The International Human Rights Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly

Andorra is a state party to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 21 governs the right of peaceful assembly, providing that:

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Andorra is also a state party to the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, which allows individuals to petition the Human Rights Committee if they believe the state has violated their human rights as protected under the Covenant.

At regional level, Andorra is a state party to the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights. Article 11 governs freedom of assembly and association:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.

The Domestic Legal Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly

Constitutional Provisions

The 1993 Constitution of the Principality of Andorra makes the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights binding on Andorra. According to Article 16 of the Constitution:

The right to meet and assemble for any lawful purpose shall be respected. The exercise of the right of assembly requires that the authorities be notified in advance, and shall not prevent the free movement of goods and persons.

National Legislation

It is not known if there is specific legislation governing public assemblies.

The Legal Framework on Use of Force During Assemblies

The Use of Force

International Legal Rules

Under international law, the duty on the state and its law enforcement agencies is to facilitate the enjoyment of the right of peaceful assembly. According to the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials:

In the dispersal of assemblies that are unlawful but non-violent, law enforcement officials shall avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, shall restrict such force to the minimum extent necessary.

All force used by police and other law enforcement agencies must be necessary for a legitimate law enforcement purpose and proportionate to that purpose.

National Legislation

The extent to which national legislation specifically governs police use of force during assemblies is not known. The 2005 Penal Code proscribes torture or degrading treatment by, among others, police officers.

The Use of Firearms

International Legal Rules

According to the 1990 United Nations Basic Principles, in the dispersal of violent assemblies, a law enforcement official may only use a firearm against a specific individual where this is necessary to confront an imminent threat of death or serious injury or a grave and proximate threat to life. 

National Legislation

The extent to which national legislation specifically governs police use of firearms during assemblies is not known.

State Compliance with its Legal Obligations

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

Andorra has not come before the Human Rights Committee in recent years. Its 2015 Universal Periodic Review did not address the right of peaceful assembly.

Regional Jurisprudence

There have been no cases against Andorra before the European Court of Human Rights concerning alleged violations of the right of peaceful assembly or excessive police use of force against demonstrators.

Downloads

1993 Constitution of Andorra - Download (399 KB)
2005 Penal Code (French version) - Download (901 KB)
1989 Decree on Firearms - Download (116 KB)