Civil society space, government and the law: best practices and lessons learned from Ukraine, Tunisia and Burma

March 11, 2014

The Community of Democracies hosted a special workshop on the situation of legal frameworks for civil society.

The workshop was organized by the Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society at the margins of the meeting of the Governing Council in Geneva, and held at the premises of the Permanent Mission of Canada in Geneva. It highlighted the importance of enlarging civic space and enabling the activity of civil society, explored ways of encouraging governments to develop enabling legal frameworks for civil society and share best practices for this purpose, showcased concrete examples of cooperation between governments and civil society, and developed concrete recommendations for the Community of Democracies and other international actors.

Moderated by the Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, Ambassador Maria Leissner, the workshop was divided into three case-studies panels – on Burma/Myanmar, Tunisia and Ukraine – with the participation of several experts and activists: Doug Rutzen, President of the International Center for Not-for-profit Law; Anastasia Krasnosilska, Project Coordinator at the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research; Nwe Zin Win, Chairperson of the National NGO Network in Burma/Myanmar; Abdel Basset Hassen, President of the Arab Institute for Human Rights (Tunisia); Kamal Labidi, former Chair of INRIC (Tunisia); Thomas Vennen, Head of the Democratization Department of OSCE-ODIHR; Herdis Thorgeisdottir, Vice-President of the Venice Commission.