ICNL works alongside local partners throughout Asia to foster an enabling legal environment for civil society, philanthropy, digital rights, and participation. Together we advance enabling legal reforms, respond to challenges, and raise awareness about international norms and current legal environments for civil society in the region. We also monitor the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including in online spaces, empower partners to counter authoritarianism, and share information on the latest trends and developments. Our partners include local and regional actors, civic organizations, and reformers in governments and parliaments.
Asia & the Pacific Program
A report by the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) finds that the ability for civil society to promote change in the region is increasingly restricted, particularly with the advent of contact tracing apps (CTAs) created as a COVID-19 response.
SAFEnet recommends coordinating the work of civil society to focus on digital rights whilst working together with authorities and the private sector to mitigate the risks of civil society being surveilled by adversarial actors.
Environmental Decisions & Public Engagement in India
Explore the impacts of disenfranchisement of local communities and tribal peoples of North Urimari in this Case Study: Public Input in Indian Coal Mines.
Discover the impacts of disenfranchisement of local communities and tribal peoples of Kinnaur around the Shongtong Hydroelectric Project in this Case Study: Public Input in Indian Environmental Decisions.
Examine the current environmental regulatory system in India and civil society and learn more about the recommendations for broadening the space for public engagement in the Report: Locating the Public in Indian Environmental Decision Making.
Authored by ICNL consultant, Shawn Shieh, this report praises Taiwan’s pandemic governance for its transparent, collaborative nature in which government agencies worked with civil society to deal with COVID-19. With low case numbers and death counts, Taiwan was able to avoid stringent measures such as lockdowns and school and workplace closings for much of the pandemic. Read the full report in English here or in Chinese here.
The meaningful participation of women in online spaces has been hindered by online gender-based violence (OGBV). International law recognizes the link between OGBV and offline gender-based violence. Past research has shown that women human rights defenders (WHRDs) who challenge patriarchal norms and structures are particularly vulnerable to OGBV. This report, supported by ICNL, seeks to understand the impact of OGBV on WHRDs in Indo-Pacific region, namely Cambodia, India, Malaysia, Nepal, and Thailand.
Myanmar’s media has historically been overburdened with an oppressive legal framework full of risk. In October 2022, Myanmar introduced the Association Registration Law (ARL) which further suppresses civic spaces. Also in October 2022, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) demoted the country to the blacklist for failing to implement their recommendations. This ICNL partner analysis assesses these two recent developments and the potential impacts on media and civil society actors.
ICNL works with local partners to expand and protect civic space. When legal threats emerge, as in Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere, ICNL supports local efforts to advocate against restrictive measures and engage in informed dialogue with governments.
From raising awareness of national laws and international norms in Bangladesh to helping partners better regulate themselves in Nepal, we work alongside local partners to strengthen their efforts to defend and promote civic space.
ICNL has produced many research products related to Asia. Below are our key resources.
This ICNL partner analysis assesses the potential impact of Myanmar’s 2022 Association Registration Law and October of 2022 FATF blacklisting on media and civil society actors.
This report outlines recent findings on the status of freedoms of association, assembly, and expression in both law and practice in Cambodia.
Hong Kong’s National Security Law threatens to upend civic freedoms and usher in a new era of restricted civic space. This ICNL piece offers an in-depth expert analysis on how the Law affects the future of civic freedoms.
Explore our full global resource collection, which includes reports, legal analysis, and curated collections of materials covering an array of issues impacting civic space around the world.
ICNL currently has active programs in 12 countries.