Global civil society encompasses a huge range from community groups, activists and lawyers to specialist non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and large international NGOs. Many of these organisations play a vital and positive role defending individual rights and freedoms and protecting the public interest. Yet restrictions on civil society has become a global phenomenon with over 60 countries enacting restrictive laws in the past 5 years.  The latest CIVICUS Monitor indicates 108 countries with serious restrictions of civil space and just 22 in their 'open' category.

In the past two years, China has enacted a number of laws regulating both domestic and international non-profit organisations as well as 'national security' legislation which restricts internet freedom and freedom of speech.  This new legislation has reduced the space for domestic NGOs and isolating them from international support and resources. The Overseas NGO Management Law came into law in January 2017 and requires all overseas non-profit organisations operating in China to register with the police with all activities to be approved by a "Professional Supervisory Unit".  

Human rights know no borders. We believe that a global civil society can play an essential role in building a more open and fairer world. In these challenging times we will continue to seek ways to help sustain these organisations and ensure they are connected with a global community.

"World Peace" Image on previous page by Aia Fernandez