We applaud Ecuador for granting asylum to Julian Assange. Ecuador’s action rightly offers protection to a journalist and publisher who faces persecution from the U.S. It thereby strengthens the global commitment to human rights, including government accountability and freedom of the press. We hope that Assange’s contributions to a robust democratic society are belatedly recognized by the U.S., which prides itself in its commitment to a free press.Granting asylum is a humanitarian act and the UN General Assembly has unanimously declared that it should not be construed as unfriendly by other countries. The U.S., Sweden and the U.K. have adopted and reiterated this very principle many times. It is imperative, therefore, that no diplomatic consequences should befall Ecuador over this decision.We are deeply troubled by the reported U.K. threats to storm the Ecuadoran Embassy and arrest Assange, in clear violation of the Vienna Convention’s protection of the inviolability of sovereign embassy properties, and by the menacing police presence outside the embassy. We call on the British government to explicitly and immediately confirm that it will honor international and diplomatic commitments.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.