2012 News Archive

21 December 2012: CSR to Soon Become Compulsary Under Law: Companies Bill 2011 Passed by Lok Sabha
The Lok Sabha has passed the Companies Bill 2011. The Bill includes provision for a mandatory 2% CSR contribution by companies.

20 December 2012: ICNL Announces the Civic Space Initiative
ICNL, Article 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy are pleased to announce a three-year project that aims to protect and expand civic space by fostering an enabling legal environment for civil society organizations.

12 December 2012: Promoting Civic Space: 2011-2012 Annual Report
ICNL recently released its 2011-2012 annual report which showcases highlights from the past year.

5 December 2012: Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund: Grant Program to Support Advocacy for Civil Society Legal Reform
ICNL is pleased to invite applications from CSOs for Lifeline grants to support short-term, discrete advocacy initiaties that seek to support civil society law reform.

20 November 2012: UNHRC Adopts Resolution on Freedom of Assembly and Association
ICNL welcomes the adoption of a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution that further strengthens the protection of freedom of association and assembly.

11 October 2012: Freedom of Association Fund - Middle East and North Africa Region
ICNL is pleased to announce a Freedom of Association Fund - Middle East North Africa Region to support innovative, results-oriented activities designed to promote the right to association or civil society law reform.

5 October 2012: ICNL – USAID partnership strengthens legal framework for civil society in Tunisia
In a recent IMPACT blog post, USAID acknowledged ICNL’s ongoing work to improve the legal framework for civil society in Tunisia following the Arab Spring.

3 October 2012: Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund: UN General Assembly side event
ICNL President Douglas Rutzen presented remarks on civil society legal trends at the UN General Assembly side event held September 25.

29 September 2012: "Civil Society - Principles and Protections" (IJNL Vol. 14 Iss. 3), now available
This issue of the International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law features two major studies of civil society’s principles and protections. First is “Defending Civil Society,” a detailed report on the threats facing civil society today. In addition, Nick Gallus, Counsel at the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, analyzes the bilateral investment treaty between the United States and Egypt.

3 August 2012: ICNL launches two new Thematic Portals
ICNL's Thematic Portals contain selected publications on a variety of subjects related to civil society law. The two newest Thematic Portals are on the UN Special Rapporteur and Aid Effectiveness.

20 July 2012: Russian Bill targeting foreign-funded NGOs is approved
On July 18, 2012, the Soviet of the Federation approved the draft law after the lower house of the Duma adopted it on July 13. The draft law will soon be submitted to President Putin for signature.

11 July 2012: New Civic Freedom Monitor reports on Belarus, Nepal, Malaysia, El Salvador and Panama
ICNL is pleased to announce the inclusion of 5 new country reports on the Civic Freedom Monitor: Belarus, Nepal, El Salvador, Malaysia and Panama. With the new reports, the Civic Freedom Monitor now includes reports on 41 countries and 8 multilateral organizations.

2 July 2012: Russian Bill targets foreign-funded NGOs
The draft law introduces amendments to six federal laws, including Laws on Public Associations, On Non-commercial Organizations, On Counteracting Legalization (Money Laundering) of Incomes received in a Criminal Way, and Financing Terrorism, and the Code of Administrative Penalties, Criminal and Criminal Procedural Codes. 

20 June 2012: Inaugural UN Report on the Freedoms of Assembly and Association
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, presented his inaugural report to the UN Human Rights Council. This represents the culmination of years of work by ICNL and its partners to embed civil society legal issues into UN human rights mechanisms

18 June 2012: Defending Civil Society Report and Toolkit now available
The updated version of the Report lists legal barriers constraining civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world; addresses state justifications rationalizing these legal barriers; and identifies a set of international principles that defends civil society.

31 May 2012: Rwandan NGOs hold consultation to contribute their input to new NGO law
More than 50 domestic and international NGOs held a consultation to make recommendations on a new draft law governing NGOs which the Government of Rwanda is expected to publish in the Official Gazette.

23 May 2012: Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on civil society law
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress held a hearing on threats and restrictions faced by civil society and human rights defenders worldwide.

3 May 2012: Vietnam releases new regulations on social and charitable funds
New rules replace 2007 rules on social and charitable funds.

30 April 2012: International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law Volume 14, Issue 1-2 is now available
IJNL Vol. 14, Iss. 1-2 features articles written by Douglas Rutzen, President and CEO of ICNL, Mahammad Guluzade and Natalia Bourjaily, Eugene Fram, Matti Muukkonen, and a feature article written by Ben Hayes.

25 April 2012: China releases draft rules on foundations
China has released a draft of new rules on foundations which cover problems in the management of foundations. Public comment period ends May 3.

25 April 2012: UN High Commissioner on Human Rights issues statement on NGO restrictions
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed deep concern about recent moves in a number of countries to curtail the freedom of non-governmental organizations and other civil society actors to operate independently and effectively.

19 April 2012: ICNL Advisory Council member Mark Sidel receives Academic Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement in the Nonprofit Sector
Prof. Sidel’s research and writing focus on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, Asian law, law and development, comparative law, and human trafficking.

17 April 2012: Community of Democracies appoints Ambassador Leissner as its first Secretary General
ICNL is pleased to report that the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies unanimously selected Maria Leissner (Sweden’s Ambassador-at-Large for Democracy) to be the first Secretary-General of the Community of Democracies. 

17 April 2012: Improvements to the Kyrgyz Law on Social Services Contracting
The Ministry of Social Development of the Kyrgyz Republic established an official working group to improve legislation on social contracting.

11 April 2012: CIVICUS State of Civil Society 2011 report now available
Douglas Rutzen, ICNL’s President and CEO, is an Advisor on this publication, and he contributed a piece on one of the main themes of the report – legal and regulatory constraints on civil society.

28 March 2012: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ First Regional Hearing on Legal Restrictions on Freedom of Association in Latin America
The petitioners, a coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs) from diverse countries, provided first-hand accounts of their experiences with legal barriers limiting free association rights.

28 March 2012: Primera Audiencia Regional de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre Restricciones Legales a la Libertad de Asociación en América Latina
Los peticionarios, una coalición de organizaciones de sociedad civil (OSC) de países diversos, presentaron sus propias experiencias con barreras que limitan los derechos de libre asociación.

24 March 2012: Strategy of Government Policy for civil society development adopted in Ukraine
The Strategy was developed by experts under the leadership of the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research, and most of expert proposals were included in the final text of the Strategy.

22 March 2012: New Ukrainian law on public associations
The Law was developed by public experts and its adoption was result of active pressure from Ukrainian non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and the diplomatic community.

20 March 2012: Implications of the Budget & Finance Bill 2012 on charitable organizations in India
The Voluntary Action Network of India (VANI), Centre for Advancement of Philanthropy (CAP) and many voluntary organizations met with the Minister of Finance and submitted memorandums requesting certain legitimate reliefs and more enabling tax provisions for India's dynamic and evolving voluntary/nonprofit sector.

15 March 2012: ICNL experts discuss Egyptian NGO crisis
Working closely with local Egyptian partners the United Group and the Arab Program for Human Rights Activists, ICNL has been working to defend Egyptian civil society organizations from increasing attacks on their independence and ability to raise funds.

7 March 2012: ICNL holds consultation workshops on the new legal framework for associations in Libya
ICNL and the United Nations Development Programme organized consultation workshops in Tripoli, Libya on February 13-14 and Benghazi on February 21-22.

5 March 2012: Roadmap for a new CSO partnership for effective development agreed in Cebu
Over 70 representatives from more than 50 civil society organizations and 40 countries met from February 21-23, 2012 for a "Post Busan Global CSO Meeting" in Mactan, near Cebu Island in the Philippines.

2 March 2012: Freedom of Association Fund
ICNL is pleased to announce a Freedom of Association Fund to support innovative, results-oriented activities designed to promote the right to association or civil society law reform.

16 February 2012: ICNL receives MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions
The award recognizes ICNL’s work to create an enabling environment for civil society worldwide and provides ICNL with a grant of $1,000,000.

13 February 2012: Fellowships to Support an Enabling Legal Framework for Civil Society in the Middle East and North Africa
ICNL and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are pleased to announce the availability of two new research fellowships. The fellowships will provide the opportunity to travel to Amman, Jordan for 2-3 weeks during May/June/July 2012 to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society. 

6 February 2012: Companies Bill 2011 proposes to make CSR mandatory
On 15 December 2011, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs introduced the Companies Bill 2011 in the Lok Sabha (House of Commons in Parliament). One of the changes introduced in the Bill is making corporate social responsibility (CSR) mandatory.

5 February 2012: Fellowships to Support an Enabling Legal Framework for Civil Society
ICNL and the United States Agency for International Development are pleased to announce the availability of two new research fellowships. The fellowships will provide the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC for 3-4 weeks during May/June/July 2012 to conduct research on the legal framework for civil society. 

26 January 2012: Restrictive draft CSO law announced by Egyptian Ministry of Social Justice and Solidarity
Contrary to the hopes and expectations of Egyptian and international observers, the year since Egypt’s January 25 Revolution has seen a sustained series of government-orchestrated attacks on civil society. A draft law proposed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Solidarity would impose restrictions on Egyptian civil society unheard of even during the reign of former President Mubarak.

12 January 2012: Algeria passes new Law on Associations
On January 12, 2012 the government of Algeria adopted a new Law on Associations (Law 12-06 of 12 January 2012). Although reform of the previous Associations Act 90-31 was necessary, the new law fails to adequately guarantee the right to freedom of association consistent with Algeria’s international obligations.

10 January 2012: Income of trusts in India comes under scrutiny
Recently a number of leading public charitable trusts and institutions which for years enjoyed tax exemption have lost their 12Aa registration and their total income has been made taxable. Are the laws governing nonprofits in India enabling enough?