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Compilation of Venice Commission opinions concerning freedom of association

Adopted on: July 2014 (revised version)
Reference number: CDL-PI(2014)004 Adopted by: European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)
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This document is a compilation of extracts taken from opinions and reports/studies adopted by the Venice Commission on issues concerning the freedom of association. The aim of this compilation is to give an overview of the doctrine of the Venice Commission in this field. Each opinion presented refers to a concrete country. The document includes a thorough definition of freedom of association stressing the fact that all groups in society (including foreigners) should have the freedom to participate in associative life as this contributes to the development of a strong democratic civil society. Freedom of association entails both the positive right to enter and form an association and the negative right not to be compelled to join an association that has been established pursuant to civil law. One of the opinions cited in the compilation underlines that no restrictions may be placed on the exercise of the right of associations other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. The reader can find here legal explanations of such issues as: the legal status of NGOs, funding and registering a civil society organisation, liability and dissolution of an NGO, issues related to so called “foreign-funded NGOs”. A separate chapter of the document deals with the issues related to the functioning of religious and belief organisations.

Youth specific: No

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