U.S. Mission Photo / Eric Bridiers via FLICKR

Non-state actors and civic space in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Palestine

Examining the impact of non-state actors on civic space in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Palestine

Lead by Mr D Perera, CIVICUS

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About the research group

Human rights civil society organizations (CSOs) play a vital role in promoting human rights and holding states to account. Yet, these groups are increasingly facing direct attacks and restrictions on their work from both state and non-state actors (NSAs), which impede their advocacy activities, ability to access information and ability to speak out freely against abuse. This research project explores if and how the actions of NSAs impact on the civic space of CSOs in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Palestine. It aims to describe how various groups and powerful actors in society (other than states) impact, positively or negatively, on the space for civil society to conduct advocacy on human rights issues. In doing so, it hopes to unpack how these restrictions differ from state restrictions, if at all. It will do this by adopting a comparative case study approach and process tracing to assess how the actions of NSAs impact on CSO resources and their capacity to resist while protecting rights. By tracing this phenomenon over a period of 10 years in each of the three selected case studies, this research hopes to build a typology of NSAs and their motivations, methods and tactics, while understanding how they interact with government restrictions on civil society

  • Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Main question
  • How do the activities of non-state actors influence the political or civic space of CSOs?
Country focus
  • Zimbabwe
  • Bangladesh
  • Palestine