‘Closing space for civil society’ – analyzing the drivers and responses


Civil society organizations (CSOs) worldwide are under significant pressure, note Shannon N. Green, director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Archana Pandya, the managing editor of openGlobalRights:

According to CIVICUS, a global civil society alliance, in 2014, there were serious threats to civic freedoms in at least 96 countries around the world. Likewise, Freedom House has documented the tenth year in a row of declines in political rights and civil liberties. As restrictions on foreign funding, barriers to registration, intervention in CSOs’ internal affairs, and other forms of harassment have proliferated, donors and civil society have started to develop long-term strategies to build the resilience and sustainability of the sector. Yet, questions abound about whether current trends indicate a permanent setback for civil society or rather are indicative of shifts in the way that civil society operates and is understood.

To explore these questions and more, openGlobalRights is launching a new, multilingual debate on closing space for civil society with essays by leading scholars and practitioners.

For example, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai (above), explores how the UN and civil society are using innovative legal action to protect fundamental human rights and re-open lost civic spaces.


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