UN HRC: States commit to protect civil society space

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the adoption at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) of a crucial resolution on civil society space with over 60 cosponsoring States.

244 organisations from around the world jointly expressed their support for the international human rights standards. An attack at the core of the resolution led by Russia, China and South Africa failed, but led to a vote on the resolution as a whole.

“The recognition that civil society space is under threat by the UN’s highest human rights body must lead to action, said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director at ARTICLE 19.

“The freedom of civil society to speak out, organise, and participate in public affairs is essential to democracy, development, and human rights. Democracies such as South Africa and Nigeria are in authoritarian company rejecting civil society space. It is a betrayal of their civil society, and of their international human rights commitments”, added Hughes.

Notes for editors:

  • The resolution gives practical guidance to states on how to ensure this space, based on their existing commitments under international human rights law.
  • 31 States voted in favour of the resolution and in favour of civil society.
  • China, Congo, Cuba, Nigeria, Russian Federation, South Africa and Venezuela voted against civil society.
  • Bolivia, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam abstained.