Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly

image of Freedom of Expression, Association and Assembly
Freedom of expression, assembly and association are part of the constituent elements necessary for the establishment of democratic societies. They encompass the essential rights inherent in a democracy to establish and participate in political parties, trade unions and nongovernmental organisations as well as freedom of the media. The right to demonstrate and protest forms an essential part of these rights.

This publication considers factors which hinder the enjoyment of these rights and posits guidelines to overcome these hindrances. It examines the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association as set out in the international and regional instruments. In doing so, it examines such limitations of these rights which are necessary in a democratic society to ensure other fundamental rights are not infringed.

An expert group was drawn up from across the Commonwealth to determine the standards applicable and how to effect them.



Effecting Minimum Standards

We have already commented on the importance of the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of association. These rights need to be not only recognised and defined, they should also be sufficiently secured so that citizens' enjoyment of these rights will be guaranteed. It is, therefore, desirable that these rights be expressly included in the Constitutions or Bills of Rights of Commonwealth member countries.


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