Against All Odds

All over the world there is an evident growing backlash against activists and campaigners who ask for a fair use of their countries’ natural resources. In 2015 alone 185 activists fighting to protect the environment and for transparency in oil, gas and mining, have been killed, including the high profile death of Berta Cáceres in Honduras.

These activists are harassed, threatened, arrested and even killed for standing up for the rights of their fellow citizens. This is only getting worse. Women and indigenous peoples are especially at risk as they are already often economically and politically disenfranchised.

The report contains a series of case studies illustrating the different types of threats, from restrictive legislation, criminalisation, unwarranted surveillance to smear campaigns, tight control of public space and violence. 

Handbook on Combating Corruption

The purpose of this handbook is to provide the 57 OSCE participating States and 11 Partners for Co-operation with a reference guide on available legal tools, the latest legislative and policy trends, and pertinent measures and practices to prevent and suppress corruption. It is aimed at raising awareness of the range of international instruments available to national policymakers and anti-corruption practitioners, and assisting them in developing and implementing effective anti-corruption policies and measures, thereby reducing the possibilities for corruption, instability and transnational crime. The handbook is produced by the OSCE in collaboration with UNODC, OECD and GRECO and other partners.

Global Trends in NGO Law: Survey of Trends Affecting Civic Space: 2015-16

This issue of Global Trends examines key events at the regional and international levels that impacted the enabling environment for civil society during 2015-16. It also includes a brief look at some of the successes achieved by civil society during the same period. Finally, this report examines the primary ways in which civic space continues to be narrowed in many countries around the world.

Front Line Defenders: 2016 Annual Report

As the 2016 Annual Report documents, at least 156 human rights defenders were killed or died in detention in 2015. More than half of those killings, 87, took place in Latin America, with Colombia alone accounting for 54 killings. Outside the Americas one of the starkest figures was the total of 31 targeted killings of HRDs in the Philippines.

Breaking the Silence and Unlocking Barriers for Human Rights Protection in ASEAN: A report on the performance of the ASEAN Human Rights Mechanisms in 2015

‘Breaking the Silence and Unlocking Barriers for Human Rights Protection in ASEAN’ is the sixth annual review of the performance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) human rights mechanisms produced by the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) and the Solidarity for ASEAN People’s Advocacies – Task Force on ASEAN and Human Rights (SAPA TFAHR).

This report reviews both the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), and the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children (ACWC), on how they have implemented activities in relation to their mandates, their engagement with civil society organisations (CSOs), achievements and shortcomings. It shares general expectations from CSOs and other stakeholders in their engagement with the AICHR and the ACWC. The report concludes with key findings of the assessment and proposes recommendations for improvement to the AICHR, the ACWC and the ASEAN overall.

Global Witness Report: "Find the Facts, Expose the Story, Change the System"

Global Witness released a report, Find the Facts Expose the Story Change the System, that focuses on the world's worst environmental and human rights abuses that are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global. 

Closing Civil Society Space - Threat to World Bank's Mission and SDGs

Combating Corruption in Closing Spaces: Implications for Governance Panel Discussions

Lifeline Consortium partners Freedom House and ICNL coordinated a panel at the World Bank Annual Meeting, joined by the Committee to Protect Journalists and Human Rights Watch, to highlight the suppression of journalists and civil society organizations (CSO) combating corruption and advocating for transparency and good governance. It discussed how the World Bank’s mission and the new Sustainable Development Goals can be leveraged to keep the space for civil society and media from closing further.

Useful information on this subject is also available from The Coalition for Human Rights in Development

Videos from the panel are below:

Dr. Robert Herman - Vice President for Emergency Assistance Programs and Multilateral Initiatives - Freedom House

Jessica EvansSenior Researcher/Advocate for International Financial Institutions – Human Rights Watch (Overview)


Dr. Courtney Radsch - Advocacy Director - Committee to Protect Journalists

Yoseph Badwaza- Sub-saharan Africa Program Officer - Freedom House - (Formerly Secretary General of Ethiopian Human Rights Council)

Dr. Claudia Escobar Currently a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow - National Endowment for Democracy - Judge in the Guatemalan Judicial System

Irene Petras - Legal Advisor-Africa - The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (Formerly of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights)

Report: UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association

From July 11 to July 27, Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association made an official visit to the United States. During his mission, the Special Rapporteur visited ten cities, including Philadelphia, Cleveland, New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Ferguson, Phoenix, New Orleans, Jackson, and Baton Rouge. 

CIVICUS Brief: "Burundi on a Downward Spiral"

A recent policy action brief from CIVICUS details the ongoing political repression in Burundi and the potential for the conflict to escalate even further. As Pierre Nkurunziza continues to target representatives of civil society and crack down on suspected members of the political opposition, the country risks a return to the level of violence and human rights violations suffered during Burundi's civil war. In the brief, CIVICUS provides concrete recommendations and action points for all involved actors, including the international community, armed opposition groups, the government of Burundi, and civil society groups.



CIVICUS: State of Civil Society Report 2016

CIVICUS has released its 2016 State of Civil Society report, detailing the key events, issues, and trends affecting civil society around the world. This year's report's theme explores the issue of exclusivity and its impact on civil society activists. 

The report draws on contributions from over 30 civil society experts and includes investigative work from CIVICUS staff who conducted their research in partnership with hundreds of activists on the ground. 



Protection International: Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders Report

Protection International releases Criminalization of Human Rights Defenders report. 

"The report illustrates the interplay among legal instruments, socio-political contexts, practices by state authorities and non-state actors, which altogether ultimately contribute to stigmatise, delegitimise and criminalise HRDs. Counter-measures that may be adopted to combat criminalisation are also discussed in the report together with a number of concrete recommendations to HRDs, State authorities and justice institutions, as well as foreign governments, multilateral agencies, donors and civil society organisations."