UN: Draft General Comment on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

(OHCHR) The Human Rights Committee, in accordance with article 40, paragraph 4, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Rule 76 of its Rules of Procedure, is mandated to prepare general comments on the various articles and provisions of the Covenant with a view to assisting States parties in fulfilling their obligations under the Covenant.

The Human Rights Committee decided at its 124th session (8 October – 2 November 2018) to develop a General Comment on article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in the light of experience obtained in the review of State reports and communications on this right.

Article 21 of the ICCPR provides as follows:

‘The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.’

To start this process, the Committee held a half-day discussion on 20 March 2019 during its 125th session held in Geneva from 4 to 29 March 2019. The Committee invited national human rights institutions, civil society, academia and international organizations to provide relevant information to be taken into consideration by the Committee during the preparation of the first draft.

The Committee designated Christof Heyns as the Rapporteur for the drafting of the General Comment. An initial draft has been prepared by the Rapporteur, and the Committee will commence its first reading of that draft during the 126th session to be held in Geneva from 1 to 26 July 2019.

The draft General Comment is available in EnglishFrench andSpanish.

Note: Upon the completion of the first reading of the draft General Comment, all stakeholders including Member States, will be invited to provide their comments.