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Human rights - Essay Example

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“Article 11(1) of the ECHR, the freedom of assembly and association, protects an important right in a democracy but restrictions imposed in it such as the Public Order Act 1986 means that the balance is too much in favour of the interests of the state” ~ A critical evaluation Introduction Article 11(1) of the ECHR provides the right to freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly.1 The right to freedom of association safeguards the right of an individual to form or join associations, and it is seen as an essential component of democracy, safeguarding a citizen’s interests…
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Download file to see previous pages The law of protest in the UK is inherently complex, with both the common law and constitutional provisions playing significant roles. The Public Order Act 1986 is one of the major legislations that frame conditions to which protest demonstrations and marches are subject.2 This act allows the UK police to levy conditions that are deemed necessary for preventing property damage, public disorder, or stop protestors from intimidating others, while making it compulsory for the protestors to present a prior notification to the police. Failing to adhere to the stated conditions is an offence entailing arrest under the common law. Besides the Public Order Act 1986, there are various other provisions such as the stop and search provisions created under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 19843 and the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA)4 that prohibit protests and demonstrations in specific areas without prior notification and permission. For example, areas surrounding the Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square come under the SOCPA designated areas. ...
This essay critically analyses the aforementioned statement suggesting that the policing of protests as provided by the Public Order Act 1986 favours the interests of the state over the democratic rights of an individual as provided by the ECHR. Discussion Under provisions made by the ECHR, the Home Office and the police are under obligations to comply with the rights set out in the treaty; however, at the same time the provisions under the UK common law are also taken into consideration. The UK Government is required to protect all that come under its jurisdiction, which includes demonstrators, protestors, those targeted by the protestors, the public and the police.5 There are two obligation types owed by the UK under the ECHR: positive and negative. A positive obligation makes it necessary for the government to frame protective or preventive measures to secure rights listed in article 11 of the ECHR, whereas under the negative obligation they must stop from taking certain protective or preventive measures. For example, under a negative obligation the UK Government cannot place hurdles in front of those wanting to protest.6 A positive obligation, on the other hand, helps counter protests and makes it compulsory for the government to frame measures that safeguard individuals from the actions of others (such as those targeted by the protestors or business firms against whom individuals may want to protest). Article 11 of the ECHR makes provisions that safeguard the rights of protestors and demonstrators taking part in peaceful assemblies from state interference. Article 11 comprises two interlinked rights: the right not to be stopped from associating and meeting (except ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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