The freedom of peaceful assembly and association is a cornerstone of democracy; a fundamental freedom. In the Helsinki Final Act and numerous other CSCE/OSCE agreements, all participating States have committed to protect peaceful assembly and to respect the right of individuals to associate with others, even if in so doing they voice opinions critical of the government or are generally unpopular.
Throughout the decades, the Commission has repeatedly addressed violations of freedom of assembly and association in various participating States, in hearings and briefings, meetings with representatives of governments and parliaments of countries of concern, statements, letters and other venues. The Commission has also contributed to official U.S. efforts to raise these violations, including statements at the annual OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Review meetings. Currently, prominent violators of these freedom include Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Belarus, and Russian-occupied Crimea and the Russian-separatist occupied territories of eastern Ukraine.