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Freedom of Assembly

Peaceful assembly is essential to healthy and effective democratic institutions. OGP members are sharing best practices and experiences to protect this fundamental human right.

Overview | Recommendations | Partners | Data | Documents | Commitments | Recent Posts

Overview

Peaceful assembly is the right to express, promote, pursue, and defend common interests collectively without fear of retribution – in public or private, both online and off. Forming a committed bloc of voices and acting as a group endows citizens with recognizable power. 

Around half of OGP countries perform consistently well on freedom of assembly according to independent indicators. At the same time, half of all OGP governments have challenges to freedom, including restrictions affecting demonstrations and protests and the excessive use of force. Those who face challenges are the least likely to have reforms in place. In fact, only five percent of civic space commitments involve freedom of assembly. 

OGP is working to learn from the experiences of countries performing well on freedom of assembly so that best practices can be shared, innovation increased, and leadership showcased.  

OGP’s ability to bring together government leaders and civil society advocates offers a pathway forward to address this critical issue.


Recommendations

  • Engage the justice system to protect fundamental rights and liberties by increasing people’s access to justice, decriminalizing assembly activities, and applying proportionate penalties for violations, among others. Indonesia committed to conduct and use research to design roadmaps on restorative justice related to the right to information, the right to expression, and the right to assemble.
  • Regulate the role of the police and increase their accountability during the conduct of citizen assemblies by introducing oversight mechanisms and introducing laws that limit the excessive use of force. In the wake of protests, civil society and government in Nigeria co-created a commitment that, among other things, seeks to co-create a guide on peaceful protests with the Nigerian police (in line with international legal frameworks) and organize citizen-police dialogues, working with independent bodies such as the National Human Rights Commission. 
  • Guarantee unobstructed access to social platforms and the broader web at all times to allow mobilizing, sharing, and creating content. Italy promoted its Charter of Internet Rights, which was approved by the legislature in 2015. This commitment sought to increase the public and officials’ understanding of the links between on and offline rights, including basic civil liberties such as assembly. 
  • Limit restrictions that require citizens to seek permits or notify agencies of planned assemblies. Ukraine developed a draft law on “Organising and Conducting Peaceful Events.”  
  • Create stronger frameworks that protect the freedom of assembly in a multi-level approach, from the local, state, and national/federal levels.The United States’ Police Data Initiative encourages accountability between law enforcement agencies and communities by publishing information in open data formats that can be used to jointly solve problems and inspire innovation.

Find more recommendations of actions to protect and enhance civic space here.


OGP Global Report Data

The data below is drawn from the 2019 OGP Global Report. You can view and learn more about the report here.

These are members making OGP commitments to improve their performance in the respective policy area. As members that have demonstrated political commitment through OGP, the next step is ensuring that implemented commitments have maximal impact.

Key
Indicates that member has a starred commitment in this policy area.


Resources

  1. Reforms Introduced to Protect the Freedom of Assembly

    ICNL shares examples of reforms that policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels have proposed and enacted to better…

    2022, Outbound Link, Web Page

  2. Civic Space Fact Sheet

    A look at global progress and member-level examples of civic space work in OGP

    2021, Document, PDF

  3. Actions to Protect and Enhance Civic Space

    Enhancing and protecting civic space is vital to achieving OGP’s bold goals of accelerating economic recovery, tackling systemic inequalities, and…

    2021, , Web Page

  4. People Power Under Attack 2020: A Report Based on Data from the CIVICUS Monitor

    CIVICUS shares the status of civic freedoms in 196 countries, highlights regional trends and gives recommendations for enhancing civic space.

    2020, Outbound Link, Web Page

  5. CIVICUS State of Civil Society Reports

    In CIVICUS' flagship annual publication find hundreds of pages of insight into the key trends affecting civil society organisations (CSOs)…

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  6. Transparency and Accountability Initiative's Civic Space Compendium

    Find examples of approaches, tools, and strategies from existing cross-disciplinary literature on the transparency, accountability, and civic participation space.

    2019, Outbound Link, Web Page

  7. Global Report - Freedom of Assembly

    Peaceful assembly is a bedrock of democratic institutions. It allows people to bring attention to issues, demand change, and get…

    2019, Document, PDF

  8. Protecting Civic Space: A Private Sector Priority

    2018, Perspective, Web Page

  9. Working Together to Protect Civic Space

    There can be no doubt that we are witnessing a global trend that devalues and restricts the role civil society…

    2015, , Web Page

  10. Guidelines on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

    2010, Outbound Link, Web Page


Commitments


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