Free and safe to protest

Policing assemblies involving children

Young girl holding a sign during a climate change protest
UNICEF/UN0364365/Aliaga Ticona


This paper articulates child rights in the context of policing assemblies involving children, framed against States’ more general obligations regarding children’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly (RFPA). It is based on a literature review, analysis of relevant international and regional standards, the expertise of a 31-member international advisory group, focus group discussions in nine countries with 72 children and 25 young people, and a discussion with 14 law enforcement experts from 10 countries. Each key section of the paper includes detailed recommendations.

Children have been organizing and acting to promote and defend their own rights and the rights of others, and there is documented evidence that they have been doing so since the 1880s. Article 15 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) sets out the RFPA specifically for children. Children’s RFPA is important for their personal development, their participation in political and public affairs, and for catalysing local, national and global change.

Young girl holding a sign during a climate change protest
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