Treaty Bodies | ISHR submission to Human Rights Committee on right of peaceful assembly


The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is an essential one for human rights defenders. It enables them to voice their opinions, rally popular support and move for positive social change. ISHR has underlined the importance of the right of peaceful assembly in a recent submission to the UN Human Rights Committee. 

The ISHR submission was made ahead of a discussion with the UN Human Rights Committee regarding their upcoming General Comment on article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the right of peaceful assembly.  

“In too many places, we see restrictions to the right of peaceful assembly,” says ISHR’s Vincent Ploton. “These range from limitations to where public protests can be held to violent repression of pickets. These restrictions need to stop.”

ISHR’s submission draws on jurisprudence from regional, national, and international bodies relevant to the right to freedom of assembly as well as laws that States use to limit that right. The submission also references the Model Law on the recognition and protection of human rights defenders, which includes key provisions on implementing the right to peaceful assembly at the national level.

“Protecting the right to freedom of peaceful assembly is imperative, and the Human Rights Committee must do its part for its protection,” said Ploton in his address to the Committee. “The lives of defenders and those they advocate for depend on it.”  

The full text of ISHR’s submission as well as more information on General Comment 37 can be found on the Committee’s webpage.

ISHR is grateful for the assistance of DLA Piper in preparing its submission.

Update: The Committee began its first reading of draft General Comment 37 in July 2019 and finalised its review in November 2019. Thereafter, the Committee published its revised draft and called for comments from all interested stakeholders.

ISHR presented a new submission to the Committee in response to its call for comments, the full text of ISHR’s submission can be found here, as well as more information on the revised draft General Comment 37 on the Committee’s webpage.



Vincent Ploton

Tess McEvoy


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