Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly

image of Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly
Freedom of expression, assembly and association are part of the constituent elements necessary for the establishment of democratic societies. They encompass the essential rights inherent in a democracy to establish and participate in political parties, trade unions and nongovernmental organisations as well as freedom of the media. The right to demonstrate and protest forms an essential part of these rights.

This publication considers factors which hinder the enjoyment of these rights and posits guidelines to overcome these hindrances. It examines the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association as set out in the international and regional instruments. In doing so, it examines such limitations of these rights which are necessary in a democratic society to ensure other fundamental rights are not infringed.

An expert group was drawn up from across the Commonwealth to determine the standards applicable and how to effect them.



Freedom of Assembly and Association

Freedom of assembly and association are universally considered to be not only fundamental human rights but also essential to sustained economic and social progress and a basic underpinning of democracy within and between nations. They are implicit in the Commonwealth commitment to democratic participation and fundamental human rights set out and underlined in the Harare Declaration. As we have seen in Chapter One they are also set out in a number of international instruments to which the majority of Commonwealth countries are parties.


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