The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association (Special Rapporteur) is calling for submissions for his next thematic report on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association in the digital age. As noted in the call for submissions:
“The increasing use of the Internet, in particular social media and other information and communication technologies, constitutes a fundamental tool of enablement for individuals and groups to organize peaceful assemblies and associate with one another. The utmost importance of information technologies to enjoy the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association has already been underlined in the 2013 report published by the mandate (A/HRC/23/39). However, at the same time caution was advised under the mandate against the implementation of regulations and practices that seek to curb the enjoyment of these rights online.”
The issues for input are as follows:
- Definition of assembly and association online, including the delineation of the two notions in the digital space, and relevant distinctions between online and offline enjoyment of these freedoms.
- Freedom of assembly and association online as enabling the enjoyment of other rights, including best practices toward this aim.
- Limitations on and restrictions to assembly and association online (including references to specific cases; surveillance before, during and after assembly; the relationship between online and offline surveillance, and the legal implications of such measures).
- Responsibilities beyond the primary responsibility of the state, including the responsibilities of intermediaries.
Additionally, the following questions are posed specifically to states:
- What measures are in place in your country to guarantee the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association online?
- Do you encounter impediments or challenges to ensuring the enjoyment of these rights in your country?
Furthermore, the following questions are posed specifically to ICT businesses and other industry stakeholders:
- How do you understand your role in ensuring the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association online?
- Do you currently undertake to perform measures or activities to ensure the enjoyment of these specific rights online?
- At present, do you encounter obstacles or challenges to your efforts to guarantee the enjoyment of these rights online?
The deadline for submissions is 15 February 2019, and should be emailed to [email protected] under the title “Submission to digital FoAA report”.
The call for submissions is accessible here.
Please note: The information contained in this note is for general guidance on matters of interest, and does not constitute legal advice. For any enquiries, please contact us at [email protected].