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Government Urged To Remove Restrictions On Civil Society Campaigning

NGO umbrella body Bond are urging the next UK Government to remove restrictions on civil society campaigning.

A Global System For People And Planet, Bond’s 2024 manifesto, has just been published and sets out how it believes the next UK Government should “help secure a global system for people and planet, the delivery of the sustainable development goals and evolve the UK’s global role from that of a donor to a development partner acting in solidarity”. 

The manifesto, developed in cooperation with Bond’s 350 membership organisations, warns there’s a “growing trend of governments reducing democratic space and increasing restrictions on civil society”.

It goes on to state that, globally, the democratic space is “at its lowest level for decades” and too many governments are significantly curtailing campaigning rights with legislation being used more and more to “restrict the ability of civil society organisations to protest and campaign”.

It goes on to say that the next Governments focus has to be on an ‘open society’ where civic space is protected to promote fundamental rights and hold Governments accountable for their overarching responsibility to society as a whole.

To achieve this goal, Bond suggests the next Government remove recently legislated restrictions on civil society campaigning within the UK, especially around public debate and policymaking.

One of the other suggestions in the manifesto is that the Government should work more closely with banks to increase the financial access for NGO’s and smaller charities by “increasing their risk appetite and addressing legal and administrative barriers to supporting NGOs”. 

Perhaps the most controversial suggestion in the manifesto would be to reverse recent legislation that removes any human rights, especially those around an individuals right to protest.

“The next UK government has an opportunity to work with partners in reshaping global development towards a more equitable and sustainable future. By championing initiatives and partnerships led by local communities and organisations and advocating for a fairer financial system to tackle global economic inequality, the UK can help address the many challenges facing our world. This manifesto, developed by the UK’s development and humanitarian sector, sets out a roadmap which maps out a progressive global role for the UK and one that ensures that the global economic system can work for people and planet.”

Romilly Greenhill – CEO, Bond

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