Disempowered Voices: The Status of Civil Society in Equatorial Guinea

Disempowered Voices: The Status of Civil Society in Equatorial Guinea

EG Justice | 3 de Marzo, 2011
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This 37 page report analyzes the serious obstacles that civil society organizations still encounter in their efforts to organize and operate in Equatorial Guinea. It identifies systematic failures on the part of the Equatoguinean government to allow the full and independent participation of these groups. The report examines the ways in which governmental actions and laws hinder effective civil society mobilization and activism inside the country, including problems associated with undue government intervention in civil society activities and an ambiguous and arbitrarily enforced legal framework that enables government officials to selectively discriminate against organizations. The report includes a series of recommendations for the Equatoguinean government and other organizations that should be implemented to ensure full citizen participation.

An excerpt from the report:

"Civil society in Equatorial Guinea is very weak. Many of the civil society organizations that exist today are the product of enthusiastic individuals determined to work on specific social issues, but whose effectiveness is hindered by limited professional competencies and investment, an ambiguous and inconsistent legal framework, undue government interference, and an atmosphere of distrust and paranoia. Decades of dictatorial rule have stunted the education system as well as the civic and political spaces necessary for civil society to flourish, and created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion in which is discernible a lack of trust and an unwillingness to collaborate, both between individuals and civil society organizations. For home-grown civil society groups, the result has been a lack of adequately informed and trained individuals and an operating environment in which civil society is neither well understood nor organized.

The government’s treatment of civil society organizations exacerbates the weaknesses that already exist in civil society. The government regards autonomous civil society organizations with suspicion, particularly those groups that advocate for government reforms such as socioeconomic development, human rights protection, and the just redistribution and use of oil revenues. As is documented in detail below, despite a legal framework that guarantees freedoms of assembly, association, and speech, as well as repeatedly renewed government promises to take the necessary steps to empower civil society, governmental actions continue to thwart the efforts of Equatoguinean citizens to organize and advocate for a more accountable, transparent, and democratic political system..."

Read the full report >>

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