Peaceful Protests should be facilitated not suppressed says Geneva Academy

February 10, 2014

On 26 February 2014 the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights will be organising a Panel of Experts on the topic of Facilitating Peaceful Protests. The meeting will take place in the new Maison de la Paix (chemin Eugène-Rigot 2) in Geneva, from 18h00 -20h00. This is very timely as there are a lot of problems with the implementation of this aspect of freedom of assembly and expression as demonstrated again and again in this blog; most recently on 22 January (https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/human-rights-defenders-call-on-osce-to-establish-rapid-response-mechanism-in-cases-of-mass-rallies/). Freedom of assembly, and specifically for the purpose of protest, concerns every state. A state that obstructs or prevents peaceful protests, deems them unlawful, or uses force to disperse or deter them, is not only potentially violating the right to freedom of assembly but also creating conditions that invite violence. In recent protests in Cambodia, Egypt, Thailand, and Ukraine, among many others, excessive use of force by the security forces has been widely condemned. It is in the state’s own interest to ensure that protests can occur, and that they can occur peacefully. Most

The Experts Panel, which will discuss the facilitation of peaceful protests and constraints on the use of force by law enforcement personnel as well as efforts at the multilateral level to promote and protect human, will be composed of:

  • Stuart Casey-Maslen, Head of Research, Geneva Academy
  • Christof Heyns, United Nations Special, Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
  • Neil Corney, Researcher, Omega Foundation UK and expert on police use of weapons
  • Barbara Fontana, Deputy Head of Human Rights section, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN in Geneva.

It will also be the occasion to launch the new Academy Briefing on Facilitating Peaceful Protests.

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