Half-Day General Discussion in preparation for a General Comment on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Palais Wilson, 20 March 2019

On the occasion of its 125th session, to be held in Geneva from 4 to 29 March 2019, the Human Rights Committee will hold a half day of general discussion in preparation for a General Comment on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

Article 21

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 in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Object and purpose of the half-day of general discussion

The purpose of the general discussion is to commence the Committee’s process of developing a General Comment on article 21, in light of the Committee’s experience obtained in the review of State reports and communications on this right. The aim of the General Comment is to provide appropriate and authoritative guidance to States Parties and other actors on the measures to be adopted to ensure full compliance with the rights protected under this provision. 


The Committee designated Christof Heyns as the Rapporteur for the drafting of the General Comment. A note has been prepared by the Rapporteur for the half-day of general discussion. It includes a list of questions which is illustrative and not exhaustive. It reflects some of the main aspects which the Rapporteur plans to cover in the first draft of the General Comment. Stakeholders are invited to draw attention to aspects not listed in the note.

Date and venue

The half-day discussion will take place in a plenary meeting of the Committee at the Palais Wilson, 20 March 2019, Geneva, from 10 to 13 hrs. The discussion will be webcast.


The Human Rights Committee invites National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), members of civil society, academia and international organizations to participate. Interpretation will be provided in all UN official languages, i.e. Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Written Contributions

Those  wishing to submit written contributions are welcome to do so. Submissions should be sent electronically in Word format to the Secretariat ( indicating "Half-Day General Discussion on Article 21” as the subject by 4 March 2019.

Documents may be submitted in English, French or Spanish. Please note that written contributions will not be translated by OHCHR. As most Committee members use English as their working language, documents submitted in French and Spanish should, to the extent possible, be translated into English.

Written contributions, assuming they arrive in the Secretariat by the deadline provided, will be posted on the website for the half-day of general discussion.


Those wishing to participate orally should inform the Secretariat ( by 4 March 2019, after which date time for presentations will be allocated. Those who have provided written contributions in advance will be given priority for oral presentations.

Following the presentations, Committee members will have an opportunity to ask questions of and receive responses from the presenters. If time remains, there will be a further opportunity for comments by participants.


Following the discussion, the Rapporteur will produce a draft of the General Comment which will be presented to the Committee for a first reading in a closed meeting during its July session. The text resulting from the first reading will be made public, on the Human Rights Committee’s webpage, for comments by all interested parties, including States, before the second reading.


Please register using the UNOG platform by 4 March 2019.


  • Agenda
  • Note
  • Written contributions
  • Oral statements
Country-specific information