January 2010
Issue: 49

Welcome to Civil Society Watch Monthly Bulletin, an e-newsletter of updates and analyses concerning civil society's rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression around the world. The Bulletin is compiled by the staff at Civil Society Watch, a programme of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Please feel free to forward the Bulletin to friends and colleagues. We welcome your comments and contributions!
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Freedom House: Freedom in the World 2010 Survey Release
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Human Rights Watch World Report: Abusers target Human Rights Messengers
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International Journal of Civil Society Law Volume VIII Issue I
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UN: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation on Human Rights Defenders
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CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is an international movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS nurtures the foundation, growth and protection of citizen action throughout the world especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens’ freedom of association are threatened. The Civil Society Watch Programme of CIVICUS seeks to mobilise quick, principled and effective responses to events that threaten civil society fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

In January, the Network focused on advocacy concerning the case of Umida Akhmedova, photographer from Uzbekistan who was charged with “slander” and “libel” by the Uzbek government for her socio-ethnographic work. CIVICUS and Network participants sent a letter to the President urging the fair exercise of Freedom of Expression in the country.

CHINA: Google refuses to accept censorship of its search engine
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IRAQ: New NGO law, a significant improvement over earlier legislation
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CIVICUS urges the Nicaraguan government to make civil society its partner in development
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CIVICUS UN Representative calls for support of Haitian debt cancellation Human Rights Council 13th Special Session. For full statement click here and for more information on CIVICUS' involvement with Africa for Haiti click here

Copenhagen: Did it do anything for Women?
source: AWID
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ANGOLA: Activists being harassed over attack on Togo football team
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ARMENIA: Civil society demands recall of controversial NGO bill from parliament
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CONGO (DRC): Civil society regrets its exclusion from the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission
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EGYPT: Civil society groups petition parliament for repeal of restrictive legislation.
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Rights activist detained for four days for exposing child marriages
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FIJI: Authorities urged to stop harassment of women human rights defenders
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IRAN: Iran executes two opposition supporters
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ISRAEL: Courts declares arrest of peaceful protestors unlawful
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LIBYA: Kadhafi labels the concept of civil society as “a bourgeois culture and an imitation of the West”
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RUSSIA: Alternative France-Russia Year to address civil society’s omission from official event
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The offices of the respected environmental NGO, Baikal Environmental Wave, was raided by police in Irkutsk
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UGANDA: UN Special Rapporteur warns that anti-homosexuality bill threatens fight against HIV
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UZBEKISTAN: Open letter to the president on appalling conditions of arbitrarily detained human rights defenders
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Photographer and documentary filmmaker Umida Akhmedova has been charged with “slander” and “insult” for her socio-ethnographic work.
For more information click here, to sign a petition to stop the criminal law suit, click here

VENEZUELA: Cable networks ordered to stop broadcasting opposition TV station.
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VIETNAM: Democracy activist jailed for spreading propaganda against the state
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From 18-20 January 2010 CSW undertook a fact finding and solidarity mission to Nicaragua coordinated jointly with local partners the Coordinadora Civil (CC) and the Red Nicaraguense por la Democracia y el Desarrollo Local (RNDDL). The CIVICUS delegation comprised of Anabel Cruz, CIVICUS Board Chair, and Adam Nord, Civil Society Watch (CSW) Programme Officer, met with a number of civil society groups, including members of the women’s movement, who have had to face restrictions in recent times. The delegation heard stories of pressure being applied by the authorities on independent civil society groups. The delegation also observed that although government-civil society relations at the municipal level were often quite good, there were some outstanding issues in need of redress at the national level.

Interview with Anabel Cruz, CIVICUS Board Chair

Following the fact-finding and solidarity mission to Nicaragua supported by the CIVICUS Crisis Response Fund, CSW asked Anabel Cruz to share her reflection on the space for civil society in Nicaragua.
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The views expressed in this bulletin are a reflection of those contained in the original reports to which they are linked here, and are not necessarily those of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation.


Adam Nord
Devendra Tak
Mandeep Tiwana
Netsanet Belay
Sonia Zilberman
P.O. Box 933
Southdale, 2135
South Africa
1420K Street NW,
Suite 900
Washington D.C.
20005 USA

Jessica Hume
Oluwakorede Asuni

Tel: +27 11 833 5959
Fax:+27 11 833 7997

Tel: +202 331-8518
Fax: +202 331-8774