“Our hope is that FOAA Online! will make it easier for lawyers to use international law in cases related to assembly and association rights, and that more judges will eventually take this law into account,” said Maina Kiai, former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly. “The arguments are ready to use and cover a fairly comprehensive range of topics. Lawyers simply need to adapt them to their case facts.”
The tool is based on international law, standards, and principles, and was launched by Maina Kiai, who expressed his gratitude to the Open Society Justice Initiative and the American Bar Association’s Justice Defenders Program for their contributions.
FOAA Online! went live in April 2017 with limited content. It has been added to significantly since then, and the complete research tool is expected to be available in late June 2017.
The tool is organised by thematic topics and sub-questions in order to direct users as straightforwardly as possible to relevant legal arguments. The setup allows users to link the facts and incidents in their cases to pertinent legal questions. Themes and questions are focused on the most widespread issues experienced by those exercising their assembly and association rights around the globe.
The idea for FOAA Online! grew out of the Special Rapporteur’s litigation project, which was started in 2014 to advance the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association through the use of litigation in national and regional courts. Experience from that project, Kiai said, showed that lawyers, judges and litigants were often not that familiar with international law and standards relevant to assembly and association rights.
“I encourage everyone not only to use FOAA online!, but also to spread the news about its existence in order to help enhance the promotion and protection of assembly and association rights worldwide,” Kiai added.
This article was first published as part of the newsletter of the Human Rights Houses and HRHF. Sign up to receive news and insight into human rights issues and country situations, the projects and activities of Human Rights Houses, and portraits and interviews with human rights defenders.
Launch of FOAA Online!
FOAA Online! will be publicly launched at a side event to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 5 June.
Special Rapporteur on freedoms of assembly and association
Maina Kiai’s final report to the Human Rights Council, Mapping the Achievements of Civil Society, was launched on 24 May, and will be presented at the Human Rights Council in June.
Maina Kiai completed his term as Special Rapporteur on 30 April, 2017. His successor, Annalisa Ciampi of Italy, began her term on 1 May.