Over the last years, civil society organisations in FRA’s Fundamental Rights Platform have voiced increasing concern about the legal and practical challenges affecting their work.
- Regulatory environment: (changes in) legislation that affect civil society organisations’ work
- Finance and funding: availability and accessibility of resources;
- Right to participation: difficulties in accessing decision-makers and providing input into law- and policymaking
- Ensuring a safe space: attacks on, and harassment of, human rights defenders, including negative discourse aimed at delegitimising and stigmatising civil society organisations
These challenges are often cumulative, putting pressure on civil society organisations and human rights defenders.
FRA’s work on civic space
FRA’s 2018 report on Challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU, draws on data collected by its FRANET research network and expert interviews. The report provides an overview of evidence collected and points to the many areas where data on civil society space is either non-existent or patchy. It suggests where more research and concrete action is needed to better understand and address the factors that enable or hamper civil society activity inside the EU. The report raises awareness about the challenges and risks for civil society organisations across the EU while also highlighting promising practices.
Since 2018, FRA also consults Platform organisations every year about the experiences and challenges they face in their work, through an online consultation.
- civic space consultation 2020
- online consultation to take place in December 2020
- civic space consultation 2019
- questionnaire - Consultation on the experiences of civil society organisations working for the respect and promotion of human rights in the EU
- Civic space – experiences of organisations in 2019
- civic space consultation 2018
A number of other FRA publications also cover areas related to civic space issues:
- Update - NGO ships involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean and criminal investigations (2019)
- Fundamental rights considerations: NGO ships involved in search and rescue in the Mediterranean and criminal investigations (2018)
- Violence, threats and pressures against journalists and other media actors in the European Union (2016)
- Criminalisation of migrants in an irregular situation and of persons engaging with them (2014)