Why Governments Target Civil Society and What Can Be Done in Response

A New Agenda

Published: April 2015

Chief among the current challenges facing the global human rights community (and broader civil society) is a contagion growing in intensity described best as the closing space around civil society. Between 2012 and 2015, more than 90 laws constraining the freedoms of association or assembly were proposed or enacted.

But why is space closing around civil society, and what can be done about it? This report by Sarah Mendelson, written for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explores five factors that affect closing spaceā€”in some cases hastening it, in other cases, helping to keep it at.