The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

UN: bans on demonstrations is disproportionate

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 21 October 2023

The United Nations Human Rights Office has declared that blanket bans on demonstrations due to Middle East tensions are unacceptable.

Amnesty International has labelled the bans in German-speaking Switzerland as severe and disproportionate infringements on constitutional rights.

Zurich has banned demonstrations related to the Middle East conflict this week, while Basel has gone further and prohibited all demonstrations, including one that had been previously approved to oppose coronavirus measures.

UN: bans on demonstrations is disproportionate
2021 Demonstration in Neuchatel against Covid-Measures

Bern has justified its ban on demonstrations by citing general security concerns and other events such as a football match and elections.

The UN Human Rights Office spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, has stated that the right to freedom of expression and participation in debates must not be unduly restricted. She has called on authorities to immediately lift any unnecessary or disproportionate restrictions on assemblies. Amnesty International has emphasised that public order and security can be reasons for a demonstration ban, but that such a ban is only lawful under international law if the threat is specifically established in an individual assessment, and no other less restrictive measures can contain the threat.

UN: bans on demonstrations is disproportionate
Source: X.com

In contrast to German-speaking Switzerland, Lausanne in the French-speaking part of the country approved a demonstration in support of Palestine on Thursday evening, which was attended by around 4500 people peacefully marching through the streets.

©Keystone/SDA

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