Freedom Of Assembly

Freedom of assembly is the citizens’ right to publicly gather together to express, advocate and achieve shared needs. Assembly encompasses the right to express dissent through meetings, demonstrations, protests and strikes. This civil liberty is an essential complement to freedom of association and expression. Assembly is one of the citizens’ tools to engage with governing bodies, other forms of authority and multinational organisations. Indeed, assembly channels and magnifies the democratic will, including that of minority groups and urges interlocutors to take citizens’ perspectives into consideration.

The United Nations Human Rights Council stated that:

“The ability to assemble and act collectively is vital to democratic, economic, social and personal development, to the expression of ideas and to fostering engaged citizenry. Assemblies can make a positive contribution to the development of democratic systems and, alongside elections, play a fundamental role in public participation, holding governments accountable and expressing the will of the people as part of the democratic processes”.

Governing bodies have the duty to provide a safe and empowering environment for people to come together and express their views. This responsibility includes ensuring access to public spaces, supplying protection in favour of and punishing violence against citizens exercising their freedom of assembly.

According to CIVICUS, emerging trends limiting the right to peaceful assembly include policing techniques such as the use of excessive or unlawful violence and undercover tactics, illegal or unreasonable refusal of authorisation to gather peacefully, denial of protection from violent counter-demonstrations.

In recent years, several European governments undertook anti-terror strategies that left legal loopholes failing to protect or even eroding freedom of assembly in the name of security of public places. These measures often led to a transfer of powers from the independent judicial sector to prefects and police authorities, who now have more discretion in regulating assemblies in public spaces.

Read Latest Alerts:

(Media.cat) Vandalism, insults, threats and beatings are just some of the Spanish unionist-inspired attacks that were seen in autumn 2017, especially after 1 October. Although the perpetrators are a small minority among all the people who have come out in favour of Spanish unity, the violence cuts across boundaries and ...
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By Viera Zuborova, Bratislava Policy Intitute The murder of 27 years old journalist with his 27 years old fiancée hit the Slovak society badly, and after 25 years of independent state Slovak society woke up from the matrix and the illusion of liberal democratic system was vanished. In the last period ...
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On 17 May, the council of the city of Rome voted to evict the International Women's House from the public building “Buon Pastore” in Rome where several organisations were working for over 30 years to create a space for dialogue and confrontation for Italian and international women on equal rights ...
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(OHCHR) GENEVA (11 May 2018) – UN rights expert Fionnuala Ní Aoláin will visit France from 14 to 23 May to gather first-hand information on counter-terrorism initiatives and assess how they affect the promotion and protection of human rights. “I will seek to provide assistance to the French government in promoting ...
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(CIVICUS Monitor) Major police operation targets anti-capitalist community Throughout April police attempted to forcibly evict hundreds of activists occupying land in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, firing tear gas as some protesters threw Molotov cocktails and burned barricades. The site of the protest has been controversial for fifty years, due to the government’s plan to build ...
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(Drill or drop?) Campaigners against the UKOG injunction outside the High Court, 19 March 2018. Photo: DrillOrDrop Opponents of oil drilling in southern England have claimed victory after an exploration company dropped what they described as “the most draconian” clause in an injunction against protests. UK Oil & Gas (UKOG) ...
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(CIVICUS Monitor) As previously reported on the CIVICUS Monitor, in the last two years civic space in Latvia has been “deliberately” restricted. Civil society and the media are finding it increasingly difficult to gain access to policymakers, while there has been a growing number of attacks against organisations working on controversial topics. According to ...
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(Ligue des Droits de l'Homme / Translated from French) The Law on Public Security of 30 October 2017, which succeeded the exceptional regime of the state of emergency, was examined by the Constitutional Court under the initiative of the League of Human Rights (LDH). LDH had filed to the Court four ...
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(Budapest Beacon) Police fined a number of high school students and a press worker for walking in the road during the February 23 student protest. Students and a photographer covering the protest were summoned by Budapest’s 5th district police headquarters for a hearing on an administrative infraction. A mother of a 16-year-old ...
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(Liberties.eu) A new report from the national ombudsman finds that Dutch municipalities and the police are increasingly restricting protesters in what they can and cannot do. Dutch municipalities and police departments do not always guarantee the right to protest, according to a new report by the national ombudsman. In his report, ...
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