Does The UN Intervene in Countries Where Protests Exceed 30 Days
Multiple social media posts suggest that the United Nations will intervene in any country where protests exceed 30 days.
This claim is false. The UN does not intervene in matters of domestic jurisdiction of any country.
Multiple social media posts suggest that the UN will intervene in any country where protests exceed 30 days. @DrOlufunmilayo, a United Kingdom-based Nigerian doctor and Twitter influencer, shared the tweet yesterday, (now deleted)
“I just heard according to UN Constitution any protest that reaches 30 days will make the UN intervene in that country. The Nigeria govt knows this. Many young people don’t know it. EXCEPT the govt makes visible tangible immediate changes, #EndSARS protests MUST GO ON. Tell others,” the tweet reads.
The tweet was also posted by @mrrmacaronii, a parody account of the comedian, Mr Macaroni. The tweet has garnered over 20,000 retweets and 14,000 likes.
#EndSARS protest staged by the Nigerian youths calling on the government to end police brutality, bad governance among others and supported by Nigerian celebrities nationwide as well as the international community.
Although the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, scrapped the police unit last Sunday and announced a replacement known as Special Weapons and Tactics Squad (SWAT) and President Muhammadu Buhari has also declared that disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) is the first step to extensive police reforms by his administration.
But for more than a week now, the protesters have refused to leave the street insisting that more concrete steps must be taken in reforming the police.
We Are Following The Ongoing Protest – UN
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has said he is keenly following the ongoing #EndSARS protests urging the country’s security forces to exercise “maximum restraint” in their response.
The UN Chief also welcomes the Federal Government’s decision to undertake “broader reforms” in the Nigeria Police Force following the #EndSARS protests.
Speaking through his spokesman, Mr Stephane Dujarric, in New York last Thursday, Guterres said the UN was ready to “accompany Nigeria in those efforts”.
“The Secretary-General is following the protests in Nigeria calling for the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad and an end to human rights violations allegedly committed by security agencies..”
What the UN says about peaceful assemblies
The UN Human Rights Committee on 29 July 2020 published its interpretation on the right of peaceful assembly, defining the scope of assembly that applies to both physical meetings and virtual or online gatherings and outlining governments’ obligations.
“It is a fundamental human right for individuals to join a peaceful assembly to express themselves, to celebrate, or to air grievances. Together with other rights related to political freedom, it constitutes the very foundation of a democratic society, in which changes can be pursued through discussion and persuasion, rather than the use of force,” said Christ of Heyns, the member of the Committee who acted as Rapporteur for the drafting of the general comment.
“Everyone, including children, foreign nationals, women, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, can exercise the right of peaceful assembly, which may take many forms: in public and private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online,” he added.
The Committee also stated that governments have positive obligations under the Covenant to facilitate peaceful assemblies and to protect participants from potential abuse by other members of the public. Governments also have negative duties, such as not to prohibit, restrict, block or disrupt assemblies without compelling justification.
UN’s stance on the protection Of human rights In protests
Article 19, an organization that works for a world where all people everywhere can freely express themselves and actively engage in public life without fear of discrimination published a document titled The Right to Protest: Principles on the protection of human rights in protests also supports the right of citizens to protest. launched at the UN Human Rights Council session in June 2015.
Principle 11 (C) of the document titled State duties to facilitate the right to protest, mandates the government to “actively protect protesters, alongside other people, against any form of threats and violence by those who wish to prevent, disrupt or obstruct protests, including agents provocateurs and counter-demonstrators”
Also, a closer look at the document prohibits the government from setting time limits for protesters. This can be found in principle 9.3 (a) which states among others that “States should refrain from Introducing time limits on the duration of protests in certain locations. Any time restrictions imposed must be based on an individualised assessment by the test set out in Principle 4.
Does the UN Constitution allow it to intervene in any country where a protest reaches 30 days?
People’s Check found out that The United Nations (UN) has a charter and not a constitution. The UN’s charter which was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, after the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945.
According to article 2 (7) of the charter titled: PURPOSES AND PRINCIPLES, the UN does not intervene in matters of domestic jurisdiction of any country.
“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll,” the document reads.
The Bulgarian protests which began in July 2020 and now on day 102 are a series of ongoing demonstrations that are being held in Bulgaria, mainly in the capital Sofia.
Protests in Ethiopia lasted for more than three years, which subsequently led to the collapse of the government, before Abiy Ahmed Ahmed into power in 2018.
And at no point did the UN intervene in these countries and there are no reports the UN has ever intervened in any country because of lengthy protests.