A recurrent theme at the Interaction Forum in Washington DC has been the growing constraints on civil society space across activities and countries. Humanitarian agencies working in the Horn of Africa and in conflict zones around the world are experiencing unprecedented barriers to their work from non-state actors and governments alike.
In Washington DC I met Lun Borithy of the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia who reiterated the urgent need for international intervention to stay the imminent NGO regulatory legislation being proposed in Cambodia. CIVICUS and others have tried to little avail to press the Cambodian government to include civil society input to the draft legislation which, if passed, would hamper even the simplest forms of citizen association and permit the government near unlimited powers to harass, intimidate and muzzle groups who are in any way critical of it. Other participants at the Interaction Forum, from North and South, were no less insistent that urgent, concerted action is necessary. Continue reading