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Everyone has the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, which are essential components of democracy. The right of peaceful assembly includes the right to hold meetings, sit-ins, strikes, rallies, events or protests, both offline and online. The right to freedom of association involves the right of individuals to interact and organize among themselves to collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. This includes the right to form trade unions. Freedom of peaceful assembly and of association serve as a vehicle for the exercise of many other rights guaranteed under international law, including the rights to freedom of expression and to take part in the conduct of public affairs. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association is protected by article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Our work

UN Human Rights has a mandate to promote and protect the right of peaceful assembly and association. This involves providing technical advice, tools and guidance to all stakeholders on measures needed to facilitate and protect the enjoyment of these rights as well as conducting monitoring and reporting on how these rights are protected in practice. We also provide advice and monitoring of the management of protests, including on the use of force and supporting the promotion of dialogue to address the issues that underlie protests. Additionally, our work involves advising on the enabling environment and legal framework needed for the operation of associations.

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Current focus


Summary of the panel discussion on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful protests, with a particular focus on achievements and contemporary challenges - Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Hum

Who else is involved

Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

The Special Rapporteur’s mandate was created to gather and share information about global, regional and local trends and issues relating to peaceful assembly and association. It also makes recommendations on how to ensure the promotion and protection of these rights, and reports on violations, as well as discrimination, threats or use of violence, harassment, persecution, intimidation or reprisals directed at persons exercising these rights.

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Human Rights Committee

The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties. The right to peaceful assembly and association is within its scope.

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