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Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments David Moore International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)

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Presentation on theme: "Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments David Moore International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments David Moore International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)

2 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Civil Society Under Threat Regulatory backlash against NGOs Regulatory backlash against NGOs Restrictive regulations introduced in 20 countries since 2004 Restrictive regulations introduced in 20 countries since 2004 Global trend Global trend Africa: Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, ZimbabweAfrica: Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe Asia: Bangladesh, East Timor, India, NepalAsia: Bangladesh, East Timor, India, Nepal NIS: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Transnistria (Moldova), UzbekistanNIS: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Transnistria (Moldova), Uzbekistan Middle East: Iraq, JordanMiddle East: Iraq, Jordan Latin America: VenezuelaLatin America: Venezuela

3 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Politically Complex (Challenging or Hostile) Environments Closed or command economy Closed or command economy Autocratic leadership Autocratic leadership Political dissension in country Political dissension in country Concerns about religious fundamentalism Concerns about religious fundamentalism History of human rights abuses History of human rights abuses Concerned about foreign influence Concerned about foreign influence

4 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Legal Barriers Prohibition of informal association (mandatory registration) Prohibition of informal association (mandatory registration) Barriers to establishing NGOs (restrictions against foreigners) Barriers to establishing NGOs (restrictions against foreigners) Barriers to registration Barriers to registration Re-registration requirements Re-registration requirements

5 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Legal Barriers Barriers to foreign funding of NGOs Barriers to foreign funding of NGOs Restrictions on speech and advocacy Restrictions on speech and advocacy Stringent supervisory oversight and control Stringent supervisory oversight and control Discretionary suspension and termination Discretionary suspension and termination Criminal sanctions Criminal sanctions

6 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Strategies, Tools, Mechanisms to Protect Civil Society Protective alliances and networks Protective alliances and networks Raising public awareness Raising public awareness Advocacy campaigning Advocacy campaigning Direct public action Direct public action International diplomacy International diplomacy Domestic litigation Domestic litigation Human rights mechanisms Human rights mechanisms Legal Triage Legal Triage

7 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Protective Alliances and Networks: Change comes through partnership National networks National networks International networks International networks Regional/international meetings Regional/international meetings Innovative alliances Innovative alliances Peru: National coalition for human rightsPeru: National coalition for human rights Guatemala: International accompanimentGuatemala: International accompaniment Burma: Lawyers Council in exileBurma: Lawyers Council in exile

8 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Raising Public Awareness: Awareness precedes the assertion of rights Popular education Popular education Rights-based education Rights-based education Training for activists Training for activists Monitoring and documentation Monitoring and documentation Standard-setting indices Standard-setting indices Use of Media Use of Media Use of Internet technologies Use of Internet technologies

9 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Advocacy Campaigning Law reform campaigns Law reform campaigns Albania (Berisha), Slovakia (Meciar), Russian NGO law (2006)Albania (Berisha), Slovakia (Meciar), Russian NGO law (2006) Letter writing / petitions Letter writing / petitions Write more and youll affect them more. From my experience in government and in prison I can tell you that these letters work.Write more and youll affect them more. From my experience in government and in prison I can tell you that these letters work. Cyber-activism Cyber-activism Blogs, web-based petitions, text messaging against tortureBlogs, web-based petitions, text messaging against torture Mass mobilization Mass mobilization March for Zimbabwe (2005)March for Zimbabwe (2005)

10 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Direct Public Action It is not power that corrupts but fear Protest actions: strikes Protest actions: strikes Boycotts Boycotts Engagement Engagement Direct support to victims Direct support to victims When journalists are arrested, they and their families need to know that someone is standing ready to support them.When journalists are arrested, they and their families need to know that someone is standing ready to support them. Innovative mechanisms Innovative mechanisms Citizen Initiative for Constant LightCitizen Initiative for Constant Light

11 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. International Diplomacy International exposure of violations and pressure on violators are effective means to bring about change. International exposure of violations and pressure on violators are effective means to bring about change. US/European efforts relating to the Russian NGO law US/European efforts relating to the Russian NGO law

12 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Domestic Litigation Justice is not available on a platter, but has to be fought for Direct challenge to legislation Direct challenge to legislation Kazakhstan: Challenge to NGO lawsKazakhstan: Challenge to NGO laws Strategic impact or test litigation Strategic impact or test litigation South Africa: Challenge to pass lawsSouth Africa: Challenge to pass laws Political impact litigation Political impact litigation Chile: Expose nature of judiciaryChile: Expose nature of judiciary

13 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Human Rights Mechanisms National Level National Level Ombudsmen, Truth / HR commissionsOmbudsmen, Truth / HR commissions Regional Level Regional Level Inter-American Commission and Court on HRInter-American Commission and Court on HR African Commission on HRAfrican Commission on HR European Court on HREuropean Court on HR Global International Level: Global International Level: Human Rights Committee (ICCPR)Human Rights Committee (ICCPR) UN Special Representatives (HR defenders)UN Special Representatives (HR defenders) 1503 Procedure (pattern of HR violations)1503 Procedure (pattern of HR violations)

14 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Legal Triage …victims willing to press charges and lawyers willing to accept their cases Legal defense to journalists in Zimbabwe Legal defense to journalists in Zimbabwe Lawyers available within one hourLawyers available within one hour Leal defense fund to pay for lawyers and provide money for releaseLeal defense fund to pay for lawyers and provide money for release

15 Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Conclusion Discussion Draft Discussion Draft For limited distribution, upon request For limited distribution, upon request Comment period until August 15 Comment period until August 15 Final version to be made available soon thereafter Final version to be made available soon thereafter Thank you Thank you


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