“I think my last word will be, ‘Yes!’ We need to stop saying ‘no’, we need to be positive and change the narrative. So we need to say ‘yes’...Learn More
This paper is based on a statement by the BOND network of British development organisations and a discussion among international civil society organisations (ICSOs). The International Civil Society Centre Centre recommends that ICSOs use the statement as a basis for further developing and enforcing their ethical standards. We recommend that all ICSOs sign up to and implement the action points listed.
As organisations whose core aim is to help the most vulnerable people in the world, to secure human rights and protect the environment we must always confront and eradicate abusive behaviour and the misuse of power. When it comes from individuals within our own staff it is a
double betrayal, not just of the people we exist to serve, but of the people (staff, volunteers, supporters, donors) who work with extraordinary engagement to achieve our mission. There can be no tolerance for the abuse of power, privilege or trust by individuals within our organisations or in our work. Our utmost priority is to those victims and survivors of abuse – to atone for damage that has been done and to stand in solidarity with those women who have faced such injustice. We have an absolute duty to our staff, our supporters and, above all, the people we seek to help to ensure we do everything in our power to prevent, detect and eradicate unethical behaviour.
We take every necessary step to prevent any wrongs occurring and to respond quickly and decisively if they do – and we will deepen these efforts further. We also have a clear responsibility to ensure that the people we seek to serve are not the ones punished for our mistakes. The
widespread public outcry at this behaviour demonstrates that people feel profound compassion for those who need civil society organisations’ help. We must honour that drive, and the rights and needs of the communities with which we work, by continuing to provide vital support but also by constantly seeking to improve.
We are fully committed to being transparent and accountable towards the people we serve, our partners, supporters and the public at large. That is why we are collectively announcing the following series of urgent and immediate measures:
In taking these steps, we are also asking people to come forward to report unacceptable behaviour. We hope these measures send a clear message to those who experience or witness any form of abuse or have done so in the past – it is essential that they know we take their reports
seriously and that we will take action.
These actions are only the first step as, collectively and individually, we do everything possible to ensure that our organisations, our staff and our work meet the most fundamental principle for all civil society organisations – to do no harm. We are truly sorry that there have been occasions when this has not been the case. We must and will do better.
On 13 February 2018, the Hungarian government tabled to Parliament a proposed legislative pack of three laws, commonly
referred to as “Stop Soros”. The newly proposed legislation would further restrict Hungarian civil society ability to carry out
their work, by requiring organizations that “support migration” to obtain national security clearance and a government permit
to perform basic functions. The proposed law would also require organizations to pay a tax of 25% of any foreign funding aimed
at “supporting migration”.
Failure to do so, would subject them to steps so serious that they could lead to exorbitant fines, bankruptcy, and the dissolving
of the NGO involved.
These come in a context of already shrinking space for civil society in Hungary and contravene Hungary’s obligations under
international law to protect the right to freedom of association, expression and movement.
We believe the new proposals represent the latest initiative in the Hungarian government’s escalating effort to crackdown on
the legitimate work of civil society groups in Hungary seeking to promote and defend human rights, provide legal and social
services to people in need in the country, and publicly express dissenting opinions in the press and online.
As defenders of rights and freedoms, we want people everywhere to be able to speak out without being attacked, threatened
or jailed. Open debate on matters relating to government policies and practice is necessary in every society, and human rights
defenders should not face criminalization for voicing their sometimes dissenting voices. Countries need to put laws in place
which keep human rights defenders safe from harm, rather than introducing repressive laws that aim to silence those who
Human rights defenders defend the rights of people in their own communities and their countries, and in doing so they protect
all of our rights, globally. Human rights defenders are often the last line of defence for a free and just society and undertake
immense personal risks and sacrifices to do their work.
We stand in solidarity with civil society and human rights defenders in Hungary.
They are courageous people, committed to creating a fairer society. Without their courage, the world we live in would be less
fair, less just and less equal.
We are calling on the Hungarian Parliament to reject the proposed laws in their entirety and let the NGOs and defenders
continue their work, instead of defending themselves against such attacks.
Global Participe and the Congolese Coalition for the Civic Charter are concerned about arrests and detention since 16 and 17 February 2018 to the Directorate-General for territorial monitoring (Dgst) young student leaders and their collaborators, including: Anaclet Singou, President of the Free Union of Students of the Faculty of Law arrested on 16/02/2018 and Nelson Apanga President of Movement of Congolese Students and Teachers arrested on 17/02/2018, while other students were forced to hide in order to escape the savage repression and arbitrary arrests in the schools and faculties of Ngouabi University.
Two student unions had called all students at Marien Ngouabi University to a general meeting on 20 February 2018 to discuss issues related to their education and well-being.
Indeed, Ngouabi University suffers from several evils. After the teacher’s strike on the claims of their unpaid salaries, which lasted 8 months, since the academic year in October 2017, first year students have never started school, university restaurants are still closed and school scholarships for 10 months are unpaid.
Global Participe and the Congolese Coalition for the Civic Charter recalls that freedom of association is recognized by the constitution of 25 October 2015, whose preamble ” declares an integral part (…), the fundamental principles proclaimed and guaranteed by:
– the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948;
– the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 26 June 1981;
– the Charter of National Unity and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 29 May 1991;
Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “every person has the right to form and join trade unions in the defence of his or her interests” Article 20 of the same declaration also states that: “any person entitled to freedom of assembly and
And Article 9 of the constitution of 25 October states that “the freedom of the human person is inviolable. No one shall be arbitrarily accused, arrested or detained. “As a result, Global Participe and the Congolese Coalition for the Civic Charter call for respect for the
rights and freedoms of student unions and demand the immediate release of arbitrarily arrested students.
For more information:
Contact Ms. Léonie Mabirou, Head of Communication of the Congolese Coalition for the Civic
Charter: + 242 06 464 99 14