November 2020

PHOTO OF THE MONTHHong Kong, 11 November 2020: the entire pro-democracy parliamentary opposition resign from the Legislative Council, in solidarity with four colleagues expelled under a new law imposed by Beijing

Dear friend,

the monthly newsletter of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella” is back with a full range of news and initiatives. We wish to start this November update with the work we have carried out with our key campaign in support of the Hong Kong protesters.

On November 11th the adoption of a new resolution by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) allowed the Hong Kong Executive to immediately disqualify four Members of the Legislative Council without the possibility of judicial appeal. We expressed our fullest solidarity with all the pan-democratic Legislators and through a joint declaration with Members of Parliament of the Italian Republic we strongly condemned China’s actions.

On this matter the Committee also held a hearing at the Senate of the Italian Republic with Joshua Wong who has been sentenced to 13 and a half months in jail for unauthorized assembly.

On November 23rd, exactly three months after the Chinese coast guard intercepted twelve young activists at sea bound for Taiwan to seek political refuge, upon initiative of the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational Transparty, and Senator Lucio Malan, with the support of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella” (GCRL) and the Italian Federation of Human Rights (FIDU), we held a Conference to shed a much needed light on the increase of political persecution as an instrument of censorship and elimination of democratic opposition within authoritarian countries.

Even in Cambodia authoritarianism led to yet another trial against 140 members of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP). This decision, followed also by the arrest of CNRP President Kem Sokha was followed by a forced exodus from the country of the Party leadership, among whom our Honorary Member Sam Rainsy and Mu Sochua, Vice-President of CNRP.

During this month the Global Committee for the Rule of Law, the Federazione italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU) and eight other organisations have also called on an urgent appeal asking the European Union for immediate action in support of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran and currently at grave risk of imminent execution.

Coming to our main campaign, we are very glad to announce that the Right to Know, as an essential tool to promote and protect the respect of the rule of law, democracy and human rights, is making much progress in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. On 3 December, a background report on the Right to Know, of which Senator Roberto Rampi is the General Rapporteur, has been presented in a hearing during a session of the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media of which Rampi himself is vice president. Helen Darbishire, director of Access Info Europe; Ezechia Paolo Reale, lawyer and Secretary of the Siracusa International Institute; Claudio Radaelli, professor of political science at the European University Institute; Laura Harth, coordinator of the Scientific Council of the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella” have been heard during the meeting. We are grateful to Ingrid Betancourt, Norman Baker, Koloman Brenner and Thubthen Wangchen for showing their prompt support as thew initiative enters a new phase.

All experts have outlined the main recommendations on which the final resolution will be built upon. In particular, we presented recommendations on media freedom and pluralism, monitoring of media, the role of parliaments and intermediate bodies in animating public debate and the shadowy use of algorithms.

That’s all for now. Please, visit our website and our Facebook and Twitter pages to catch up with our latest news. Thank you for your support!

Asia Jane Leigh

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