ICNL supports national and regional communities of practice by deepening their knowledge of key issues related to civil society law. We also strengthen linkages among experts across countries, facilitate the sharing of best practices and successful strategies, and foster peer learning about key issues. We work closely with communities of practice to develop practical resources, such as manuals and tools, which can be used for capacity building and to advance legal reform initiatives.
Communities of Practice
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
ICNL is a member of the support group that helps ACHPR’s special rapporteur on human rights defenders monitor states’ implementation of and compliance with ACHPR’s Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa. We also work with regional civil society networks to implement initiatives aimed at strengthening the rights of association and assembly in the region.
Civil Society and the Financial Action Task Force
ICNL’s Africa program collaborates with civil society networks to consider the impact on civic space of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws. In particular, our partnerships foster learning about the challenges that legal, regulatory, and administrative measures pose for civil society. We work with our partner networks to engage on these issues with national financial intelligence authorities as well as the Financial Action Task Force and its regional bodies.
Digital Space & Civic Freedoms in Africa
In February 2019, ICNL and its partners convened a meeting of representatives of more than thirty countries to identify key issues affecting freedoms of association and assembly online. The group discussed strategies for dealing with challenges ranging from the proliferation of restrictive laws, policies, and practices to internet shutdowns and online disinformation campaigns. ICNL continues to support initiatives arising from this meeting that seek to protect freedom of association and assembly in the digital age.
In 2018, ICNL helped convene civil society organizations and media practitioners from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to discuss experiences and formulate strategies for navigating increased government-imposed restrictions. Participants identified priority areas and developed recommendations to ensure that media, CSOs, and other stakeholders reclaim and expand civic space in East Africa. Among the initiatives emerging from the meeting is an innovative online platform that allows civil society and media organizations to share information, best practices, and case studies.
Civil society organizations and media stakeholders are increasingly concerned with constraints on civic space. While individual lawyers, organizations, and networks are already helping protect civic space, government targeting of national and regional law associations highlights the critical role these bodies play in resisting violations of civic space. This ICNL-supported community of practice seeks to build understanding of the role that professional associations can and should play in protecting and promoting civil society.