UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution Protecting International Funding for Human Rights Defenders

Published: March 25, 2013

ICNL welcomes a new UN Human Rights Council resolution protecting human rights defenders, including the right to receive international funding. The resolution introduced by Norway and co-sponsored by 62 States, affirms that “no law should criminalize or de-legitimize activities in defense of human rights on account of the origin of funding.”

The resolution is timely, as an increasing number of governments are impeding the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs), including human rights defenders, to receive funding from international sources. Tactics include outright bans of foreign funding, the stigmatization of international support, the raiding of groups suspected of receiving international assistance, and the imposition of discretionary approval processes for international grants.

ICNL’s Foreign Funding Thematic Portal contains various materials relating to this worrisome trend. ICNL’s Defending Civil Society report provides an overview of foreign funding restrictions as well as an articulation of international legal norms protecting the right of CSOs to receive funding from international sources. ICNL’s President Douglas Rutzen also contributed expertise on this subject in a recent Huffington Post live broadcast Suppressing NGO Dissent, in which a panel of experts and civil society activists discussed the increase in foreign funding restrictions on CSOs around the world.

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