Discussion: Litigating assembly and association rights – a new project from the Special Rapporteur

Sep 24 2014

courtroom-500Global trends show increasingly shrinking space for civic organizations and actions, as well as significant threats to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

In an effort to help reverse these trends, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association has begun a new project that will focus on protecting these rights via litigation in national and regional courts.

The project, which is supported by the government of Norway, will focus first on providing technical assistance and advisory services for public interest litigation on assembly and association issues, with a view to increasing such litigation and encouraging the application of international law norms at the domestic level. The Special Rapporteur also plans to submit amicus briefs in relevant cases, where he can highlight international norms and principles.

The project will begin in earnest with a two-day experts consultation in mid-October. The consultation, which will take place in Kenya, will convene lawyers from a diverse range of countries and legal traditions with an eye towards exchanging ideas and learning from each other’s experiences on the successes and challenges of such litigation.

The Special Rapporteur recognizes the importance of involving all arms of government, and in particular, the judiciary in order to provide recourse for rights violations. Additionally, engagement with the judiciary through litigation provides an avenue for international human rights law to filter into domestic jurisprudence, informing the creation and implementation of laws at the national level.

What can you tell us about litigating assembly and association cases in your country or region?

The Special Rapporteur would like to hear your thoughts on this subject as well.

How often are international law norms used in domestic courts where you live or work? What successes – and failures – have lawyers had in litigating assembly and association cases? Where would the Special Rapporteur’s assistance and intervention be most useful and effective?

Is there also a need to assist judges in their role of interpreting laws or to provide more technical support for drafting legislation that would protect assembly and association rights?

How to submit information

For more details on the litigation project and the upcoming experts consultation, please see our concept note.

If you are comfortable making a public comment, you may do so using the form below (log-in is via Facebook, Yahoo or Hotmail). If you prefer to make a non-public comment or suggestion, you can e-mail us at info@freeassembly.net.

Please be sure to provide as much detail as possible and to specify which country or countries you are referring to.

Update (Oct. 18, 2014): Please click here for a recap of the Oct. 16-17, 2014, litigation workshop held in Naivasha, Kenya.




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