LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey

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Civil society: still under pressure

09 Aug

Civil society is a key component of Europe’s fundamental rights architecture. From supporting people affected by the pandemic to helping those fleeing the war in Ukraine, civil society plays a crucial role in upholding people’s rights. In so doing, it contributes to a healthy rule of law culture. But despite positive developments, civil society continues to face numerous challenges ranging from harassment to restrictive laws, finds the latest civic space report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). It underlines the need for Europe to ensure a more conducive working environment for civil society.
FRA’s report ‘Europe’s civil society: still under pressure – Update 2022’ underlines the need for Europe to ensure a more conducive working environment for civil society – a call well supported by international and regional human rights bodies. 
The report further reviews the civic space in selected EU accession countries: Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia. In Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia, their own organisation’s situation ‘deteriorated’ (27 %) or ‘greatly deteriorated’ (11 %) in 2021, CSOs say. These were greater percentages than the EU-27 average.
Developments in Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia show similar patterns to those in the EU countries FRA’s work on civic space covers. The main concerns are issues such as the negative side effects of measures to contain COVID-19. These include concerns around freedom of assembly, smear campaigns and negative narratives, and physical and verbal attacks. They also include concerns about access to information and a lack of proper consultation for legislative proposals.
In both Serbia and North Macedonia, HRDs continued to face threats and attacks in 2021. North Macedonia has notably seen a rise of an anti-gender movement. In Albania, issues facing environmental defenders continue to be a source of concern. A CSO coalition was formed to fight for environmental rights in 2021.
Link to the full report:…

Country - Albania / Macedonia / Serbia
Tags - Anti-Gender / Civil Society / civil space / environment / FRA / Rule of Law /