UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Civil Society Space (2014)

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GE. 14-16857 (E)
Human Rights Council
Twent y-seventh session
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil ,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
Argentina, Australia,* Belgium,* Benin, Botswana, Bulgaria,* Burkina Faso,
Canada,* Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia,* Cyprus,* Czech Republic, Denmark,* Estonia,
Finland,* France, Georgia,* Germany, Greece,* Guatemal a,* Hungary,* Iceland,*
Ireland, Israel,* Italy, Japan, Latvia,* Liechtenstein,* Lithuania,* Luxembourg,*
Montenegro, Netherlands,* New Zealand,* Nigeria,* Norway,* Peru, Poland,*
Portugal,* Romania, Senegal,* Sierra Leone, Slovakia, * Slovenia,* Spain,* Sw eden,*
Switzerland, * Tunisia, * Turkey,* United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay,* Yemen :* draft resolution
27 /… Civil society space
The Human Rights Council ,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the C harter of the United Nations,
Guided also by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration
and Programme of Action, the International Covenants on Human Rights, and all other
relevant instruments,
Recalling the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups
and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and
Fundamental Freedoms,
Recalling also all Human Rights Council resolutions relevant to creating and
maintaining civil society spac e, inter alia, resolutions 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, 24/8 of 26 September 2013 on equal political participation, 24/21 of 27
September 2013 on civil society space: creating and maintaining, in law and in practice, a
safe and enabling environment, 24/24 of 27 September 2013, on cooperation with the
United Nations, its r epresentatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, 25/38 of
28 March 2014, on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful

* Non -member State of the Human Rights Council.
United Nations A /HRC/ 27 /L. 24

General Assembly Distr.: Limited
23 September 2014

Original: English

A/HRC/ 27/L.24
protests , and 26/13 of 26 June 2014 on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human
rights on the Internet,
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 emph asis should be given to measures to assist in the
strengthening of a pluralistic civil society, including through the strengthening of the rule of
law, social and economic development, the promotion of the right to freedom of expression,
online and offline , including artistic expression and creativity, access to information, the
rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association , including the right and ability to
solicit, receive and utili ze resources , 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 the active involvement of civil society, at all
levels, in processes of governance and in promoting good governance, including through
transp arency and accountability, at all levels, which is indispensable for building peaceful,
prosperous and democratic societies,
Recognizing also that creatin g and maint aining a safe and enabling environment in
which civil society can operate free from hindran ce and insecurity assists States in fulfilling
their existing international human rights obligations and commitments, without which
equality, accountability and the rule of law are severely weakened,
Mindful that domestic legal and administrative provision s and their application
should facilitate, promote and protect an independent, diverse and pluralistic civil society ,
and in this regard strongly rejecting all threats, attacks, reprisals and acts of intimidation
against civil society actors, and underscor ing that States should investigate any such alleged
acts, ensure accountability and effective remedies, and take steps to prevent any further
such threats, attacks, reprisals or acts of intimidation,
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 co unter -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 ,
Welcoming the recent enactment by some States of national legislation and policies
to facilitate, promote and protect civil society space consistent with international human
rights law, and looking forward to their effective implementation,
1. Welcomes the holding on 11 March 2014 of the panel discussion on the
importance of the promotion and protection of civil society space and the summary report
thereof ;1
2. Reminds States of their obligation to respect and fully protect the civil,
political, economic, social and c ultural rights of all individuals, inter alia , the rights to

1 A/HRC/27/33 .

A/HRC/2 7/L.24
freedom of expression and opinion and to assemble peacefully and associate freely, online
as well as offline, including for persons espousing minority or dissenting views or beliefs,
and that res pect for all such rights, in relation to civil society, contributes to addressing and
resolving challenges and issues that are important to society, such as addressing financial
and economic crises, responding to public health crises, responding to humanit arian crises,
including in the context of armed conflict, promoting the rule of law and accountability,
achieving transitional justice goals, protecting the environment, realizing the right to
development, empowering persons belonging to minorities and vul nerable groups,
combating racism and racial discrimination, supporting crime prevention, countering
corruption, promoting corporate social responsibility and accountability, combating human
trafficking, empowering women and youth, advancing social justice and consumer
protection, and the realization of all human rights;
3. Urges States to create and maintain, in law and in practice, a safe and
enabling environment in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity;
4. Emphasizes the impor tance of civil society space for empowering persons
belonging to minorities and vulnerable groups, as well as persons espousing minority or
dissenting views or beliefs , and in that regard calls upon States to ensure that legislation,
policies and practices do not undermine the enjoyment of their human rights or the
activities of civil society in defending their rights;
5. Also emphasizes the important role of artistic expression and creativity in the
development of society and , accordingly, the importance o f a safe and enabling
environment for civil society in that regard, in line with article 19 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
6. Urges States to acknowledge publicly the important and legitimate role of
civil society in the promo tion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
7. Also urges States 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;
8. Stresses in particular the valuable contribution of civil society in providing
input to States on the potential implications of legislation, when such legislation is being
developed, debated, implemented or reviewed;
9. Urges States to ensure access to justice, accountability and end impunity for
human rights violations and abuses against civil society actors , including by putting in
place , and where necessary reviewing and amending , relevant laws, policies, instituti ons
and mechanisms to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment in which civil
society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity;
10. Calls upon States to ensure that provisions on funding to civil society are in
compliance with their intern ational human rights obligations and commitments and are not
misused to hinder the work or endanger the safety of civil society actors, and underlines the
importance of the right and ability to solicit, receive and utili ze resources for its work;
11. 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;
12. Emphasizes the essential role of civil society in subregional, regional and
international organizations, including in support of the organizations’ work, and in sharing
experience and expertise through effective 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

A/HRC/ 27/L.24
subregional, regional and international bodies, in particular the United Nations, its
representatives and mechanisms;
13. Recogni zes the valuable contribution of national, subregional, regional and
international human rights mechanisms and bodies, including the universal periodic review
and special procedures of the Human Rights Council, the treaty bodies and national human
rights institutions, to the promotion and protection of civil s ociety space , and encourages
these mechanisms in the framework of their existing mandates to continue to address
relevant aspects of civil society space;
14 . Welcomes the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to promot e and protect civil society space, including its work on
widening the democratic space, and invites it to continue efforts in this regard;
15. Requests the High Commissioner to prepare a compilation of practical
recommendations for the creation and mainten ance of a safe and enabling environment for
civil society, based on good practices and lessons learned , and in this regard to continue to
engage with and seek the views of States, the special procedures of the Human Rights
Council, the treaty bodies, relev ant United Nations bodies and agencies, regional human
rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, civil society and other stakeholders ,
and to submit the compilation to the Human Rights Council at its thirty -second session;
16. Decides to remai n seized of the matter.