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

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

Cover of the Book News

Our Research Fellow Dr. Zipoli contributes to new book on the Domestic Institutionalisation of Human Rights

25 August 2021

The new edited book on the The Domestic Institutionalisation of Human Rights (2021, Routledge) has just been published, our Research Fellow Dr. Domenico Zipoli contributes to this book project with a chapter on the engagement between TBs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs).

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Jean-Paul Nizigiyimana in front of the Mur des Réformateurs in Geneva News

MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Students Say

17 December 2021

Jean-Paul Nizigiyimana tells about his background, the programme and what it will bring to his career.

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Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspectives on a Career in International Law

7 February 2022, 12:30-14:00

In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

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Plastic pollution Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

5-9 September 2022

This training course will explore the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights, as well as with their implementation and enforcement mechanisms; and provide practical insights into the different UN human rights mechanisms pertinent to advancing environmental issues and protecting environmental human rights defenders.

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A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

November 2022

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

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 Chittagong (Bangladesh) ship breaking yard Project

A Practitioners' Guide on Human Rights and Countering Corruption

Started in January 2015

This research project, aims via the drafting of a practitioners’ guide on human rights and countering corruption, to clarify the conceptual relationship between human rights, good governance and anticorruption, demonstrate the negative impact of corruption on human rights and provide guidance and make practical recommendations for effectively using the UN human rights system in anti-corruption efforts.

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Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

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cover of the publication Publication

Towards Global Transitional Justice?

published on January 2022

Olivier de Frouville

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Cover of the publication Publication

Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies

published on January 2022

Ana Beduschi

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