African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The AComHPR is the body charged with promoting and protecting the rights guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and interpreting its provisions. It is empowered, among other things, to receive and consider communications from individuals and organizations alleging that a State party to the Charter has violated one or more of the rights guaranteed therein.
Abbreviations & Explanations
African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The ACtHPR is an international court that has jurisdiction over cases and disputes concerning the interpretation and application of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, and any other relevant human rights instrument ratified by the States concerned. The Court may receive cases filed by the African Commission of Human and Peoples’ Rights, State parties to the Protocol or African Intergovernmental Organizations. NGOs with observer status before the African Commission and individuals can also institute cases directly before the Court as long as the State against which they are complaining has recognized the jurisdiction of the Court to accept such cases. An overview of these States can be found here.
African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights: The ACHPR (also known as the Banjul Charter) is an international human rights treaty to which most African States are parties; an overview can be found here. The rights to freedom of association and freedom of assembly are guaranteed by its Articles 10 and 11, respectively.
American Convention on Human Rights: The ACHR (also known as the Pact of San José) is an international human rights treaty to which most States in the Americas are parties; an overview can be found here. The rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of association are guaranteed by its Articles 15 and 16, respectively.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations: The ASEAN was established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration. In 2009 the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights to promote human rights in the ASEAN Countries was established. In 2012 the Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.
European Convention on Human Rights: The ECHR (formally called the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international human rights treaty to which most States wholly or partly located in Europe are parties; an overview can be found here. The rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of association are guaranteed under Article 11 of the Convention.
European Commission of Human Rights: The EComHR was a mechanism to which individuals claiming to be victims of violations of the European Convention on Human Rights could complain. The EComHR became defunct with the entry into force of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention in 1998, which gave individuals direct access to the European Court of Human Rights. The EComHR’s case-law on freedom of
European Court of Human Rights: The ECtHR is an international court that rules on individual or State applications alleging violations of the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa
In May 2017, during its 60th Ordinary Session, the AComHPR adopted the Guidelines on Freedom of Assembly and Association in Africa. The Guidelines were developed through a series of consultations throughout Africa, and are envisioned both as an advocacy tool for civil society and as standards for governments drafting new or updated laws.
Human Rights Committee
United Nations Human Rights Committee: The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties. The Committee’s activities include the examination of regular implementation reports that States parties are obliged to submit, and the issuance of General Comments on the interpretation of the ICCPR. The Committee also considers complaints lodged by individuals who claim that any of their rights under the ICCPR have been violated. Such complaints can only be lodged against States that are also parties to the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. An overview of those States can be found here.
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights: The IACHR is an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) whose mission is to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere. Its activities include monitoring the human rights situation in OAS Member States and issuing reports on priority thematic areas. It is also empowered to consider complaints against OAS Member States alleging violations of the human rights guaranteed by the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights and other inter-American human rights treaties.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights: The IACtHR is an international court which interprets and applies the American Convention on Human Rights. Individuals do not have direct access to the Court; cases can be referred to the Court by either the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights or a State Party to the Convention.
The IACtHR can only hear a case against a State Party which accepts the Court’s jurisdiction. Several countries have indicated such acceptance on a blanket basis (see here for an overview); it is also possible for a State to accept the Court’s jurisdiction ad hoc, for a particular case.
All Member States and some organs of the Organization of American States are also able to request an advisory opinion from the IACtHR regarding the interpretation of the Convention or of other treaties concerning the protection of human rights in the Americas.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: The ICCPR is the principal global treaty in the area of civil and political rights. It has been ratified by and is binding on a majority of States; an overview can be found here. Article 21 guarantees the right of peaceful assembly, and Article 22 the right to freedom of association with others.
International Labor Organization
Joint report on the proper management of assemblies
The Joint report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on the proper management of assemblies, UN Doc. A/HRC/31/66, 4 February 2016.
OSCE / ODIHR
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe: The OSCE / ODIHR assists the 57 participating States of the OSCE in meeting their commitments in the areas of elections, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and tolerance and non-discrimination. Jointly with the European Commission for Democracy through Law (also known as the Venice Commission) it adopted the Guidelines on Freedom of Association and the Guidelines on Peaceful Assembly that are widely regarded as an authoritative statement on good practice in the field.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: The UDHR was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. While not itself legally binding, the UDHR inspired global and regional treaties including the ICCPR, ACHR, ACHPR and ECHR, as well as national constitutions and laws.
The United Nations General Assembly: The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the United Nations.
UN Special Rapporteur
The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association: The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine, monitor, advise and publicly report on these rights worldwide. Work methods include responding to individual complaints, conducting studies, providing technical assistance to governments, and engaging in public outreach and promotional activities – all with the ultimate goal of promoting and protecting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.
The European Commission for Democracy through Law: The Venice Commission is an advisory body that, like the European Court of Human Rights, forms part of the Council of Europe. The Commission delivers legal advice to its Member States in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, usually in the form of legal opinions on draft or enacted legislation which is submitted to it for examination. The Commission has published compilations of its opinions concerning freedom of association and peaceful assembly. It also produces studies and reports on topical issues, such as the authoritative Guidelines on Freedom of Association and the Guidelines on Peaceful Assembly adopted jointly with the OSCE/ODIHR.