Articles on civil society

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Kenyan civil society activists protest against the extrajudicial killing of a human rights lawyer and his client. Restrictions against NGOs have intensified. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

Kenya’s clampdown on civil society is against its self-interest

The government of Uhuru Kenyatta may wish to reconsider its repeated attacks against NGOs. The country as a whole is likely to benefit if the government softens its stance.
Unemployed graduates in Tunisia demonstrate to demand that the government provides job opportunities. Reuters/Zoubeir Souissi

A vibrant civil society is central to democratic consolidation in Tunisia

In the wake of the Arab Spring the international community lauded Tunisia's political transition to democracy. But a plethora of challenges may threaten democratic consolidation in the country.
Most Asia-Pacific governments are more focused on preventing irregular movement of asylum seekers and refugees than addressing the underlying causes of such movement. UNHCR/S.H. Omi

How civil society can improve refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific

In many regional countries there are civil society organisations attempting to fill the protection gap for refugees through service provision, advocacy, or both.
Last year’s election of federal independent MP Cathy McGowan as a result of Voices 4 Indi’s kitchen table campaign was a spectacular demonstration of the potential power of this model of community engagement. Voices4Indi/Facebook

Reasserting the public interest from Australians’ kitchen tables

Grassroots common sense and decency lie at the heart of two growing movements to reassert the voice of the people in the management of our local and national affairs. Kitchen table conversations and community…
The Sydney Alliance’s founding assembly in 2011 filled the Town Hall with people eager to put community back into politics. Kurt Iveson/

Community organising aims to win back civil society’s rightful place

In the wake of the Second World War, Karl Polanyi wrote that the public arena is made up of three interconnected sectors: the market, government and civil society. He argued that democracy thrives when…
What role can civil society organisations have on the agenda of the G20, which Australia is president of this year? AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Australian civil society and the C20: now isn’t the time to be polite

One of the many preparatory events leading up to the G20 Leaders Summit in Australia later this year is the C20 Summit, which will begin in Melbourne on Thursday. The C20 – or Civil Society 20 – aims to…
Oil on the water: Russian environmental problems are commonplace, but who’s watching? Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Russia’s crumbling environmental safeguards

The Russian state’s engagement with environmental concerns is complicated, carrying as it does a heavy legacy from Soviet times. From the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster (in what is Ukraine…
If oil spills in the forest and no one is around to see it, will anyone care? Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Few hear the cries of those fighting to save wild Russia

Lying to either side of the Urals, the Republic of Komi and Khanty-Mansiysk in the north of Russia are among the country’s most oil-rich regions. Scarcely populated, they provide a substantial share of…

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