In recent years, the right to peaceful assembly has been under threat
worldwide. Many governments have unduly restricted assemblies, cracked
down on online gatherings, used excessive force against protesters, and
deployed new surveillance technologies against activists. COVID-19 has
exacerbated this issue, with significant restrictions on gatherings imposed in the name of public health.
To help address these troubling trends, in July 2020, the UN Human Rights Committee issued General Comment No. 37: the UN’s first comprehensive guidance on the right to peaceful assembly, as enshrined in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It sets out clear standards relating to assemblies off and online.