Defending Civil Society
These portal focuses on combating laws that restrict civic space and philanthropy around the world.
Defending Civil Society, Second edition
This is the second edition of the Defending Civil Society report previously endorsed by Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Vaclav Havel. It provides illustrative examples of the legal barriers used to constrain civic space and articulates international legal principles to protect civil society.
- Defending Civil Society Toolkit: Tips for Engaging in NGO Law Reforms: This Toolkit is an online resource that provides tips, tools and strategies to help activists around the world advocate for the enabling environment for civil society in their countries.
- Civil Society Space and the United Nations Human Rights System: A Practical Guide for Civil Society (2015): This is the sixth in OHCHR’s series of human rights practical guides for civil society, and should be seen within the context of ‘Widening the democratic space’, one of OHCHR’s current thematic priorities. This Guide highlights issues related to the work of civil society actors.
- Summary of the UNHRC Panel on the Promotion and Protection of Civil Society Space (2014): This report summarizes a panel discussion convened by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on the importance of the promotion and protection of civil society space.
- UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Civil Society Space (2014): Resolution adopted at the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.
- UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution on Freedom of Assembly and Association (2010): In September 2010, a UNHRC resolution created a Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association. Read the interview with ICNL's President on the process leading to the Resolution.
- UN General Assembly Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1999): Elaboration of the Declaration on human rights defenders began in 1984 and ended with the adoption of the text by the General Assembly in 1998, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- How to prevent inappropriate restrictions on NGO activities in Europe? (2016): In its report, the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights examines the situation of civil society in four countries: the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Hungary.
- The Right to Freedom of Expression: Restrictions on a Foundational Right (2015): This edition of Global Trends focuses on the right to freedom of expression and the different ways in which it is restricted around the world.
- The Closing Space Challenge: How Are Funders Responding? (2015): An examination by Thomas Carothers of the Carnegie Endowment of the ways Western public and private funders are responding to the increasing restrictions on support for civil society around the world.
- The Complexities of Global Protests (2015): The central theme of this report is that the heterogeneity of protests around the world is one of their fundamental characteristics and that the temptation to reach for sweeping conclusions about what is happening can lead to a distorted view. The spike in global protests is becoming a major trend in international politics, but greater care is needed in ascertaining the precise nature and impact of the phenomenon.
- CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report (2015): A comprehensive picture of civil society and the conditions it works in around the world. The report draws from a series of inputs contributed by members of the CIVICUS alliance.
- CIVICUS: State of Civil Society Reports (2011-2014): Since its inception, the State of Civil Society Report has emerged as CIVICUS' flagship annual publication. Each year, the report provides hundreds of pages of insight into the key trends affecting civil society organisations (CSOs) and citizen movements. It aims to offer a unique perspective on the challenges faced by civil society and citizen activists.
- Improving the Measurement of Civic Space (2015): The aim of this study is to explore issues around the measurement of civic space and make practical recommendations on ways forward.
- Closing Space: Democracy and Human Rights Support Under Fire (2014): This report focuses on the serious challenge facing international support for democracy and human rights: more and more governments are erecting legal and logistical barriers to democracy and rights programs, publicly vilifying international aid groups and their local partners, and harassing such groups or expelling them altogether. Despite the significant implications of the pushback, the roots and full scope of the phenomenon remain poorly understood and responses to it are often weak.
- The Legal and Regulatory Framework for Civil Society (2013): This edition of Global Trends surveys some of the more prominent and common restrictions seen in 2012-13, including increased impediments on NGOs’ ability to communicate effectively over the Internet.
- Legal Framework for Global Philanthropy: Barriers and Opportunities (2010): Authored by ICNL and commissioned by the Council on Foundations, this report surveys legal barriers to cross-border philanthropy and potential options to address these barriers.
- Barred from the Debate: Restrictions on NGO Public Policy Activities (2009): The third issue of ICNL's Global Trends in NGO Law analyzes legislative initiatives affecting the ability of NGOs to contribute to discussions of public policy.
- Global Philanthropy in a Time of Crisis (2009): Drawn from the second issue of Global Trends in NGO Law, this report examines legal developments affecting global philanthropy and foreign assistance.
- Global Trends in NGO Law: 2007 – 2009 (2009): The inaugural issue of Global Trends provides an overview of five major themes that have emerged with respect to laws affecting NGOs proposed or enacted from 2007 - 2009.
- The Role of Legal Reform in Supporting Civil Society (2009): This primer, commissioned by UNDP and authored by ICNL, overviews the legal environment for civil society and discusses international actors that promote a more conducive environment for civil society. (Français | Español)
- Investment Treaty Protection of Not-for-Profit Organizations (2008): In this paper, two internationally-renowned experts analyze the protections that civil society organizations receive under international investment treaties.
- Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments (2007): This IJNL article examines strategies and tools to protect civil society and freedom of association in politically complex environments.
- "The Associational Counter-Revolution" (2006): This 2006 article written by ICNL's President and Vice President summarizes the actions undertaken by countries around the world to constrain civil society.