Civil Society Delegation to Examine Growing Restrictions on the Work of Civil Society Worldwide

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 15, 2014

A delegation of civil society leaders from 30 countries hosted by the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program arrives in the United States this week to address the issue of increasing restrictions on the work of civil society in concert with President Obama’s Stand with Civil Society agenda. The delegation will examine the role of civil society in the United States and share innovative approaches to advancing citizens’ rights and responsibilities.

The program opens in Washington, D.C. on Monday, September 15, International Day of Democracy. After several days of meetings, participants travel in smaller groups to Kansas City, Minneapolis, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. On September 23 in New York City at the Clinton Global Initiative, participants will join as President Obama reconvenes partners to advance the Stand with Civil Society agenda. The forum provides a platform for partners to take stock of progress made to date and make commitments that will have a lasting impact on the future of civil society. While in New York City, participants will also attend a High Level Event on the Open Government Partnership and join the Community of Democracies for a discussion with governments participating in the Community’s Governing Council.

In September 2013, President Obama convened governments and partners in the philanthropic community on the margins of the UN General Assembly to launch the Stand with Civil Society agenda, a groundbreaking effort to support, defend and sustain the work of civil society amid a rising tide of restrictions on its work. Together with the philanthropic community and working through existing initiatives and partnerships including the Open Government Partnership (OGP), the Community of Democracies, Lifeline, and Making All Voices Count, participants agreed to collaborate to: (1) promote laws, policies, and practices that foster a supportive environment for civil society in accordance with international norms; (2) coordinate multilateral, diplomatic pressure to roll back restrictions being imposed on civil society; and (3) identify innovative ways of providing technical, financial, and logistical support to civil society.

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