WE EXIST TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND CITIZEN ACTION
AROUND THE WORLD
Global civil society alliance CIVICUS is concerned about the negative impact of Venezuela’s “state of exception and economic emergency” on civil society freedoms. On 13 May 2016 President Nicolás Maduro issued a decree calling for the state of exception on the basis that “extraordinary circumstances of social, economic, political, natural and ecological nature […] seriously affect the constitutional order, social peace, national security, public institutions and citizens of the Republic.”
Dinara Oshurahunova, of the NGO Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, speaks with CIVICUS on recently failed attempts in Kyrgyzstan to pass a foreign agents law and the civil society environment in the country
1. Could you tell us more about the draft Foreign Agents Law that was rejected by Parliament on May 12 in its final reading?
In 2013 the draft Foreign Agents Law was first introduced. The law would mandate NGOs that are funded by foreign resources to register as “foreign agents”. Additionally, the draft law opened the door for the prosecution of NGOs engaged in “political activities”. The notion of "political activities" was vaguely worded in the draft law meaning it was open to different interpretations. Since then the draft law went through changes: the term "foreign agent" was removed, while the provision regarding "political activity" was also eliminated. The recently rejected version of the draft law imposes heavy reporting requirements for NGOs.
Nearly two hundred civil society organisations from 74 countries, including South Africa, have written an open letter to South African President Jacob Zuma to mark the second-month anniversary of the brutal assassination of South African community and land rights activist Sikhosiphi Rhadebe. Mr Rhadebe was killed on 22 March 2016 by unknown assailants using firearms.