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.
- A Global Assault on Nonprofits: This Journal of Democracy article, written by ICNL President Douglas Rutzen, summarizes recent developments in the global crackdown on civil society.
- Closing Space: This book, written by Thomas Carothers and Saskia Brechenmacher, focuses on the challenge facing international support for democracy and human rights.
- Closing space for civil society? Analyzing the drivers and responses: Entries on "open Global Rights," Open Democracy's online forum for debating human rights movements worldwide.
- Why Governments Target Civil Society and What Can Be Done in Response: This report by Sarah Mendelson explores the five factors affecting the closing space around civil society.
- Closing space for philanthropy: survey findings: In 2016, Alliance magazine partnered with the European Foundation Centre to learn more about the issues by inviting philanthropic actors and organizations to respond to a specially tailored survey. The survey findings provide illustrative snapshots of the key drivers of restrictions and the impact of these restrictions on institutional philanthropy.
- CIVICUS State of Civil Society Report: This report details the key events, issues, and trends affecting civil society around the world. The 2016 report's theme explores the issue of exclusivity and its impact on civil society activists.
- The Complexities of Global Protests: 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.
- Protecting our space: Human rights defender strategies to protect civil society space: This is the latest report from ISHR following consultations with human rights defenders from around the world. By collating various first hand examples of targeted advocacy to defend or expand civil society space, the report examines the shared elements that contributed to success.
- Ten Ideas for Governments Working to Safeguard Civic Space: This report report addresses the gap between the aspirations of governments that want to safeguard civic space and the actions required to realize that goal. It identifies concrete policies, practices and personnel actions that offer a roadmap for officials as they confront an epidemic of new restrictions on civil society organizations.
- The Right to Freedom of Expression: Restrictions on a Foundational Right: 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 Role of Legal Reform in Supporting Civil Society: 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)
- Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments: This IJNL article examines strategies and tools to protect civil society and freedom of association in politically complex environments.
- The Closing Space Challenge: How Are Funders Responding?: This report by Thomas Carothers examines the ways Western public and private funders are responding to the increasing restrictions on support for civil society around the world.
- USAID Guidance on Programming in Closed Spaces: This document was issued by USAID in response to a closing civil society space in order to give guidance on balancing a democratic commitment to transparency and the imperative to protect the security of implementing partners and beneficiaries.
- Challenging the Closing Space for Civil Society: A practical starting point for funders: The aim of this report is to give funders and members of civil society a practical starting point for thinking about possible approaches for working together to contest the closing space for civil society.
- How to prevent inappropriate restrictions on NGO activities in Europe?: 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.
- Promoting & Protecting Civil Society Space: This report provides anecdotal, ground-level evidence of a worsening civil society space situation across the globe and offers recommendations to the EU, its member states, and civil society actors on how to address the closing space.
- Defending Civil Society Space in Southern Neighbourhood Countries: This policy briefing aims to shed light on the ongoing existing limitations for civil society, human rights defenders, and trade unions, in southern neighborhood countries and provides for concrete policy recommendations to the EU in order to strengthen civil society’s enabling environment.
- Shackled Freedoms: What Space for Civil Society in the EuroMed?: This report follows a discussion and dialogue on the closing space for civil society in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
- Investment Treaty Protection of Not-for-Profit Organizations: In this paper, two internationally-renowned experts analyze the protections that civil society organizations receive under international investment treaties.
- "The Associational Counter-Revolution": This 2006 article written by ICNL's President and Vice President summarizes the actions undertaken by countries around the world to constrain civil society.
- UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Civil Society Space: The resolution urges States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and enabling environment for civil society, and encourages States to use good practices such as those compiled in the report of the High Commissioner on practical recommendations for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society.
- Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Civil Society: This report focuses on examples of practices that optimize civil society’s transformative potential.
- Civil Society Space and the United Nations Human Rights System: A Practical Guide for Civil Society: 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: 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: Resolution adopted at the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.
- UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Freedom of Assembly and Association: 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: 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.