This article reviews ongoing work to increase awareness of, and raise standards in relation to, freedom of peaceful assembly across Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia. The work is led by the Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OCSE). The article begins by highlighting the importance of freedom of peaceful assembly within democratic societies, and then describes the development of the ODIHR Guidelines on Peaceful Assembly. The article outlines some of the key issues of contention relating to the regulation of freedom of assembly, and discusses the process of reviewing the existing and draft legislation against the standards articulated in the Guidelines. In this context, the article also explores the potential for constructive engagement between government, civil society, and the OSCE to facilitate legislative amendments that respect key human rights norms and principles. Finally, the article reviews recent developments in training monitors of public assemblies with the aim of building local monitoring capacity and thus developing an evidence base of the practical implementation of laws relating to freedom of peaceful assembly.
- transitional justice
- freedom of assembly