Coronavirus and Civic Space

The coronavirus is a significant threat to public health; it does not need to be a significant threat to civic freedom. The ICNL Alliance is working to keep civic space healthy. The ICNL-ECNL COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws. Our issue page presents key resources on how the coronavirus response is impacting civic space and the existing international law framework on upholding human rights during the crisis.

Freedom of Assembly in the United States

In the wake of complaints about law enforcement’s response to the George Floyd protests, local, state, and the federal government have proposed reforms to better protect the freedom of assembly. These reforms are not necessarily best practices and in some cases could be further strengthened, but they represent important efforts to better protect assembly rights. Visit our resource page here. For more, read our piece in Just Security: A Proposal to Repair the Freedom of Assembly in the US.


Top Trends: COVID-19 and Civic Space

Many of the measures adopted in response to the pandemic restrict fundamental rights. This ICNL piece summarizes the top 9 trends affecting civic space, based on the COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker data.

COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker

The ICNL-ECNL COVID-19 Civic Freedom Tracker monitors government responses to the pandemic that affect civic freedoms and human rights, focusing on emergency laws.

General Comment 37

The UN Human Rights Committee’s general comment offers comprehensive guidance on the right of peaceful assembly, as enshrined in Article 21 of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights.


Our international staff and network of experts maintain an up-to-date knowledge base of over five thousand resources, including innovative research, original analysis, and more.

Civic Space 2040

How can we proactively shape the trends transforming our future? How can we protect and expand civic space in the process? The Civic Space 2040 initiative helps answer these questions by crafting a positive vision for the future and strategies to make it a reality.

ICNL's Philanthropy Law Reports - landing page button

Philanthropy Law Reports

The Philanthropy Law Reports provide in-depth information on national laws and regulations in nine countries to serve as practical guides for the philanthropic sector and the nonprofit world.

Civic Freedom Monitor

We work with a global network of partners to monitor developments related to civic space. The CFM provides current information on civil society law in more than 50 countries and 8 multilateral organizations.

ICNL's Digital Legal Library - landing page button

Digital Legal Library

This directory of resources for civil society, including domestic and international laws, contains nearly 4,000 documents in more than 60 languages from every UN member state and several autonomous territories.

Country Resources

We maintain a robust collection of country-specific resources, including research and analysis, as well as curated information on a diverse array of issues affecting civic space.

Global Trends in NGO Law Button - leads to page for ICNL's periodic review of legal issues affecting civil society

Global Trends in NGO Law

Featuring contributions from international experts, Global Trends in NGO Law is ICNL’s review of legal trends and key developments affecting civil society around the world.