funding restrictions

 

  • Alarm bells ring as EU governments take aim at funding to ‘Political’ NGOs

    By Cathal Gilbert, Civic Space Research Lead at CIVICUS and Giada Negri, Research and Advocacy Officer with the European Civic Forum

    Increasingly, public figures across Europe are twisting the meaning of “political activity” by claiming that NGOs overstep the mark when they campaign publicly for social or policy change: that they somehow encroach on territory reserved exclusively for political parties.

    Read on: Diplomatic Courier 

     

     

  • CIVICUS and Colombian Confederation of NGOs concerned about aggressions and impending restrictions on civil society

    Click here to read a Spanish language version of this release

    CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, and the Colombian Confederation of NGOs (CCONG) are deeply worried about the growing challenges faced by civil society in Colombia. Several activists have been attacked while potentially restrictive legislation is underway and would curtail civil society organisations’ ability to contribute to the implementation of the peace agreements.

     

  • CIVICUS World Assembly Delegates Express Deep Disappointment at India's New Curbs on Civil Society

    6 September 2010. Over 70 eminent civil society activists from across the globe who attended the CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal this August expressed deep disappointment at the enactment of India's regressive Foreign Contributions Regulations Act, 2010 (FCRA).

    Among other things, the Act allows for broad executive discretion to designate organisations as being of ‘political nature' and thereby prevent them from accessing funding from abroad, which could affect the independence of civil society groups critical of government policies. It also requires organisations to renew their permission to receive funding from abroad every five years which subjects them to additional bureaucratic red tape, and places an arbitrary cap of 50% on the administrative expenses of an organisation receiving foreign funding as a further sign of interference in the internal functioning of civil society organisations.

     

  • Collaboration as currency, key to stop FGM in 5 communities in Nigeria

    FRENCH

    This article is part of the #StoriesOfResilience series, coordinated by CIVICUS to feature groups and activists on their journey to promote better resourcing practices for civil society and to mobilise meaningful resources to sustain their work.

    Director

    Today, Dolapo Olaniyan, Director of The UnCUT Initiative, shares why collaboration could be the new currency for civil society organisations that are facing funding constraints.

    Last February, five communities in Asa village, located in the Osun state, South West Nigeria, unanimously and publicly agreed to stop Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) – a harmful, cruel and extremely discriminatory practice recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, but that is still common in some countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This is a big victory in a country where FGM affects 25% women (aged 15-49). It was also a victory for us at The UnCUT Initiative, an organisation focused on ending female genital mutilation across high risk communities in Nigeria by 2030, as the public “abandonment ceremony” was the culmination of work started in October 2018.

     

  • New Law will cripple Ethiopian civil society

    28 January 2009- Despite severe criticism from donors, civil society and foreign governments, on 6 January 2009, the Ethiopian Parliament passed a controversial law restricting the activities and funding for civil society organisations (CSOs).

    "The Law will have a crippling effect on civil society inEthiopia. We are deeply disappointed that Parliament has passed this regressive law which undermines democratic values and the people ofEthiopia",said Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

    The law, "Proclamation for the Registration and Regulation of Charities and Societies", will prevent CSOs from taking part in democracy building initiatives and acting as a check and balance against human rights abuses. Key provisions of the law infringe upon freedom of association guarantees in the Constitution of Ethiopia, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights by:

     

    • Limiting CSOs that receive essential funds from abroad to a mere service delivery role through prohibitionsfrom working on key areas including advancement of human and democratic rights, gender equality, conflict resolution and accountability of law enforcement agencies;
    • Allowing wide executive discretion to refuse registration to CSOs and  curb their activities.
    • Clamping down on the independence of CSOs through provisions that permit institution of inquiries on unspecified grounds, allow removal of CSO officers and require advance notification of meetings;
    • Subjecting CSOs to strict official control through exhaustive reporting requirements, mandatory license renewals every three years and an arbitrary cap of 30% on administrative expenses; and
    • Discouraging CSO activities through harsh fines and strict punishments for administrative lapses.


    CIVICUS has closely followed and critiqued drafts of the law before its final passage in Parliament. Sadly, the concerns outlined by CIVICUS and other CSOs have been ignored by the Ethiopian government. CIVICUS submissions on successive drafts have emphasised that any regulatory mechanism for civil society must be underpinned by legislation that is equitable, just and fair. The current law substantially fails this test.

    Note to the Editor
    For more information, please contact Mandeep Tiwana, Civil Society Watch Officer at

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    or Julie Middleton, Civil Society Watch Acting Manager at

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    .

     

  • New Paper: Regulating Political Activity of Civil Society -- A look at 4 EU countries

    A comparative analysis of regulation of civil society organisations’ ‘political activity’ and international funding in Ireland, Netherlands, Germany and Finland. Written by CIVICUS, Irish Council for Civil Liberties, with support from The Community Foundation for Ireland

    RegulatingPoliticalActivityOfCivilSociety650This paper provides a comparative assessment of how the “political activities” of civil society organisations are regulated in Ireland and three other European Union member states. This paper focuses particularly on organisations, such as human rights organisations, which carry out public advocacy activities and rely on international sources for a substantial portion of their funding.

    All four countries are rated as “open” by the CIVICUS Monitor, a global platform which tracks respect for civic space in 196 countries. These four  european countries are also well known for their strong promotion of civil society, human rights and democratic freedoms through their foreign policy and international development cooperation on programmes. 

    Following a brief outline of key international and regional norms, the paper outlines relevant aspects of domestic regulatory systems in Netherlands, Germany and Finland. A final section sets out what Ireland could learn from these examples, with a view to reforming its laws and policies governing “political activities” and foreign funding of civil society organisations.

    Download Paper

     

  • Open Letter to president of Venezuela regarding the proposed International Cooperation Bill

    Presidente de la República
    S.E. Hugo Chávez Frías
    Palacio de Miraflores, Caracas,
    Venezuela
    Fax:+58.212.806 3698
    E-mail: 
     
    Your Excellency,
     
    Re: Proposed International Cooperation Bill
     
    I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS works to strengthen civil society and citizen action throughout the world.
     
    We at CIVICUS, our members and partners, are deeply concerned about your recent comments urging National Assembly members to adopt a "severe" law to effectively stop international funding for NGOs. We would like to emphasise that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play an extremely important role in national life. Their constructive criticism and quest for greater accountability in public life are important assets for the nation. We therefore urge your government to respect expressions of legitimate dissent and unequivocally uphold civil society's rights to express, associate and assemble freely.

     

  • Re: Proposed International Cooperation Bill

    Presidente de la República
    S.E. Hugo Chávez Frías
    Palacio de Miraflores, Caracas,
    Venezuela
    Fax:+58.212.806 3698
    E-mail:
     

    Your Excellency,

     
     

    Re: Proposed International Cooperation Bill

     
     
     
    I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS works to strengthen civil society and citizen action throughout the world.
     
     
    We at CIVICUS, our members and partners, are deeply concerned about your recent comments urging National Assembly members to adopt a "severe" law to effectively stop international funding for NGOs. We would like to emphasise that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play an extremely important role in national life. Their constructive criticism and quest for greater accountability in public life are important assets for the nation. We therefore urge your government to respect expressions of legitimate dissent and unequivocally uphold civil society's rights to express, associate and assemble freely.
     
     

    We would like to draw your attention to the International Cooperation Bill, currently being discussed by law makers. We believe that the bill has been drawn up without adequate consultation with civil society. Moreover, we are deeply apprehensive that that passage of the Bill in its current form will severely curtail civil society space in the following ways:

    1. Subjecting CSOs to additional layers of bureaucracy by requiring them to register with the government in order to receive funds from international sources could increase the possibility of subjective denial of registration to CSOs who have been critical of official actions.
    2. The creation of an official fund for International Cooperation and Assistance for the collection of monetary grants from overseas and their subsequent disbursement by the government is likely to impede international cooperation activities between Venezuelan CSOs and their counterparts abroad. Moreover, it will lead to government ownership and prioritisation of international cooperation funds rather than democratic ownership by CSOs and local communities.
    3. By increasing executive discretion to monitor CSO affairs through the creation of an Agency for International Cooperation, limits of whose powers and have not been clearly defined, raising apprehension of increased restrictions on CSO affairs. 

    We believe that the registration and funding requirements of the Bill, given their ambiguity, have the potential to breach the right to freedom of association embodied in the Venezuelan Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Defenders Declaration. 

    We urge you to use your executive powers and influence to carry out consultations with civil society with regard to the need for an international cooperation law as well as the principles that should underpin any regulatory mechanism for civil society.

    Sincerely,

    Ingrid Srinath
    Secretary General
    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

     

  • Strict legal restrictions on foreign funding hit India’s NGOs

    CIVICUS interviews Mathew Jacob on the restrictions on freedom of association and attacks on civil society in India including laws on foreign funding. Jacob is the National Coordinator of Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA). HRDA is a national platform of human rights defenders for human rights defenders. Mathew is also a PhD scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. 

     

  • Suenan las alarmas mientras los gobiernos de la UE plantean financiar las ONG "políticas"

    Por Cathal Gilbert, Responsable del equipo de investigación sobre el espacio cívico de CIVICUS y por Giada Negri, Responsable de investigación e incidencia en el Foro Cívico Europeo

    Cada vez aparecen más figuras públicas por toda Europa que tergiversan el significado de la "actividad política". Afirman que las ONG se pasan de la raya cuando hacen campaña pública a favor de un cambio social o político, consideran que de alguna manera invaden un territorio reservado exclusivamente a los partidos políticos.

    Artículo disponible en inglés en: Diplomatic Courier