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The Right to Free Assembly in the Balkans

In recent years there have been numerous high profile cycles of assemblies across the Balkan region including protests throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina during 2015; protest about the government
in Bulgaria in 2013-2014; protests for fair elections in Montenegro in 2015; the Colorful
Revolution in North Macedonia in 2016; and most recently the Justice for David campaign
in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the ‘One of Five Million’ protests in Serbia.

ECNL has been supporting local partners in the region in monitoring the levels of protection for and enabling of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly since 2015. Written by Neil Jarman, this summary report is primarily drawn from monitoring research that was carried out in 2018, but it also draws upon the findings of the earlier research of our program in 2016 and 2017.

Our joint work identified some areas of concern that will need further attention in the region, including:

– areas where the legislation needs to be further amended;

– an over bureaucratisation of the administrative procedures;

– high levels of responsibilities for organizers of assemblies;

– concerns about the levels of penalties for offences related to assemblies; and

– the limited scope of effective public accountability.

The report provides targeted recommendations to stakeholders to address each of these issues.

In the Balkan region ECNL works with the following local organizations to monitor the right to free assembly:

Albania – Partners Albania  |  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   |  Montenegro – Institute Alternative  |  Serbia – YUCOM |

 

To download the summary report in pdf format click here or read below:

Right to Free Assembly in the Balkans 2019

 

The summary report was prepared 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.