G8/Northern Ireland: Freedoms of expression and assembly must be respected at G8 2013 Summit

Amnesty International has called on the PSNI to ensure that security and policing arrangements fully respect the freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly of demonstrators during this year's G8 summit in Co Fermanagh, Northern Ireland.   The human rights organisation revealed that it has written to the PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott, the Northern Ireland Minister of Justice, David Ford MLA, and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers MP to ask for assurances that security arrangements would not restrict unreasonably people's rights during the summit.   Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International UK, said:   “With war, repression, environmental degradation, and extreme poverty blighting the lives of billions of people, it is to be expected that many people will wish to challenge the leaders of the eight largest industrialised nations when they gather for the G8 summit.   “At a time when the public should be encouraged to actively engage in discussion about the challenges facing the world, security measures associated with the G8 summit must not result in an unjustified narrowing of the space for public participation in that debate.    "We recognise that special security measures may be necessary for such a high-profile event. However, the authorities must ensure that security arrangements do not leave the public without an effective opportunity to engage with the G8 leaders -- and via international media coverage, the world -- through peaceful debate, discussion and demonstrations about pressing global issues.   "We look to Ministers and the PSNI Chief Constable to offer those assurances and to make them real through practical measures.”

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