News feed


Canada’s vibrant civil society benefits from laws protecting the freedom to assemble peacefully and the freedom of expression. Recently however, new laws, including the Anti-Terrorism Act, have threatened to undermine those safeguards. Read more


Media ownership is highly concentrated, and a recent study shows that only three families own most of the media and capture 57% of the audience. Defamation is still considered a criminal offence, and self-censorship is common - especially in areas where the armed conflict is ongoing. Read more

Peaceful Assembly

In Colombia people protest frequently, and public meetings and demonstrations are typically allowed to proceed. Organisers of public gatherings in Colombia must give notice to the authorities 48 hours in advance. Read more


There are no legal restrictions on the freedom of association in Colombia and the requirements to register and operate an organisation are easy to meet. However, there have been instances where organisations working on human rights issues reported greater difficulty obtaining or retaining legal status than other CSOs dedicated to less sensitive issues. Read more


Violence is the main factor threatening the integrity of civic space in Colombia. The situation has evolved since 2011, as several agreements have been reached in the negotiations between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and peace talks are also starting with the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s other remaining guerrilla force. Peace, however, has not yet been fully achieved. Read more


There are no independent news sources in China which members of the public can easily access, and the state or the CCP control the majority of media outlets. The state strictly regulates critical content and prevents anything that may harm its image from being published. Read more

Peaceful Assembly

Although hundreds of protests take place in China every day - some of them in open opposition to the authorities - officially, public demonstrations and protests in China can only take place once organisers obtain government approval. Organisers must submit an application five days before the gathering is to take place and are required to submit a huge amount of information, including the wording of any slogans or banners to be used. In practice, approval is rarely granted. Read more


Independent CSOs remain almost non-existent in China, partly due to the arduous registration process for CSOs. People who want to form an organisation must obtain a government sponsor and adhere to prohibitions on actions that will ‘damage national unity’ or ‘upset ethnic harmony.’ The National Security Commission, a state institution tasked to control domestic security issues, monitors the Chinese operations of many international advocacy organisations. Read more


After several decades of repression, Chinese activists described 2015 as one of the worst years yet in the ongoing crackdown against lawyers, activists and scholars. In the face of an increasingly vocal public and more visible civil society activity, authorities have tightened restrictions on citizens’ right to the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression under the pretence of ‘protecting national security and preventing terrorism’. Read more

Intolerance of civil society in Vietnam: An interview with Penelope Faulkner from VCHR

Vice-President of the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), Penelope Faulkner, speaks to CIVICUS about the current challenges faced by civil society in Vietnam and the role of international solidarity networks in supporting the creation of a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders. Read more