Call for inputs from the Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé on the upcoming country visit to Sri Lanka (18 – 26 July 2019)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé, will undertake an official county visit to Sri Lanka from 18 to 26 July 2019.
The Special Rapporteur will assess issues related to the exercise of the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the country and will present a report to the 44th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2020.

During country visits, the Special Rapporteur pays attention to a number of issues, including:

 - Legal framework in place to guarantee the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association (including key Supreme Court and Circuit Court cases);

- Procedural and practical measures for holding peaceful assemblies/protests, including issues of authorisation versus notification and access to public space; legal and practical limitations to the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly;

- Facilitation and management of assemblies/protests by law enforcement officials, including relevant guidelines and training; internal and external oversight mechanism in case of excessive use of force by law enforcement officials;

- Human rights monitoring of assemblies/protests;

 - Formation and functioning of associations; ability of associations to access financial resources; termination, suspension and dissolution of associations;

 - Situation of labour unions, e.g. right to join labour unions, right to strike, right to collective bargaining; extent of possible anti-union activities (discourse, policy, legislation, practice); exercise of right to freedom of association by migrant workers;

 - Campaign/political party financing and how this may affect the freedom of association and public participation; regulation of political party financing compared to other entities, including private sector; other associations engaged in campaign financing and what role they play;

 - Possible instances of surveillance of associations, protest/social movements working on human rights, environmental/trade/labour/economic issues;

 - Possible impact of counter-terrorism measures and emergency legislation on the enjoyment of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, including the possible impact of counter-terrorism policy on civil society associations in other countries;

 - Situation of groups often most at risk when exercising or seeking to exercise the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and/or of association: persons with disabilities; youth, including children; women; sexual minorities; members of other minority groups; indigenous peoples; and migrant workers;

 - Effective remedy and accountability for violations of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

In this context, the Special Rapporteur is looking for information on the following topics related to his mandate amongst others:

  • Good practices in relation to the exercise of the rights of peaceful assembly and association
  • Key issues and challenges when exercising the rights of peaceful assembly and association
  • Potential areas to visit in the country
  • Relevant organisations and individuals to meet in the context of the Special Rapporteur's visit to Sri Lanka
  • Any other relevant information related to the Special Rapporteur’s mandate that you consider to be timely for the preparation of the visit of the Special Rapporteur.

Civil society actors and all interested stakeholders are encouraged to submit general inputs and specific proposals in relation to the above mentioned points to freeassembly@ohchr.org  before, during and after the visit but preferably by 25 June 2019. Kindly indicate in the subject of your email Submission for country visit to Sri Lanka.

During the visit, the Special Rapporteur wishes to meet with civil society organisations, independent institutions working on human rights, human rights defenders and other stakeholders working on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The schedule and venues of meetings with civil society representatives will be shared in due course.