Report on the seminar on effective measures and best practices to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests
29 January 2014
To the Human Rights Council at its 25th session
Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 22/10 of 21 March 2103 (A/HRC/RES/22/10), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights organised a seminar on effective measures and best practices to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests. This seminar took place on 2 December 2013 in Geneva at the Palais des Nations.
The seminar brought together States, United Nations entities, civil societies, and academic and research institutions. Experts were invited to share their views and experiences with participants.
Documentation from the seminar:
The report noted that many instances of peaceful protests taking place around the world illustrate the emergence of protests as an important means of exercising direct and participatory democracy. States should not perceive peaceful protests as a threat and must ensure that all sectors of society can exercise their human rights without discrimination or fear of violence when participating in peaceful protests.
The report stressed that whilst the regulation of peaceful protests through domestic legislation may be legitimate in the light of the potential challenges they pose, such regulation should, however, fully comply with international human rights norms and standards.
The report further stressed that understanding group dynamics and maintaining open lines of communication between law enforcement officials and demonstrators is essential for the adequate management of peaceful protests. In managing demonstrations, the primary concern should be prevention of violence and of the use of force by law enforcement officials. Finally, the report encouraged the Human Rights Council and others to continue exploring these issues and to record best practices on ensuring respect for human rights in the context of peaceful protests.