Promoting and Protecting the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association and Civic Space Worldwide

Started in June 2020

Context

The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of 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.

These rights help to foster increased transparency and accountability and are basic prerequisites for the goal of securing substantive enjoyment of all human rights.

Although these two freedoms are guarantee and protected by articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, they 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 is shrinking.

Measures to limit these rights are often grounded in state security notions that run counter to the very idea of democracy and basic human rights principles. The impact is felt well beyond the organizations attacked to those they serve, defend and support.

Objectives

This project, supported by the Ford Foundation, aims at providing support to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé by:

  • Addressing emerging issues affecting civic space
  • Developing tools and materials allowing various stakeholders – including states, civil society organizations (CSOs), lawyers and human rights defenders – to promote and defend civic space.

By engaging states on cases, policies, laws and situations of concern, this mandate make states accountable for their decision-making affecting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and contributes to creating a safe and enabling environment for civil society work worldwide.

Activities

Among other activities, the UN Special Rapporteur will hold consultations with CSOs on emerging issues affecting civic space, including:

  • The climate crisis and the mobilization of youth and other parts of society and the related repression of social movements
  • The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on civic space
  • The internet shutdown and peaceful assembly
  • Women and freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

These consultations will inform the future programmatic work of the mandate, especially thematic reports that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly in 2021.

In addition, the UN Special Rapporteur will provide to states, CSOs and other actors advocacy and implementation material to promote and protect civic space. This material will include, among others:

  • Guidelines on the role of lawyers in peaceful protest
  • Guidelines on CSOs’ participation in the implementation of SDGs
  • The dissemination of the upcoming General Comment 37of the UN Human Rights Committee on freedom of assembly.

NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Protest march against police violence in Minneapolis News

New Research Project Addresses the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

25 August 2020

Our new research project will provide substantive support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Clément Voulé.

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RESEARCHERS

PIcture of Clément Voule

Clément Voule

Researcher

Clément Nyaletsossi Voule is Researcher at the Geneva Academy and UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association.

Past Events

Protection of Human Rights in the Context of Peaceful Protest in Crisis Situations

20 June 2022, 13:15-14:45

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Discussion on the UN Guidelines for Lawyers in Support of Peaceful Assemblies

24 January 2022, 13:30-15:00

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Civic Space and Climate Justice: Launch of the UNSR Thematic Report on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

15 October 2021

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Celebrating Women in Civil Society and Activism

20 October 2020, 15:00-17:00

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Panel at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platrform News

GHRP Annual Conference Tackles Digitalization and Human Rights

15 November 2022

The 2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform addressed the issue of digital connectivity in the field of human rights via an expert meeting in the morning and a public discussion in the afternoon.

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Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt present his annual report and reports on his missions to China and Greece at the 31st regular session of the Human Rights Council. 7 March 2016 News

New Expert Pool Will Strengthen the Capacity of Human Rights Mechanisms to Incorporate IHL into Their Work

29 September 2022

As part of this new IHL-EP, the Geneva Academy requested to intervene as a third party in the proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case of Ukraine v. Russia (X).

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Event

Towards Greater Accountability with Open-Source Information

14 December 2022, 18:30-20:00

This IHL Talk will explore the practices, opportunities and challenges stemming from the use of open-source information to document, investigate and prosecute international crimes and serious human rights violations.

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Prison visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti Short Course

The Implementation of International Human Rights Law

15 December - 17 January 2023

This online short course aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

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An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

1 March - 18 April 2023

This online short course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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Human Rights Commission, VCalparaiso, Chile Project

The Role of National Human Rights Systems in the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards and Recommendations

Completed in March 2020

This project analysed the role of national human rights systems (NHRSs) in implementing international human rights standards and recommendations.

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Mine Project

Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions

Completed in July 2021

This project aimed at identifying and clarifying policies and practices for states and businesses, including public and private investors, across the full ‘conflict cycle’ and the ‘protect, respect and remedy’ pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

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Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on August 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Domenico Zipoli

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