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Reports and Publications

CIVICUS' reports and other publications.

Accountability for civil society by civil society: A Guide to Self-Regulation Initiatives

French | Spanish 

CSRI Final cover

CIVICUS is proud to announce the publication of its guide to help civil society organisations’ regulate their practices and operations with respect to a variety of governance issues.

The CIVICUS Self-Regulation Guide, a new addition to our Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability (LTA) programme, is the result of research conducted by CIVICUS and its members and partners. It features more than 20 case studies from around the world, lessons learnt, innovations and practical advice.

The guide is available in English, French and Spanish.

Enabling environment of Civil Society in Myanmar (Burma)

As part of CIVICUS’ work to promote and protect the enabling environment for civil society in the Asia-Pacific region, CIVICUS provided Carine Jaquet from the Research Institute on Contemporary South-East Asia (IRASEC) with technical and financial support to conduct research on the changing environment for civil society in Myanmar.

Civil society in Myanmar was virtually non-existent in the late 1990s due to the tight political control exercised by the military juntas from 1962 to 2010. It gradually re-emerged in the early 2000s and made exponential progress following the large-scale response to the devastation caused by the Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Since then, the installation of a new, quasi-civilian, government in November 2010, led to a more favourable environment for civil society organisations (CSOs) to operate. As a result of rapid political changes, Myanmar civil society has been expanding and exploring new issues. 

Jaquet’s report highlights that civil society has been able to benefit from expanding space, thanks mostly to political changes at the highest levels of government. This enabled - still incomplete - regulatory and legal reform, leading to noticeable increases in freedom of expression, association and assembly. Issues, once considered taboo, can increasingly be discussed by CSOs. Nonetheless, some significant restrictions remain that hinder civic space. The post-2010 reforms are based on a top-down centralised democratisation process, leaving many remote and marginalised groups – mainly ethnic minorities – behind. In spite of some noticeable improvement in local governance, state representatives at the lowest levels often continue to operate as they did under the former junta. However, some issues are still taboo, especially those related to government and private sector control of resources. The recent advances in freedom of expression need to be supported to promote a better understanding of minority-related issues and to avoid fuelling conflict in a still fragile political transition process.

The full report is accessible here.






Report from CIVICUS and RESOCIDE Regional Workshop on Enhancing the Capacity of Human Rights Defenders to Monitor Public Policy and Respond to Threats in West Africa, Burkina Faso

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and RESOCIDE jointly organised a workshop on enhancing the capacity of human rights defenders to respond to threats in West Africa in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso from 2 to 3 July 2012. The workshop which brought together participants from Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and the USA, aimed at identifying specific threats faced by civil society and human rights activists in West Africa and creating a network to facilitate timely and proactive responses to these threats. At the close of the meeting, particpants agreed to create a West African Network for human rights defenders which they named Africa Rights Defenders. The meeting was made possible by the financial support of Irish Aid.

At the start of the workshop, participants presented country experiences on human rights issues. It was clear that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and human rights defenders continue to work in restricted spaces despite improved legal frameworks for democratic governance and different levels of political transitions experienced by countries in the region. Even though the constitutions of most West African countries make provisions for the respect and protection of human rights, and countries are signatories to or have ratified several regional and international human rights conventions, governments often lack the will to implement these commitments.

Most country experiences indicate that human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists are often victims of physical assaults, kidnappings, enforced disappearances, torture, judicial harassments and pre-trial detentions. Family members of and lawyers for activists are regularly threatened while some human rights defenders have been assassinated in the line of duty. In Senegal for example, close to 20 activists died in prison during the tenure of the former president while citizens and human rights defenders were attacked, harassed and tortured as they led protests against attempts by the president to amend the constitution to extend his stay in office.


Broadening civic space through voluntary action: Lessons from 2011

civicus_volunteer_reportVoluntary citizen participation is an essential part of civil society, which in turn is a key contributor to sustainable development, human rights, good governance and social justice. 2011, the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, saw an upsurge of such action in different forms in many countries around the world.

Looking back on 2011, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and United Nations Volunteers have combined to analyse contemporary trends in voluntary action and make recommendations for policy-makers, civil society, and volunteer involving organisations, in our new publication, Broadening Civic Space through Voluntary Action.


Reporting Human Rights Violations to UN Special Procedures

Under the auspices of the project Strengthening Civil Society Engagement with the United Nations: Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan sponsored by the Open Society Foundations, CIVICUS engaged two activists and two regional specialists in learning exchanges with CIVICUS’ Geneva Office from November-December 2011. Participants conducted outreach with civil society in the region to encourage interfacing with United Nations Special Procedures and produced reports to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.  In addition, participants produced and disseminated a bi-lingual guide on how civil society can interface with UN Special Procedures.  CIVICUS members and partners can download Reporting Human Rights Violations to UN Special Procedures: An Introductory Guide in English and Russian.

CIVICUS is a legally registered non-profit 501 (c) (3) organisation, EIN 52-1847010 (USA)

CIVICUS is a registered non-profit organisation, registration number 029-864-NPO (South Africa) 

As a signatory/member to the INGO Accountability Charter CIVICUS is committed to upholding the highest standards of professional conduct and accountability.

Copyright (c) 1996  -  2012, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation
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