March 2012
Issue: 69

Welcome to Civil Society Watch Bulletin, an e-newsletter of updates and analyses concerning civil society's rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression around the world. The Bulletin is compiled by the staff at Civil Society Watch, a programme of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Please feel free to forward the Bulletin to friends and colleagues. We welcome your comments and contributions!
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International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH):  Yemen: impunity granted, transition at risk

International Journal of Civil Society Law February 2012

Human Rights Watch: no justice in Bahrain - unfair trials in civilian and military courts

Human Rights Watch: 'no safe places' - Yemen's crackdown on protests in Taizz

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders: Russian Federation, Kadyrov v Orlov - defence of human rights on trial

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is an international movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. CIVICUS nurtures the foundation, growth and protection of citizen action throughout the world especially in areas where participatory democracy and citizens' freedom of association are threatened. The Civil Society Watch Project of CIVICUS seeks to mobilise quick, principled and effective responses to events that threaten civil society fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly.


GUINEA: Senior official indicted for 2009 massacre of protestors
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ISRAEL: Palestinian activist allowed to travel out of West Bank for the first time in six years to attend UN meeting
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CIVICUS is organising two joint side events during the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva:

 - The UPR in Zimbabwe and Uganda: Challenges and Expectations of Civil Society, 13 March 2012

 - Civil Society Voices from Syria: One Year Anniversary, 14 March 2012

Open Forum for CSO Development Effectiveness and CIVICUS urge an enabling environment for civil society to advance Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation
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CIVICUS calls on Azerbaijan government to cease rising harassment of civil society
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CIVICUS urges South Africa's Parliament to reject 'Secrecy Bill'
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CIVICUS calls for release of Burundi anti-corruption activist
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CIVICUS urges justice for and solidarity with Bahrain protestors
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BELARUS: Fine against 'Viasna' vice chair upheld
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EGYPT: NGOs speak out against slander and intimidation campaign
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GEORGIA: UN Special Rapporteur concerned about intimidation and arbitrary restrictions on opposition parties, labour unions and NGOs
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HONDURAS: UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders highlights serious concerns and makes recommendations
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INDIA: Civil society leaders write to Prime Minister expressing strong concern about negative references to civil society and increased surveillance of activities
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MALAWI: NGOs oppose President's suggestion to subject them to 'legislative oversight'
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SRI LANKA: Human rights defender issues appeal against intimidation and threats
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SYRIA: Human rights defenders illegally detained
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High Commissioner for Human Rights urges UN General Assembly to 'act now' over Syria
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THAILAND: Ten civil society leaders to be tried for holding peaceful demonstration
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TURKEY: Women trade unionists detained and harassed
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UGANDA: Minister disrupts LGBT workshop, calling it illegal
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ZIMBABWE: CSOs speak about against illegal banning of NGOs and extortion
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Civil Society Behind Bars update

CIVICUS profiles Nasrin Sotoudeh, an activist and human rights lawyer in Iran who is sentenced to six years in prison for "spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime" and being "a member of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders."  Nasrin is widely recognised for her defence of high profile activists and juveniles. CIVICUS sees Nasrin as a prisoner of conscience and calls for her immediate and unconditional release.  
Read more and take action here

Dr Leila Alieva, President of the Center for National and International Studies in Baku, Azerbaijan, speaks to CIVICUS about the deteriorating civil society environment in her country.  She paints a picture of bureaucratic barriers, threats of closure against organisations and denials of opportunities to hold meetings, and the targeting of human rights lawyers, with a government fearful of dissent in the wake of the Arab Spring enabled by other governments' foreign policy focus on energy and security rather than democratisation. In the face of this, Azerbaijani civil society needs international solidarity and support.

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The views expressed in this bulletin are a reflection of those contained in the original reports to which they are linked here, and are not necessarily those of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation.


Mandeep Tiwana

Kiva Latouche
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Oluwakorede Asuni


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