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

Smartphone screen News

Aligning Regulations of Business Conduct in the Technology Sector with Human Rights

29 April 2022

A new Research Brief on Regulating Business Conduct in the Technology Sector: Gaps and Ways Forward in Applying the UNGPs depicts the prominent gaps in regulatory approaches to business conduct in the technology sector with regard to the UNGPs.

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A presentation on big data News

Placing Human Rights at the Centre of New Tech Regulations

14 March 2022

At a multi-stakeholder consultation, business, academia, civil society and state representatives discussed the gaps and ways forward in applying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to regulate business conduct in the technology sector.

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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

Fall 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights Project

The Universality of Human Rights: Developing Narratives to Help Overcome Polarization

Started in January 2020

This research aims at taking stock of and contributing to a better understanding of the above-mentioned challenges to the principle of universality of human rights while also questioning their validity. It will identify relevant political and legal arguments and develop counter-narratives that could be instrumental to dealing with and/or overcoming the polarization of negotiations processes at the multilateral level.

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Flyer presenting the Geneva Human Rights Platform with other publications of the Geneva Academy on display Project

GHRP Fridays

Started in January 2019

The GHRP Fridays provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change.

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Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on May 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Chloé Naret, Domenico Zipoli

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