The International Human Rights Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly

Kiribati is not a State Party to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 21 of which governs the right of peaceful assembly. 

The right of peaceful assembly is, though, a fundamental human right that is part of the corpus of customary international law. It is also a general principle of law.See Art. 38(1), 1945 Statute of the International Court of Justice.

There is not yet a regional human rights treaty to which Pacific nations can adhere despite discussions going back decades as to the possibility of establishing a regional mechanism.

The Domestic Legal Framework on the Right of Peaceful Assembly

Constitutional Provisions

Under Section 3 of the 1979 Constitution, every person in Kiribati is entitled to freedom of assembly.

National Legislation

There is not believed to be specific legislation governing assembly in Kiribati.

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

Section 39(1) of the 2008 Police Act of Kiribati provides that police may use "reasonably necessary" force in the execution of their duties.

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

With respect to firearms, Section 40 of the 2008 Act allows force that is likely to cause grievous harm or death in the event that it seeks to arrest or prevent the escape of a person who has committed, is committing, or is about to commit an offence punishable by life imprisonment. 

This is more permissive than international law allows. 

State Compliance with its Legal Obligations

Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies

Kiribati is not a State Party to the ICCPR.

In the 2015 Universal Periodic Review of Kiribati under the UN Human Rights Council, the right of peaceful assembly was not addressed.


1979 Constitution of Kiribati - Download (322 KB)
2008 Police Act of Kiribati - Download (3 MB)