Side event on Freedoms of association and peaceful assembly in the workplace

The side event will take place during the ​​​​​​​​​​34th session of the Human Rights Council, 27 February to 24 March 2017

In June 2016, the International Labour Conference adopted a resolution on Advancing Social Justice through Decent Work, which stressed the urgency of promoting the universal and immutable fundamental principles and rights at work, in particular freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, as rights and enabling conditions.

A few months later, at the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly held in October 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Mr. Maina Kiai, presented his final annual thematic report. The Report examines the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the workplace. It also takes important steps to further consolidate the shared conceptual and legal framework underpinning labour rights and human rights. Specifically, the report reaffirms the importance of safeguarding the rights to freedom of assembly and of association to reverse entrenched economic inequality. The report’s conclusion calls for greater alliances between human rights and labour rights actors to tackle rapidly evolving challenges.


The proposed UN Human Rights Council side event will provide an important ingress to engage in a dialogue on main challenges and opportunities to advance the rights to freedom of association and of peaceful assembly in the workplace.

It will also be an opportunity to have a common discussion on lessons learned and recommendations made by actors with complementary mandates in this field. In particular, the event will provide an opportunity to examine practical measures to better integrate the interrelated norms protecting human rights and labour rights, especially in the framework of the sustainable development goals.



The two-hour event will include a panel discussion with a diverse range of actors working on the labour and human rights dimensions of freedoms of association and peaceful assembly. This will be followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.

Moderator and speaker:
  • Mr. Maina Kiai, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
  • Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Ms. Deborah Greenfield, Deputy Director General for Policy, International Labour Organization
  • Ms. Raquel Gonzalez, Director Geneva Office, International Trade Union Confederation
  • Ms. Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director, Solidarity Center
  • Mr. Roberto Suarez-Santos, Deputy Secretary-General, International Organization of Employers
  • People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (TBA)