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In 2010, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 15/21 on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (FoAA), creating the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. Over the course of the first ten years of its existence, the mandate has guided and contributed to many achievements in the protection of FoAA rights as well as civic space globally. The mandate conducted thirteen country visits and issued over 1300 communications providing action-oriented recommendations for legislative and institutional reforms as well as on calling States to stop, redress and prevent the violation of the rights to FoAA. Through its support to strategic litigation, the mandate has also offered guidance to courts at the national and regional level on how to provide effective recourse for violations of these rights. At the same time, the mandate's work in these ten years has been directed at protecting and expanding the space for civil society action.
The mandate has carried out extensive work to strengthen the normative framework for the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. That work includes the issuing of thematic reports intended to develop and clarify international standards on these rights. Many of these reports have addressed new and emerging issues, demonstrating the mandate's capacity to lead in the field and respond to people's concerns and needs. More recently, the mandate has been closely engaged in the development of a general comment on the right to peaceful assembly by the Human Rights Committee, after many years advocating for it.
The Special Rapporteur is mandated by Human Rights Council resolution 15/21 (OP5):
- "(a) To gather all relevant information, including national practices and experiences, relating to the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, to study trends, developments and challenges in relation to the exercise of these rights, and to make recommendations on ways and means to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in all their manifestations;
- (b) To incorporate in his or her first report an elaboration of the framework, including seeking the views of States, through which the mandate holder will consider best practices, including national practices and experiences, that promote and protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, taking into account in a comprehensive manner the relevant elements of work available within the Council;
- (c) To seek, receive and respond to information from Governments, nongovernmental organizations, relevant stakeholders and any other parties who have knowledge of these matters, with a view to promoting and protecting the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association;
- (d) To integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate;
- (e) To contribute to the provision of technical assistance or advisory services by the Office of the High Commissioner to better promote and protect the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association;
- (f) To report on violations, wherever they may occur, of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, as well as discrimination, threats or use of violence, harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals directed at persons exercising these rights, and to draw the attention of the Council and the High Commissioner to situations of particularly serious concern;
- (g) To undertake his or her activities such that the present mandate will not include those matters of specific competence of the International Labour Organization and its specialized supervisory mechanisms and procedures with respect to employers' and workers' rights to freedom of association, with a view to avoiding any duplication; and
- (h) To work in coordination with other mechanisms of the Council, other competent United Nations bodies and human rights treaty bodies, and to take all necessary measures to avoid unnecessary duplication with those mechanisms".
In the discharge of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur: