness of [its] voice” and whether other parts of the UN system have “sufficiently engaged.” She added that, in the Assange case, “the UN human rights system has been very engaged.” She noted that OHCHR does not “hold back” when it feels its “voice can make a difference.”

On Thursday, the Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial executions, Agnes Callamard, tweeted that the expulsion of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy had taken him one step closer to extradition, adding that the United Kingdom had now arbitrarily detained him and possibly endangering his life.

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. They also make annual presentations to the General Assembly committee dealing with human rights issues, known as the Third Committee. They are not UN staff and their statements and views are independent from any UN body.
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