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. Yet despite the increasingly prominent role that assemblies play in today’s world, there is sometimes a lack of clear understanding of the applicable international human rights law and standards.
To provide more clarity, the Human Rights Council requested in 2014 that the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, to prepare a joint report on the proper management of assemblies. That report (A/HRC/31/66) was published in March 2016, and compiled a series of practical recommendations oriented around 10 guiding principles applicable to the proper management of assemblies. The recommendations were based on consultations with over 100 experts and more than 50 UN Member States.
This 10 Principles Civil Society Guide is a companion publication to that report. It is designed to help civil society organizations use the compilation to advance the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of assemblies domestically. It provides suggestions, tools and inspiration to CSOs as they consider how they might push for the implementation of the practical recommendations in their own context.
The Guide is divided into four parts. Section 1 is an introduction of the practical recommendations report. Section 2 focuses on how CSOs might determine authorities’ current and ongoing level of compliance with the practical recommendations, and links to another document developed by the mandate – the 10 Principles Checklist (an interactive tool that allows users to determine which practical recommendations are already in place in their countries and to assess how well authorities manage assemblies).
Section 3 discusses methods for gathering the evidence necessary for monitoring compliance and building advocacy arguments. It includes illustrative case studies, helpful further reading, as well as various tools and techniques which can be employed to gather relevant evidence and data. Lastly, Section 4 provides real-life examples of research and advocacy tactics which have been used to advance rights in the context of protests.