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New research on legal frameworks and political space for NGOs

16 June 2014

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What kind of legal and political environment do civil society organisations operate in today? New research by INTRAC, conducted in conjunction with the European Association of Development and Training Institutes (EADI) and the University of Portsmouth, shows a complex and nuanced picture.

The research examines the context in 12 countries. Phase I, published in July 2013, looked at Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Honduras, Kyrgyzstan,Serbia, and Uganda. Phase II, published today, looks at Egypt, Kosovo, Myanmar, Peru, Rwanda, and Vietnam.

We find that overall, operating contexts are becoming more challenging, especially for organisations and individuals working on more sensitive issues such as human rights. However, the research finds that globally, a strong rhetoric about enabling space for civil society is emerging. In some countries such as Kosovo, this discourse is trickling down to the national level, resulting in positive improvements in legislation.

Improvements are far from universal. Civil society organisations in many countries face an insecure and unpredictable environment. However, our research has found that even in the most complex and restrictive environments, important spaces for engagement exist, which many of the global-level analyses do not pick up.

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