Creating an Enabling Environment for Civil Society Organizations: ARTICLE 19

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The right to protest, the right of association and the freedom of expression are constitutional rights guaranteed respectively by articles 37, 38 and 39 of the constitution of Bangladesh. Arbitrary arrest, detention, threat, harassment of human rights activists, as well as legal, administrative and regulatory repression of civil society organizations, are flagrant violations of the commitments made by Bangladesh in ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights standards. The government must ensure that any measures taken are legitimate, proportionate, necessary and consistent with international human rights standards, he added.

Civil society organizations (CSOs) work to counterbalance state power, oppose authoritarianism and ensure the rule of law, among other things. CSOs act as watchdogs and help promote good governance and accountability. Instead of addressing issues raised by human rights activists and CSOs, the government sometimes tries to persecute them.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the government to ensure an enabling regulatory and policy environment free from chilling effects, threats and attacks for civil society organizations (CSOs).

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