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OAS Resolution on Promotion of the Rights to Freedom of Assembly and of Association in the Americas (2011)

AG/RES. 2680 (XLI – O/11)

PROMOTION OF THE RIG HTS TO FREEDOM OF AS SEMBLY
AND OF ASSOCIATION IN T HE AMERICAS

(Adopted at the fourth plenary session, held on June 7, 2011)

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY,

BEARING IN MIND the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the American Declaration of the
Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, which establish that all persons
shall be entitled to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

TAKING INTO ACCOUNT resolution s AG/RES. 2579 (XL – O/10) “Human Rights Defenders:
Support for Individuals, Groups, and Organizations of Civil Society Working to Promote and Protect
Human Rights in the Americas”; AG/RES. 2612 (XL – O/10) “Increasing and Strengthening Civil Society
Participa tion in the Activities of the Organization of American States and in the Summits of the Americas
Process”; AG/RES. 2344 (XXXVII – O/07) “Citizen Participation and Strengthening of Democracy in the
Americas”; AG/RES. 2351 (XXXVII – O/07) “Civil Society Organiza tions and the Protection of Human
Rights and Promotion of Democracy”; AG/RES. 1915 (XXXIII – O/03) “Increasing and Strengthening Civil
Society Participation in OAS Activities,” CP/RES. 759 (1217/99), “Guidelines for the Participation of Civil
Society Organiz ations in OAS Activities,” CP/RES. 840 (1361/03), “Strategies for Increasing and
Strengthening Participation by Civil Society Organizations in OAS Activities”, and the “Declaration on the
Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Societ y to Promote and Protect Universally
Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms”;

REAFFIRMING that the participatory nature of democracy in our countries in different aspects of
public life contributes to the consolidation of democratic values and to freedom and solidarity in the
Hemisphere;

REAFFIRMING that every state has the right to choose, without external interference, its political,
economic, and social system and to organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to abstain
from intervening in the affairs of another State. Subject to the foregoing, the American states shall cooperate
fully among themselves, independently of the nature of their political, economic, and social systems;

CONSIDERING that the freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and to seek, receive, and
impart information and ideas of all kinds by any medium whatsoever, is provided for in the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, the Inter –
America n Democratic Charter, as well as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

REAFFIRMING that each state has the right to develop its cultural, political, and economic life
freely and naturall y. In this free development, the state shall respect the rights of the individual and the
principles of universal morality;

REAFFIRMING that everyone has the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
and that no one may be compelled to be long to an association;

REAFFIRMING that the elimination of all forms of discrimination , particularly gender, ethnic, and
racial discrimination and the different forms of intolerance, and the promotion of the human rights of
indigenous peoples and migran ts and of respect for ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity in the Americas
contribute to strengthening democracy and citizen participation;

REAFFIRMING the recognition made at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights that all
human rights are unive rsal, indivisible, interdependent, and interrelated, and the call it made on all
governments to take all appropriate measures in compliance with their international obligations and with
due regard to their respective legal systems to counter intolerance an d related violence based on religion or
belief, including practices of discrimination against women and including the desecration of religious sites,
recognizing that every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, expression, and religio n;

NOTING the recent establishment of a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom
of Peaceful Assembly and of Association by the UN Human Rights Council through UN Human Rights
Council resolution A/HRC/RES/15/2 1 ;

CONCERNED that situation s exist in the Americas that directly or indirectly prevent or hinder the
work of governments, individuals, or independent democratic groups, or organizations working to promote
and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms;

RENEWING its trust in the commitment of all the countries to find ways to achieve the well – being
of their peoples and to reinforce the universal values of sovereignty, liberty, independence, peace, solidarity,
the common good, peaceful coexistence and the rule of law, and respect for human rights for this and for
future generations; as well as to ensure social justice and equality before the law without any kind of
discrimination;

CONCERNED ALSO about the increase in new restrictive legislation regulating the creation and
operati on 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;

REAFFIRMING ALSO that every American state has the dut y to respect the rights enjoyed by
every other state in accordance with international law;

STRESSING that the fundamental rights of states may not be impaired in any manner whatsoever;

RECOGNIZING:

The importance of participation by civil society org anizations and other social actors in
consolidating democracy in all member states;

That all social actors, including civil society organizations, can contribute to the workings of the
bodies and organizations of the inter – American system; and

That exe rcising the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, in line with the
parameters set by international law , in particular international human rights law, is indispensable to the full
enjoyment of these rights, particularly where individual s may espouse minority or dissenting religious or
political beliefs,

RESOLVES:

1. To urge member states to adhere to or ratify, or both, as applicable, the American
Convention on Human Rights and the other instruments of the universal inter – American system for the
protection of human rights.

2. To urge member states to promote and foster various forms of community citizen
participation in decision – making processes related to integral development, thus helping to resolve
problems affecting them, to ensure tha t the benefits of democracy are shared by society as a whole, and to
strengthen and consolidate democracy and human rights.

3. To call upon member states 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 any restrictions
on the free exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are within the
framework of national constitutions and laws and in accordance with their obligations u nder international
human rights law and agreements.

4. To recommend that member states promote and strengthen alternative methods of
communication and information.

5. To again recommend to member states that they develop and, as the case may be, expand
netwo rks of information on public policies and programs in order to enable citizens to play a much more
effective role in decision – making in government.

6. To encourage member states to ensure that applicable national law allows human rights
defenders and their organizations to carry out their work in a free, transparent, and open political
environment and in a manner consistent with applicable international human rights and humanitarian law.

7. To encourage all social actors, including civil society, to promote the enjoyment of the
rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, recognizing that civil society can contribute to
the fulfillment of the principles and purposes of the OAS Charter.

8. To invite the General Secretariat to continue to support m ember states that so request in
their efforts to increase the institutional capacity of their governments to receive, absorb, and act on, when
appropriate, input and advocacy of all social actors, if possible through the use of information and
communicatio n technologies.

9. To instruct the Permanent Council to prepare and convene a special meeting to exchange
experiences, views and best practices that serve to promote the rights to freedom of assembly and of
association.

10. To request the Permanent Council t o report to the General Assembly at its forty – second
regular session on the implementation of this resolution. Execution of the activities identified herein shall
be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program – budget of the Organizat ion and other
resources.

AG05436E04

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