Around the world, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have faced increasing pressure in recent years. The globally shrinking space for NGOs has not only affected civil society in authoritarian regimes such as Cambodia, China, Egypt, Russia, and Uganda, but has also meant that authoritarian practices have taken hold even in formally democratic countries such as Ecuador, Hungary, and Israel. Authoritarian practices that impede and constrain the work of NGOs include the imposition of bureaucratic hurdles, such as registration and reporting obligations, and the restriction of foreign financing of NGO activities.
Are these developments evidence of global diffusion trends? How does the increasing cooperation of authoritarian regimes influence NGO restrictions? Do authoritarian regimes learn from each other, and do democracies learn from autocracies? And what do international networks of authoritarian states mean for democratic states’ ability to demand compliance with human and civil rights?
The panellists will discuss the implications of these shrinking spaces for German and European development cooperation and foreign policy. Scholars from the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies will present some of the core findings of the Leibniz Association–funded research network International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes (IDCAR) while engaging in dialogue with representatives of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Bread for the World, and the Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation.
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