NAIROBI – Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai today announced the launch of FOAA Online!, a web-based legal research tool billed as the world’s most user-friendly compilation of legal arguments on assembly and association rights.
The ready-made legal arguments, which are based on international law, standards and principles, will assist lawyers, activists and judges involved in freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association (FOAA) cases to uphold the exercise of these rights.
FOAA Online! – which is available at http://freeassembly.net/foaa-online – is initially being launched with limited content for beta testing. Additional content will be added regularly, with the complete research tool available expected to be available in late June 2017.
The tool is organized by thematic topics and sub-questions in order to direct users as straightforwardly as possible to relevant legal arguments. The set-up allows users to link the facts and incidents in their cases to pertinent legal questions. Themes and questions are focused on the most widespread issues experienced by those exercising their assembly and association rights around the globe.
The idea for FOAA Online! grew out of the Special Rapporteur’s litigation project, which was started in 2014 to advance the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association through the use of litigation in national and regional courts. Experience from that project, Kiai said, showed that lawyers, judges and litigants were often not that familiar with international law and standards relevant to assembly and association rights.
“Our hope is that FOAA Online! will make it easier for lawyers to use international law in cases related to assembly and association rights, and that more judges will eventually take this law into account,” the Special Rapporteur said. “The arguments are ready to use and cover a fairly comprehensive range of topics. Lawyers simply need to adapt them to their case facts.”
“I encourage everyone not only to use FOAA online!, but also to spread the news about its existence in order to help enhance the promotion and protection of assembly and association rights worldwide,” Kiai added.
The Special Rapporteur also expressed his gratitude to the Open Society Justice Initiative and the American Bar Association’s Justice Defenders Program for their contributions to the compilation.
Maina Kiai completes his term as Special Rapporteur on April 30, 2017. His successor, Ms. Annalisa Ciampi of Italy, begins her term on May 1.