The United Nations Human Rights Committee has published the first draft of a proposed General Comment on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (draft General Comment).
Article 21 provides that: “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 ”. As noted in the introduction to the draft General Comment:
In societies around the world, the fundamental human right of peaceful assembly enables people to participate collectively in shaping their societies in a powerful yet peaceful way. The right of peaceful assembly is important in its own right, as it protects the ability of people to exercise autonomy while experiencing solidarity with others. Together with other rights related to political freedom, it constitutes the very foundation of a system of government based on democracy, human rights and pluralism. Peaceful assemblies play a critical role in allowing people to test ideas and approaches, and to establish the extent of support for or opposition to those ideas and approaches in the public domain. Where peaceful assemblies are used to air grievances, this may create the opportunity for the resolution of conflict in a peaceful and inclusive manner.
The Human Rights Committee will commence its first reading of the draft General Comment during the 126th session to be held in Geneva from 1-26 July 2019. Thereafter, following completion of the first reading, stakeholders will be invited to provide comments on the draft General Comment.
The draft General Comment is accessible here.
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