Freedom of Assembly
This portal includes publications, reports, and court cases on the freedom of assembly.
In this two-page Fact Sheet, UN Special Rapporteur Mr. Maina Kiai summarizes key principles in international law and best practices to protect the freedom of assembly.
UN Norm Development
- UN Special Rapporteur Second Thematic Report to the Human Rights Council on Freedom of Assembly (2013): This report from 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur highlights that no prior authorization should be required to assemble peacefully; states must facilitate peaceful protests; and that organizers and participants in assemblies should be allowed access to new communication technologies, including the Internet.
- Effective Measures and Best Practices to Ensure the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Peaceful Protests (2013): This UN Human Rights Council report discusses how dialogue between protest organizers and the police, as well as human rights training programs for police forces, can contribute to the protection of the human rights linked to peaceful protests.
- United Nations General Assembly, Annual Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association (2012): This report details best practices that promote and protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and concludes with recommendations for states to protect those two rights.
- Human Rights Council of the United Nations General Assembly, Summary of Panel Discussion on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Peaceful Protests (2011): This is a summary of the statements of seven panelists. Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, discusses global trends related to peaceful protests.
- UNHRC Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions (2011): This report discusses the international legal standards applicable to the use of lethal force during demonstrations and proposes some strategies to ensure greater compliance with these standards.
- Voices in the Streets: Mass Social Protests and the Right to Peaceful Assembly (2015): This report analyzes instances of mass social protests in 12 countries in order to identify best practices in promoting and protecting the right to peaceful assembly. It evaluates the role of executive and law enforcement agencies, as well as government ministries, legislators, courts, political parties, national human rights institutions, think tanks, media, labor unions, and the private sector.
- Comparative Study: Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Europe (2014): This study for the Venice Commission contains country reports on the regulation of peaceful assembly in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
- Report on the Monitoring of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly in Selected OSCE Participating States, May 2013-July 2014 (2014): This report by the OSCE presents findings from the monitoring of public gatherings in nine selected OSCE states to assess states’ implementation of their commitments on freedom of peaceful assembly.
- The Right to Freedom of Assembly in the Euro-Mediterranean Region (2013): This study by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network examines the legislative framework that enshrines the right to assembly in thirteen different countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region and the EU.
- Global Trends in NGO Law - Freedom of Assembly, Vol. 2 Issue 4 (2012): This ICNL publication provides an overview of laws and practices constraining the freedom of assembly around the world.
- Defending Civil Society Report, Second edition (2012): This is the second edition of the Defending Civil Society Report endorsed by Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, the late Vaclav Havel and other internationally-recognized civil society leaders. It catalogues legal barriers constraining civil society and details international legal principles to protect civil society. Chapter V on page 23 addresses barriers to assembly.
- Inter-American Commission Human Rights Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas (2011): The purpose of this report is to follow up on the recommendations made by the Inter‐American Commission on Human Rights in its Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in the Americas, published on March 7, 2006, as well as to provide an update on the standards of international law in this area.
- Commentary to the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (2011): In Chapter II of this Commentary, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders discusses the right to freedom of assembly, protected activities, common restrictions and best practices related to this right.
- Association and Assembly in the Digital Age (2011): This paper examines the trend of governments to target Facebook groups, social networks and online communities - basically, associational activities on the Internet - and analyzes protections for these groups under international law.
- Demonstrating Respect for Rights? A Human Rights Approach to Policing Protest (2009): This report prepared by the Human Rights Joint Committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdom discusses the legal framework for peaceful protests in the UK and presents recommendations for reform.
- United Nations General Assembly, Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders (2007): This UN report focuses on the right to protest in the context of the freedom of assembly. It analyzes the protection of this right, including references to legal norms and case law at the global and regional levels.
- Case of Schwabe and M.G. v. Germany, E.C.H.R. (2011): This case from the European Court of Human Rights presents the standard that the court applies when evaluating breaches of the freedom of assembly in the European context.
- Compilation of Venice Commission Opinions Concerning Freedom of Assembly (2013): This compilation is a source of reference for researchers and drafters of legislation relating to freedom of peaceful assembly and reviews the doctrine of the Venice Commission.
- OSCE (ODIHR) Handbook on Monitoring Freedom of Peaceful Assembly (2011): This handbook serves as a manual for training human rights NGOs in international standards and monitoring techniques relating to freedom of assembly.
- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Assembly (2010): These guidelines detail the minimum standards that countries must meet to protect the freedom of assembly.