The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association play a key role in enabling individuals and groups to come together to improve lives and to contribute meaningfully to decision-making processes by governments.
They also help to foster increased transparency and accountability and are basic prerequisites for the goal of securing substantive enjoyment of all human rights.
‘These two rights have been under intensive attacks in the recent decade. State and non-state actors are devising novel ways to undermine these rights and civic space as a whole both at national and international levels’ underlines Felix Kirchmeier, Manager of Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.
Our new research project precisely focuses on these two rights.
Supported by the Ford Foundation, it will provide substantive support to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé.
‘By engaging States on cases, policies, laws and situations of concern, this mandate plays a crucial role in promoting and protecting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and we are very pleased to engage in this new project’ explains Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy.
The project will notably address emerging issues affecting civic space and develop tools and materials allowing various stakeholders – States, civil society organizations (CSOs), lawyers and human rights defenders – to promote and defend it.
‘This project will allow me to hold consultations with CSOs on emerging issues affecting civic space, including the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet shutdown, as well as on women and freedom of peaceful assembly and association. These consultations will inform my future work, including thematic reports that I will present to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in 2021’ explains Clément Voulé.
‘With this project, I will also be able to provide states, CSOs and other actors advocacy and implementation material to promote and protect civic space, including guidelines on the role of lawyers in peaceful protest and guidelines on CSOs’ participation in the implementation of SDGs’ he adds.