Protesting a fundamental right: UN Human Rights Committee

• Development comes at a time of worldwide protests in support of political rights and racial justice.

• UNHRC is body of 18 independent experts that monitors implementation of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Key Points raised by UNHRC:

• It is a fundamental human right for people to gather to celebrate or to air grievances, in public and in private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online.

• Everyone, including children, foreign nationals, women, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, can exercise the right of peaceful assembly.

• Governments could not prohibit protests by making “generalised references to public order or public safety, or an unspecified risk of potential violence”.

• Governments cannot block internet networks or close down any website because of their roles in organising or soliciting a peaceful assembly.

• Journalists and human rights observers have a right to monitor and document any assembly, including those that are violent and unlawful.

Indian context on Right to Protest:

• Article 19(1)(b) assures citizens the right to assemble peaceably and without arms.

• In 2012, SC on Ramlila Maidan Incident had stated that right to assembly and peaceful protest is a fundamental right.

About ICCPR:

• ICCPR is a key international human rights treaty, providing a range of protections for civil and political rights.

• ICCPR, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, are considered the International Bill of Human Rights.

• ICCPR under Article 21 guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.

• It was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1966 & India has ratified the Convention in 1979.

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Mains Paper 2: International

Prelims level: UN Human Rights Committee

Mains level: Key Points raised by UNHRC

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