UN Human Rights Council Defends Civic Space by Extending Special Rapporteur Mandate

16 October 2013

Global Update by the Civic Space Initiative

On September 26, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur (UNSR) on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, for a period of three years. The mandate, which was originally established in October 2010, advances the development of norms and standards for the freedoms of association and peaceful assembly. The UNSR gathers critical information about violations to these freedoms through international consultations and country visits, communicate concerns about those violations to UN Member States, and present annual thematic reports to the UNHRC and the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Members of the Civic Space Initiative (CSI) – The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, Article 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy –commend the extension of the UNSR’s mandate as a crucial opportunity to bolster global action for protecting and expanding civic space.  In the context of increasing restrictions on civil society around the world, the extension of the UNSR’s mandate reflects an important recognition by the international community that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association must be upheld.

To strengthen connections between the UNSR and civil society, the CSI organizes and facilitates consultations about restrictions on civil society. Since its inception, the CSI has facilitated the UNSR’s dialogue with over 750 civil society activists worldwide.  Recent consultations have focused on the right of civil society to access foreign funding, and on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of elections.  The information received at these meetings was critical to the preparation of his thematic reports to the UNHRC and the UNGA.  The CSI also assists the UNSR in his efforts to communicate and share information with civil society and other stakeholders.


This Global Update is prepared by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law through the Civic Space Initiative, implemented in partnership with ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, and the World Movement for Democracy.


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