Global Governance Institute


Responding to the Global Crackdown on Civil Society

25 September 2017

This Policy Brief reviews evidence on why, when and how states impose restrictions on civil society organisations and discusses possible strategies to respond to state repression.

Civil Society: Speaking Truth to Power

Report drafted by Julia Kreienkamp, UCL 

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have emerged as active participants in local, national, and global governance processes, often mobilising across borders to promote and protect human rights and hold governments accountable for repressive actions. However, in many countries, CSOs are under significant pressure as states deploy a range of formal and informal strategies to undermine their credibility, financial security, and legal protection. 

In May 2017, the Global Governance Institute (GGI) hosted a workshop on 'State Restrictions of Civil Society and the Free Flow of Information'. Organised by Professor Kristin M. Bakke, GGI Thematic Director for Global Security, the event brought together an international group of academics, practitioners, and policy-makers to discuss both the scope and types of state restrictions and how non-state and state actors respond to them. 

The full workshop report is available here: Responding to the Global Crackdown on Civil Society (PDF)