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The rights to freedom of assembly and of association (FoAA) are among the fundamental human rights, enshrined in the domestic law of Pakistan and the International Bill of Human Rights. These rights are among the fundamental requisites for a democracy and a vital means for exercising many other civil, political, cultural, economic and social rights, allowing people to express their political opinions, engage in artistic pursuits, engage in religious observances, form and join trade unions, elect leaders to represent their interests, and hold them accountable.

In view of this context, Bytes for All, Pakistan has launched a new report that focuses on local and international advocacy initiatives to improve Pakistan’s compliance with international human rights law and practices in relation to FoAA online. It contributes to building knowledge and understanding of the context and extent of practice of FoAA online across communities and groups, supporting the capacity and literacy of civil society organisations and individuals in terms of digital safety and security and strategies to encourage safe spaces for networking and engagement online.

The report maps the current status of FoAA in the country, including the existing legal framework; identifies potential opportunities and challenges that facilitate or restrict the freedom of peaceful assembly and of association online; and recommends strategies to ensure FoAA within the existing socio-political environment.

This report on the State of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association Online in Pakistan forms part of the baseline research conducted by the project APC-IMPACT (Advocacy for Change through Technology in India, Malaysia and Pakistan), which aims to address restrictions on the internet by promoting and protecting internet rights. A joint initiative of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and its members and partners – Digital Empowerment Foundation (India), Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER) (Malaysia) and Bytes for All (Pakistan) – the project works specifically to advance freedom of expression, freedom of information, and freedom of assembly and association as enablers of human rights and democratisation.

Do you want to know more? Download the report here.