WE EXIST TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND CITIZEN ACTION
AROUND THE WORLD
20 August 2014. Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, strongly condemns the continued denial of basic democratic freedoms by the military junta in Thailand and calls on the military to immediately remove unwarranted restrictions on civil society and the independent media.
Since the May 22 coup, the military junta led by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has overseen the wholesale suspension of fundamental civil liberties in an attempt to stifle criticism and popular protest. The NCPO’s continued invocation of overbroad legislation to criminalize dissent represents a severe breach of international human rights law.
Judicial persecution of human rights defenders
Despite firm constitutional protections against arbitrary detention, the NCPO has invoked restrictive legislation to endow the military with excessive powers to imprison human rights defenders and peaceful dissidents.
Under the 1949 Martial Law Act brought into force two days prior to the coup, the military is permitted to arrest and detain individuals without charge for up to seven days. Moreover, under an order issued by the NCPO on 25 May, military courts are authorized to oversee a number of crimes which previously fell under the jurisdiction of civilian courts. These include offences under the Criminal Code and those related to national security and sedition.
14 August 2014. The use of excessive force and arbitrary arrest of peaceful demonstrators and journalists in Ferguson, Missouri, USA, represents a severe breach of the right to freedom of assembly says global civil society alliance, CIVICUS.
“The authorities have a responsibility to protect and facilitate the right to peaceful assembly,” said Tor Hodenfield, Policy and Advocacy Officer at CIVICUS. “However, police in Ferguson have actively sought to undermine the ongoing protests in an apparent attempt to quash independent dissent.”
Over 50 people have been arrested and numerous others injured since peaceful demonstrations began on 11 August in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of the state capital, St. Louis. The protests stem from the fatal shooting of an unarmed African- American teenager, Michael Brown, by police officers on Saturday, 10 August. Protestors are calling for greater accountability for the shooting, including the immediate disclosure of the identity of the officer responsible.
13 August 2014. Former Minister in the Mandela Cabinet, co-founder of COSATU and lifetime activist, Jay Naidoo, will be playing a new role as an advisor to CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance.
“We are delighted to be able to draw on Jay’s vast experience in helping civil society navigate the confluence of crises humanity faces at the moment,” said Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary-General of CIVICUS.
As a global alliance with a mission to strengthen civil society, the CIVCUS Board asked Jay Naidoo to form and chair an advisory council to help it think through some of the challenges facing civil society. So far, together with the CIVICUS Secretary-General, he has had numerous conversations with civil society actors – from grassroots activists to the CEOs of some of the biggest NGOs in the world.