Rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

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The Secretary-General has the honour to transmit to the members of the General Assembly the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 24/5.

The present report addresses concerns about the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of multilateral institutions.

  1. This is the second report submitted to the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur, upon the request of the Human Rights Council, in its resolution 24/5.
  2. In the report the Special Rapporteur underscores that States should guarantee the free exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association at all levels, within each State’s jurisdiction and in the international arena. Increasingly, global governance is becoming fragmented and diffused among a broad range of multilateral entities, including the more well-known ones such as the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Others are less well -known or understood, and while they are opaque in their operations, their decisions have a profound impact on the lives of ordinary people in many countries a cross the globe. The Special Rapporteur hopes in this report to assess how multilateral organizations in their actions or omissions expand or constrain civic space.
  3. The Special Rapporteur approaches the subject with the recognition that there have been and are a number of efforts/initiatives to strengthen civil society ’s participation at the multilateral level. He particularly note s the work of the Panel of Eminent Persons on United Nations-Civil Society Relations, Chaired by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, which extensively reviewed the relationship between the United Nations and civil society and produced a report that was sub mitted to the General Assembly ( A/58/817) in 2004. The Special Rapporteur also acknowledges a variety of other multilateral agencies that have or are in the process of institutionalizing mechanisms for engaging civil society organizations and groups (as well as a broader array of stakeholders) such as the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He is greatly encouraged by such initiatives and urges these institutions to ensure effective and meaningful avenues of engagement with civil society groups.
  4. The Special Rapporteur benefited greatly for this report from particip ating in an expert meeting held on 27 and 28 June 2014 in Istanbul, Turkey. He would like to sincerely thank the organizers and participants of this meeting, and those who shared their experiences through other means, including in response to his questionnaire. The Special Rapporteur, in addition, took into account relevant elements of work available within the United Nations system.

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