Demonstrierende in New York City | Photo: kiddinn | CC BY-NC 2.0

Wir müssen Shrinking Spaces besser verstehen, um dem Phänomen begegnen zu können

„Shrinking Spaces“ bezeichnet die zunehmenden Einschränkungen von zivilgesellschaftlichen Handlungsspielräumen, die seit einigen Jahren von Autokratien, aber immer mehr auch von Demokratien, vorangetrieben werden. Warum haben wir es aktuell verstärkt mit diesem Phänomen zu tun? Was sind die Hintergründe und Argumente für die Einschränkungen von Handlungsspielräumen?

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A man carrying a flag on his way to a pro government protest in Cairo on 25 January 2014 | Photo: Sebastian Horndasch | CC BY 2.0

We Need to Understand Why States Object to the Presence of Foreign-funded NGOs

More and more countries restrict how NGOs operate, often by limiting their funding. The response is frequently to argue that these restrictions flout international law or amount to crackdowns on the opposition. Annika Elena Poppe and Jonas Wolff argue that the objections to NGO activity need to be taken seriously. In Egypt, for example, they are rooted in concerns about sovereignty and foreign interference.

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Attac Banner at a Demonstration in June 2015 in Berlin, Germany
Attac Banner at a Demonstration in June 2015 in Berlin, Germany | Photo: Attac

Germany Sets a Poor Example: The Case of ATTAC in Light of Globally Closing Civic Spaces

A non-governmental organization (NGO) that is critical of the government’s actions in the country at hand receives a letter from the local tax office, indicating that its public-benefit status has been revoked on the grounds of its involvement in political activities. The decision involves 90 percent of the organization’s revenues, which, as a result, threatens its very existence. After a court has reviewed and closed the case in favor of the NGO, the central government intervenes, insisting that the judgment should be reviewed. For the time being, the organization’s public-benefit status has been revoked.

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