by Priya Pillai
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has adopted General comment No. 37 on the right of peaceful assembly emanating from Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The final document was made available last week, and can be found here.
Professor Dire Tladi in the Department of Public Law and a Fellow at the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria futures in Issue 5 of the Legal Pages, July 2020, (page 7 to 12) on ‘The impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on International Law, Human Rights and State Responsibility.’
The Legal Pages interview with Tladi is based on his appointment to serve on the Institut de Droit’s Commission on Pandemics and International Law. In this article, he shares his professional experience, the multifarious roles of international law in these dire times, and inter alia, his passion for fiction writing. He also has a strong message for law and policymakers across the Africa continent: 'The people of this continent need strong leaders to take them out of the abyss of poverty. Lead for them!'
The United Nations Human Rights Committee last week adopted comprehensive standards on the way in which States should deal with peaceful assemblies. These guidelines are authoritative for the 173 States in the world that have ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The 18-member committee of international experts adopted the General Comment as the culmination of a two-year process. The process was led by Professor Christof Heyns, former Director of the Centre for Human Rights, current Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria and a member of the Committee. He was supported by colleagues in the Faculty of Law and a doctoral student from Kenya.
World Justice Project Executive Director Elizabeth Andersen is joined by Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria and member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, on WJP’s Rule of Law Talk Podcast to discuss the right of peaceful assembly. A new General Comment issued this week by the United Nations Human Rights Committee provides guidance on this topic at a critical moment, with protest movements on the rise across the globe, and many countries grappling with the appropriate response—something that has become even more complicated with the COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions on large gatherings.
The audio podcast is available at WJP.
GENEVA (29 July 2020) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association has hailed as groundbreaking an authoritative new interpretation that the right to peaceful assembly extends to digital activities.
“I am excited by this truly landmark affirmation that protection of the right to peaceful assembly extends to remote participation, including online assemblies,” said Clément N. Voule, reacting to a document released by the UN Human Rights Committee today. “It is particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many peaceful gatherings have moved online.”