Civil society remains under attack. In 2014 alone, CIVICUS documented serious violations of ‘civic space’ – the freedoms of expression, association and assembly – in a staggering 96 countries around the world. Taking the size of these countries into account, it means that six out of seven people lived in countries where their civic freedoms were under threat.
The statistics are from the 2015 Global State of Civil Society, which says that from Ebola to the bombing of Gaza, civil society was the first responder to humanitarian emergencies, including natural disasters and conflicts, during the last year. But it faces dire threats and a funding crisis around the world.
To make matters worse, organisations that need funds the most, largely based in the Global South, receive only a fraction of the billions of dollars of funding that goes to the sector. It’s an untenable situation. It is not surprising that domestic civil society does not have the capacity to defend itself against attacks on civic space if donors have systematically underinvested in local organisations.
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