Presentation on theme: "Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments"— Presentation transcript:
1 Safeguarding Civil Society in Politically Complex Environments David MooreInternational Center forNot-for-Profit Law (ICNL)
2 Civil Society Under Threat Regulatory backlash against NGOsRestrictive regulations introduced in 20 countries since 2004Global trendAfrica: Eritrea, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, ZimbabweAsia: Bangladesh, East Timor, India, NepalNIS: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Transnistria (Moldova), UzbekistanMiddle East: Iraq, JordanLatin America: VenezuelaCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
3 Politically Complex (Challenging or Hostile) Environments Closed or command economyAutocratic leadershipPolitical dissension in countryConcerns about religious fundamentalismHistory of human rights abusesConcerned about foreign influenceCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
4 Copyright 2006. ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Legal BarriersProhibition of informal association (mandatory registration)Barriers to establishing NGOs (restrictions against foreigners)Barriers to registrationRe-registration requirementsCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
5 Copyright 2006. ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Legal BarriersBarriers to foreign funding of NGOsRestrictions on speech and advocacyStringent supervisory oversight and controlDiscretionary suspension and terminationCriminal sanctionsCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
6 Strategies, Tools, Mechanisms to Protect Civil Society Protective alliances and networksRaising public awarenessAdvocacy campaigningDirect public actionInternational diplomacyDomestic litigationHuman rights mechanismsLegal TriageCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
7 Protective Alliances and Networks: “Change comes through partnership” National networksInternational networksRegional/international meetingsInnovative alliancesPeru: National coalition for human rightsGuatemala: International accompanimentBurma: Lawyers’ Council in exileCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
8 Raising Public Awareness: “Awareness precedes the assertion of rights” Popular educationRights-based educationTraining for activistsMonitoring and documentationStandard-setting indicesUse of MediaUse of Internet technologiesCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
9 Copyright 2006. ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Advocacy CampaigningLaw reform campaignsAlbania (Berisha), Slovakia (Meciar), Russian NGO law (2006)Letter writing / petitionsWrite more and you’ll affect them more. From my experience in government and in prison I can tell you that these letters work.Cyber-activismBlogs, web-based petitions, text messaging against tortureMass mobilizationMarch for Zimbabwe (2005)Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
10 Direct Public Action “It is not power that corrupts but fear” Protest actions: strikesBoycottsEngagementDirect support to victimsWhen journalists are arrested, they and their families need to know that someone is standing ready to support them.Innovative mechanismsCitizen Initiative for Constant LightCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
11 International Diplomacy “International exposure of violations and pressure on violators are effective means to bring about change.”US/European efforts relating to the Russian NGO lawCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
12 Copyright 2006. ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Domestic Litigation “Justice is not available on a platter, but has to be fought for”Direct challenge to legislationKazakhstan: Challenge to NGO lawsStrategic impact or test litigationSouth Africa: Challenge to ‘pass laws’Political impact litigationChile: Expose nature of judiciaryCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
13 Human Rights Mechanisms National LevelOmbudsmen, Truth / HR commissionsRegional LevelInter-American Commission and Court on HRAfrican Commission on HREuropean Court on HRGlobal International Level:Human Rights Committee (ICCPR)UN Special Representatives (HR defenders)1503 Procedure (pattern of HR violations)Copyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
14 Copyright 2006. ICNL. All Rights Reserved. Legal Triage “…victims willing to press charges and lawyers willing to accept their cases”Legal defense to journalists in ZimbabweLawyers available within one hourLeal defense fund to pay for lawyers and provide money for releaseCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.
15 Copyright 2006. ICNL. All Rights Reserved. ConclusionDiscussion DraftFor limited distribution, upon requestComment period until August 15Final version to be made available soon thereafterThank youCopyright ICNL. All Rights Reserved.