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Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
26 June 2023
With his report to be presented at the 78th session of the General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, aims to examine and shed light on the important role these fundamental freedoms play in advancing positive peace and transition to democratic governance. The report will highlight how, through the effective facilitation of the safe exercise of these freedoms, victims, communities, social movements, and civil society can contribute to advancing inclusive peace and democratic transition processes, which can end violence, achieving sustainable and just peace, and democracy.
In his report, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association seeks to identify and highlight the specific and differentiated challenges or barriers that individuals and groups face, when exercising the respective rights, in the context of peace and democratic transition processes. The report will also highlight the important contributions made through inclusive participation of different groups in these processes, facilitated by the full enjoyment of these freedoms. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur will seek to identify positive strategies undertaken by local, regional and international actors, including the United Nations bodies, aimed at creating an enabling environment for the enjoyment of these freedoms, to ensure the meaningful inclusion of civil society, protest and social movements, as well as communities and victims, throughout peace and democratic transition processes.
Scope of the report: The report covers the periods of transition from armed conflicts, political violence, or authoritarian regimes to budding sustainable peace and the establishment of democratic governance.
This report will build and expand on the previous work conducted by the Special Rapporteur, highlighting the importance of these fundamental freedoms in preserving peace, preventing conflict and in fostering peace-making, to ensure an inclusive and sustainable peace. In his previous report (A/HRC/50/42) to the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, dedicated to protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protest in crisis situations, the Special Rapporteur called on States to enable and protect peaceful protests in crisis and conflict settings. He emphasized the need to embrace protests as an opportunity, instead of a threat. The Special Rapporteur also highlighted the important role these fundamental freedoms play in facilitating participation of affected communities in solving crises, creating space that enables inclusive dialogue, peaceful negotiations and transition.
The Special Rapporteur recalls that civil society has been instrumental in facilitating dialogue, in promoting peaceful resolutions to end conflicts and transition to democracy, as well as in ensuring that voices of affected communities are included and considered. Within the frame of thriving rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the full inclusion of civil society, protest and social movements in peace and democratic transition processes, would ensure that these processes are inclusive, participatory, and locally accepted; and would guarantee the buy-in and legitimacy of their outcomes.
Through this report, the Special Rapporteur will also explore ways of reversing trends where civil society, protest movements, victims’, and marginalized groups, have been deliberately excluded as parties from peace negotiations and democratic transition processes aimed at achieving political settlements. This has resulted in short-lived settlements, undermining of rights to justice and accountability, and deepening of political instability, conflicts, discrimination, marginalisation and social divisions.
Importantly, the Special Rapporteur will also contribute to the realisation of the Secretary General’s New Agenda for Peace, with this report. It is notable that this agenda aims at putting inclusion at the centre of peace-making efforts. Indeed, as the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed reiterated, “[w]e know that inclusive processes are more likely to be effective, and to bring about sustainable peace."[*]
Submissions can be made to [email protected] by 26 June 2023 in English, French or Spanish.
Kindly indicate in the subject of your email “Submission to GA 78 report – Sustainable Peace.”
All submissions will be published on this page, unless otherwise indicated in your submission.