ICNL’s Middle East and North Africa program promotes an enabling environment for civil society across the region. We strive to advance civic freedoms through our partnerships with local civil society leaders, government officials, lawyers, academics, and other stakeholders with whom we cooperate on initiatives ranging from legal reform to advocacy campaigns. We currently have active projects in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, and Tunisia, and we maintain up-to-date reports on the legal framework for civil society in ten countries.
Middle East & North African Program
Working in the region, making ICNL a leader in the area.
ICNL has worked in across the region.
On a diverse range of issues affecting civil society.
In Jordan, seventy-five percent of adults use social media daily. Since October 2017, Jordan’s government has repeatedly attempted to amend the law on cybercrimes to regulate the use of social media in ways that would limit or inhibit free expression online. To foster deeper understanding of the laws and regulations aimed at social media use, ICNL developed a guide that explores the right to online freedom of expression in Jordan, as well as a suite of videos that explain the issue. The guide (available in English and Arabic) can be downloaded here, and the videos can be viewed on our Facebook page.
From 2016-18, ICNL worked with partners to conduct a landmark study of civic freedoms in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait. The report crunched data from nearly 4,000 surveys of the public and civil society actors to reveal how people experience civic freedoms in their daily lives. Moving beyond research, ICNL used these findings to take action. Together with our partners, we used what we learned to develop pilot projects to address some of the challenges that came up in our research. Read the full story here.
After the war with ISIS in 2014, Kurdistan’s regional government began to increase restrictions on civil society organizations – ostensibly for security purposes. Registration became burdensome and the government was difficult to engage with in dialogue. The restricted space hampered civil society’s ability to do meaningful work. A turning point came in 2017 when the government agreed to create several joint committees with civil society to explore ways to work through these problems. Read the full story here.
ICNL currently has active programs in five countries.
Since October 2017, the government of Jordan has repeatedly attempted to regulate the use of social media in ways that limit free expression. ICNL’s guide provides a deeper understanding of the laws and regulations aimed at social media use and the right to freedom of expression online.
This in-depth study assesses the effect of formal and informal restrictions on the viability of civil society organizations in Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, and Kuwait.
This white paper explores the nature of government supervision of civil society organizations in Jordan from 2010 to 2016, including the inconsistent and at times excessive official practices that limited organizations’ ability to achieve their full potential.
These guidelines examine legal mechanisms that facilitate cooperation between civil society organizations and national, regional, provincial, and communal governments in Morocco. Included are recommendations for putting the guidelines into practice based on successful models of cooperation from around the world.
Explore our full global resource collection, which includes reports, legal analysis, and curated collections of materials covering an array of issues affecting civic space around the world.
The Civic Freedom Monitor provides current information on civil society law in fifty-four countries and eight multilateral organizations, including Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen, as well as the League of Arab States and Organization of Islamic Cooperation.