Article 11 - Freedom of assembly and association

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.

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.

What does this right mean?

Everyone has the right to assemble with other people in a peaceful way. They also have the right to associate with other people, which includes the right to form a trade union. These rights may be restricted only in specified circumstances.

When could this be relevant?

  • Workers’ right to join or not join a workers’ union

  • People receiving care services and their families may protest about the quality of care

  • The right to form a voluntary group or association

Story example of Article 11 issue

David lives at home and is supported by care workers on a daily basis. David is in a wheelchair and is unable to leave his apartment without someone accompanying him. A friend takes David out on a disability rights march. Once they get to the march they find the route has been diverted so as to avoid clashing with a different demonstration in the city. The new route has lots of shallow steps, cobbles and steep hills and is inaccessible to David and so he has to go home and miss the protest. He writes an angry letter of protest to the local council about the route change.