6 out of 7 humans live in countries where the freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are under threat
“When citizens’ most basic rights are being violated in more than half the world’s countries, alarm bells must start ringing for the international community and leaders everywhere.” says Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS
Russia, for example, declared every NGO receiving funds from abroad as a “foreign agent”. These NGOs have to add to every statement that they are “foreign agents”, a term that doesn’t make the organization sound trust-worthy to the population. Furthermore, several activity and spending reports have to be published every year, which requires a lot of human and financial resources. Of course, other NGOs are now afraid to be listed on the “black list of NGOs” and hold back certain publications. An atmosphere of fear has been created by the Russian government in order to suppress the NGOs’ work.
Putin talked about civil engagement just after the announcement of the new law: “It is precisely from civil society that we expect active assistance in perfecting governance”. He makes it sound as if civil society and activity were just the icing on the cake. However, civil society is what makes the cake so delicious: The chocolate dough.
By Sina Gösele
CIVICUS The State of Civil Society Report 2015
http://www.civicus.org/index.php/en/media-centre-129/press-releases/2113-global-civil-society-alliance-condemns-ngo-crack-down-in-hungary-and-calls-on-new-european-commission-to-act http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-muzzles-ngos-foreign-agent-law/25467789.html http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/5-trends-that-explain-why-civil-society-space-is-under-assault-around-the-world/ https://disrupt-and-innovate.org/two-observations-about-civic-space/ http://www.civicus.org/index.php/en/media-centre-129/news-and-resources-127/2245-new-civicus-report-civil-society-rights-violated-in-96-countries