Dear Mr. President

We, 48 undersigned organizations from 24 countries, strongly condemn the continuing wave of detentions and harassment of peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists, anarchists and opposition party members in Belarus.

Uganda’s draconian Anti-homosexuality Bill is currently awaiting President Yoweri Museveni’s signature. President Museveni has 30 days from 23 January 2014 when the bill was presented to him to either sign it into law or return it back to Parliament for reconsideration. The bill is in gross violation of basic human rights principles enshrined in Uganda’s constitution and international law.  CIVICUS has coordinated a joint letter by 25 civil society groups based in Africa urging President Museveni - for reasons outlined below - to do the right thing by rejecting this regressive Bill.

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4 February 2014

President Yoweri Museveni
Office of the President
Parliament Avenue
P.O. BOX 7168,
Kampala
Uganda

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Dear President Museveni, 

We write to you as a group of civil society organisations based in Africa. We are deeply concerned about the passing of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which is currently under review by your office. We understand that, as the President of Uganda, you have the power to reject this repugnant bill and send it back to Parliament for reconsideration. 

We believe that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is profoundly un-African as it preaches an agenda of intolerance, discrimination and ultimately, divisiveness. It also breaches the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights’ promise of human beings being inviolable and entitled to respect for their life and integrity of their person.

Acting President Adly Mansour,
Magles El Shaab St., Kasr El Aini St.
Cairo
Egypt

Re: Escalation of violence and a call for restoration of sovereignty to the people of Egypt

Dear Acting President Adly Mansour,

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is appalled at the state-led violence against protestors across Egypt which has caused deaths and debilitating injuries to hundreds of people. We condemn in the strongest terms, the criminal actions of your regime and reject the official justifications being offered for use of indiscriminate and deadly force against protestors, including through the deployment of snipers, armoured vehicles and bulldozers. Nevertheless, we appeal for respect of the fundamental freedoms of all Egyptians, including those who stand in opposition to the current regime.

The People's Representative Council of Republic Indonesia
Gedung Nusantara III
Jl. Jenderal Gatot Subroto Jakarta 10270
Indonesia

Re: Restrictions on Civil Society under the 'ORMAS Bill'

Dear House Speaker Marzuki Ali,

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, the Indonesian Forum for Environment (WALHI) and the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) write to express our deep concern on the Bill on Mass Organisations (ORMAS Bill) due for hearing in Parliament on 12 April 2013.

We believe that the Bill severely undermines freedom of association enshrined in the Constitution of Indonesia and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Indonesia is a state party. We urge the Indonesian Parliament to reject the ORMAS Bill in its current form and adopt alternative legislation to create an enabling environment for civil society free from unwarranted restrictions.

HM. King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa
Office of the King
The Amiri Court
Rifa’a Palace
The Kingdom of Bahrain

Your Majesty,

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation an international alliance of civil society in over 100 countries and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (BCHR) are deeply concerned about the use of military courts to stifle civil society. Of particular concern is the sentencing of 20 medical doctors for 5 to 15 years in prison on 29 September 2011 on unproven charges including occupying the Salmanya Medical Complex, calling for the overthrow of the regime and spreading false information. We are also concerned by the harsh sentences of 14 opposition leaders and human rights defenders on 28 September 2011 as well as the sentencing of two Teachers’ Association leaders on 25 September 2011 to long prison term on unsubstantiated charges of disrupting schooling, broadcasting false news and threatening national security.

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September 27, 2011


Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
US Department of State
Harry S. Truman Building
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520


Dear Secretary Clinton,


We represent a broad, international coalition of human rights organizations, labor groups, trade unions, investors, and others, including independent civil society groups based in Uzbekistan, brought together by our common concern over recent actions by the US government to move toward “business as usual” with the Uzbek government, which remains one of the most repressive in the world.


Last week, an Appropriations Committee in the Senate approved a bill that will allow the provision of taxpayer-funded military and police assistance to the Uzbek government at a time when Uzbek authorities continue to silence civil society activists, independent journalists, and all political opposition; severely curtail freedom of expression and religion; and organize forced child labor on a massive scale.

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Johannesburg, 10 May 2011. CIVICUS is calling for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. As Museveni’s government try to push through the infamous Bill this week, the international community must react quickly and increase pressure on the country. 

The proposed Bill was drafted in 2009 but shelved due to international outcry. US President Obama described the Bill as "odious" and civil society organisations around the world have joined a global campaign against the Bill. However, public hearings on the Bill are currently taking place through the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and there is a significant chance the Bill will be passed by Parliament by the end of the week (13 May).

The provisions of the Bill to issue the death penalty for HIV infected persons who have sexual relations with a person of the same gender, life imprisonment for attempting to contract a marriage with a person of the same gender, extradition to Uganda of citizens or permanent residents if they have sexual relations with a person of the same gender, and enhanced punishment of life imprisonment for sexual relations between people of the same gender, all overtly violate personal freedoms and the guarantee of non-discrimination enshrined under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uganda is a party. It also breaches the Ugandan Constitution and existing human rights commitments by violating the rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, equal protection for all, and protection of minorities.

In addition, the Bill is not just targeted at homosexual individuals, but is a wider attack on the freedoms of expression and association. Civil society space will be suppressed as the work of civil society organisations that promote the rights of LGBTI people will be criminalised through the cancellation of registration and punishment of the head of the organisation with seven years imprisonment.

See the Open Letter by CIVICUS calling for the Ugandan Parliament to fully reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, whether in its original or amended form. We call for the recognition of the freedom of expression and protection of civil society activists in Uganda."CIVICUS is calling for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. As Museveni's government tries to push through the infamous Bill this week, the international community must react quickly and increase pressure on the country.



Open Letter to the Speaker of the Ugandan Paliament Download PDF

10 May 2011


Rt. Hon. Edward SsekandiKiwanuka
Speaker of Parliament
PO BOX 7178
Parliamentary Avenue
Kampala
Uganda


Sir,

I write from CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. We urge you to call for an immediate and complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is to be brought before Parliament this week. The proposed Bill rolls back international human rights obligations undertaken by Uganda by declaring that the provisions of any international legal instrument contradictory to the spirit of the Bill shall be null and void.

We believe that the widely-condemned Bill, which was drafted in 2009 and has been the subject of criticism both at home and abroad, must be unanimously rejected. A number of world leaders have condemned the Bill including US President Obama who described it as "odious." Civil society groups have warned that the Bill risks further isolating Uganda from the international community.

We call on Parliament to reject the Bill for the following reasons:

  • The Bill overtly violates personal freedom and the guarantee of non-discrimination enshrined under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uganda is a party.

  • The Bill breaches the Ugandan Constitution and existing human rights commitments by violating the rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, equal protection for al, and protection of minorities.

  • The Bill is not just targeted at homosexual individuals, but is a wider attack on the freedoms of expression and association. Civil society space will be suppressed as the work of civil society organisations that promote the rights of LGBTI people will be criminalised through the cancellation of registration and punishment of the head of the organisation with seven years imprisonment.

We urge Parliament to fully reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, whether in its original or amended form. We call for the recognition of the freedom of expression and protection of civil society activists in Uganda.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Srinath
Secretary General
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hon. Kiddhu Makubuya (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


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Presidente de la República
S.E. Hugo Chávez Frías
Palacio de Miraflores, Caracas,
Venezuela
Fax:+58.212.806 3698
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your Excellency,

Re: Proposed International Cooperation Bill

I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS works to strengthen civil society and citizen action throughout the world.
We at CIVICUS, our members and partners, are deeply concerned about your recent comments urging National Assembly members to adopt a "severe" law to effectively stop international funding for NGOs. We would like to emphasise that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play an extremely important role in national life. Their constructive criticism and quest for greater accountability in public life are important assets for the nation. We therefore urge your government to respect expressions of legitimate dissent and unequivocally uphold civil society's rights to express, associate and assemble freely.

We would like to draw your attention to the International Cooperation Bill, currently being discussed by law makers. We believe that the bill has been drawn up without adequate consultation with civil society. Moreover, we are deeply apprehensive that that passage of the Bill in its current form will severely curtail civil society space in the following ways:

  1. Subjecting CSOs to additional layers of bureaucracy by requiring them to register with the government in order to receive funds from international sources could increase the possibility of subjective denial of registration to CSOs who have been critical of official actions.
  2. The creation of an official fund for International Cooperation and Assistance for the collection of monetary grants from overseas and their subsequent disbursement by the government is likely to impede international cooperation activities between Venezuelan CSOs and their counterparts abroad. Moreover, it will lead to government ownership and prioritisation of international cooperation funds rather than democratic ownership by CSOs and local communities.
  3. By increasing executive discretion to monitor CSO affairs through the creation of an Agency for International Cooperation, limits of whose powers and have not been clearly defined, raising apprehension of increased restrictions on CSO affairs. 

We believe that the registration and funding requirements of the Bill, given their ambiguity, have the potential to breach the right to freedom of association embodied in the Venezuelan Constitution, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Defenders Declaration. 

We urge you to use your executive powers and influence to carry out consultations with civil society with regard to the need for an international cooperation law as well as the principles that should underpin any regulatory mechanism for civil society.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Srinath
Secretary General
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

CIVICUS is calling for the immediate and complete withdrawal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda. As Museveni's government tries to push through the infamous Bill this week, the international community must react quickly and increase pressure on the country.

The proposed Bill was drafted in 2009 but shelved due to international outcry. US President Obama described the Bill as "odious" and civil society organisations around the world have joined a global campaign against the Bill. However, public hearings on the Bill are currently taking place through the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and there is a significant chance the Bill will be passed by Parliament by the end of the week (13 May).

The provisions of the Bill to issue the death penalty for HIV infected persons who have sexual relations with a person of the same gender, life imprisonment for attempting to contract a marriage with a person of the same gender, extradition to Uganda of citizens or permanent residents if they have sexual relations with a person of the same gender, and enhanced punishment of life imprisonment for sexual relations between people of the same gender, all overtly violate personal freedoms and the guarantee of non-discrimination enshrined under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Uganda is a party. It also breaches the Ugandan Constitution and existing human rights commitments by violating the rights to privacy, freedom from discrimination, equal protection for all, and protection of minorities.

In addition, the Bill is not just targeted at homosexual individuals, but is a wider attack on the freedoms of expression and association. Civil society space will be suppressed as the work of civil society organisations that promote the rights of LGBTI people will be criminalised through the cancellation of registration and punishment of the head of the organisation with seven years imprisonment.

See the Open Letter by CIVICUS calling for the Ugandan Parliament to fully reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, whether in its original or amended form. We call for the recognition of the freedom of expression and protection of civil society activists in Uganda."


An open letter from Ingrid Srinath (Secretary General, CIVICUS) to the H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo President of the Philipines regarding the unconstitutional detention of 43 health workers by the Armed Forces of the Philipines.

 

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines

Your Excellency,

I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. We are deeply concerned with regard to the detention of the 43 health workers, known commonly as the "Morong 43," by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). As discussed in the correspondence herewith attached, we strongly believe that justice requires the return of the 43 health workers to their families without further delay.

We urge you, Madame President, to lead the Philippines in living up to its constitutional and international commitments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, by ordering the immediate release of the 43 health workers.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Srinath
Secretary General for Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Download letter here (PDF)

18 April 2011

H.E. Ali Larijani
Speaker of Parliament
Majles-e Shorura-ye-Eslami
Baharestan Square, Tehran, Iran
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Your Excellency,

I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members in over one hundred countries.

CIVICUS is pleased to hear that the Iranian Parliament has voted to suspend the review of the Establishment and Supervision of NGOs Bill for three months and referred it to the Social Commission of the Iranian Parliament for further deliberation. We welcome this action and implore members of Parliament and the government to use this interim period to reflect on provisions in the Bill that will guarantee the freedoms of expression, association and assembly as enshrined in the Iranian Constitution and in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Iran is a party.

We remain concerned that despite strong reservations from Iranian civil society, sections (including Article 6 and parts of Article 12) of the proposed Bill which have already been implemented will not be subject to this review. Article 6 of the Bill, for instance, authorises the creation of a Supreme Committee which will be composed of representatives from the security and other sectors including the judiciary, Ministry of Intelligence and the Basij resistance forces with powers to approve or reject the registration permits for NGOs. The Supreme Committee has also been empowered to have control over the choice, activities and decisions of the Board of Directors of NGOs and can decide to monitor the activities of NGOs and close their operations. We note with deep anxiety that the NGO community will have only one representative on the Supreme Committee.

Sections of Article 12 of the draft Bill mandate that all forms of demonstrations must be devoid of political affiliations and will only be considered legal following the approval of the Supreme Committee. If ratified, the law will empower the Supreme Committee to approve any relations or forms of cooperation including participation at conferences, seminars, signing of agreements and contracts between Iranian civil society organisations and international NGOs.

We believe that by attempting to ensure that the activities of NGOs are placed under the control of the security apparatus the Bill in its current form will pose a major threat to independent civil society in Iran. If not thoroughly reviewed, Article 6 in particular will provide military and strategic oversight and control over the activities of civil society organisations and practically restricts NGOs from interactions with international organisations including United Nations agencies.

Your Excellency, laws pertaining to civil society should be enabling of their activities and provide a conducive environment for them to operate. We request that the Establishment and Supervision of NGOs Bill be reviewed to reflect this.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you need further information in respect of best practices with regard to NGO laws.

Sincerely

Ingrid Srinath

Presidente de la República
S.E. Hugo Chávez Frías
Palacio de Miraflores, Caracas,
Venezuela
Fax:+58.212.806 3698
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your Excellency,

Re: Proposed International Cooperation Bill

I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS works to strengthen civil society and citizen action throughout the world.

We at CIVICUS, our members and partners, are deeply concerned about your recent comments urging National Assembly members to adopt a "severe" law to effectively stop international funding for NGOs. We would like to emphasise that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) play an extremely important role in national life. Their constructive criticism and quest for greater accountability in public life are important assets for the nation. We therefore urge your government to respect expressions of legitimate dissent and unequivocally uphold civil society's rights to express, associate and assemble freely.

Click here to download copy of letter.

8 September 2010

To
H.E. President Nursultan Nazarbayev
President of Kazakhstan
Ak-Korda, President Residence
Astana
Kazakhstan

Your Excellency,

I write as the Secretary General of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an international alliance of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. Together with the undersigned partners, we are deeply concerned about the imminent decision of the Kazakhstan government on whether to extradite 30 Uzbek refugees to their country of origin. In their country, these individuals have been accused of involvement in terrorist activities, and will be at a serious risk of torture and inhumane treatment upon extradition.

Letter of appeal for the release of Ameer Makhoul - Click here to download

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Item 3
Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights
ID on the Reports of the Special Rapporteurs on Violence against Women, Extreme Poverty and the Right to Health
7 June 2010


Mr. President,

CIVICUS wishes to thank all three Rapporteurs for their reports and wants to highlight a few aspects of their work.

1. On violence against women: CIVICUS welcomes Ms Rashid Manjoo's first report and her focus on reparations. In particular, we want to underscore the importance she gives to structural and multiple forms of discrimination and that reparations cannot be just about returning women to the situation on which they were found before the individual instance of violence, but instead should strive to have a transformative potential. We would like to ask her to elaborate further on how to achieve this transformative potential on the ground, for example the area of dismantling patriarchal understanding that is so often the reason for systemic violence.

2. On extreme poverty: CIVICUS thanks Magdalena Sepulveda for her very clear demand to invest in social protection floors, including through non-contributory pensions, as a human rights obligation for governments as duty bearers, to prevent older persons from falling into extreme poverty and society as a whole from gliding into an appalling inequality. CIVICUS also commends her for her stand during her Zambian visit on the rights of civil society to participate freely and/or in cooperation with governments on all these important decisions regarding social protection issues, and not be curtailed through any unwarranted controls and restrictions on their independence and freedom of association.

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