UN Human Rights Council decides to appoint new Special Rapporteur

Today, the United Nations’ Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. The resolution not only recognizes that these freedoms are essential components of democracy, but also pays attention to their importance to the full enjoyment of civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights.

Furthermore, the resolution emphasizes the importance of being able to exercise the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association free of restrictions, subject only to the limitations permitted by international law, in particular international human rights law. This is indispensable, it further reads, to the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly where individuals may espouse minority or dissenting religious or political beliefs.

When it comes to the resolutions’ requests and recommendations, it calls upon states to respect and fully protect the rights of all individuals to assemble peacefully and associate freely, including in the ocntext of elections. Human rights defenders are mentioned alongside trade unionists, persons belonging to minorities and others as groups that ought to be included and entitled to the same freedoms in this field. Both the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and civil society, including NGOs, are encouraged to promote these rights and help states protect and observe them.

Perhaps most importantly, the resolution decides to appoint a special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The special rapporteur’s tasks are singled out in the resolution, in points 4. (a) to (h). States are further called upon to cooperate with and assist the special rapporteur, respond promptly to all his or her communications, provide him or her with all necessary information requested and consider favourably his or her requests for visits.

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