A shrinking space
State security and its effects on civil society in Uganda
in Counter-terrorism and civil society
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This chapter argues that robust civil society activity in any country forms part of the conscience of the state and creates awareness in the citizenry so to hold their leaders accountable. This is only possible if there is an enabling environment or space for civil society such as free access to information, freedom of expression, opportunity to participate in a political process, freedom of assembly, and right to stage peaceful protests. However, over the years, the sociopolitical developments in Uganda have steadily facilitated the shrinking of space for civil society organizations (CSOs). In the guise of maintaining law and order, laws have been enacted to help monitor, control, and restrict the operations of civil society. The laws so enacted have invariably been used by the security agents to disperse, arrest, and torture whoever is seen going contrary to the established law – thus infringing on the basic democratic rights of citizens and affecting their security. This chapter, therefore, sets out to explore answers to key questions such as: what are the causes of shrinking space for civil society in Uganda; how does such shrinking space to civil society affect security; and what could be done to address this so to create an enabling conditions for the operation of civil society in Uganda?

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