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The Council of Europe v. state restriction of NGOs : can they do more to protect civil society? Yao, Tzu-Yu


Shrinking civic space has become increasingly widespread worldwide since the mid-2000s, including in recognized liberal democracies. A component of shrinking civic space includes violent and non-violent state backlash against civil society organizations to restrict their activities. The Council of Europe, armed with the ratified European Convention of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, has been widely regarded as the most effective human rights system in the world. Thus, using the Council of Europe as a case study, this paper examines the CoE’s response to non-violent state backlash against NGOs. How is the Council of Europe responding to CoE member states increasing use of legal and administrative tools to restrict civil society freedoms? Are they acting to their full capacity? If not, why not?

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