Explanation of Position on a Third Committee Resolution on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Ambassador Kelley Currie
U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
November 20, 2018


The United States is pleased to present this resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of association. We decided to put forward this resolution to call attention to the threats and attacks many individuals are facing around the world for peacefully assembling, covering protests as a journalist or media worker, or serving as mediators between the government and those protesting.

This new resolution for the first time ever in Third Committee draws the international community’s attention to the alarming increase in governments violating fundamental freedoms, particularly peaceful assembly and association. Peaceful protests are often met with violence from government security forces, resulting in the deaths of those who are using their voice to speak out against corruption and misrule. State and non-state actors are also violating these freedoms online increasingly through internet shutdowns and censorship of internet content, particularly during online gatherings related to upcoming elections.

This resolution urges governments and non-state actors to immediately end these attacks. The text also highlights different types of individuals who are facing these threats including civil society, human rights defenders, student protestors, journalists and media workers, among others. The resolution also reaffirms the importance of respecting and promoting fundamental freedoms including the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association in a way that the Third Committee has not done before – through a separate text versus addressing these issues in a few paragraphs in various other resolutions.

The United States and our 76 co-sponsors stand firm in our commitment to the promotion and protection of fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression, and peaceful assembly, association, and religion or belief, and we hope that this resolution will be adopted by consensus. We also want to thank all delegations for their constructive engagement during our informal consultations.