Delegate Name: Tessa Stanley
Peaceful protest can be a powerful force for political change. However, in recent years speculation on what classifies as ‘peaceful protest’, as well as how and when police should respond to protests, has captured considerable interest around the world. The 2020 protests following George Floyd’s murder attracted international attention and outrage regarding the United States’ use of police force. Currently, there is no internationally recognized right to peaceful protest, and in many countries, national security and rule of law establishes priority over this right to peacefully protest. Germany aims to establish an internationally recognized understanding of what constitutes peaceful protest, and to instate protections towards such demonstrations.
As a country whose history of peaceful protest has shaped its union, Germany recognizes and respects the importance of protest and peaceful demonstrations. In 1989, the East German peaceful protest against the Communist regime and its subsequent publicization was a major turning point that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which united East Germany and West Germany. This experience with peaceful protest shaped Germany’s stance on the topic as it became focused on protecting the rights of protesters. The United Nations Human Rights Commission created Article 19, which emphasizes that the right to peaceful protest extends to online protest, and such a right cannot be violated by blocking websites or Internet access. It also protects the rights of journalists reporting on such protests. Germany has signed Article 19, and wishes to instate further protections for protesters and to define in clear terms what constitutes a peaceful protest.
Germany strongly suggests that the Social Humanitarian and Cultural Committee works together to establish an internationally recognized right to peaceful protest. Germany will provide protection for protesters and support legislation which limits police involvement. Police involvement can unintentionally escalate violence; a limited police involvement will allow for any aggressors to be countered while allowing the continuation of peaceful protest. Additionally, Germany recommends requiring permits for peaceful protests so that authorities can be notified beforehand of any demonstrations. This will better allow for protection of protesters.