Human Rights Issues

Protesting is a fundamental right: UN


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNCAT, ICCPR, Art. 21

Mains level: Right to peaceful assembly

As authorities worldwide grapple with demonstrations over issues like political rights and racial justice, a UN committee has reaffirmed that protesting peacefully, online or in person, is a fundamental human right.

Practice question for mains:

Q.There is an urgent need for reforming the criminal justice system in India in light of rising cases of custodial torture and killings. Comment.

What is the news?

  • The independent experts on the Human Rights Committee published a fresh interpretation of the right of peaceful assembly.
  • It offered comprehensive legal guidance about where and how it applies and also outlining governments’ obligations.
  • The committee is tasked with monitoring how countries implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which under Article 21 guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.


  • The ICCPR is a multilateral treaty adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution on 16 December 1966, and in force from 23 March 1976.
  • The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.
  • As of September 2019, the Covenant has 173 parties and six more signatories without ratification.
  • It is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • It is monitored by the UN Human Rights Committee (a separate body to the UN Human Rights Council).

Back2Basics: Article 21

  • Article 21 is the protection of life and personal liberty No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
  • The Article prohibits the deprivation of the above rights except according to a procedure established by law.
  • Article 21 applies to natural persons. The right is available to every person, citizen or alien. Thus, even a foreigner can claim this right.
  • It, however, does not entitle a foreigner the right to reside and settle in India, as mentioned in Article 19 (1) (e).

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