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:

Extract from article published in Italian on Vita, 1 April 2020 - accessible here The FOIA, the comprehensive civic access that allows everyone to know the acts of the Public Administration, is a fundamental tool of control and supervision. Especially in times of extraordinary money allocations and emergency management. And ...
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Article originally published in French on Politis.fr, 1 April 2020 - accessible here Malik Salemkour, president of Ligue des droits de l’Homme, is concerned about the attacks on civil liberties caused by the state of health emergency. In particular, he warns that there has been a general decline in checks ...
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Article originally published on Democracy International - accessible here The world is in the grips of an all-encompassing health-crisis that has drastically affected the lives of millions of people around the world. All over the world, governments are taking action to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While many ...
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Article originally published on Amnesty International website, 1 April 2020 - accessible here Amnesty International has published recommendations today for states in Europe urging them to ensure that their responses to COVID-19 are in line with their international and regional human rights obligations. Europe at a Crossroads sets out clear guidance on governments should and should not do in ...
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Article originally published in Spanish on Defender A Quien Defiende, 25 March 2020 - accessible here The organisations, led by the Defend Who Defends Platform, demand that at least four situations of institutional violence are investigated. In a letter to the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and to the ...
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Article originally published on Defender A Quien Defiende, 19 March 2020 - accessible here At Defender a Quien Defiende, we alert on how the securitarian vision of political, social or health issues (such as the current case of COVID-19 crisis) favours the application of punitivism and repression as a solution, ...
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Article written by European Civic Forum and originally published by Civicus Monitor, 11 March 2020 - accessible here BACKGROUND Since 2018, Ireland has experienced an increase in far-right organising. While political elections held on 8th February 2020 demonstrated the inability of far-right parties to mobilise voters, civil society has noted ...
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A march organised by feminist groups took place on Saturday 7 March in Paris, ahead of the International Women’s Rights Day. The march was planned to start at 7:00 p.m. from Place des Fêtes (19th) and finish at Place de la République. The whole march went peacefully, as underlined by ...
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Article originally published on Brexit, Europe and the Left, 13 December 2019 - accessible here Author: Mark Malone Read Part 1 here Just like the US and Europe, the rise of far right politics in Ireland has its origins not in ballot boxes, but rather online through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube ...
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Report by Amnesty International, released on 3 March 2020, more infos here What is the problem? In recent years, compassion has been turned into a crime across Europe. People who have helped refugees and migrants have been threatened, smeared, intimidated, harassed, and dragged through the courts to face punishment simply ...
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