Do defence and security institutions have a policy, or evidence, of openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption?

4a. Policy of openness


SCORE: 0/100

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4b. CSO protections


SCORE: 0/100

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4c. Practice of openness


SCORE: 25/100

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No evidence could be found that there is a formal or informal policy that requires openness towards civil society organization in the defence sector.

Formal commitments to include civil society actors into anti-corruption works were found, created by the government, but not the military specifically. Algeria ratified the UN Convention against Corruption in 2003, which states that each state shall take appropriate measures to promote the active participation of persons and groups outside the public sector, such as civil society, non-governmental organizations and communities of persons (Art. 13), (1). This is formally implemented into the legal framework of Algeria’s anti-corruption agency, the National Body for the Prevention and Fight against Corruption (ONPLC). According to Art. 15 the participation of civil society in the prevention and fight against corruption should be encouraged through transparency of the decision-making process and the promotion of citizens in the management of public affairs; education and awareness training on the dangers of corruption; and access by the media and the public to information concerning corruption (2). In practice, It is unclear to what extent the ONPLC follows these rules. On its website, only information on awareness training was provided (3). There is no evidence that the defence sector is required to follow these regulations and there is no evidence that it did. Also Art. 15 of the ONPLC’s legal frameworks limits the access to information stating that it is subject to national security requirements (2).

In practice, there is evidence that the ONPLC is not working with civil society organizations. The Association algérienne de lutte contre la corruption (AACC) said in a statement that it is fully willing and available to work with the ONPLC suggesting that this had not been the case (4). In December 2018, the AACC revealed that the Algerian government has prohibited all civil society, including the AACC, from celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day (5).

The space for civil society organizations in Algeria is limited. The freedom of non-governmental organizations is scored 1 out of 4 by Freedom House. The establishing, funding, and operation of non-governmental organizations are restricted by the law. Moreover, organizations face bureaucratic hurdles during the formation process (1). Yazbeck, explains how the government has not only used measures to control civil society actors but has also sought to co-opt them into the system. For example, receiving foreign funding is limited and organizations may have to rely on state funds (2). Other academic research shows how the Algerian government has used civil society organizations as a tool to legitimize their rule. For example, Jasmin Lorch and Bettina Bunk describe in their research how Algerian civil society organizations help the regime to increase its output legitimation, for example, by providing social services in cooperation with state agencies. CSOs also reproduce historical discourses which likewise strengthen the regime’s legitimacy (3, p. 994f). Louisa Dris-Aït Hamadouche, argues that the regime uses civil society actors to strengthen the political system (4).

There is evidence that civil society actors requested to work with state authorities in regards to anti-corruption in general but not the defence sector specifically. The Association algérienne de lutte contre la corruption (AACC) said in a statement that it is fully willing and available to work with the ONPLC (1). Yet, the AACC has also been very critical of the government’s anti-corruption policies. In the wake of the reshuffle at the top of the ONPLC in 2016, it said that the ONPLC has so far been “absolutely useless” since nothing has been done in nearly six years following the installation of the seven former permanent members in January 2011 (2). After the arrest of five military generals in 2018, the president of AACC noted that although the detentions were “unprecedented”, “corruption is almost widespread” which makes it questionable “how dirty hand can conduct a clean operation” (3). No evidence could be found that there is cooperation in general or with the military specifically. Taking the answers to questions 4A and 4B into consideration, it seems very likely that the military would deny it.

No formal or informal policy requires openness towards CSOs in the defence sector.

CSOs can operate within the country, but a restrictive legal framework is in place that establishes burdensome and ambiguous registration requirements. In 2015, openly repressive NGO regulations were enacted, but they were revoked in 2017 following a ruling of the Constitutional Court (1), (2). However, despite this withdrawal, the previously existing legal restrictions remain (the 2012 law on private associations and the 2002 NGO regulations) (3), (4). A 2015 FIDH report says, “In a joint report released today, the Observatory and the Associação Justicia Paz e Democracia (AJPD) depict an environment where human rights defenders and journalists in Angola are subjected to judicial and administrative harassment, acts of intimidation, threats and other forms of restrictions to their freedom of association and expression” (5). In contrast, an undisclosed number of CSOs who are linked to the ruling party have benefitted from public funding as “associations of public utility” (according to a 2001 decree) (6). So far, João Lourenço has not taken any further steps to restrict space for independent civil society organizations; however, there is no evidence that the subtle system of rewarding MPLA-friendly CSOs while sidelining CSOs that publicly express criticism towards the government has in any way changed (6).

Opposition parties and CSOs that are independent of the government and the ruling party have often criticized the lack of transparency in budget allocations to “associations of public utility” (5).

CSO activity appears to be minimal in the defence and security sector. As a notable exception, in the past (2000-2006) there was a cooperation agreement between the human rights organization AJPD (Association Justice Peace and Democracy) and the Ministry of Interior to conduct training for police agents. Training cooperation continues today, although it is limited to the prison services, and contains an anti-corruption component (1).

There is a defence policy dating back to 2004, as well as a national security strategy adopted in 2010 that adopted community participation in matters of national security (1), (2). For example, the government often discusses corruption with the National Anti-Corruption Network (3). The government has also shown openness to the CSOs, by admitting the REN-LAC as a partner for the implementation of the Ministry of Civil Service, Employment and Social Welfare’s (MCSESW) Open Government Partnership: 2017-2019 National Plan of Action (4). Open Government Partnership: 2017 – 2019 National Plan of Action is an anti-corruption strategy initiated by the MCSESW, and endorsed by many other government institutions, CSOs, and national and international NGOs (4). However, these plans lack implementation strategies.

Among the different commitments, the government planned to implement the following commitments of opening government:
– Commitment N° 07: Setting up citizen committees to control racket in public administration.
– Commitment N° 10: Enforce law n°051-2015/CNT of August 30, 2015, on the right of access to public information and administrative documents.
– Commitment N° 11: Collect and publish data1 produced in Ministries and public institutions in open and accessible format by all.
– Commitment N° 12: Improving access by the public to information, as well as citizen involvement in State budget development and implementation.
– Commitment N° 13: Arranging areas for Community Dialogue and questioning on local budget management (4).

CSOs enjoy a variety of protections from the government, thanks in part to the support of international NGOs and institutions committed to eradicating corruption by providing capacity building both the defence/ security institutions and CSOs, by encouraging them to collaborate (1). For example, in 2015, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), provided defence and security forces with capacity building opportunity, which the REN-LAC and the ASCE-LC attended (2). The government is making every effort to respect the constitutional rights of CSOs, notably the participation in the conduct of the affairs of the State and society (Article 12 of the Constitution), and the participation in the defence and the maintenance of the territorial integrity (Article 10 of the Constitution). Consequently, REN-LAC discusses corruption often with the government (2), (3).

In practice, defence and security institutions engage with CSOs, by attending workshops, information sessions and meetings together (1), but the collaboration remains limited when it comes to information sharing (2), and law enforcement on cases of corruption (3), which is key in the fight against corruption. The workshop and training session UNODC held in Ouagadougou in 2015 on behalf of the defence and security forces, which the REN- LAC and the ASCE-LC attended too was to reinforce the concept of the practice of openness.

Although the media over the years have faced press censorship which has made it difficult for practitioners to carry out their social duty of educating and awareness-raising, more and more CSOs are becoming relatively active [1]. The 1990 Laws of Freedom of Association give room for CSOs to operate within the country and the country has several CSO organisations operating in the political, economic and socio-cultural domains; however, corruption continues to be the main challenge at all levels of government while CSOs’ activists continue to be harassed, detained and restricted by government from assembling or operating contrary to the 1990 laws [2]. Some CSOs, like the Foundation of Peace and Solidarity, and the Strategic Centre for Peace and Leadership, do engage with the Ministry of Defence in the training of some of its personnel but those to be trained have to get authorisation from the Minister and it is a long process. Most often this permission is not granted. Again, these CSOs do not focus on issues of corruption but on issues relating to peacekeeping and maritime security [3]. The 3rd April 2000 law (Decree no. 2000/158 of 03 April 2000) laid down modalities for the creation of audio-visual enterprises in Cameroon that gave birth to several private media houses [4]. Notwithstanding, media practitioners sometimes suffer reprisals for covering security-related issues, especially with the advent of the fight against Boko Haram and the Anglophone crisis: see example in Q 4B (International Press Freedom, Amnesty International, 2017, Freedom House 2017) [5] [6] [7].

The 1990 Liberty Law allows the possibility of CSOs operating within the country. However, CSOs suffer reprisals from the government through terrorism charges, bans on political debates, lawsuits, violence and intimidation, especially towards those CSOs which are involved in human rights and governance issues (Ordinance No. 90/001 of 29 January, according to Transparency International in 2017) [1] [2] [3] [4] [5].

For example, following the protests from the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, the Government of Cameroon banned two main groups, the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC). Though it had earlier negotiated with the latter, barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and its Secretary General, Dr Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, were arrested for encouraging non-violent protests under the December 2014 Anti-terrorism Law and detained for over six months [6] [7]. Journalists who have been arrested by the police in connection with the Anglophone problem include Hans Achumba (a journalist for Jakiri Community Radio) and Tim Finnian (publisher of Life Time newspaper).

Akere Muna, Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference series, was summoned for questioning by the Gendarmerie in March 2017 [3]. In July 2015, Ahmed Abba, a journalist with Radio France International, was arrested and charged for collaborating with Boko Haram [6]. Four other journalists who were also arrested on counts of terrorism were released only after a presidential decree. In addition, Fomusoh Ivo Feh was arrested in December 2014 for forwarding a text message about Boko Haram. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison [6].

In some cases, the milltary and CSOs have started working together in the area of training. These CSOs have been supported by the government. Since 2012, the Foundation for Peace and Solidarity has worked with a number of security-related institutions such as the International School for Security Forces and the War College in training both civilians and security personnel in supporting peace operations in Yaounde, Cameroon [1]. There is, however, no evidence that this training includes corruption in the defence and security sectors.

There is limited evidence of formal or informal requirements at institutions such as the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the NA Commission on Security and Defense (CSD) or other national security institutions, to share information with CSOs when dealing with issues of corruption. Nevertheless, as per Article 26 of the 2016 Constitution, civil society organizations in Côte d’Ivoire are considered a key channel of democratic expression. Article 26 states, “civil society is one of the components of the expression of democracy. It contributes to the economic, social and cultural development of the Nation” (1).

However, according to the 2018 country report on Côte d’Ivoire by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI 2018), the current government of President Ouattara does not, in principle, proactively involve CSOs in governance issues (2). All the same, it’s important to highlight the role of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), which Cote d’Iviore joined in 2015. The principles of this initiative, notably transparency, applies to all state insitutions. Nevertheless, the initiative is voluntary and does not hold institutions to binding commitments. (3).

Thre is no evidence that the current government uses restrictive laws to silence CSOs or uses paperwork or tax hurdles to restrict the activity of civil society groups. But there is also no evidence that CSOs in Côte d’Ivoire can operate freely and without intimidation. There is a strong tradition of civil society involvement in the Ivory Coast, especially in Abidjan. However, according to an interview with a former ONUCI official, there is often a lack of capacity and preparedness. On the other hand, it makes no doubt that the crisis Ivory Coast went through during the last decade was not in favour of effective participation of CSOs in debates related to security and defence matters. Despite Article 26 of the 2016 Constitution, which qualifies civil society a key democratic institution, CSOs remain largely ineffective when dealing with corruption issues in defence and security institutions because of their weakened scope of activity after years of civil conflict (1999-2011) and due to the climate of political polarization. According to the 2018 country report on the Côte d’Ivoire by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index (BTI 2018), CSOs have been unable to assume their constitutional right of acting as a key channel of democratic expression. Civil society participation in the BTI 2018 was ranked a 4 out of 10 (1).

Though it does not directly address the CSO policy of defence and security institutions in Côte d’Ivoire, the 2016 country report by Global Integrity (AII 2016) states that NGOs operate freely and without restrictions in terms of registration or paperwork (2).

Some evidence that defence and security institutions are taking initial steps to engage with CSOs. But the CSO activity in this area is minimal and that the defence apparatus in Côte d’Ivoire can keep CSO activity at bay when it comes to corruption issues.

According to the 2018 country report by Freedom House, the indicator for “is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations, particularly those that are engaged in human rights and governance-related work?” was scored with a 3 out of 4. “Security conditions and freedom of movement for both domestic and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were threatened in 2017 by military uprisings and fears of instability. However, most organizations continued to operate freely” (1).

The 2016 country report on Côte d’Ivoire by Global Integrity (2016) also confirmed that NGOs had been able to operate freely and without restrictions (2). There was no evidence that requests by CSOs to work with the defence sector were denied, the criteria for a score of 0. However, given that MoD and the military establishment may be exerting influence over CSOs to keep their activity on the subject of corruption at an extreme minimum.

There is no official or unofficial policy requiring that the defence sector to be open towards CSOs. On the contrary, the military establishment is generally distrustful of and antagonistic towards independent CSOs (1), (2), (3). There is no obligation for them to work with independent CSOs, and they are generally very inaccessible to CSO organizations (4).

According to our sources, although Egypt has many NGOs, many operate under a very restrictive and sensitive, military rule, there is no cooperation or engagement of CSOs in any kind of discussion on defence policies or strategy. In general, the country has limited space for NGOs, that have been under a crackdown by the government since 2013 (1), (2), (3), (4), (5). Egypt has many CSOs, but the government keeps tight control through both legal and extra-legal measures. A recent NGO law places excessive and restrictive measure regarding funding and registration. “The Egyptian authorities have squeezed shut [by passing this law] whatever limited space remained for nongovernmental groups in Egypt and driven the human rights community underground,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (6).

Under this law, CSOs are prohibited from conducting activities that are perceived as harmful to “national security, public order, public morality, or public health”. The obvious fear is that these vague terms that can be abused to constrain the legitimate work of independent CSOs “the bill creates a National Authority for the Regulation of Foreign Non-governmental Organizations that includes representatives of Egypt’s top national security bodies – the General Intelligence Directorate and the Defense and Interior Ministries – as well as representatives from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Central Bank of Egypt. The authority will oversee the work of NGOs, including any funding or cooperation between Egyptian associations and any foreign entity. The law prohibits any Egyptian government body from making agreements with NGOs without the authority’s approval,” reads the HRW statement (6).

According to our sources, there is not an open policy towards CSOs. The military receives many requests by NGOs for cooperation and debate, but they usually decline under the pretext of national security (1), (2), (3). If we apply a broader definition of civil society that would include political parties and academic institutions, there are some rare cases where the defence sector works with academic institutions or political parties, and the objective will generally be to voice support towards armed forces institutions. For example, the University of Helwan organized a talk on the national security strategy given by the head of the Nasser Military Academy, and the pro-military journalist Mostafa Bakry. The objective of the talk according to the president of the university was to support Egyptian efforts in the War on Terrorism. He also refers to the University’s absolute support for the armed forces and for all the procedures it takes to protect the country in the different fields (4).

The National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACAP), which is the country’s main strategy for addressing corruption, mentions CSOs as an important stakeholder for the oversight of corruption issues in Ghana. In particular, the NACAP states the need for encouraging and supporting CSOs in their role as “anti-corruption watchdogs” (1). While the Ghana Shared Growth Development Agenda II (GSDA II) addresses the issue of corruption, it does not specifically mention the defence and security sectors, or the role of CSOs (2).

A review of CSO activity in Ghana shows that very few CSOs work on issues surrounding national security or defence. Where they have contested particular issues, the surveillance bill in 2016, and the US cooperation deal in 2018, these have occurred outside the system through protests or public appeals (3), (4), (5).

Ghana does not have any specific law governing CSOs, which are registered in the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) as non-profit organisations. Despite the lack of specific regulations, CSOs enjoy a favourable legal framework that allows them to operate freely, without harassment or fear of closure. This absence of pressure has created a favourable environment for the establishment and growth of CSOs in Ghana (1) (2), (3), (4), (5), (6).

Although signs of openness towards CSOs have been expressed (1) no specific instances of engagement have been found regarding the defence and security sectors (2), (3), (4), (5). No evidence of cooperation has been found between the CHRAJ, the coordinating institution for the implementation of the NACAP, which has the responsibility of monitoring and tracking its progress, and CSOs. This despite the existence of several organisations working in the field, such as the West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR), and Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

There is no policy in which the state must commit to protecting the work that CSOs do. International NGOs are ramping up their efforts to encourage NGOs and activists to participate in Security Sector Reform (SSR) related discussions/forums (1), but as one source informed TI (2) “we must be careful not to talk against two particular powers, (a) the Marj’iyya (b) the Hashd al Shaabi (PMF). “Overall, we are not protected, and our main line of work is to monitor and oversee developments” a civil society activist explained, iterating that “we are not working in this (defence) field directly” (3). The activist mentioned a UNDP workshop in Baghdad (4) in which they “discussed the rule of law in relation to policemen and how they behave in public spaces, and towards the public”. This is as far as their involvement in SSR reform goes, the source told Transparency (3).

The wider network of CSOs, while diverse, lacks central coordination. Moreover, they are susceptible to co-option, as elite seek to take control of CSOs to reduce threats to their power. No policy requires openness to CSOs in the defence sector. There is neither a policy or trend towards greater openness to CSOs, adopted by the security of defence institutions. CSO’s offer an important populist base that has been integral to anti-government protests in southern Iraq, the capital, and elsewhere, but they are susceptible to political co-optation and manipulation. Co-optation is commonplace across various protest cycles, the key to waging information warfare between rivals and opposing blocs. The latest attempt to pull the plug on CSO freedoms arose during protests in October in which the Iraqi economy almost one billion dollars (5). Restrictions on digital platforms to muzzle CSOs implies that there is no codified existence of a policy of openness guides government decision-making.

The freedom to outwardly criticise the government is not a right exclusively reserved for CSOs with existing legislation. While Iraq’s protest movement captures the sheer scale of public disillusionment, expressions have been met with state violence. Episodes of state violence and the assassination of vocal activists (1), (2) invalidates the claim that security forces practice a degree of openness towards civil society. Efforts by parties and populist leaders to co-opt the movement as a means to weaken their rivals implies that the movement is both fluid and lacks total independence. Scores of civilians and armed protesters were also killed when protests erupted in 2015, and before that in 2014 (2), (3). A recent HRW report found the aid workers and civil society actors had undercome increasing harassment by security actors (4). The report calls on Iraq’s security forces to “integrate information around the protection of humanitarian workers and principles into training circular”. There have been attempts to push through a formerly tabled cybercrimes legislation draft law that will further curtail freedom of speech according to Iraq based CSOs. Ten-year sentences could easily become life sentences under this law (5) which will deter activists and civilians from speaking out against sensitive issues, including corruption. Journalists and peaceful critics are harassed and threatened habitually “by state authorities, as well as militia” (5). Under the World Press Freedom Index, Iraq ranks 160th out of 180 countries worldwide (5). There are no viable protections in place for CSOs and, aid workers (6).

There is very little interaction between CSOs and security actors, based on primary and secondary data. As one civil society activist said (1), there are no existing mechanisms through which CSOs can request specific information from the MoD or the MoI, or request to work with either department. In summation, CSO workers are by and large not protected by state officials. Their mandate, as sources confirm, is to monitor and follow up on specific issues, not to work directly in defence matters.

There is no formal or informal policy that requires openness towards CSOs in the defence sector. However, the Armed Forces superficially engage some Civil Society Organisations, none of which are to do with anti-corruption issues [5]. News on the official website of the Armed Forces show visits by some CSOs to military locations, during which they observed and learnt about the Armed Forces’ training [1]. Foreign governments including the US, Canada and the UK have supported anti-corruption training to the Armed Forces, but this remains largely restricted to training, cash and arms support [2]. The Armed Forces are also close to CSOs that are run and established by the Royal Family, such as the Queen Rania Foundation and the Hashemite Commission for Injured Soldiers [3]. Research into the Public Security Directorate, which includes the police, shows that some CSOs, such as the National Centre for Human Rights, were able to criticise treatment of prisoners in Jordan [4,6], yet this does not reflect openness towards CSOs in the country.

Civil Society Organisations are allowed to operate within Jordan however, they are burdened with taxations, and sometimes security checks over their activities. CSOs registration in the country is restricted, and proposed amendments to the law governing CSOs would impose further restrictions on the type of activities CSOs can carry out in the country [1]. According to the law, CSOs must not engage in any political activities and funding for activities must be approved by the Ministry of Social Development [2]. There is no evidence of any CSOs engaging in anti-corruption issues in the country, however, in the popular demonstrations against the tax law in 2018, CSOs have played a vital role in organising strikes and demonstrations across the country, which shows that progress is being made at the grassroots level [3, 4, 5].

There are many activities, meetings and trainings organised in collaboration with the defence sector. However, the defence sector as explained in Question 4A sometimes engages loyalist CSOs and CSOs affiliated to the Royal Family in meetings and to showcase its work and dedication [1]. There is no evidence at all, after consulting the webpages of several local media platforms and the official webpages related to defence institutions, that CSOs are engaged in questions around corruption. CSOs in the country remain largely restricted and according to the law, are not allowed to work on anything that can be perceived as political in nature [2]. In addition to that, CSOs themselves have been accused of corruption and mismanagement of funding [3]. According to sources, the Armed Forces are very responsive to requests for meetings by CSOs, however, they always suspicious and try to make such meetings and activities superficial [4,5].

There is no policy that requires defence or security organisations to be open or cooperative with CSOs, and all civil society organisations are “not allowed to intervene in politics,” anything “immoral” or matters that “spark anger, sectarianism or racism,” according to article 6 of Law no. 24 of 1962 for civil society (1). The law was intentionally made vague so that the executive branch can have complete control over its relationship with these organisations and their activities, officials and activists say ( 2, 3, 4, 5,6 and 7). Oftentimes, the defence or Interior Minister could sit down with civil society organisations and discuss their policies — but these all are either pro-government or funded by the executive branch.

Article 6 of Law no. 24 of 1962 (1) for civil societies does not allow CSOs to engage in politics in general and it forbids them from conducting any activity that be “immoral” or that “spark anger,” without any elaboration. The sheer vagueness and flexibility of these laws mean that CSOs can easily be disbanded for doing anything that provokes the executive branch — and it shows that the Government is not interested in establishing a healthy environment for CSOs to operate in. Officials and activists ( 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7) say the Kuwaiti authorities have done this because, like other Governments in the Middle East, they view independent CSOs as potential agitators who might encourage the public to demand social and political change.

But the civil society law does not impose any burdensome financial commitments on CSOs. In fact, article 31 of the civil society law says that the fine for violating the provisions of the law is no larger than $165 USD. The law does not state any specific tax requirements and activists and journalists say they have seen no reason to believe that the Kuwaiti authorities are trying to intimidate CSOs with taxes. But they do, however, intimidate activist groups in two ways: either revoke their citizenship or deport them if they are foreign or arrest them on vaguely worded charges such as insulting the Emir or undermining national security.

That being said, there are activists that live in Kuwait and modestly criticise the authorities without harassment from the state, but the law and the executive branch has made it impossible for a single independent NGO to exist in Kuwait, activists said (4, 5 and 6). There are CSOs like al-Jamea al-Iktisadiya that are not known outside of Kuwait that are allowed to participate. An activist affiliated with it said they meet with officials in and out of the security sector to talk about current and future policies. These conversations do not yeild much change but the fact that they take place is significant.

The security agencies hold sporadic, often poorly publicised meetings with civil society organisations but they are always with the ones that receive Government funding or that are very supportive of the executive branch, officials and activists said (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6). The subject of corruption inside these agencies is never the priority, officials and an activist from one of these organisations said (1, 2, 3 and 6). These matters seem to only get discussed in passing whenever the subject is in the media, they said. Activists who have attended such meetings say the officials are not interested in talking about corruption per se, but they are willing to hear philosphical arguments about Kuwait’s priorities, place and role in the world. They are also willing to talk about incompetence (when it comes to civilian posts) and their internet literacy but not much else. Brave activists often do take this a step further in private chats with officials but these conversations yeild nothing.

No formal policy for security and defence institutions being open towards CSOs was found (1). However, informal activity to collaborate with CSOs has been expressed. For example, in a speech a Civil-Military Cooperation Ceremony, LAF Commander Joeseph Aoun indicated the cooperation with civil society organizations to implement social projects (2). Furthermore, LAF has been open to cooperate with LTA and TI’s International Defense and Security Program on increasing transparency and has held the anti-corruption workshop (3).

Lebanon has a progressive legal and regulatory system for civil society organizations. It is considered one of the most liberal and open countries in the Middle East, and a hub for NGOs. The NGO law is derived from the 1909 Ottoman Law on Association. Undeclared or secret organizations are prohibited from operating (1). According to a study completed by the European Union on mapping civil society organisations in Lebanon, the legal framework facilitates an atmosphere for CSOs to register and operate in Lebanon. There are threats, however, they are not serious enough to where the role of CSOs are hindered (2). Although it is important to note that with respects to registration, CSOs have indicated a six months (or more) delay in the registration procedure. In 2018, the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities issued Decree no. 24 that increased control and scrutiny over organizations’ registration (3). According to Georges Ghali, executive director of ALEF, he states that the time delay depends on the nature of the CSOs. The minister of interior filed a circular to the Directorate of policies (the body responsible for the CSOs) asking CSOs to be more careful when it comes to their reactions against national matters (4).

The defence and security sector is sometimes open to cooperating with CSOs depending on the topic. For example, a LAF Commander requested TI’s International Defence & Security Program to host an Anti-Corruption Workshop for senior officers with the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA). Source 1, also confirmed the opening of the LAF to cooperate. However, the Al Gherbal Initiative’s attempt to request basic information has failed. The LAF command did not respond to its request (3). Nonetheless, the LAF has participated in events and workshops set by civil society actors and institutions on issues other than anti-corruption. For instance, the LAF attended an event hosted by the Charitable Organization for Women with Disabilities in Lebanon for independence day (4). Also, KAS conducted a workshop with the LAF on Civil-Military Cooperation (5).

There is no evidence of the existence of formal or informal policies that require state organisations to be open towards CSOs on matters of national defence. A leader of a civil society organisation confirmed that the MDAC and the FAMa do not have any policies that directly require them to engage or be open with CSOs on matters of corruption.¹ The interviewee added that it is possible for CSOs to engage with defence figures, but that this must be done in an informal manner because any attempt to invoke legal obligations would cause state actors to immediately retreat and pull down the shutters.¹
The Bertelsmann Stiftung report notes that Mali’s dynamic CSOs and community-based activists are continuing to emphasise the need for military reform and increased discipline, as well as for accountable governance, in light of the ongoing security threats.² Nevertheless, it concludes that issues discussed by citizens or championed by civil society organisations are not necessarily reflected in the political agenda.²

The constitution provides for freedom of association (without detailed protection provisions), although the law prohibits associations deemed immoral. CSOs and media organisations are generally able to operate without fearing state interference or intimidation. CSOs regularly convene public meetings and express critical opinions of the government. However, Mali does not have a Freedom of Information Law that entitles CSOs and media to access details about the management of state finances beyond what the government chooses to publish. State censorship occurs, but infrequently. In March 2015, the authorities prevented an issue of the news magazine Le Reporter from being printed after its staff refused a government request to remove two articles that were critical of a cabinet minister and the president’s son, Karim Keïta, who is also chair of the DSP. 

Defence and security institutions are seeking (or are beginning to seek) CSO engagement from a range of CSOs, but not on corruption issues. At the Conférence d’Entente Nationale in Bamako in March 2017, numerous CSOs took part in debates about the major challenges facing the country. Tackling corruption, embezzlement, the mismanagement of public funds and the use of public resources for private ends were all identified as areas for serious improvement. One of the proposals that emerged out of the discussions touched upon the need to combat corruption within the armed forces. However, no further details as to how this should be undertaken are cited. Moreover, this represents one solitary mention of defence corruption in a 150 page report.² The present government also does not have a substantial track record of seriously engaging with CSOs to fight corruption generally, and even less so military corruption specifically.
A leader of a civil society organisation told the assessor that formal engagements between defence figures and CSOs are rare when it comes to matters of corruption.⁵ However, he pointed out that military officials frequently participate in public debates, although these officials are most commonly retired members of the armed forces. He said it is very common for former army personnel to take up positions as village chiefs upon leaving the military.⁵ While they no longer have any official defence role, they are still typically involved with their military networks.⁵
The Bertelsmann Stiftung report notes that Mali’s dynamic CSOs and community-based activists are continuing to emphasise the need for military reform and greater discipline, as well as for accountable governance, in light of the ongoing security threats.⁷
A member of the CDSPC told the assessor that the committee regularly works with organisations, such as the US-based National Democratic Institute, to organise public forums and to facilitate dialogue between CSOs and defence actors about the country’s security strategy.⁹
The NDI has an ongoing programme on Mali [more information here: https://www.ndi.org/Coordinated-Response-National-Security-Mali]. One such event in 2015 brought together about 50 participants, from Bamako, Gao and Tombouctou to discuss the importance of CSOs in overseeing the programme of security sector reform.⁸ Tackling corruption was evoked as one of many necessary objectives during the forum, albeit it in generic rather than policy-specific terms.⁸

There is no formal or informal policy that requires openness towards CSOs in the defence sector (1). Recent policies advocating for more openness towards CSOs in general, such as e-gov and open data initiatives, are not related to the defence sector.

Moreover, openness towards CSOs in the defence sector was neither debated in Parliament, by the Commission, nor addressed by the Government (2)(3)

CSOs benefit from a range of protections against government interference, and are able to operate within the country (1). Article 12 of the 2011 Constitution states that « civil society associations and non-governmental organisations are created and run in all liberty, in the respect of the Constitution and the law » (1). Additionally, Article 25 states that freedom of thought, opinion and expression is guaranteed in all its shapes, as well as freedom of creation, publication and exhibition concerning literature, the arts as well as technical and scientific research (1).

However, CSOs do experience or at least fear potential reprisals by government: human rights organisations regularly denounce and report pressure, arrests and imprisonment of journalists and human rights activists (2)(3)(4).

No evidence was found to show that defence and security institutions have specifically worked with CSOs on issues of corruption, whether on a regular and/or a case-specific basis – not even infrequently nor superficially.

No evidence was found that defence and security institutions engage with CSOs on issues of corruption whatsoever. They may be seeking (or beginning to seek) CSO engagement from certain CSOs, but not dealing with corruption issues.

No evidence was found that there has been any consideration of engaging CSOs on corruption. Meetings may have taken place with the defence sector, but they tend to take place with CSOs that are either very supportive of, or are explicitly funded by, the government.

Requests by CSOs to work with the defence sector are denied.

The Niger defence and security institutions include the Niger Armed Forces (FAN), Gendarmerie Nationale, which are under the tutelage of the Ministry of Defence, whereas the National Guard and the National Police fall under the command of the Ministry of Interior (1, 2). None of these institutions has an explicit, clear and formal policy directly requiring openness towards Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption, though there is an anti-corruption policy at a broader level.
The president, who is also the supreme head of the armed forces, has voiced his commitment to countering corruption in public institutions (3,4) and has demonstrated his openness to cooperation with CSOs, including the local branch of Transparency International (5). Besides, one of the most important instruments designed to fight corruption while working with civil society (media, parliamentarians, NGOs (6,7)) may be the High Authority Against Corruption and Similar Crimes (HALCIA), created by a decree in 2011 (8). In December 2016, the government adopted a new anti-corruption bill (9), which granted the HALCIA more powers (including a right of self-referral; the lifting of bank secrecy; the direct transmission of reports to the public prosecutor and the opening of a judicial inquiry). In April 2017, the government of Niger had recovered more than USD 5 million in bank accounts, real estate and property (8).
In sum, there is a policy to fight corruption on a broader level, but no specific and clear policy regarding the defence and security sector. Though, some evidence of openness to cooperation with CSOs is present at very high levels (through, for example, the acknowledgement of the role of Transparency International). 

There are several important CSOs in Niger (1), but only one is focused specifically on the fight against corruption. The Nigerien Association for the Fight Against Corruption (ANLC) was created in 2001 and became a section of Transparency International in 2002. It provides for a variety of activities: legal assistance, research and awareness-raising actions against corruption (2). The assessor identified no specific sanctions against CSOs (3). However, other civil society leaders have recently been sanctioned. Following the 2018 financial law, which was adopted in November 2017, a series of demonstrations had been taking place through November 2017 – March 2018. On 25 March 2018, protests in Niamey were forbidden by the authorities due to alleged security concerns (the demonstration was planned to begin in the evening, from 16h) (4). Despite the decision of the authorities, civil society leaders decided to protest and were arrested (5). Therefore, given the existence of a large variety of CSOs in Niger, it is plausible to suggest by global standards, they enjoy relatively good protection from the government. However, this protection appears to be waived when the authorities consider activities a threat to public security.
To sum up, despite the government crackdown to target the demonstrators active between November 2017 and March 2018, authorities did not restrict the general activity of the CSOs through burdensome registration or tax requirements. Besides, CSOs in Niger are allowed to operate freely, including ANLC/TI.

Defence and security institutions are beginning to seek CSOs engagement. However, police institutions seem to be more open than the military and they are trying to cooperate with CSOs on corruption issues. There are several examples to support this claim, which are detailed below.
The United States Institute for Peace is piloting a project entitled “Dialogue on Justice and Security”. It is focused on a district of Niamey, known to be a high-crime area. In collaboration with a local NGO and a steering committee made up of community representatives, they organised different meetings with the police, the mayor, students and other stakeholders (1). Another example is the cooperation between the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces DCAF and the police that resulted in the adoption of an Ethics and Deontology Guide in 2015 (3,4,5), based on a 2011 decree (2).  
When compared to the police, defence institutions seem to be less open to civil society organisations. However, some initiatives should also be noted. For example, HALCIA cooperated through 2013-2014 with defence and security institutions through workshops aiming to raise awareness of corruption issues among security and defence forces (6). No evidence has been found that the cooperation continues up to date. Defence and security institutions may seek to collaborate with CSOs, but not specifically on the issues of corruption. For example, the Nigerien Network for Nonviolent Conflict Management (GENOVICO) supported by National Democratic Institute (NDI) launched in January 2017 a national observatory on security governance. Composed of twelve CSOs, it is supposed to act as a think-tank for control and monitoring of security governance. A security official from the Ministry of Interior attended the launch ceremony (7).

There is no policy of openness with the national defence policy. CSOs groups are not involved in the formulation or discussions surrounding national defence policy and the setting of strategic objectives for the nation. The Buhari administration has not significantly changed the practices of former administrations concerning the failure to consult with CSOs and the public (1), (2).

In 2006 when the last national defence strategy was developed there was no public debate. The members of the NNDPC are mainly drawn from academia or the defence sector (2).

Although CSOs operate freely the recent NGO bill which is being debated by the National Assembly proposes to tighten the regulation of CSOs [1]. Many journalists, for example, suffer harasment and detention [5]. CSOs are targeted by the government for producing information which the government does not agree with. Recently, Amnesty International’s offices were attacked by government orchestrated protests against a series of reports which were critical of the government.

There is a significant risk of limiting the public space and the freedom of association if the financial regulation bill for NGO is passed. CSOs argue that the proposed bill will infringe on rights such as the “freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and non-discrimination, as enshrined under sections 39[39 [2]. The proponents of “the Bill stated that it seeks to properly supervise, monitor and co-ordinate Civil Society Organizations [CSOs] and Community Based Organizations [CBOs]” [3]. The key contentions to the Bill is because of the contents of clause 18 which allows for the cancellation of operations, the automatical termination or suspension of certificate of registration or renewal of certification without due process. The renewal terms may be varied at the discretion of the Commission. NGOs are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission [CAC] and are required by the Bill to register a second time with the Commission and with the CAC [4].

In a recent survey conducted by PPDC on the responsiveness of Public Institutions to Freedom of Information Act Requests Security agencies scored poorly. None of the agencies disclosed procurement information on their websites or published any annual reports [1,2,3].

Oman has no policy of openness towards CSO, especially regarding transparency of the defence sector to civil society (1). According to our sources, CSOs are rarely co-engaged or have a political mandate, and therefore, there is no formal or informal policy of openness towards them (2). Moreover, criticism of the government is “tolerated”, but criticism of the sultan and by extension any government officials (ministers) is not (3). Strict laws on civil society organizations, discussed below, limit CSOs work with the people (4). According to the BTI report, media access to public spending is “virtually non-existent” which explains why journalists reporting on this topic is dangerous (5). Since the unrest in 2011, public dissent has been controlled by increased military spending (6), (7). This demonstrates that Oman lacks a policy of openness concerning the operations of the defence ministry.

According to the Transformation Index report, “the Omani government does not permit the formation of independent civil society associations,” associations are required to register and gain a license from the government (1), (2). Civil society organisations that do exist are approved by the Omani state. Political parties or politically motivated organisations are prohibited (1). The only existing political party is outside of Oman, and made-up of Omanis in exile (1). The BTI report marks civil society participation at 2/10. Since civil society organisations are licensed by the government they are apolitical, no CSO protections exist in cases of accusations or charges (3). Since 2011, a series of imprisonments have occurred of social media activists (4) and parliamentarians such as Majlis al-Shura member Talib al-Ma‘amari in 2013 (1) accused of critiquing the state, many of which are still in prison. Discussions in the al-Shura council in 2017 emphasised the cultural nature of CSOs accurately summing up the severe limitations placed on CSOs in Oman (5). According to the Business Anti-Corruption Portal, “Freedom of assembly is limited under Omani law, and these rights are further restricted in practice. Traditions for civil society and civic engagement are poorly developed” (6).

There are severe limitations placed on CSOs, which restrict their activities to culture (1), (2), (3). According to our sources, CSOs have requested (a few times) to work with defence institutions, but these requests were denied (1), (4). These requests were about collaboration and advocacy in general and did not have political messages (1).

There is very little chance that journalists or Palestinians have access to information on crucial issues related to security/military and defence. Sometimes the national security sector in Palestine organises days with journalists to maintain trust, but these activities are not related to the capacity to access information or being open with the public (1), (2). The Palestinian Law of Printing and Publishing (1995), Article 37, prevents any journalists or citizens from publishing any secret information related to police, public security, security weapons, internal security problems and security training, which is compounded by the defence sector having no openness policy towards sharing critical information with CSOs (3).

CSOs can work in the West Bank, with limited harassment or intervention, especially against CSOs which are critical to PA. Major CSOs in Palestine are protected through public support and international recognition (i.e. relationships with embassies and international organizations) (1).

In many cases, the National Security Forces meet with CSOs (1). These CSOs are either Pro-PA or Fatah affiliated NGOs or Human Rights Organizations that have national mandates such as the Human Rights Center or Aman (Anti -Corruption Coalition) (1), (2).

The government of Qatar deals with all matters related to the defence and security sectors with extreme secrecy. [1] Generally, there is minimal openness towards CSOs in Qatar. The majority of CSOs in Qatar have social and educational missions. There are no CSOs that deal with democracy or human rights. There is no relationship between CSOs and the armed forces or the Ministry of Defence. [2,3]

There is very little space for CSOs to operate freely and independently within the country. [1] Despite the fact that Article 45 of the 2004 Qatari Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of association, the Qatari Government has strict regulations in relation to CSOs. [2] These restrictions particularly pertain to rights-focused CSOs, advocacy-based CSOs, and any CSO involved in matters that are considered of a political nature. Article 35 of the Associations and Private Institutions Law (Law No. 12 of 2004) states that CSOs are prohibited from doing any work that is related to ‘political issues’. To establish CSOs in Qatar, permission must be granted by the Ministry of Social Affairs, which can refuse to register an organisation if it considers it to be a threat to ‘public interest’. As result, the number of CSOs registered in the country remains limited. [3,4,5,6] Law 12 of 2004 states that any organisation must have financial reserves of QAR10 million (USD$2.75 million), and a minimum of 20 members that have Qatari sponsors in the case of non-nationals. There is room for NGOs to work in Qatar, however, their work can be stopped immediately if their activities involve advocacy around human rights and political issues. [7,8]

There is limited engagement of CSOs in Qatar within the defence sector. According to our sources, many humanitarian CSOs request to collaborate with the armed forces, which are usually welcomed by the armed forces [1]. Besides that, a few CSOs have visited the centre for strategic studies within the armed forces, discussing issues related to Qatar and the work of the centre, its mission, and challenges. Moreover, there are many NGOs (aka think tanks), which operate in the country with an international mission. “Whenever they send requests, we discuss it and usually agree to meet or collaborate, but when there is a possibility that the visit may hold a political or advocacy aim, we try to apologise in a nice way”, stated a senior Qatari military officer [1]. In general, there is minimal openness with CSOs.

Saudi Arabia does not have any formal or informal policy requiring openness towards corruption-focused CSOs in the defence sector. In practice, there are virtually no civil societies currently operating in the country that address issues of corruption, which is considered to be the domain of the central authorities and is tackled in a top-down fashion (1), (2). There was previously no legislation governing civil society, and the Saudi government only introduced the law for civil associations and organisations in December 2015 (3). However, this does not include provisions requiring security and defence institutions to be open to CSOs, nor does it address the relationship between these state bodies and the civil society sector in general (4).

Due to a centralised administrative approach to CSOs and historical government restrictions on their operations, the civil society sector in Saudi Arabia is vastly underdeveloped. Half of the NGOs active in Saudi Arabia were registered as charities in the absence of an associations law, which was only introduced in the country in December 2015 (1), (2), (3), (4). Most other NGOs in the country are active in the educational or environmental sectors and avoid sensitive issues such as state corruption that could result in curbs on their ability to operate. CSOs in Saudi already face severe hindrances on their operations given the limited government support for them; government-enforced restrictions on freedom of expression and association; strict government control and monitoring; bans on foreign funding, and other restrictions (5), (6).

The very existence of CSOs in the country depend on their subject matter, and any organisation that pursues a mandate beyond what the government perceives as acceptable would not be allowed to operate and its members risk prosecution. For example, the founding members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, an NGO which called for the removal of corruption in the Saudi state, have been detained and charged with lengthy prison sentences over their human rights activities (7). Two of these, Mohammad al-Qahtani and Abdullah bin Hamid al-Hamid, are serving 10-year and 5-year prison sentences respectively on charges including spreading chaos and setting up an unlicensed organisation. Other members of the group have since been detained by Saudi authorities (8), (12).

While the association’s law introduced in December 2015 established a legislative framework for CSOs, it did not ease government restrictions on them. Indeed, CSOs and NGOs continue to be tightly controlled by the Saudi government, which maintains strict oversight on board members’ selection, funding, and the intended public activities of any association (9).

Furthermore, the increasing centralisation of power, including over the defence establishment, of Crown Prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman since January 2015 has coincided with tightened restrictions on the expression of views that are in any way contrary to the government line or critical of state institutions (10). The crown prince has detained a large number of human rights activists, such as women’s rights campaigners who were credited internationally with being the driving force behind the government’s decision to allow women to drive in September 2017 (11). Some of these women were part of CSOs, such as the local movement Saudi Women to Drive. The broad consensus is that civil society activities calling for reform of any kind will not be tolerated, with only top-down reforms being the only reforms under this Saudi administration.

According to our sources, CSO requests concerning defence or security information would be denied. This includes access for data for academic or advocacy work (1), (2). Once tried to access this information and was denied (2).

There is an informal policy that requires defence and security institutions to be open towards CSOs and the establishment of mechanisms to that end. According to our sources, the openness policy is in its early stages and the MoD and the armed forces still need to make more efforts in this regard. There are very rare instances where the MoD and army initiated a conversation and consultation with CSOs and the public(1,2). However, a review of the Tunisian press showed that this is an informal policy and some efforts have been made to engage CSOs and that meetings with CSOs have indeed taken place. For instance, there were some meetings held between the Ministry of Defence and non-Tunisian NGOs such as Transparency International (3), and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) (4). Furthermore, the signature of a convention between the Ministry of Defence and the Anticorruption authority aims for more openness of the Ministry towards civil society by the organisation of workshops (5). However, there is no precise mention of how to do that.

Although there is a range of protections thanks to the Decree n°2011-88 of 24 September 2011 on the organisation of associations, CSOs still have the fear of governmental interference or repression, specially with sensitive issues such as military and religion(1,2). Freedom of association (3) and freedom of expression (4) are granted by law and CSOs can operate openly. CSOs enjoy some protections. A CSO can only be sanctioned (suspended or dissolved) by the Court of Tunis (5). Through media reports, there is no mention of government intimidation towards CSOs (6).

Although legislations exists and include multiple advantages for CSOs, often these laws are not enforced by the executive. Some organisations working on sensitive topics like security and terrorism wait for months (sometimes more than a year) to receive the approval of the Prime Minister to establish legal status and others are refused. (There is a security background check on organisational members.) Banks are reluctant to open bank accounts for associations, and some funds are blocked and delayed until further clarifications are made (7), (8).

According to our resources, there are attempts to have a consistent policy of openness towards the public, NGOs and local communities, however, it is still in the early stages and is minimal. This is usually initiated by NGOs (INGOs mostly)(1,2).

The openness of the Ministry of National Defence to civil society organisations such as the Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of the Armed Forces, the organisation I-watch and Transparency International, is in the process of being established through forums, seminars and meetings (3).

There are no political or social organisations that have a political or socio-political mandate. Such organisations are not allowed to operate in the UAE (1), (2). There is no evidence of CSOs’ involvement in defence institutions at all in the UAE. The Community Development Authority (CDA), in Dubai, is in charge of regulating and licensing non-profit civil society organisations and associations. Under its mandates, to obtain licences CSOs’ activities must be mainly social, cultural, artistic or entertainment activities (3), and must not be engaged in politics. It is important to note here that the majority of CSOs in the country are either state-run or close to the state.

CSOs activities are limited in the UAE, and CSOs are expected to mainly focus on social, cultural, artistic, or entertainment activities. Engagement in issues related to human and civil rights are heavily restricted, and according to Freedom House Country Report, one of the main constraints to the work of CSOs is the risk of detention or imprisonment, if involved in activities around civil rights or politics (1). Arrests and convictions of human rights defenders and opposition activists were very common in 2017, and there were instances of scholars and students denied entry to the UAE because of their critical stances towards the UAE policies (2), (3).

As previously explained, there is no evidence available concerning CSO’s involvement in the defence sector at all. CSOs work is restricted through laws that exist within the country that limit freedom of expression. Currently, the number of CSOs in the UAE is estimated at around 132 associations, and they are classified into the following main categories: religious associations, women’s societies and/or associations, professional associations, arts and theatre associations, and Charity associations (1). CSOs activities in the country are very limited, and there is no evidence of any CSO engagement in the defence sector (2), (3).

Country Sort by Country 4a. Policy of openness Sort By Subindicator 4b. CSO protections Sort By Subindicator 4c. Practice of openness Sort By Subindicator
Algeria 0 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Angola 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Burkina Faso 50 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 0 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Kuwait 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Lebanon 25 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Mali 25 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Niger 0 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 0 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Department for International Development and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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