Civil Society under Attack: Investigating the ‘New Norms’ Deployed to Fight Back

Space of civil society in domestic orders is constantly shrinking. At the core of the battlefield is foreign funding. Domestic legislation is restricting actors’ ‘political activities’ when funded by ‘foreign sources’.
Human rights community with its uncritical faith in human rights law has interpreted right to freedom of association so as to encompass the right to foreign funding, and even responsibility to donors. Domestic governments are invoking arguments of sovereignty and self-determination, but are dismissed as illegitimate excuses.
In times of change international law is not a neutral observer. It is used and abused. How has the phenomenon of ‘shrinking space’ influenced international law? Are the new norms reinvigorating public international law or simply justifying the old structures? Is the zeitgeist of the time – the uncritical faith in human rights, actually part of the problem? Is faith preventing constructive dialogue with the ‘evil governments’?