The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai [official website] on Wednesday condemned [press release] the recent violence that erupted after a US citizen released an anti-Islam film. Kiai stated that protests and rallies must be peaceful to be protected by international human rights law and noted that the right of peaceful assembly should not be used as a license to commit violence. He urged the Middle East states to prosecute those responsible for the violence and to bring them before an independent court that respects the right to due process. With the call, Kiai warned the states not to use these incidents as an excuse to deny peaceful citizens of their right to peaceful assembly.
A similar call was made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] last week. She urged [JURIST report] religious and political leaders around the world to encourage an end to violence that followed the release of the film. While Pillay said she "fully understand[s] why people wish to protest strongly against" the film, she "utterly condemn[s]" the violence that has resulted from the protests. Violent protests last week in Benghazi and Egypt led to the death of the US ambassador and three others and more than 200 injuries, while protests on Thursday in Yemen led to the death of one person and injured 15 others.