Reform Initiatives to Protect Activists from Abusive Litigation

SLAPPS in the Global South

Published: December 2021

Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) are private suits filed not to secure relief, but to use the risks and costs of litigation to defuse criticism, opposition, and discourage the exercise of fundamental freedoms. The lawsuits are often used against activists, civil society organizations (CSOs), journalists, and community members by powerful companies and businesspersons. While this commonly occurs in the Global North, ICNL’s 2020 report Protecting Activists from Abusive Litigation: SLAPPs in the Global South and How to Respond found that SLAPPs are becoming more common in the Global South, and being used to target civil society.

In response ICNL, through the Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund, invited project proposals aimed at protecting civil society in the Global South from threats posed by SLAPPs. ICNL selected three partners – in Colombia, the Philippines, and Indonesia – to implement projects aimed at pushing back against SLAPPs. This ICNL briefer outlines the project’s activities and impacts and presents a pathway forward for protecting civil society from abusive legislation.

Read the full briefer here.