Tag - Guardian ( 3 )

News | Cutting aid to support refugees will allow extremism to thrive, Kiai writes in Guardian

Nov 23 2015

UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai has co-authored a commentary for the Guardian's Global Development blog urging the governments of Sweden and Norway not to cut international development aid to support the recent influx of refugees. The piece was co-authored by former Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg, former Swedish ambassador for human rights Jan Axel Nordlander, Civil Rights Defenders executive director Robert Hardh; and Norwegian Helsinki Committee secretary general Bjørn Engesland. Sweden is currently studying the potential effects of cutting its aid budget by up to 60%, while Norway is reportedly looking at a roll-back of approximately 21%. The authors note that both countries are among the most generous in the world in terms of foreign aid - particularly when it comes to giving directly to civil society. Sweden, for example, dedicates roughly one-sixth of its aid budget to civil society, including support for those working on democracy-building and human rights. Reducing this support would decimate civil society at a time when such support is most needed. "The consequences of a weakened global civil society movement could ultimately come back to haunt Sweden and Norway," the authors write. "Funding independent civil society in other countries is not just... Continue reading →

News | Kiai’s writes in Guardian that UK Lobbying Bill threatens to ‘stain’ British democracy

Jan 12 2014

An op-ed by Maina Kiai has been featured in the Guardian. The piece concerns the United Kingdom's proposed "Transparency in Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning, and Trade Union Administration Bill" - legislation that would impose harsh restrictions on civil society advocacy during the year prior to an election. The most concerning part of the legislation would broaden the definition of what constitutes "election campaigning" to include any activity that affects the outcome of an election, even if unintentionally. The law would then regulate that activity as election campaigning and impose severe limits on spending. The concern, many charities say, is that their normal advocacy activities would be labeled "election campaigning" subject to campaign laws, virtually shutting them down during election periods. Although the legislation is being sold as a way to level the electoral playing field, Kiai argues that the bill actually does little more than shrink the space for citizens – particularly those engaged in civil society groups – to express their collective will. Meanwhile, restrictions on in-house corporate lobbyists would be weak, leaving civil society groups to bear the brunt of the law's impact. While it is understandable that the UK might wish to establish restrictions on the influence... Continue reading →

News | Maina Kiai blogs for the Guardian on elections

Oct 29 2013

A piece by Maina Kiai has been featured today in the Guardian's Poverty Matters blog. As he prepares to present his latest report -- which is on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of elections -- to the UN General Assembly in New York, Kiai argues that the international community should stop endorsing flawed elections that amount to "civilian coups." He calls upon UN member states to improve their efforts to facilitate and protect assembly and association rights during all phases of elections. Click here for a link to the... Continue reading →