Shrinking Civil Society Space in the Horn of Africa

This report reviews the legal framework regulating civil society organizations (CSOs) in ten countries of the greater Horn of Africa (HoA) (for the purposes of this report, the greater HoA is made up of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Somaliland, Sudan, South Sudan, and Uganda) evaluating them against existing international norms and national constitutional protections.
In doing so, it employs a legal text analysis, investigating what relevant international laws and domestic laws state from a critical perspective, while also considering political and economic factors. Section one provides critical background on overarching political and economic dynamics in the region and the impact that these are likely to have on CSOs as well as discussing the development of CSOs in the region. Section two sets out the intent of the report and addresses key methodological issues. Section three discusses the legal protections of freedom of association and assembly, both at the level of international law and constitutional protections. Section four discusses national laws and assesses the extent to which these are, or are not, compliant with freedom of association protections. Section five draws together key findings and offers recommendations for expanding space for civil society in the region.

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