Where is our right to freedom of assembly?
The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is primarily related to the right to freedom of expression. Many international treaties including ICCPR protect the right to peaceful assembly along with the right to freedom of expression. The right to peaceful assembly is crucial as it is the foundation for public-involved governance that is based on democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and pluralism. A government’s failure to respect this right represents a sign of oppression of the public.
The right to peaceful assembly takes different forms, including;
- Demonstrations or protests
- Various types of strikes
- Assembly or Procession
- Online assembly
According to Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), everyone has the right to peaceful assembly and peaceful association, while no one is subject to forced participation in any association. Also, Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which guarantees the right to peaceful assembly states, “ 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 (order public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”1