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Monitoring the Right to Free Assembly in 12 Countries – 2018

The right to free assembly is an indispensable element of democracy and a healthy civil society. Recent years have seen a new era of mass protests, but also a significant increase in practical restrictions on the right in Western Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries. The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) supports its network of local partners (in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia and Ukraine) to monitor local laws, observe protests, report challenges and engage in the legal reform process to protect and promote this fundamental right.

This year’s monitoring reports build on previous efforts and explore issues that are of relevance for all the participating countries. Accordingly, beyond the legal framework, the reports also look at the role of civil administration, policing, criminalization of protesters, as well as the overarching issue of accountability manifesting in all of these aspects:

ECNL worked with the following local organizations to monitor the right to free assembly so that partners’ advocacy efforts are strengthened:

Albania – Partners Albania  |  Armenia – Helsinki Committee of Armenia  |  Belarus – Human Rights Center “Viasna”, Belarusian Helsinki Committee and Human Constanta |  Bosnia and Herzegovina – Civil Rights Defenders  |  Bulgaria – Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law |  Croatia – Human Rights House Zagreb |Kosovo – GAP Institute for Advanced Studies  |  Macedonia – Reactor  |  Moldova – PromoLEX  |  Montenegro – Institute Alternative  |  Serbia – YUCOM |  Ukraine – Center for Civil Liberties

The report on Bulgaria is also available in Bulgarian, on BCNL’s website.


The monitoring reports were conducted as part of the ‘Monitoring the Right to Free Assembly’ regional project, managed by ECNL. The project is made possible by ICNL through the Civic Space Initiative, financed by the Government of Sweden.  The report on Ukraine was developed under the Legal Enabling Environment Program (LEEP II) implemented by ICNL, made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The report on Bulgaria has been developed within the framework of the “Support to Civil Society Organizations Continued and Expanded” Project implemented by the BCNL and financed by America for Bulgaria Foundation. The report on Croatia was co-funded with the support of the National Foundation for Civil Society Development.