Shrinking space for civil society

In many countries the authorities place considerable restrictions on civil society’s free space by not hesitating to overstep the law with the support of the judiciary or by adopting laws which increasingly threaten freedom and which focus particularly on NGOs’ access to funding, registration requirements and controlling the activities of organisations or freedom of assembly. This legal arsenal can be exported from one country to another in order to stifle all forms of promoting and defending human rights. Increasing numbers of laws and bills, intended to regulate the activities of NGOs, contain measures to restrict access to funding, particularly when sourced from abroad. At the same time, the issue of funding is being used as a tool to discredit NGOs among populations and donors. Yet NGOs have the right to access funding as enshrined in the right to freedom of association.

Through the work of the Observatory, FIDH has made this matter a priority area for action.