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Independent group on marches and parades

Experts to consider ways to promote peaceful assemblies.

A new independent group on marches and parades has been set up by the Scottish Government.

The short life working group brings together experts on marches, human rights, community engagement and mediation.

It follows a commitment made in September last year to look at the issue after raised community tensions following sectarian, racist and anti-Catholic incidents.

Members will consider whether other models used to regulate marches and parades - including the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland - can be adapted and applied to Scotland.

A report of initial findings will be provided in the summer.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans Keith Brown said:

“The right to peacefully march and parade is fundamental to all democracies, but the right to march must be balanced with the rights of communities to go about their business undisturbed.

“We are determined to achieve that balance and are open to considering all options which will help to ensure that such a balance is struck.

“The findings of the expert working group will help us as we make progress on this important issue.”

Chair of the working group Professor Dominic Bryan said:

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to review marches and parades in Scotland and the mechanisms that balance the rights of marchers and the communities impacted by marches.”

Background

Membership of the Facilitating Peaceful Assemblies in Scotland: Procedures and Best Practices – Short Life Working Group:

  • Professor Dominic Bryan, (Chair) Professor at the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, Queens University Belfast. He was involved in the development of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland and has given evidence in subsequent reviews of the Commission
  • Lorraine Gillies, Chief Executive Scottish Community Safety Network. Will ensure community voices are heard as part of considerations
  • Graeme Boyack, Director of Scottish Mediation. Will ensure mediation and dialogue are part of considerations
  • Dr Michael Hamilton, Associate Professor in Public Protest Law, School of Law, University of East Anglia. Has helped review the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland and is an expert in human rights which remain central in achieve the right balance between the rights of those seeking to march and the rights of communities

Short Life Working Group remit:

To identify any challenges that are involved in the running of marches and parades and the notification process in Scotland to achieve the right balance between the human rights of organisers/participants with those communities impacted by these events. To consider how these challenges could be addressed, and the practical implications of making any changes, and make recommendations based on these.

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