1. The European Convention on Human Rights only recognises the right to freedom of assemblies that are peaceful. Why is it that the word peaceful does not appear to be mentioned in the new proposed legislation?
2. Does the adjudication body PAPPB have the power to prohibit a violent public assembly?
3. Are all the proposed principles subject to the European Convention on Human Rights and if this is the case, can their conformity to the European Convention be verified?
4. Does the principle of local people providing local solutions override the right to freedom of peaceful assembly everyone has under the European Convention on Human Rights?
5. The European Convention on Human Rights recognises that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly without pre-condition. Why is it that issues arising from opposition to a peaceful public assembly should be dealt with by priority through agreement with objectors?
6. Why are dialogue and mediation not made a voluntary option that public assembly organisers may freely avail of if they wish to have recourse to this means of resolving relevant issues?
7. Could not the complexity of the mechanism that applies to all peaceful public assemblies be deemed to constitute an unjustified and disproportionate restriction to the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights?
Public meeting – open-air public meeting:
8. What is the reason for subjecting public meetings to the notification process in the same way as public processions, since the law that currently applies to open-air public meetings is wholly satisfactory?
9. Why should the present system of notification that applies to public processions be made even more complex and burdensome than it is at present through the compulsory notification of public meetings?
10. Under the new legislation would a person be entitled to organise a protest meeting against a public meeting, such as for example an open-air gospel meeting?
11. Could OFM/DFM modify by order the number of participants for which notification for public meetings will be required, for example making notification compulsory for meetings of more than 20 people?
12. Among the number of people attending a public meeting, should the passer-by who stops to observe and listen to those who for example speak, sing or play a musical instrument be counted among those who take part in the meeting?
13. Would there be monitors appointed to observe public meetings and would they have to send their report to the OPAPP, the Office of Public Assemblies, Parades and Protests?
14. Can the PAPPB make decisions that would impose requirements on public meetings such as limitations on the number of people allowed to take part in the meeting?
15. Why should a copy of the notification by the public assembly organiser be sent by OPAPP to PAPPB even before a person gives OPAPP any notice of concerns or objections?
16. Would any member of the public be entitled to receive copies of notices under sections 13, 14 and 15 if they request it?
17. Could a member of the public who notifies OPAPP that he/she wants to receive a copy of notices request that his/her name not be published by OPAPP?
18. Why do Members of Parliament, Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the local District Council, who are all politicians, need to receive a copy of all notifications of public assemblies that are sent to OPAPP?
19. Could someone who lodges a notice of concerns and objections request that his/her name not be given to the organiser of the public assembly?
20. Can the organiser of a public assembly ask for his/her name to be kept anonymous and not given to any interested persons who are entitled to receive a copy of the notification?
21. Although non-engagement by the public procession organiser in the dialogue and mediation process may not be the only factor taken into account to impose requirements on an assembly, is it fair to say that it is a factor that may well be taken into account by the PAPPB and if so, what is the difference between the proposed measures and the present process operated by the Parades Commission?
22. From notification to adjudication, does this process provide the right for the public procession organiser to obtain all the information and evidence that may be used to justify imposing requirements on a peaceful public procession?
23. Would the PAPPB have the right to withhold information from the organiser of the public assembly?
24. Would any decision made by the High Court in relation to rule 3.3 of the Parades Commission Procedural Rules, stating that all evidence provided to the Commission is confidential, apply to the procedure implemented by PAPPB?
25. Could the organiser and the objector have access to the report prepared by the mediator before it is sent to the PAPPB?
26. When there is a review of a decision made by a Panel of the PAPPB, why are the members of that Panel included in the review body?
27. Will monitors’ reports be made available to the public assembly organiser without their names or any information being redacted?
28. Should the United Kingdom flag be furled when carried in what is described a sensitive area?
29. What is the definition of sectarian harassment on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion?
30. Should a public assembly that is a peaceful assembly in accordance with the European Convention but for which no notification has been made be automatically declared unlawful on the sole grounds that it was not notified?
31. Should the organiser of any public assembly attend a voluntary evaluation of the public assembly when this is requested by objectors from OPAPP?
32. Do OFM/DFM intend to issue guidance rules that would apply to the way the Appointment Panel, PAPPB, mediators and monitors carry out their duties?
33. If OFM/DFM decides to issue guidance in relation to the Appointment Panel and OPAPP, when will this be delivered?
34. Can OPAPP and PAPPB make proposals for the review of the operation of the Act like the Parades Commission can under the present legislation in relation to the Procedural Rules, Guidelines and Code of Conduct?
Comparing the process under the current legislation and under the new proposals:
35. What is the difference between the principle of local people providing local solutions and the principle of engagement implemented by the Parades Commission?
36. What is the difference between the Parades Commission, which presently takes into account the refusal to enter engagement on behalf of the public procession organiser, and the adjudication body, which it appears will be able to do the same?
37. What is the difference between engagement required by the Parades Commission and face-to-face engagement during facilitation of dialogue and mediation under the new proposals?
38. What will be the difference between the reasons provided by PAPPB, the adjudication body, and the justifications currently given by the Parades Commission in its determinations?
Ulster Human Rights Watch, PO Box 163, Craigavon, Northern Ireland, BT65 9AH
Tel: + 44 (0) 7759212861 Fax: +44 (0) 28 38347221
Charity Ref No: XR62413 Company No: NI43494