Before the 31st United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva today, 500 human rights organizations, law professors, former UN office holders, and high-profile rights defenders including four Nobel Peace Prize winners have urged the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom to respect the United Nations’ decision to free Julian Assange. The statement was delivered to the Swedish and UK Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva. ActiveWatch has joined the list of signatories.

* 500 high profile signatories from more than 60 countries.

* More than 100 human & legal rights organizations including 16 national associations of lawyers and jurists

* 50 international law professors, former judges and jurists

* 4 Nobel Peace Prize winners

* 25 Freedom of expression organizations including Reporters Without Borders, the EFF and The Freedom of the Press Foundation.

* The immediately former UN Special Rapporteur for Arbitrary Detention Mads Adenas and five other former UN Special Rapporteurs, Experts and Working Group Chairs.

* The cities of Madrid & Barcelona

* Activists: Ai Wei Wei, Pussy Riot, Naomi Klein & Arundhati Roy

* Over 100 academics from 65 universities

Please find the statement and signatures below.


“We the undersigned, including legal and human rights organisations, academics, and policymakers condemn the reactions of the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom to the finding by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that Julian Assange is arbitrarily detained.

The governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom are setting a dangerous precedent that undermines the United Nations Human Rights system as a whole.

We urge Sweden and the United Kingdom to respect the binding nature of the human rights covenants on which the decision is based, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; as well as the independence, integrity and authority of the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

We therefore call on the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom to comply without further delay with the Working Group's findings and "ensure the right of free movement of Mr. Assange and accord him an enforceable right to compensation, in accordance with article 9(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."


Mr Assange’s Current Status

Hs been granted political asylum by Ecuador in response to the pending prosecution pending against him in  the US  in relation to Wikileaks publications. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) has found, after a 16 month investigation, that Mr Assange has been unlawfully detained by the UK and Sweden and should be released and compensated.

The US states that it continues its ‘pending prosecution’ against WikiLeaks. The case is being handled by the Department of Justice National Security Division & Criminal Division. 

The current status of the ‘preliminary’ investigation in Sweden: Julian Assange has not been charged at any stage and has already previously been cleared. For the one allegation remaining in the ‘preliminary investigation’ the woman says the police ‘made it up’, ‘railroaded’ her and that she did not intend to file a complaint. (see and


WikiLeaks Recent Publications

US spying on UN Secretary General and the UNHCR:

Italy opens criminal investigation into NSA spying on Berlusconi, following WIkileaks revelations:

Further Quotes 

"UK politicians [have] aimed at weakening the authority of the UN body for short-term opportunistic gain."

- Prof. Mads Andenas, professor of international law (Oxford All Souls) and UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention.

“What is news are the deplorable rhetorical parries from the UK and Swedish governments, who both stated not just disagreement, but that the Working Group opinion would have absolutely no effect on their actions. This is not what one expects from democratic governments who usually support the UN mechanisms and international law… both have severely damaged their own reputation for being so ready to dismiss upholding inconvenient human rights obligations and their credibility as global advocates for rights by refusing to respect the institution of asylum.”

- Human Rights Watch

“In light of this decision, it’s clear that any criminal charges against Mr. Assange in connection with Wikileaks’ publishing operations would be unprecedented and unconstitutional. Indeed, even the prolonged criminal investigation of Wikileaks itself has had a profound chilling effect. The Justice Department should end that investigation and make clear that no publisher will ever be prosecuted for the act of journalism”

- Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union

"Julian Assange should have been freed a long time ago.  The judgment of the UN Working Group is welcome, and should be implemented forthwith."

—Noam Chomsky


Press Contacts

Julian Assange’s legal team:

English: Melinda Taylor (The Hague) - +31 611566009 (mobile)

Jennifer Robinson (UK) -

Carey Shenkman (US) -

Spanish: Baltasar Garzon, ILOCAD (Spain) Contact (ILOCAD): +34645209998 +34 616039340 +34 914343445

French: Christophe Marchand, Jus Cogens (Belgium) +32486322288

Swedish: Per E Samuelson, Thomas Olsson


Other press inquiries about this issue:

English: +44 747108 3221 (mobile)


Independent Commentators:

Prof Mads Andenas (former char of WGAD during first half of Assange case, professor of Law at All Souls College, Oxford, and University of Oslo):

Christophe Peschoux (Office of the High Commission on Human Rights):

John Pilger (journalist, filmmaker):

Peter Tatchell (human rights campaigner):

Geoffrey Robertson QC:

Anne Ramberg (Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association):

Professor Marcello Ferrada de Noli (Swedish Doctors For Human Rights):

Christophe Deloire (Reporters Without Borders secretary-general):

Maria Fernandez (Ecuador’s Ambassador to UN in Geneva):

Vaughan Smith:

Dinah PoKempner (Human Rights Watch) :

Gavin Macfayden (Director at Centre for Investigative Journalism):



See also:


Ex-Chair of UNWGAD on Britain’s ‘dangerous precedent’:

Human Rights Watch statement on the decision by its General Counsel Dinah Po Kempner

UN Victory in Assange Case: Decision has big implications for refugees andwhistleblowers by Melinda Taylor, Carey Shenkman, and Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights

UN rights chief tells UK, Sweden to accept Assange ruling

Statement by UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic andEquitable International Order, Alfred de Zayas, 'UN Independent Experturges the United Kingdom and Sweden to give good example to the world andimplement the Assange ruling'





City of Madrid, Spain

City of Barcelona, Spain

Podemos, Spain

City of A Coruña, Spain

Vivienne Westwood, Designer, UK

IT for Change, India

Professor Noam Chomsky, Academic, MIT, US

Ai Wei Wei, Artist and Activist, China

Oliver Stone, Film Director, Screenwriter and Producer, US

Brian Eno, Musician and Artist, UK

John Cusack, Actor, US

Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Peru

Yanis Varoufakis, Economist and former Greek Minister of Finance, Greece

Electronic Frontier Foundation, US

Alfonso Cuarón, Film Director, Producer, Acedemy Award for Gravity, Children of Men, Y tu Mama Tambien, Mexico

Naomi Klein, Author, Canada

Arundhati Roy, Author, India

Slavoj Žižek, Philosopher and International Director of Humanities at Birkbeck, Slovenia

Edgar Morin, Philosopher, France

Ken Loach, Film Director, UK

Axel Kicillof, Former Minister of Finance, Argentina

Carmen Aristegui, Anchor of Aristegui CNN Español, Mexico

John Pilger, Journalist and Filmmaker, Australia/UK

Agência Publica, Brazil

Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation, GNU Project, MIT, US

Reporters Without Borders / Reporters Sans Frontières, France

Chris Hedges, Journalist, US

Code Pink, US

Laura Poitras, 2014 Pulitzer Prize winner, Academy Award for Best Documentary 2014, US

Dennis Kucinich, Former presidential candidate and Congressman, US

Tariq Ali, Writer and Publisher, UK/Pakistan

Emir Sader, Academic, Brazil

Eva Joly, MEP, former investigating magistrate and Presidential Candidate, France

Peter Carey, Author, Australia

Daniel Ellsberg, Former United States military analyst and source of Pentagon Papers, US

Jean-Luc Nancy, Philosopher, France

Jonathan Lethem, Novelist, US

Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, former judge, lawyer, Iran

Dr. Cynthia McKinney, Former U.S. Congresswoman and 2008 Presidential Candidate, US

Peter Tatchell, Human Rights campaigner, Peter Tatchell Institute for Human Rights, UK

Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais sem Terra (MST), Brazil

Rene Perez, Musician (Calle 13), Puerto Rico

União Nacional dos Estudantes (UNE), Brazil

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Switzerland

Tawakkol Karman, Politician, Journalist, Nobel Peace Laureate 2011, Yemen

Douglas Rushkoff, Writer, Lecturer, Media Theorist, US

Veterans for Peace, US

Professor Richard Sennett, London school of Economics, UK

Professor Saskia Sassen, Sociologist, Columbia University, US

Silvio Rodriguez, Composer and Musician, Cuba

International Association of Democratic Lawyers

Luis Britto-García, Writer, Venezuela

American Association of Jurists (AAJ), US

Centre Europe-Tiers Monde (CETIM), Switzerland

Pascual Serrano, Journalist and Writer, Spain

Evgeny Morozov, Author, Belarus

Jacob Appelbaum, journalist and programmer, Tor Project, US

Craig Murray, Former UK ambassador, UK

Fora do Eixo, Brazil

National Lawyers Guild, US

Bernard Stiegler, Philosopher, France

Center for International Law, Singapore

La Quadrature du Net, France

Horacio Verbitsky, President, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS), Argentina

Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT), Brazil

Professor Johan Galtung, Professor of Peace Studies, Norway

Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza, Palestine

Julian Burnside, QC, Australia

Levante Popular da Juventude, Brazil

Salim Lamrani, Writer and Academic, University of La Réunion, France

Jesselyn Raddack, Lawyer & former Department of Justice ethics chief, US

Acceso Libre, Venezuela

Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (ProDesc), Mexico

Professor Olivier de Schutter, Former UN Special Rapporteur, University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium

Scott Horton, Host of Anti-War Radio, US

The Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA), Haiti

Andrés Izarra, Journalist and Politician, Venezuela

Proyecto mARTadero, Bolivia

Baltasar Garzon, Jurist, Fundación FIBGAR, Spain

Senator Scott Ludlam, Senator, Australia

Professor Atilio A. Boron, Political scientist, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Javier Couso, Member of the European Parliament, Spain

Consulta Popular, Brazil

Marcha Mundial das Mulheres (MMM), Brazil

Freedom of the Press Foundation, US

Gastón Pauls, Writer, Argentina

Marina Albiol, Member of the European Parliament, Spain

Agustin Rossi, Minister of Defense 2013 – 2015, Argentina

Jean Ortiz, Academic, University of Pau & Pays de l'Adour, France

Bill Hackwell, Photojournalist, Resumen Latinoamericano, US

Comité de Solidaridad con los Pueblos, Latin America

Professor Jayati Ghosh, Economist, Jawaharlal Nehru University New Delhi, India

Fundación Imagen, Bolivia

Fórum Nacional pela Democratização da Comunicação (FNDC), Brazil

Belén Gopegui, Writer, Spain

Horacio González, President of the National Library of the Argentine Republic, Argentina

Organización de Solidaridad de los Pueblos de África, Asia y América Latina (OSPAAAL), Cuba

Santiago Alba-Rico, Writer, Spain

Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB), Brazil

Professor Michael Mansfield QC, Barrister, Legal Scholar, City University, UK

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Argentina

Professor Edward S. Herman, Academic, Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, US

Philip Pettit, Rockefeller University Professor of Politics and Human Values at Princeton University, US

Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Kenya

Mohamed Diab, Screenwriter and Director, Egypt

Swecha, India

Luc Sante, Writer, Belgium

Barbara Lochbihler, Member of the European Parliament, Germany

Antony Loewenstein, Journalist, Author and Political Activist, Australia

David Barsamian, Investigative Journalist, Armenian-American

Dr. François Houtart, Co-Founder World Social Forum, Ecuador

Observatório da Mulher, Brazil

Professor Mahmoud Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government Columbia University, Uganda

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Co-founder Women for Peace, Northern Ireland

Lee Rhiannon, Senator, Australia

Marta Harnecker, Writer, Chile

Michael Ratner, President Emeritis Centre for Constitutional Rights, US

José Miguel Serrano, Director of the National Board of Student Aid and Scholarships (Junaeb), Chile

Larissa Waters, Deputy Leader of the Australian Green Party, Australia

Iole Iliada, Fundação Perseu Abramo, Brazil

Professor Joan Subirats, Academic, Universidad Autónoma Barcelona, Spain

Nadya Tolokonnikova, Conceptual Artist and Political Activist, Pussy Riot, Russia

Marcelo Justo, Journalist, Argentina

Demand Progress, US

Kevin Gosztola, Journalist, US

O Grupo tortura Nunca Mais, Brazil

Vaughan Smith, Executive Director, The Frontline Club, UK

Bernard Cassen, Academic, University of Paris 8, France

Srećko Horvat, Philosopher, DiEM25, Croatia

Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA), Brazil

Emin Huseynov, Journalist and human rights activist, Azerbaijan

Federação dos Estudantes de Agronomia do Brasil (FEAB), Brazil

Guillermo Carmona, President of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chamber of Deputies, Argentina

Robert Simms, MP, Australia

Gabriella Coleman, Academic Writer, McGill University, US

Bennu Gerede, Actress, Turkey

Eric Nepomuceno, Writer, Brazil

Claudio Katz, Economist, Argentina

Renata Avila, Lawyer, Guatemala

Geert Lovink, Research Professor, Institute of Network Cultures, Netherlands

Martín Almada, American Asociation of Jurists Executive Committee, Right Livelihood Award winner 2002, Paraguay

Agencia Latinoamericana de Información, Bolivia

Foundation for Fundamental Rights, Pakistan

União da Juventude Socialista (UJS), Brazil

Miguel Urbán, Member of the European Parliament, Co-founder PODEMOS, Spain

Bernard Keane, Journalist, Australia

Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Professor Wang Hui, Intellectual, China

Gaël Faye, Musician, Burundi

Adam Bandt, Senator, Australia

Trevor Timm, Executive Director Freedom of the Press Foundation, US

Sursiendo, Costa Rica

Tom Findlay, Recording Artist, UK

Center for Constitutional Rights, US

Aral Balkan, Founder of, Turkey

Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), India

William Blum, Author, US

Prensa Comunitaria, Guatemala

Professor Robert Manne, Emeritus Professor of Politics and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, La Trobe University, Australia

ActiveWatch-Media Monitoring Agency, Romania

Tomás Ojea Quintana, Former SR on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Argentina

Dr. Winston Orrillo, Author, Premio Nacional de Cultura del Perú, Peru

Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), Argentina

Michael Lowy, Sociologist, France

Andrew Greig, Writer, UK

Red Latina Sin Fronteras, Latin America

Nick McKim, Senator , Australia

Peter Whish-Wilson, Senator, Australia

Rachel Siewert, Senator , Australia

Daniel Richter, Artist, Germany

Movimiento de Liberación Nacional, Mexico

Pablo A de la Vega, Regional coordinator Inter-American Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development, Latin America

Frei Betto, Writer, Brazil

Estela Bravo, Documentary filmmaker, US

Anand Grover, Former UN Special Rapporter on Health, Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India, India

Dr. Fernando Buen Abad Domínguez, Academic, Writer, Cinema director NY University, Philosopher, Writer, Mexico

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Canada

Kintto Lucas, Former Deputy Foreign Minister of Ecuador, Ecuador

Dr. Jeff Sparrow, Author, Australia

Toni Navarro, Cinema Director, Organización Internacional pro Derechos Humanos, Spain

Phillip Adams AO, Journalist, Australia

Slim Amamou, Activist and former Secretary of State for Sport and Youth, Tunisa

Angela Richter, Director and Writer, Germany

Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), Thailand

Franck Gaudichaud, Lecturer, University of Grenoble Alpes, France

Free Software Movement Karnataka, India

Anibal Carrillo, 2013 Presidental Candidate, Paraguay

Sanjuana Martinez, Journalist, Mexico

Andrew Ross, Academic and Writer, New York University, US

Edgardo Esteban, Journalist and Writer, Argentina

Gayle McLaughlin, Politician, US

Melissa Parke, MP, Australia

Alicia Jrapko, Solidarity activist, Resumen Latinoamericano, US

Janet Rice, Senator , Australia

Mike Carlton, Journalist, Australia

Professor Mads Andenas, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention, Norway

Shahzad Akbar, Human rights lawyer, Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR), Pakistan

Alan Mills, Writer, Guatemala

Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Egypt

Gilbert Brownstone, President, Brownstone Foundation, US

Valeria Betancourt, Internet Rights Expert, Ecuador

Stuart Wilson, Lawyer, South Africa

Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas (MMC), Brazil

Professor Radhika Desai, Academic, Author, University of Manitoba, Canada

Hind Meddeb, journalist and filmmaker, France

Professor John Cooper, Academic, Bucknell University, US

Professor Gerard Goggin, Professor of Media & Communications, Sydney University, Australia

Professor Mireille Fanon-Mendes, Academic and Activist, University Paris V-Descartes, France

Peter Rosset, Academic, Michigan University, Mexico

Jacqueline Moudeina, Right Livelihood Award winner 2011, Chad

Dr. Harry Halpin, Academic, MIT, US

Guy Rundle, Journalist, Australia

World Forum for Alternatives, Venezuela

Professor H. Bruce Franklin, Cultural Historian and Scholar, Rutgers University, US

Stefano Maffei, Lawyer, Italy

Raji Sourani, President of the Arab Organization for Human Rights (AOHR), Director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 2013 Right Livelihood Award, Palestine

Initiative for Freedom of Expression, Turkey

Giuristi Democratici (Italian Democratic Lawyers Association), Italy

Professor Stuart Rees , Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

Dr. Des Freedman, Academic, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Associação de Rádios Públicas do Brasil (ARPUB), Brazil

Jennifer Robinson, Lawyer, Australia

Professor Ignacio Ramonet, Academic, France

Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos CDH, Ecuador

George Newhouse, Lawyer, National Justice Project, Australia

Patricia Vaca Narvaja, Ambassador of Argentina in Mexico, Argentina

Sol Guy, Film & Music Producer, Canada

Bartomeu Melià, Jesuit Priest, Autonomous University of Social Movements, Mexico

Pastoral da Juventude Rural (PJR), Brazil

Nozomi Hayase, Writer, Japan/US

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, US

Derechos Digitales, Chile

Roy David, Author, UK

John R. MacArthur, Journalist, Author, President of Harpers magazine, US

Ramon Chao, Journalist and Writer, Spain

Cecilia Nahón, Former Argentinain Ambassador to US, Argentina

Executiva Nacional dos Estudantes de Biologia (ENEBIO), Brazil

Dr. Margarita Ledo Andión, Journalist, Writer and Film-Maker, USC, Spain

John Goss, Journalist, UK

Professor Jean Bricmont, Academic, University of Louvain (UCL), Belgium

Professor Manuel Alcántara Sáez, Professors of Politics, Spain

Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales, Mexico

Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Alipio Freire, Journalist, Writer and Artist, Brazil

Gavin Macfayden, Executive Director, Center for Investigative Journalism, Goldsmiths College, University of London, UK

Rede Ecumênica da Juventude (REJU), Brazil

Maja Pelević, Writer and Dramaturg, Serbia

Organização "Coletivo Quilombo", Brazil

Professor John Keane, Professor of Politics, Sydney University, Australia

Professor Willem de Lint, Professor in Criminal Justice, Flinders University, Australia

Walter Goobar, Journalist, Argentina

Alex Mitchell, Journalist, Australia

Mercedes Chacin, Director Epale, Venezuela

President del Partido Revolucionario Febrerista, Paraguay

Michael Lebowitz, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Canada

Spanish Association for International Human Rights Law (AEDIDH), Spain

Helene Bergman, Journalist, Sweden

Madeleine Rees OBE, Lawyer, UK

Tony Lujan, Politician, Argentina

Fís Nua, Political Party, Ireland

Marc Vandepitte, Philosopher, Belgium

Arab Lawyers Union (ALU), Middle East

Comision Nacional de Organizaciones Sociales de Uruguay, Urugauy

Alejandra Ancheia, Executive Director and Founder, ProDESC, Mexico

Coordenação Nacional de Entidades Negras (CONEN), Brazil

Okoth Osewe, Author and Blogger, Kenya Stockholm, Sweden

Charles Glass, Author, Journalist, and Broadcaster, US

Progress Lawyers Network, Belgium

Intersindical Central da Classe Trabalhadora, Brazil

Peter Schey, Executive Director Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, US

Professor Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Founding Director of the Program on Human Rights and Justice at MIT., Professor of Law, US

Alejandra Ancheita, Human Rights Defender, Mexico

Juan Agosto, Journalist, Argentina

Pepe Baeza, Photographic Editor, Spain

Rebecca O'Brien, Film Producer, UK

Michael Edward Tigar, Emeritus Professor, Duke Law School and Washington College of Law, US

Professor John King, Emeritus Professor, Warwick University, UK

Azyz Amami, Blogger and cyber-activist, Tunisia

Profa. Dra. Renata Aquino Ribeiro, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil

Miguel Repiso, Journalist, Argentina

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Australia

Cuba Si France, France

Jake Lynch, Associate Professor, Sydney University, Australia

Dr. Athina Karatzogianni, Academic, Leicester University, UK

Free Software Foundation Tamil Nadu, India

Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Chair of Department Sydney University, Australia

Olivia Ball, Human Rights Specialist, Australia

Domingo Laino, President Plataforma de Estudio e Investigación

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