ACHPR61 | Guidelines on freedom of association and assembly launched at African Commission


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ISHR is pleased to have contributed to the creation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights’ Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa, providing authoritative guidance to States to ensure that law, policy and practice conform with regional and international human rights standards.


In response to threats to civil society space in several countries across Africa, on 3 November 2017, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (‘the Commission’) officially launched a new set of guidelines on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association during its 61st session.

The guidelines were adopted in May 2017 during the 60th session of the Commission held in Niamey, Niger. They provide valuable guidance to States, and a monitoring and accountability tool to NGOs, on the legislative protection and practical implementation of the rights of freedom of association and assembly in Africa. States should refer to the guidelines both in developing new laws and policies and reviewing existing laws and policies so as to ensure conformity with regional and international protection standards.

Drafting the guidelines took two years and involved consultations across Africa with legal experts, NGOs, governments, academics and national human rights institutions. As a coordinator of a study group mandated by the Commission to carry out a study and to develop the guidelines, ISHR contributed significantly to the drafting of these new standards. 

‘The adoption of these guidelines responds to Africa’s urgent need to counter restrictive laws on the continent,’ said Clément Voule, ISHR’s African Advocacy Director and the coordinator of the study group. ‘It provides State parties with an authoritative interpretation of how to give full effect to the rights to freedom of association and assembly, as provided for in the African Charter and other relevant international standards.'

Download the English version here.
Téléchargez la version française ici.

Contact: Clément Voule:


Photo: ACHPR



  • Africa
  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights