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Civil Society Space: Creating and Maintaining in Law and in Practice a Safe and Enabling Environment

GE. 13 -17319
Human Rights Council
Twent y-fourth session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil ,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
Albania *, Australia *, Austria, Belgium *, Benin, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia *, Cyprus *,
Czech Republic, Denmark *, Estonia, Finland *, Germany, Greece *, Honduras *,
Hungary *, Iceland *, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia *, Liechtenstein *, Lithuania *,
Luxembourg *, Malta *, Nethe rlands *, Norway *, Peru, Romania , Sierra Leone,
Slovenia *, Spain, Sweden *, Switzerland, Tunisia* : draft resolution
24/… Civil society space: creating and maintaining, in law and in
practice, a safe and enabling environment
The Human Rights Council ,
Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and all and other
relevant instruments,
Recalling the Dec laration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups
and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human R ights and
Fundamental Freedoms,
Recalling also all Human Rights Council resolutions relevant to civil society space,
inter alia , resolutions 12/2 of 1 October 2009 , on cooperation with the United Nations, its
representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, 12/ 16 of 2 October 2009 on
freedom of opinion and expression, 21/16 of 27 September 2012 , on the rights to freedom
of peaceful assembly and of association, 22/6 of 21 March 2013 , on protecting human
rights defenders , and 22/10 of 21 March 2013 on t he promotion and protection of human
rights in the context of peaceful protests ,
Recognizing the important role of civil society at the local, national, regional and
international levels , and that civil society facilitates the achievement of the purposes and
principles of the United Nations,
Reaffirming that special emphasis should be given to measures to assist in the
strengthening of a pluralistic civil society, including through the strengthening of the rule of

* Non -member State of the Human Rights Council.
United Nations A /HRC/ 24/L. 24

General Assembly Distr.: Limited
23 September 2013

Original: English

A/HRC/ 24/L.24
law, social and economic development, the promotion of freedom of expr ession, the right
of peaceful assembly and freedom of association, and the administration of justice, and to
the real and effective participation of the people in the decision -making processes,
Recognizing the crucial importance of active involvement of c ivil society, at all
levels, in processes of governance and in promoting good governance, including through
transparency and accountability, at all levels, which is indispensable for building peaceful,
prosp erous and democratic societies,
Mindful that dome stic legal and administrative provisions and their application
should facilitate, promote and protect an independent, diverse and pluralistic civil society
and, in this regard, strongly rejecting any acts of intimidation or reprisals against civil
Underscoring that the legal framework within which civil society operates is that of
national legislation consistent with the Charter of the United Nations and international
human rights law,
Deeply concerned that, in some instances, domestic legal and administrative
provisions, such as national security and counter -terrorism legislation, and other measures ,
such as provisions on funding to civil society , have sought to or have been misused to
hinder the work and endanger the safety of civil society in a manner contrary to
international law, and recognizing the urgent need to prevent and stop the use of such
provisions, and to review and, where necessary, amend any relevant provisions in order to
ensure compliance with international human rights law and, as appropriate, international
humanitarian law,
1. Reminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the rights of all
individuals to, inter alia , freedom of expression and opinion, and to assemble peacefully
and ass ociate freely, online as well as offline, including for persons espousing minority or
dissenting views or beliefs, and that respect for all such rights, in relation to civil society,
contributes to addressing and resolving challenges and issues that are im portant to society,
such as in the promotion of the rule of law and accountability, the environment,
development, empowering persons belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups, racism
and racial discrimination, crime prevention, corporate social respons ibility and
accountability, human trafficking, empowering women and youth, social justice, consumer
protection and the r ealization of all human rights;
2. Recognizes the important role of civil society, at all levels, in providing
assistance during financi al and economic crises and in humanitarian crises, including armed
conflict, natural disasters and man -made disasters, as well as during the stages of recovery,
relief and rehabilitation, and also in the realization of transitional justice goals and in the
reconstruction of society, and that the active participation of civil society can reinforce
ongoing governmental efforts to protect human rights and fundamental freed oms while
countering terrorism;
3. Urges States to create and maintain, in law and in pra ctice, a safe and
enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity;
4. Also urges States to acknowledge publicly the important and legitimate role
of civil society in the promotion of human rights, democracy and t he rule of law , and to
engage with civil society to enable it to participate in the public debate on decisions that
would contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights and the rule of law and of
any other relevant decisions;
5. Urges all non -State actors to respect all human rights and not to undermine
the capacity of civil society to operate free from hindrance and insecurity;

6. Emphasizes the essential role of civil society in sub regional, regional and
international organizations, including in support of the organizations’ work, and in sharing
experience and expertise through participation in meetings, in accordance with relevant
rules and modalities, and, in this regard, reaffirms the right of everyone, individually and in
association with others, to unhindered access to and communication with sub regional,
regional and international bodies, in particular the United Nations, its representatives and
7. Encourages human rights mechanisms, including the special procedures, as
app ropriate, in the framework of their existing mandates, to continue to address relevant
aspects of civil society space;
8. Welcomes the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to promote and protect civil society space , and invites it to continue
efforts in this regard;
9. Decides to organize, at its twenty -fifth session, a panel discussion on the
importance of the promotion and protection of civil society space, which will , inter alia ,
contribute to the identification of challenges facing States in their efforts to ensure space for
civil society and lessons learn ed and good practices in this regard, and invites the Office of
the High Commissioner to liaise with States, relevant United Nations bodies and agencies,
relevant special procedures, civil society and other stakeholders with a view to ensuring
their participation in the panel discussion;
10. Requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a summary report
on the panel discussion, to be presented to the Hum an Rights Council at its twenty -seventh
session .