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  • 13. Remedies

    Everyone has a right to an effective remedy for acts violating their human rights.[1] When the right to freedom of association has been infringed, both associations and their members have the right to an effective remedy, which includes access to judicial review and reparations. States have an obligation to investigate fully any allegations of a violation of the right to freedom of association and to hold individuals, including State authorities, responsible for malicious infringement of the right. In addition, States must take measures to prevent future violations of the right, such as the revision of laws, the issuance of prosecutorial guidelines, and any other necessary measures.

    In its General Comment 31, the UN Human Rights Committee explained that:

    15. Article 2, paragraph 3, requires that in addition to effective protection of Covenant rights States Parties must ensure that individuals also have accessible and effective remedies to vindicate those rights. Such remedies should be appropriately adapted so as to take account of the special vulnerability of certain categories of person, including in particular children. The Committee attaches importance to States Parties’ establishing appropriate judicial and administrative mechanisms for addressing claims of rights violations under domestic law. The Committee notes that the enjoyment of the rights recognised under the Covenant can be effectively assured by the judiciary in many different ways, including direct applicability of the Covenant, application of comparable constitutional or other provisions of law, or the interpretative effect of the Covenant in the application of national law. Administrative mechanisms are particularly required to give effect to the general obligation to investigate allegations of violations promptly, thoroughly and effectively through independent and impartial bodies. National human rights institutions, endowed with appropriate powers, can contribute to this end. A failure by a State Party to investigate allegations of violations could in and of itself give rise to a separate breach of the Covenant. Cessation of an ongoing violation is an essential element of the right to an effective remedy.

    16. Article 2, paragraph 3, requires that States Parties make reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. Without reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated, the obligation to provide an effective remedy, which is central to the efficacy of article 2, paragraph 3, is not discharged. In addition to the explicit reparation required by articles 9, paragraph 5, and 14, paragraph 6, the Committee considers that the Covenant generally entails appropriate compensation. The Committee notes that, where appropriate, reparation can involve restitution, rehabilitation and measures of satisfaction, such as public apologies, public memorials, guarantees of non-repetition and changes in relevant laws and practices, as well as bringing to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations.

    17. In general, the purposes of the Covenant would be defeated without an obligation integral to article 2 to take measures to prevent a recurrence of a violation of the Covenant. Accordingly, it has been a frequent practice of the Committee in cases under the Optional Protocol to include in its Views the need for measures, beyond a victim-specific remedy, to be taken to avoid recurrence of the type of violation in question. Such measures may require changes in the State Party’s laws or practices.[2]


    1. UDHR, art. 8: “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.”
    2. UN Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 31: The Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States Parties to the Covenant, adopted 29 March 2004.
    3. OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission, Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association, 2015.
    4. Case Concerning the Factory At Chorzów (Claim for Indemnity) (The Merits), PCIJ, Judgement of 13 September 1928.
    5. UN Human Rights Council, First Thematic Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, UN Doc. A/HRC/20/27, 21 May 2012, para. 81.
    6. AComHPR, Draft Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, 22 September 2016, para 60.1.
    7. OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission, Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association, 2015, para. 116.
    8. Baena-Ricardo v. Panama, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 2 February 2001, para. 214.
    9. HADEP and Demir v. Turkey, ECtHR, Judgment of 14 December 2010, paras. 98-100.
    10. Tebieti Mühafize Cemiyyeti and Israfilov v. Azerbaijan, ECtHR, Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction), paras. 84-91 (October 8, 2009).
    11. Tanganyika Law Society et al. v. United Republic of Tanzania, ACtHPR, Judgment of 14 June 2013.
    12. Jonathan Arjonilla, Case Summary: Huilca Tesca v. Peru, Loyola Los Angeles IACHR Project (2005).
    13. Huilca Tecse v. Peru, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 3 March 2005, para. 64.
    14. Huilca Tecse v. Peru, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 3 March 2005, para. 69.
    15. Huilca Tecse v. Peru, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 3 March 2005, para. 77.
    16. Huilca Tecse v. Peru, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 3 March 2005, para. 78.
    17. Huilca Tecse v. Peru, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 3 March 2005, para. 78.
    18. AComHPR, Draft Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, 22 September 2016, para 60.2.
    19. UN Human Rights Council, First Thematic Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, UN Doc. A/HRC/20/27, 21 May 2012, para. 81.
    20. AComHPR, Draft Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, 22 September 2016, para 60.1
    21. OSCE/ODIHR and Venice Commission, Joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association, 2015, para. 116.
    22. AComHPR, Draft Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, 22 September 2016, para 60.2.
    23. See, for example, Huilca Tecse v. Peru, (Merits, Reparations and Costs), IACtHR, Judgment of 3 March 2005.