Authoritarianism Goes Global (II): Civil Society Under Assault

Issue Date October 2015
Volume 26
Issue 4
Page Numbers 28-39
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In Ethiopia, civil society organizations are prohibited from receiving more than 10% of their funding from international sources if they seek to promote democracy, conflict resolution, disability rights, or other advocacy objectives. In Russia, internationally funded human rights groups are required to register as “foreign agents.” In Egypt, scores of civil society representatives have received prison sentences for receiving international funding without the permission of the government. Earlier this year, countries as diverse as Angola, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, China, and India introduced or enacted measures restricting international funding. Around the world, countries are erecting barriers to the ability of civil society organizations to receive international funding. This article presents the macropolitical context underlying these restrictions. It then categorizes constraints, summarizes governmental justifications, and analyzes restrictions under international law.

About the Author

Douglas Rutzen is president and CEO of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). He is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University and also serves on the Community of Democracies’ Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society.

View all work by Douglas Rutzen