ICNL Releases New Report on Civic Freedom in the Middle East and North Africa


The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is pleased to share our latest report: “The State of Civic Freedoms in the Middle East and North Africa: Access to Associational Rights in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait.”

The report, supported by the United States Agency for International Development, presents findings from an in-depth study that explored the landscape for civic space in five countries.

In 2016, ICNL, in partnership with Beyond Reform & Development and Menapolis, launched a field research study on the en­vironment for civil society organizations (CSOs) and civic free­doms in five Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. The research study assesses the effect of formal and informal restrictions on the functioning and viability of CSOs in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait. Researchers engaged with 3,323 members of the public, 552 civil society members, and 5 focus groups.

The report gives an overview of the legal framework for civic freedoms in each country. It then presents regional findings and a comparative analysis across the five countries. Lastly, it provides the detailed findings from each country, pre­senting data on the impact of the laws, regulations, policies, and practices on CSOs and other civic actors. Each section identifies opportunities for action to mitigate the legal restric­tions and other challenges the CSO sector faces.

The report aims to provide the necessary data, analysis, and input for governments, CSOs, the private sector, and international organizations, among others, to be able to play a more positive and constructive role in the protection or provision of civic freedoms.

Read and download the full report here.

ICNL is grateful to USAID for its support in making this paper possible and we welcome feedback. You can contact us at info@icnl.org.