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Protecting civic space

Ensuring intelligence structures are accountable, and governed by laws which uphold human rights and protect civic space.


We advocate for democratic oversight of intelligence and surveillance powers, in order to protect civic space. This means pushing back against laws, polices, and practices that allow security structures to over-reach into politics and public life, and support local civic actors in efforts to boost democratic oversight of intelligence structures.

Key focus: The General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill (South Africa). This controversial intelligence bill was introduced after a commission of inquiry and other review bodies found that lack of oversight and accountability in the coutnry’s intelligence structures had helped enable corruption and abuses of power. However, the bill fails to address most of these challenges, and grants problematic new powers to the intelligence structures, including the ability to conduct ‘security vetting’ of NPOs and religious groups.

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