The Article 11 Trust welcomes the publication in December 2020 of a new edition of the Handbook on Monitoring Freedom of Peaceful Assembly, by the OSCE’s Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
ODIHR is the principal institution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and is active in 30 countries throughout Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North America in the areas of elections, human rights, democracy, rule of law, and tolerance and non-discrimination.
This revised second edition of the Handbook is the first update since 2014 and incorporates key information gathered during ODIHR’s training programme for assembly monitors. Changes have been made with expert contributions by, amongst others, civil society organisations including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (based in the Netherlands) and from Britain, the Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol) who are one of our partners and funded by the Article 11 Trust. Netpol has delivered training on monitoring assemblies to organisations based in central and eastern Europe.
The Handbook is intended as a practical tool for monitoring assemblies and the new edition has been updated to include more checklists, templates and examples from direct observation of public gatherings. It places a greater emphasis on diversity, equality and inclusion and on safety and security issues, particularly when faced with disproportionate use of force by state authorities.
The update also looks in more depth at using monitoring data and reports, not only for influencing the way assemblies are policed but also as a basis for litigation and capacity building. We are please to see the Handbook has drawn on guidance on legal observers produced by Green and Black Cross, who have also received support from the Article 11 Trust.