UN Universal Periodic Review submissions on civil society space in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Eritrea & Vietnam

CIVICUS and its partners have made UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on civil society space in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Eritrea and Viet Nam.

The United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every 4.5 years.

CIVICUS and its partners have submitted UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on 4 countries in advance of the 46th UPR session in April - May 2024. The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the 3rd UPR cycle over 4 years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations. 

Afghanistan The submission by CIVICUS and Safety and Risk Mitigation Organization (SRMO) examines the deterioration of civic space after the takeover by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Specific instances of harassment of human rights defenders, journalists and protesters as well as physical attacks, killings, abduction, arrests, and intimidations are documented. In particular, attacks against women activists and protesters are highly alarming. Repercussion on media freedom has worsened as new sets of rules for the media outlining prohibitions and requirements silence dissent.  

Cambodia - In this submission, CIVICUS and the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) document restrictions of civic space in Cambodia, including excessive restrictions on association under the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations, suppression of protests, and restrictions and surveillance online. Human rights defenders, activists and journalists are consistently convicted and detained under vaguely worded charges. The submission also documents alarming restrictive laws, policies and practices. that undermines the freedom of media and target journalists and critics of the government.  

Eritrea - The submission by CIVICUS and Surbana Vision Media and Community Services highlights Eritrea’s restriction on fundamental freedoms and persistent and violent suppression of civil society. The submission documents severe damage to media freedom, as the government places severe controls on media organizations effectively shutting down all independent media. Even private discussions are severely inhibited by fear of government informants and the likelihood of arrest and arbitrary detention. The submission also sheds light on the lack of independent Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as they are not able to operate safely in Eritrea as well as  threats, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders both in Eritrea and in exile.

Viet Nam - In this submission, CIVICUS, Asia Democracy Network (ADN) and Vietnam Advocates for Change (VAC) express their concerns about the highly restrictive regulatory regime deteriorating civic space both in law and in practice. Numerous cases of arrest and detention of human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, and protesters for charges under vaguely defined national security offences are documented. Those in detention are subjected to torture and other inhumane treatment with the purpose of coercing confessions or punishment for their opinion. The report also sheds light on the restriction, both online and offline, of freedom of expression by repressive laws and decrees as well as state censorship.

Civic space in Afghanistan, Eritrea and Viet Nam is rated as Closed by the CIVICUS Monitor.  In Cambodia it is rated as Repressed.



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