ICNL is pleased to report that on June 7, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted a Resolution on Promotion of the Rights to Freedom of Assembly and of Association in the Americas. This Resolution reaffirms inter-American and universal standards on the rights of association and assembly. It expresses concern about “the increase in new restrictive legislation regulating the creation and operation of non-governmental organizations and any abuse of civil or criminal proceedings against them because of their activities for the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The Resolution calls on the OAS Permanent Council and member states to take several concrete steps to promote the free exercise of these rights, most significantly:
- Member states are called upon to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, and to take all necessary measures to ensure that restrictions on those rights conform to national and international law; and
- The Permanent Council is charged with preparing and convening a special meeting to facilitate the exchange of experiences, views, and best practices on promotion of the rights to freedom of assembly and association.
This Resolution is an important acknowledgement of the rights and importance of civil society organizations in the Americas. It complements other international documents, including a resolution on “The Rights of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association” recently adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.