“States must allow associations to access resources” – General principles on protecting civic space
Protecting Civic Space and the Right to Access Resources is a shared project of the Community of Democracies and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, supported by the Government of Sweden.
At the heart of the project stands a series of regional dialogues with governments and civil society, aimed at defining the main challenging faced by civil society organizations in the different regions regarding their space to operate and their ability to seek, receive and use funding for their activities. This comes as part of a global effort to counter trends of shrinking space for civil society.
The first regional dialogue with civil society took place in Warsaw in the beginning of May, with representatives of different organizations from the OSCE region. Now, one of the first outcomes of the project is finalized, with the publication of a special document, “General Principles on Protecting Civic Space and the Right to Access Resources”.
The document summarizes three general principles regarding the ability of civil society to access resources (including their legal justifications) extracted from the Special Rapporteur’s 2013 report to the UN Human Rights Council. The principles are based on the fact that the right to access resources is inherent to the right to freedom of association. States must therefore allow associations to seek, receive and use funding (including foreign funding) as part of their obligation to international law, and should treat civil society and the corporate sectors under similar rules and regulations.
The full document can be downloaded here. More information is available on the website of the United Nations Special Rapporteur.