It is a global trend that cuts across democracies and nondemocracies alike. The uniqueness of this new form of repression is the very active use of the legal system and legal institutions in curbing activists’ voices and stopping organisations’ activities.


AN ALARMING trend to contain and curtail civil society is spreading globally. The latest passing of the anti-NGO law in Russia is yet another example of the shrinking political space for civil society, divergent views and voices. Russia is not alone in this move to contain critical national organisations and voices, curtail external partners and international  non-governmental organisations. In recent years we have seen how governments across the globe have become increasingly suspicious and repressive towards the funding of civil society organisations, especially foreign funding of rights based
organisations. Governments in Russia, China, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Israel and many more are step by step prohibiting civil society from engaging in documentation, assistance and advocacy work that
critique state and government laws, policies and practices.

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Morten Koch Andersenhas worked for DIGNITYDanish Institute Against Torture since 2006 as Programme Manager for the Prevention of Violence and Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors.

Erik Wendt, Programme Manager, Asia of the DIGNITY-Danish Institute Against Torture.