WE EXIST TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND CITIZEN ACTION
AROUND THE WORLD
6 October 2014 - Civil society organisations are calling on South Sudanese authorities to stop the adoption of a restrictive NGO bill amidst fears that it could severely hinder civil society activities and undermine efforts to address the continuing humanitarian crisis in the country.
Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS and the South Sudan based Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) have urged the National Legislative Assembly of South Sudan to stop the bill that is currently under parliamentary consideration.
Of critical concern are vague provisions of the proposed 2013 NGO Bill which gives the government excessive discretionary powers to control the operations of civil society groups. According to the bill, all NGOs in the country must register with the government and align their work with the government’s national development plan. Moreover, organisations are forced to adhere to ill-defined requirements to “respect (for) the sovereignty of the Republic of South Sudan, its institution and laws.”
The legal, regulatory, and policy environment in which Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operate is key to their ability to register, operate, access resources, and effectively engage in advocacy, all of which are key to civil society’s ability to flourish and be successful. Moreover, the laws and regulations that govern CSOs and the ways in which they are implemented, which form part of civil society’s enabling environment, potentially shape a host of other significant factors as well: a CSO’s ability to communicate and associate with others, to engage in peaceful assembly, to seek tax exemptions, to engage in philanthropy, and to access information. All of these factors, as well as the relationship between CSOs and their government, help to define the nature of civil society’s enabling environment within a particular country. Importantly, these factors, when taken together, significantly affect the public’s receptivity, the lifeblood of a well-functioning civil society, to the important work performed by CSOs.
"We write to you as the Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus, a cross-constituency coalition of development, environment, trade union, feminist and human rights organizations worldwide. We welcome your efforts to involve civil society in the important discussions about the future development agenda. This is a generational opportunity to ensure that the international community is progressing towards a sustainable future for people and planet, and we encourage your offices to ensure that people’s voices are heard in these deliberations..." Read more