Lawsuit launched against demonstration ban Sint Maarten

Bekijk alles
February 8, 2024
News items
Previous
Next

The inhumane and horrible events in Israel and Gaza have led to people all over the world organizing demonstrations and marches calling for a cease fire and in solidarity with the plight of Palestinians.

A group of concerned citizens in Sint Maarten also felt obliged to take to the streets and organize a dignified and peaceful demonstration in solidarity with the people suffering in Palestine.

During consultations, where the police and organizers positively interacted, a march route was determined and a date was agreed for the 19th of November 2023.

The organizers of the demonstration were startled to find out that the Minister of Justice prohibited the march from happening with a formal decision on 17 November 2023. The Minister, using the term propaganda, stated there were rumors on the internet related to the protest, allegedly talking about the destruction of property and a call to burn flags. The authorities stated to expect severe unrest that could not be prevented by placing restrictions on the demonstration: the only option left was the complete banning of the demonstration which effectively results in a prohibition of the related freedom of speech and assembly.

Humera Alam, spokesperson for the organizers of the demonstration stated: ‘We had and have no indications what so ever about any expected unrest at all. The protest was planned to be small, modest and peaceful and, in agreement with the police, we had also arranged a group of participants to keep order in close collaboration with the police.’
She adds: ‘by completely banning the demonstration, we were not able to voice our concerns, feelings and solidarity about Palestine. Our civil and human rights are being oppressed and violated, which actually makes the prohibition about more than just the reason for demonstrating in the first place. We are also disappointed because of how non-transparent the authorities were during the whole process.’

The organizers decided to take legal action, and last December an appeal was sent to the Court of First Instance. Find a direct link to the appeal here (in Dutch) or read more about this case here.

The organizers are supported in this case by the lawyers of PILP, a human rights law firm and NGO based in Amsterdam that has ample experience on right to protest cases. Jelle Klaas of PILP, leading lawyer in this case said that: ‘The decision to ban the demonstration altogether is highly problematic. First, because authorities, if at all necessary, can also impose restrictions that are less far-reaching than a total ban. Second, because the decision is legally completely contrary to the law and human rights. Third, because an enormous chilling effect emanates from this decision, making people (wrongly) think that demonstrating in Sint Maarten is not possible or allowed, which is damaging to democracy and the rule of law.’

A court hearing is expected later in the year.

Tags: , ,
Previous
Next
Actueel

Gerelateerde berichten

ethnic profiling verdict
February 13, 2024 Ethnic profiling

Ethnic profiling: the current situation in 2024

In February 2024, our clients sent a letter to the cabinet urging them to formally declare in writing that ethnic profiling is prohibited and to enforce this ban across all government organizations. This call comes a year after the Court of Appeal in The Hague affirmed that ethnic profiling constitutes discrimination and is therefore illegal. […]

PILP in the news
December 14, 2023

PILP joins EU-Watchdog Liberties

PILP strengthens the European network of rights defenders through strategic litigation. PILP will join the Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) as a new member organisation as of 1 January 2024; the move was approved at Liberties’ annual general assembly meeting. “We are excited to join the Liberties network as PILP. We look forward to […]

appeal lawsuit right to water
December 7, 2023 Right to water

Appeal in water case against Dutch State and drinking water companies on Dec. 11, 2023

On December 11, 2023, the appeal against the Dutch State and drinking water companies Dunea and PWN in the case about water disconnections for families with children will be heard. Defense for Children and the Dutch Legal Committee for Human Rights (NJCM) do not agree with the court’s considerations for continuing to allow water disconnections, […]

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Gerelateerde berichten

Our Dossiers

Our Dossiers

Support our work

PILP is the legal ally of civil society organizations, movements, communities, and activists dedicated to human rights. Your donation enables us to continue providing this service.