Association

Constitutional provisions on the freedom of association are undermined, and the autonomy of civil society is limited, with no ability for registered CSOs to comment on issues that are deemed political, and peak bodies such as the National Trades Union Congress effectively co-opted by the state. Under the Societies Act, all organisations with 10 members or more must register, and the state may deny applications if they are deemed to be against vaguely-defined concepts such as good order, the national interest and public peace. No LGBTI CSO has been allowed to register. Vague and broadly defined laws give the state considerable powers of extended detention without trial, including on grounds of preventing terrorism under the Internal Security Act, and these can be used to detain civil society activists and human rights defenders. There are reports of physical and psychological mistreatment of those under detention, and it remains hard to obtain information on those detained. All trade unions are required to register under the Trade Union Act, with the authorities having wide powers to deny or withdraw registration. The regulatory environment also makes it difficult for CSOs to fundraise domestically and attract international resources.