(CIVICUS Monitor)

Groups that attack fundamental human rights are on the rise. They are gaining in confidence and visibility and are increasingly well connected and well resourced. Rhetoric that attacks civil society’s fundamental freedoms and the rights of excluded groups – such as women, LGBTQI people, migrants, refugees and minorities – is increasingly adopted and promoted by political leaders, and anti-rights groups are claiming civil society space at the domestic and international levels. Civil society that defends rights is under attack. Our research – reaching out to a wide range of civil society activists, experts and leaders – seeks to identify how the current wave of anti-rights groups are organising, operating and having an impact, and how civil society is and could be responding to reclaim human rights. For more information, see the research concept note.Groups that attack fundamental human rights are on the rise. They are gaining in confidence and visibility and are increasingly well connected and well resourced. Rhetoric that attacks civil society’s fundamental freedoms and the rights of excluded groups – such as women, LGBTQI people, migrants, refugees and minorities – is increasingly adopted and promoted by political leaders, and anti-rights groups are claiming civil society space at the domestic and international levels. Civil society that defends rights is under attack. Our research – reaching out to a wide range of civil society activists, experts and leaders – seeks to identify how the current wave of anti-rights groups are organising, operating and having an impact, and how civil society is and could be responding to reclaim human rights. For more information, see the research concept note.

This report is from and for civil society, based on the voices and views of many CIVICUS members and stakeholders, and informed by the following sources:
● Interviews with 40 civil society activists, leaders, experts and other stakeholders, carried out between 2017 and 2019.
● A survey of CIVICUS members, with 903 valid responses from 115 countries in every global region, conducted in September 2019.
● 10 civil society dialogues involving over 400 civil society practitioners, convened in Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Tanzania and the USA by CIVICUS members and the CIVICUS secretariat between June and August 2019.
● A collaborative research project on non-state actors and civic space, drawing on over 150 hours of interviews with activists, undertaken by CIVICUS and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2019.
● CIVICUS Monitor posts published during 2018 and 2019.
● Media coverage of anti-rights issues published during 2018 and 2019. All in all, the voices of people from over 50 countries in every global region are directly reflected in this report. All conclusions and recommendations drawn are however the views of the CIVICUS secretariat only and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individual contributors.

Read the full report here.

Read the executive summary here.

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