International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

Protest Rights
and Policing

INCLO member organizations believe that the fundamental rights to protest and express opinions in public is critical to a functional democracy. Additionally, the role of the state is to protect and promote the rights to protest and enable people to voice their concerns freely and safely.

However, in many countries around the world, policing and security institutions often resort to the excessive use of force to disperse crowds, states introduce restrictive laws and endorse practices that curtail people’s ability to protest and express dissent, while protesters and social leaders are frequently persecuted and subject to human rights violations.

INCLO brings together a global network of human rights defenders and public interest lawyers from our member organizations to conduct research and advocate against repressive responses by policing and security institutions to social protests and human rights activism. Together we develop standards for the free exercise of the rights to protest at the regional and international levels.


  1. To research, educate, and litigate repressive responses to protests by states and their policing and security institutions.
  2. To advocate for policies and international standards that protect and promote our rights to protest and promote the proper management of assemblies.
Reports Fact Sheets Unhealed Wounds PRs and Statements

Surveillance and
Human Rights

In this digital age, governments, intelligence agencies and private companies across the globe can easily see where we're going, who we're talking to and what interests we have. Often harvested without our knowledge or consent, this personal information can be used to target us unfairly, influence our choices and suppress our voices when we express dissent.

People from all backgrounds experience these intrusions, which interfere with our fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association. However the effects are disproportionately felt by marginalised or activist populations, increasing inequalities.

INCLO brings together a global network of technologists, legal, and Surveillance and Human Rights experts. Our research and community engagement show how domestic laws and international treaties are slow to respond to these intrusions or are absent altogether. Our advocacy strives to establish and ensure human rights protections, both in legal frameworks and in practice.


  1. To research, educate, and litigate for the protection and enhancement of our rights and freedoms in the digital age at international and local levels.
  2. To advocate for strong oversight, transparency, and public disclosure about the way state and private actors alike access and use our personal information.
Reports Surveillance Matters Intelligence Sharing PRs and Statements

Religious Freedom
and Equal Treatment

Across the globe INCLO members work to advance the right to equal treatment for groups that have long been oppressed, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, women as well as racial and religious minorities. At the same time, our members uphold the freedom of religion and conscience as a fundamental human right to be valued, defended, and protected.

As a network we aim to bring our commitment to both equality and religious freedom, and to inform the cases where the two sets of rights may be in tension. We have developed a principled, reconciling approach reflecting our understanding that the fundamental right to freedom of religion does not give any person the right to impose their views on others, including by discriminating against or otherwise harming them.

Our goals are:

  1. To advance equality and religious liberty.
  2. To provide a framework for addressing the tensions between the two set of rights.
Reports PRs and Statements

Civic Space

In recent years, a growing number of governments around the world have stepped up attacks against democratic dissent, including attacks on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Certain governments have been restricting civil society space which has affected citizens’ rights to engage in democratic dissent. In addition to them, non-government entities such as businesses, private militias, religious groups, and even ordinary citizens have also been contributing to this disturbing trend.

The NGOs and other civil society actors in these countries have increasingly become the target of public vilification, hostile legislation, arbitrary enforcement, surveillance, and in more extreme cases, freedom of movement restrictions, intimidation and arrest.

These measures significantly interfere with the ability of NGOs and other civil society actors to function effectively, continue to facilitate citizen engagement, and protect people’s rights and their access to information and justice.

Some highlights:

  1. Organizations working at the local and national level play the main role in pushing back against the tide of politics that seeks to undermine civil society. At the same time, INCLO believes that grassroot initiatives need to be supported by —although not be dependent on— international solidarity.

    To show solidarity, INCLO has developed a set of standard strategies that can be used as guidelines by NGOs tackling restrictive governmental actions that they are confronted with at the national level.

    Gaining Ground: A Framework for Developing Strategies and Tactics in Response to Governmental Attacks on NGOs formulates possible responses to each of the five identified threats that have been emerging as a global pattern.

    The publication draws on the first-hand experiences of different organizations, including some of INCLO’s 15 members that work on issues related to civil liberties and human rights around the world.
Reports PRs and Statements