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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: 50/100

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4c. Practice of openness


SCORE: 0/100

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The Inter-sectoral Strategy Against Corruption 2015-2020, sets the objective “Encouraging cooperation with the civil society” (Objective C 3 of the Strategy) [1]. One of the means to achieve this objective is the Agency for the Support of Civil Society which is funded by the government. However, there is no clear policy set by the MoD for the involvement of civil society organizations to contribute to addressing corruption issues in the defence and security. In its mission statement, the Ministry of Defence specifies that it fulfils its mission through, among others, ‘drafting of cooperation programs with civil society’ [2]. However, no such program is publically available on the MoD website that would allow the CSOs to get informed and involved. No specific policy on the involvement of civil society organizations exists for the intelligence sector [3], but it may be considered that the same Objective C3 applies to the intelligence sector.

Albania’s legal and regulatory framework on the right of freedom of association is generally in line with international standards [1]. Albania adopted a law on the right to information in 1999, in 2014 it was amended to provide for further improvements such as the establishment of transparency programs, the obligation to respond to the requests within a 10 days deadline, the strengthening of the complaints mechanisms, etc, [2]. In the same year (2014), the Law on Information and Public Consultations was adopted, it requires the public bodies to take the necessary measures to ensure public participation in the policymaking and decision-making processes [3]. Both laws provide limitations regarding information and/or processes that involve national security and classified information. The Law on the Right to Information and Public Consultation is obligatory to the defence and intelligence institutions. Under the Law on Public Information, the SHISH, the MoD and the branches of General Staff (Army, Navy, Air, Support Command) have established transparency programs [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].
In 2015, the Law on the Establishment of the National Council of the Civil Society was adopted; it aims to allow for an increased role of CSOs in the policy-making processes [10]. However, the MoD lacks adequate openness to the provision of access to information to CSOs, as illustrated with the lack of willingness to contribute to the provision of information required for this assessment [11].

The interaction between the defence and intelligence sector and CSOs on corruption-related issues is very limited.
Overall, the interaction between the MoD and the CSOs is limited to the participation of MoD and intelligence officials in events initiated and organised by the CSOs [1, 2, 3]. Over the last two years, the Armed Forces Academy has started to invite CSO representatives or academics to give guest lecturers, mainly on security-related topics. This engagement doesn’t involve issues related to anticorruption and the number of invitees is limited to three to four per year [4]. CSO interviewees stated that the dominant opinion within the MoD is that there is not much to be expected from the CSOs [5, 6].
The lack of openness may be illustrated also by the refusal of the MoD to contribute to this assessment. The MoD did not respond to any of the questions sent through the transparency program for this assessment with the argument that all information is available on the website [7].

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 no evidence of the existence of a specific policy that requires openness to CSOs in the defence sector, but it is not ruled out that there is a link between them with regard to particular matters or informally. The Transparency and Access to Information Law establishes mechanisms to open civil society in general, with exceptions cases of information reserved for defence and foreign policy reasons, which arise from its articles. Complying with the law, on the website of the Ministry of Defence, the transparency tab allows citizens and civil society organisations to participate through requests for information and access to the budget, affidavits, etc. Likewise, Argentina has been a part of the Alliance for Open Government since 2012. The III National Open Government Action Plan (2017-2019) included consultation with civil society. [1] Of the 44 commitments, according to the ECLAC Report, [2] [3] none are specific to the area of defence. The process to create transparency in government actions is rather transversal. Despite details regarding the existence of a legal framework that promotes a policy of government openness and participation in OGP matters, when dealing with corruption issues, there is no policy in the defence sector that specifically implies opening up to CSOs. However, it is important to highlight the point made by Uriarte: since 2001 the role of civil society is evident in the formulation of security and defence policies. [3] In this sense, an example of openness to civil society was Resolution 405/2019 of the Ministry of Security, which creates the Civil Society Consultive Council for Comprehensive Risk Management, within the scope of the National System for Integral Risk Management (SINAGIR). That shows an instance of non-binding consultation and collaborative exchange with mechanisms of articulation and cooperation of a participatory nature in the subject of Integral Risk Management and Civil Protection. [4]

CSOs in Argentina have general protections against government interference and can operate openly. However, they may not be able to fully access sensitive areas. The first is deduced from the participation of these organisations in different issues in the media and the absence of complaints in court and in the media for state interference, as well as the fact that since 2016 there is a tool for access to information guaranteed by Law 27.275. [1] Despite being regulated within the National Civil and Commercial Code and the Volunteer Law of 2004, CSOs do not have their own legal framework. [2] ACIJ points out that “the greatest deficit is perceived in the absence of a general rule that regulates organisations acting within the framework of civil society. In addition, reform attempts that have arisen within the National Congress have been ignored in the agenda. The inclusion of civil associations in the new Civil and Commercial Code gives them greater regulatory hierarchy in their regulation, but the inclusion was not accompanied by comprehensive regulations that can effectively restrict any potential state interference.” [3] A problem is the high level of informality that exists in the social sector. There are more than 15,000 CSOs, but few with legal status. For this, the government makes an attempt to advance in the “formalization of CSOs” through the CSO Guide. [4] The map of civil society organisations registered by the National Directorate of Community Relations and Citizen Participation of the Secretariat of Political and Institutional Affairs counts 230 registered CSOs, as of June 2019. [5] In mid-2018, the Federation of Argentine Foundations (FEDEFA), the Social Sector Forum, the Meeting Network of Non-Governmental Entities for Development, the Argentine Network of International Cooperation (RACI), the Argentine Network of Food Banks, and the Group of Foundations and Companies, created an articulation space in order to contribute to the strengthening of civil society organisations and the greater political participation of these organisations in the planning and implementation of public policies. This space indicates that the regulatory framework that governs these institutions needs to be reformed, especially with regard to tax burdens and the formalisation mechanism. [6]

In Argentina there are few CSOs directly involved with defence and security policies. An example is the Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Security and Defence Network of Latin America (RESDAL) and the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), with the Institute of International Security and Strategic Affairs. There is, however, a cross-cutting treatment by CSOs on issues of corruption, transparency, human rights, and democracy that are linked to defence and security issues. In addition, in recent years there has been migration to the public sector of teams from different CSOs, generating greater dialogue between this sector and the government. [1] In relation to the current participation of CSOs with defence and security institutions, there is no evidence on the internet portals of the Ministry of Defence or on the official CSO sites of any activity or linkage in a sustained manner. The participation of more than 50 civil society organisations in the structuring of the Third National Plan of Open Government stands out, but it continues to be a transversal treatment to all State agencies. [2]

The Ministry of Defence of Armenia (MoD) provides a comprehensive Concept on Public Awareness stressing the importance and outlining the scope of public consultations and cooperation with media and CSO’s. The main purpose of the PAC is to define the ways and means of creating public awareness strategy on the activities of the MoD and the General Staff of the Armed Forces and to increase the level of public awareness on the programs and reforms which are designed to improve and modernize the defence sector [1].

The Law on NGOs, which was introduced in 2017, regulates the activities of CSOs and provides state guarantees for their operations. Article 9 of the Law stresses that the State guarantees the protection of rights and legitimate interests of NGOs. Clause 4 of Article 9 provides that state agencies, local government bodies, and their officials are prohibited from intervening into or hindering the operation of NGOs [1]. The importance of the independent and transparent NGOs was also voiced out at the parliamentary hearing on the draft Law on NGOs with the participation of MPs, the minister of justice, NGO representatives and other interested parties [2]. However, before the revolution, there were cases of threats towards CSO representatives, and some of them have not been investigated successfully [3, 4]. Some experts think that the situation has changed following the revolution, with former CSO representatives appearing in the government and cooperation with their former colleagues, meaning that CSOs act more freely now [5].
2019 report by The European Center for Not-for-Profit Law confirms that CSOs in Armenia may enjoy all the relevant rights, though there is still a lot of room for improvement of CSO environment [6, 7]. Some problems have occured during the pandemic [8].

Public officials would not work specifically with CSOs on corruption issues, but they would not avoid working and communicating with CSOs and discuss corruption issues [1]. Moreover, they are interested in publicizing corruption-related cases to raise trust in defence establishments [2].

Policies of openness to CSO involvement in discussions of corruption in defence take the forms of formal consultations in Parliament, complaints to defence and security organisations, and policies that speak to specific parts of the defence sector that are not defence-related. CSOs, alongside members of the public (see Q3C), make submissions to Parliamentary inquiries [1] and are regularly invited as witnesses. However, given that defence corruption issues are hardly discussed in Parliament or in committee (see completed inquiries by defence-related subcommittees [2, 3]), this is not an effective mechanism for CSOs to engage on corruption issues. CSOs can file complaints to independent oversight bodies, such as the IGIS [4], on alleged improper activity perpetrated by members of the defence and security services. The formal policies that do exist requiring openness towards CSOs in the defence sector revolve around operations and disaster relief [5, 6], particularly in areas such as women, peace, and development [7]. Specific policies mandating engagement with CSOs on anti-corruption in operations, procurement, and other areas at risk are non-existent, or at least not publicly available [8]. The Australian Civil-Military Centre is a key vehicle through which this openness to CSOs in the areas of operations and disaster relief is carried out [9]. It is unclear if there is a broader policy that the Department of Defence and security organisations should be open to CSOs and NGOs; if so, it is not publicly available [8]. The think tank Australian Strategic Policy Institute works closely with government to develop new strategic thinking [10], but at most, there is criticism of transparency issues [11] rather than a specific discussion of anti-corruption risk. The Australian government has joined the Open Government Partnership, committing to increased engagement with and scrutiny from CSOs generally. However, none of the specific Open Government Partnership commitments Australia has signed up to so far have to do with addressing corruption risk in defence or engaging civil society in this process [12].

Legal protections are generally good for CSOs in Australia, but recently passed legislation and reports of “an atmosphere of fear, censorship and retaliation” has been perceived to have undermined those protections, particularly for civil society activists in the human rights space [1, 2]. It is not clear to what extent these eroded protections extend to CSOs dealing with issues of corruption, since these reports mainly look at human rights defenders. However, the Government has shown an increased willingness to prosecute leaks where the information revealed is arguably in the public interest and politically embarrassing rather than sensitive for security reasons per se [3]. Additionally, think tanks have been discouraged from publishing on “politically sensitive topics” such as the wisdom of local defence procurement, under the implicit understanding that the access needed to do proper analysis may be restricted [4]. Prosecuting leaks and discouraging politically sensitive work may undermine the ability of anti-corruption CSOs to do their work. The Country Assessor found that Defence was not forthcoming with access or information when attempting to gain public interest insights into ‘sensitive’ areas.

As mentioned in Q4A, openness to CSOs and NGOs does occur in the operation and disaster relief area of the defence sector and in thinking through issues of strategy, as well as in other areas of government. However, there is no evidence that defence and security institutions actively seek CSO engagement on corruption issues. According to an expert interviewee, there is a general apathy to corruption risk in the Australian government and particularly in the defence sector [1]. Observers have also noticed a serious chilling of government willingness to engage on Defence issues overall in recent years, particularly since the First Principles Review in 2016 [2, 3]. The Country Assessor was unable to obtain a substantive response from multiple Defence officials and the Defence media team despite repeated inquiries related to this research.

There are numerous laws (1, 2) on public associations, NGOs and the media in Azerbaijan, though freedom of speech and press is guaranteed from the legislative point of view, in reality, media and NGOs have no access to or limited access to defence and security institutions. As for corruption issues, these are generally kept secret from the public and those who disclose it are exposed to the threats and pressures of defence and security institutions. Afghan Mukhtarli wrote articles about corruption in the Defence Ministry (3), Mukhtarli received threats concerning his investigative reporting on alleged corruption in the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry (4), and he is now in jail (5, 6).

At present, serious restrictions on NGO activities are imposed in Azerbaijan. Highly restrictive and punitive regulations, on NGOs, adopted in 2014 and 2015 make it almost impossible for independent groups to fund and carry out their work. In February 2016, new regulations went into force giving the Justice Ministry broad powers to conduct intrusive inspections of NGOs on a wide range of grounds. The bank accounts of at least a dozen NGOs that worked on human rights and government accountability remain blocked; the groups suspended their work or operate in exile Many government critics or political opposition activists remain behind bars (1, 2, 3).
Until 2013-2014, NGOs and media had limited or no opportunity to work with defence and security institutions, and at the end of this period, several NGOs operating in the military field was forced to stop their activities. The reason was the pressure of the authorities, especially its security agencies. In the following period, independent military-political NGOs completely stopped their activities. For example head of the Coalition SeDEP Yashar was subjected to physical violence and after a while confirmed his resignation (4, 5).
On August 29, 2014, the head of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ramiz Mehdiyev, held a meeting of heads of structural divisions and media outlets responsible for the provision of information to the state bodies, where they spoke about strengthening the control over media activities in the military field. A month later, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on security measures on the contact line between the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. The decree envisaged preventing the dissemination of information on military-related (frontier zones) (6, 7).
In 2016, the OECD expressed strong concerns on the deterioration of the environment for the functioning of civil society and urges the authorities to remedy the situation as a matter of priority to ensure the open participation of civil society in anti-corruption reforms, policy development, implementation and monitoring and create an enabling environment for investigative journalism and media reporting on corruption (2).

In the Military Doctrine of the Azerbaijan Republic (9), openness is described in two cases:
Article 1.9 states: “Where necessary, civil society organizations and individual representatives may be involved in the implementation of these provisions of military doctrine on the coordination of military, political, economic, social, information, legal and other measures aimed at ensuring the military security of the Republic of Azerbaijan.”
Article 37.1 states: “In the event of a threat of a real armed attack against the Republic of Azerbaijan, in the field of preparing the country, the population and the territory, as well as the Armed Forces and other armed units, needs to ensure that local self-governance bodies, civil society institutions and citizens are involved in the prevention of aggression”.
According to the experts, there are no debates, active discussions on military issues in Azerbaijan since 2014. In September 2014, President Ilham Aliyev issued a decree on some security measures on the contact line between the Armed Forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia (7). That decree and subsequent decisions have seriously restricted the media’s ability to investigate what happened in the army. Experts say that unofficial ban on public debate on army issues has been made (8).
Since 2015, the Defence Ministry has cooperated with several government-sponsored journalists and NGOs (1). These NGOs explicitly funded by the Council on State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations (2). The Ministry of Defence claims that in 2017, the cooperation between with media and with NGOs was effective. At the initiative of the Defence Minister, the traditional “Open Day” held in all military units three-four times a year” (3).
Defence Minister Zakir Hasanov said at the last press conference that everyone could come to these events: soldier’s parents, journalists. He urged journalists to see what happened in military units with their own eyes (4). According to experts, the critical journalists or independent NGOs do not have a serious interest in these events, because first of all, it is impossible to get serious information about the army during such events. Many parents come and meet with their children. Secondly, if the journalists face any negative situation, they will have difficulties making it public, as the Defence Ministry and other security agencies as State Security Service (SSS) will not allow him to write down these facts (5). According to the media, journalist Sakhavat Mammad was arrested for 10 days for a critical post about Najmeddin Sadikov, Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces (6).
At a parliamentary session in December 2017 (10), MP Siyavush Novruzov said that “the media should refer to information released by the Defence Ministry. Army secrets should be closed”. Another MP, Gudrat Hasanguliyev, said that if the media did not write about the problems in the army, that problem would only increase: “Of course, military secrecy should be protected and already protected. But it is not right to ban professional journalists from writing to the army.”

Civil society organizations (CSOs) in Bahrain suffer from threats of a crackdown on their work, and the state has the ability to enforce their closure. Harsh measures are applied to those who take a critical stance against the government or defence (CSOs are not allowed to debate or question defence policies) [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are no laws or policies that require defence institutions to be open with CSOs.

As outlined in 4A, the state has a monopoly on the entry and exit of CSOs in Bahrain [1, 2, 3]. There are very restrictive laws, especially for independent organizations such as human rights organizations [4].

There is no openness towards NGOs or CSOs in the country whatsoever. CSOs are not allowed by a de-facto informal law to question the defence sector. They might be able to criticise internal police and civil police, but not the army [1, 2, 3].

Defence and security agencies traditionally maintain a safe distance from CSOs, whom they consider to be ‘very critical’ of their institutions. However, on several occasions in the past, the Executive Director of TI Bangladesh (TIB ED) was invited to speak on broader governance issues at the National Defence College (NDC) [1]. Frank discussion on corruption issues is rare and not encouraged. The media statement by the TIB ED calling for an investigation into the allocation of forest lands for the development of a military site/training centre [2] was reportedly not well received the military.

There is no formal policy on openness towards CSOs. CSOs in Bangladesh now operate on the basis of a mutually agreed formula: ‘see no evil, hear no evil’. The shrinking space for CSOs is linked to the declining political freedom across the country [1].

The military occasionally engages with selected think tanks and CSOs on various national development issues, but corruption is not on the agenda [1].

The Belgian law on Freedom of Information ensures the openness of the Administration, including Belgian Defence, towards third parties [1]. This includes CSOs. The law details the procedures through which they can consult governmental information. There is, however, no specific detailed policy tailored to CSOs [2, 3].

Articles 11, 19 and 27 of the Belgian Constitution ensure freedom of expression and freedom of association [1]. Moreover, Belgium consistently scores high on political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of assembly and freedom of CSOs [2]. There is no proof of governmental intimidation of CSOs [3].

There is no evidence of engagement concerning corruption between CSOs and Belgian Defence [1, 2, 3]

There is an official policy adopted by the Ministry of Defence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Public Relation Policy [1], it is accompanied by the Ministry of Defence’s Instruction for Conducting for Public Relations Activities in the Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina [2]. These documents, in particular, Article 5 (Mission) defines the main mission and principle of the public relations and it is, “… timely communication of accurate and reliable information.” Article 7 defines the obligation of the implementation of the Law on Free Access to Information [3].

Civil society organisations (CSOs) enjoy a range of protections from government and there are laws providing citizens to freely associate in the form of non-governmental organisations and foundations, all following existing legal framework regulating the field of associating [1]. The Freedom of Access to Information Act prevents civil society organisations to have access to all information. These exemptions are described in Article 6:
“A competent authority may claim an exemption where disclosure would reasonably be expected to cause substantial harm to the legitimate aim of the following in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
a. the foreign policy, defence and security interests, and the protection of public safety;
b. the monetary policy interests;
c. crime prevention and crime detection; and
d. the protection of the deliberative process of a public authority insofar as it involves the expressing of opinion, advice or recommendation by a public authority, employee thereof, or any person acting for or on behalf of a public authority, and does not involve factual, statistical, scientific, or technical information” [2].

In general, defence and security institutions rarely engage CSOs in the process of production of anti-corruption policies. Still, there is evidence proving that defence institutions include CSOs in some activities where CSOs were invited (E.g. The fifth strategic-military seminar on Building Integrity and Combating Corruption in the Defence and Security Sector) [1]. The 2016 Integrity plan of Ministry of Security envisages the obligation of the Associate in the Department for Analytical, Strategic Planning, Supervision and Training to cooperate with NGOs in the organisation of various educations [2].
A local CSO, the Centre for Security Studies implemented a three-year project “Integrity Building and Strengthening Anti-Corruption Practices in the Security Sector – ACroSS” (2016-2018) which had the objective to strengthen transparency and accountability in public procurement in the security sector. During implementation, the security and defence institutions were open to actively take part and to provide data for monitoring that was conducted [3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

There is no evidence of any relationship between CSOs and defence and security institutions. This can be attributed to the historical development of Botswana since, at the time Botswana got independence in 1966, there was no involvement of CSOs or any influence that came from the CSOs [1]. It was only in the 1990s, that CSOs in Bostwana started to emerge. To this day, they are very few CSOs in Botswana that are also not well organised [1]. The few CSOs that are there are mainly development-oriented as opposed to issues of governance, rule of law and democracy that would have assisted in working with the Defence sector [2, 3]. A look at the Botswana Council of NGOs (BOCONGO), which is the umbrella body of CSOs, does not have any member that deals with the Defence [2]. It is important to note that there is no formal expression in the form of a Policy or such document from the government, whereby the government expressly indicates its intention to work with the CSOs.

In general, CSOs operate independently and are protected in terms of the law [1]. The role of CSOs was recognised as far back as 1995. This was followed by the enactment of the National NGO Policy (2012) [1]. In the event of any threats or intimidation by the government, CSOs may approach BOCONGO for protection and other forms of assistance to ensure that the affected CSO is insulated from harassment or any such action [2]. Further, the small number of domestic and international human rights groups generally operate without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Government officials are generally cooperative and responsive to domestic NGO views on most subjects [2]. Whilst the Botswana Constitution provides for a range of protections (e.g. rights to freedom of expression or freedom of association) from government interference, evidence on the ground indicataes that when it comes to the area of security and defence matters, CSOs in Botswana do not have unhinged access to security and defence information.

There is no evidence of any collaboration between the CSOs and the Defence on areas of corruption. Further, there is no indication that such requests by the CSOs were denied [1]. There is no CSO actively engaged in corruption let alone Defence corruption in Bostwana [1]. With this in mind, it has been observed that civil society groups in Botswana are not as fully developed as ones in other African countries. This reality may be partly attributable to the political and economic stability that has prevailed since independence [2]. Furthermore, the lack of any meaningful ‘struggle’ for independence and the concomitant absence of a tradition of questioning – combined with an essentially top-down traditional culture of acquiescence before one’s superiors – may explain the relative weakness and disorganised nature of civil society [2].

There are no formal or informal procedures that require openness towards civil society organizations (CSOs), but there are few CSOs that proactively study defence issues in the country. CSOs generally ask for information from the Ministry of Defence, and single branches of the forces through Freedom of Information (FOI) requests. A CSO specialized in right-to-information, Fiquem Sabendo, produced a large study regarding the availability of declassified information in many governmental institutions, including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Brazilian Navy. MoD results were good, but the Navy refused to give access to all the required documents [1]. The only formal rule regarding openness related to human rights violations is in the Freedom of Information Law [2]; however, it is not directly related to CSOs.

There are plenty of different types of civil society organizations (CSOs) that can operate in Brazil. There are non-governmental organizations or CSOs, which are non-profit institutions that can or not receive government funding. There are Social Organizations (Organização Social), which is a classification that can be granted by the Executive to private institutions that work in the fields of teaching, research, environment protection, health and others. Finally, there are civil society organizations of public interest (OSCIPs), which are private companies that influence fundamental state activities – which follow a different legal framework [1]. Regarding CSOs, the Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada) created an extensive map of these organizations [2]. According to this study, in 2016, 820,000 CSOs were registered as legal entities in Brazil, and there is no mention to CSOs acting in the realm of national defence. The law that regulates CSO’s activities in Brazil is Act 13.1019/2014, which sets rules for the interaction between them and the State. It establishes accountability and transparency procedures and ways of establishing agreements. In general, citizens and CSOs experience fear of reprisals, as the article written by Michener et al. (2019) states [3]. The study reported the fear of reprisal is related to sending identified FOI requests to the government, which was found in the federal realm. According to a translation made by Reviewer 2, “[r]ecognizing the problematic nature of identity in FOI processes, in 2018 Brazil became the first Latin American government to give citizens the (checkbox) option to make their requests identity-neutral” (pg. 263). This is assured by “The Public Service User’s Defence Code” (Law 13.460, Article 10). There is also a CSO, Open Knowledge Brasil, whose line of work is to develop projects on transparency in Brazil. This CSO provides the platform “Queremos saber” (we want to know), that helps with access to the information within the government exactly to prevent the integrity of those requesting information (

However, the Bolsonaro administration has adopted an aggressive rhetoric and hostile stance towards CSOs. One of the administration’s first priorities was to adopt sweeping powers to monitor CSO activities [4]. Though the move ultimately failed, the President and high-level officials have continued to attack CSOs and have unermined the strength of CSO protections as a result [5].

There is no strong evidence of the involvement of CSOs on issues of corruption in defence [1]. The only strong evidence of engagement is the case of the Fiquem Sabendo news agency, which conducted an audit to verify compliance with disclosure of declassified documents [2]. However, the research was not about corruption directly, and it came from the media, not a CSO.

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.

Global Affairs Canada has a policy requiring openness and cooperation with CSOs. [1] [2] The policy from Global Affairs Canada makes direct reference to incorporating CSO input and engagement through various action areas throughout. The rationale for this is that “Civil society organisations have their own diverse purposes, priorities, capacities and constraints. They bring valuable and unique experience, and they make important contributions to achieving more effective results, fostering new ideas, building local capacity and engaging with Canadians as global citizens. Global Affairs Canada will therefore work with CSOs and other actors to implement a feminist approach across all its international assistance programs, prioritising those partnerships, innovations and advocacy activities that have the greatest potential to close gender gaps and advance the government’s priority objectives. Thus, during the lifespan of this policy, the Department commits to continuous dialogue with CSOs on what it means to have a feminist approach to partnerships.” [1] This involvement of CSOs does not extend in the same way to the defence sector, as “a cultural gap between civil society and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) undoubtedly exists. The Department of Department of National Defence’s budget habitually lapses, an unwillingness to increase the budget exists, and foreign military involvement is often viewed negatively.” [3]

Freedom House gives Canada a score of 99/100 for political freedom, including the right to criticise and organise in protest of the government. Canadian individuals and organisations are mostly free to operate without intimidation from the government. All Canadian citizens and residents may file access to information requests to which the government must respond, and in which the grounds for witholding information are narrowly defined. [1] [2] . However, there are reports suggesting Canadian defence and security institutions have also been used to intimidate protestors [3,4].

Canada remains a founding and highly involved member of the Community of Democracies, a coalition of states dedicated to strengthening civil society through the integration of CSOs in the workings of democratic governance. [1] In practice, many of Canada’s foreign interventions have been informed by consultation with CSOs. There is no explicit connection between the defence establishment and CSOs with respect to corruption. [2] These are often focused on very specific initiatives and contexts. The intersection of Corruption, Defence, and CSOs has most clearly occured within the context of Canada’s ongoing mission in Ukraine where anti-corruption initiatives are central. [3]

While theres is little to no dialogue with the defence sector and CSOs on corurption issues, whether on sectoral management or deployment operations, some Canadian security instituions do engage with CSOs. The Royal Canadian Mounted Policy has a Anti-Corruption Outreach Coordinator post that engages with some civil society on issues to address corruption. A multistakeholder forum for Canada’s intelligence agence has also been established that holds regular meetings and produces regular reports. [4]

The Ministry of National Defence (MDN) has a policy of participation toward civil society organisations (CSOs) based on the dispositions in the Law of Citizen Participation [1], the 2014 Presidential Ordinance (Num. 7), and the Exempt Resolution that created the Civil Society Council (COSOC) for the defence sector [2]. The normative establishes a minimum of five annual sessions for the COSOC, with a work plan and public proceedings associated. However, the agenda of participation is set from above, based on issues and priorities given by the MDN. Moreover, none of these instances where it was used addressed issues of corruption, probity, and transparency in the defence sector. In critical dimensions of probity and transparency and budget and strategic and political planning, defence and security institutions have maintained a low level of involvement of civilian experts and CSOs that characterised the sector in the post-authoritarian period [3].

Chileans have the right to open and free private discussion, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) form and operate without interference [1]. However, journalists may face violence and state retribution for their work on sensitive issues [2].

CSOs may participate as part of the COSOC in the defence sector, and they can gain access to relevant information through the law on access to public information [3] and the Exempt Resolution of the MDN [4]. There is no evidence of government interference in CSOs in the sector; however, CSOs have no access to sensitive information related to the allocation and spending of resources via the Restricted Law of Copper as well as other the Military Code of Justice [5].

The MDN and the armed forces have a limited policy of openness toward civil society, mainly based on the Civil Society Council as well as other channels of participation (e.g. the annual participatory public account and public consultations). Recently, engagement with CSOs has been promoted in issues of human security, human rights, inclusion and non-discrimination, cyberspace and climate change, but not on the specific issue of corruption [1]. There is no evaluation of the effectiveness of such instances of participation yet.

Overall, although CSOs are allowed to develop public activities around non-politically sensitive areas, they are actively discouraged from operating in the field of corruption. Characteristically, the new National Supervision Law, [1] which lays out China’s new anticorruption architecture, makes no mention of the participation of civil society, stressing that social organisations will not interfere in anticorruption enforcement (Article 4). China’s National Defence White Papers do not mentions CSOs as part of the anticorruption efforts of the Army. [2] Overall, defence and security institutions are not open to any form of cooperation with CSOs.

The Chinese government imposes considerable restrictions on the registration and operation of both domestic and international Civil Society Organisations. The Charity Law and the Overseas NGOs Law, passed in 2016, and the new Law for the Registration and Management of Social Organizations, will replace the 1998 regulations on NGO registration. [1] Both the Charity and the Overseas NGOs laws have been consistently criticised for being restrictive, for limiting access to funds domestically and from abroad, and for failing to protect CSOs from arbitrary action by the state. [2,3] Overall, Chinese authorities enjoy considerable discretion in refusing registration to CSOs, interfering with their daily operations and suppressing them at will. [4,5] Although charities, environmental NGOs and philanthropic organisations are tolerated, CSOs promoting human, labour and religious rights and those advocating government transparency and accountability are consistently persecuted. [6]
Regarding anti-corruption, since 2012, the Chinese government has demonstrated zero tolerance to autonomous societal actors. In 2013, the government suppressed the New Citizens Movement, an unofficial organisation that staged flash-mob demonstrations against corrupt officials and disseminated messages that were not in accord with the government’s ongoing anticorruption campaign. [7] The organisers of the Movement were arrested and later convicted to sentences of up to 7 years in prison on the charge of “creating a disturbance”. [8] Overall, although CSOs are allowed to develop public activities around non-politically sensitive areas, they are actively discouraged from operating in the field of corruption. Characteristically, the new National Supervision Law, [9] which lays out China’s new anticorruption architecture, makes no mention of the participation of civil society, stressing that social organisations will not interfere in anticorruption enforcement (Article 4). As a result, defence and security institutions are not open to any form of cooperation with CSOs.

There are no autonomous CSOs in China working in the field of corruption so there is no practice of openness towards them. Efforts to create grassroots autonomous organisations promoting anticorruption values and assisting the authorities have been persecuted. [1,2]

Historically, decisions regarding defence and security issues in Colombia have been handled with secrecy by the Colombian state, given the context of the armed conflict. In this sense, there is no clear evidence that the participation mechanisms stipulated in Colombian law propose regulations or guidelines on the issues of civil society engagement on security issues and defence. [1, 2] Nor are there any elements that allow evidence of oversight or citizen controls on the action of the Armed Forces. However, with the signing of the Peace Agreement, the National Commission of Security Guarantees (CNGS), within the framework of the Comprehensive Security System for the Exercise of Policy (SISEP) was created from Decree Law 154 of 2017, as a instance “whose object is the design and monitoring of public and criminal policy regarding the dismantling of organizations or criminal conduct responsible for homicides and massacres that threaten human rights defenders, social movements, or political movements, or that threaten or attempt to threaten people who participate in the implementation of the Accords and peacebuilding, including the criminal organizations that have been named as successors of paramilitarism and their support networks.” [3] This body, made up of various members of the government, also has the participation of civil society (2 members of human rights platforms), and members of social and political movements are allowed to attend its sessions. The CNGS seeks to guarantee the exercise of politics without the threat of weapons, including the protection of social leaders, based on the understanding of security adopted in the Peace Agreement, and on respect for dignity and human rights. However, since President Iván Duque took office, the CNGS has not been convened and remains inactive. Currently, only some technical teams operate, but there are no sessions on consultation or information exchange. [4, 5] Additionally, the current government has focused its energies on the Timely Action Plan (PAO) which it hopes to use to confront the situation of violence that the country is experiencing, but which excludes civil society from the debate and ignores other advances derived from the Peace Agreement on the protection of communities and social organisations, such as the Comprehensive Security and Protection Program for Communities and Organizations in the Territories, created from Decree 660 of 2018, also inactive. [6] Another space for civil society participation is the Integrated Rural Security System (SISER) of the Colombian National Police, implemented by the Carabineros and Rural Security Directorate. Among its components is the link between citizenship and rural development and rural security. Police stations have managers of citizen participation who act as facilitators and promoters of territorial management, and together with social organisations, they create work plans on the prevention and solution of problems that affect the populations. [7] SISER represents a great advancement, since it starts to understand the needs of the rural population. However, for this strategy to be a complete success, key aspects of political and legal representation in the territories must be strengthened. [8] To finalize the Defence and Security Policy, the President Duque created the Civic Participation Network as a tool to guarantee the rights of citizens, in which information is exchanged between the public security forces and citizens. The incentive to participate lies in the reward systems. [9] For some social leaders, this strategy represents a risk, because under the same idea of civic-military cooperation, Convivir began, which then became paramilitary groups in the 1990s. [10] Given this history, although there is an opening for the involvement of CSOs in the implementation of and participation in defence policies due to the Peace Agreement, there is no evidence that the current government links CSOs in the spaces created by the Agreement and has received complaints from CSOs regarding the inactivity.

In Colombia, civil society organisations are very active and cover a wide variety of social, political, economic, and environmental issues. However, levels of violence against social leaders and human rights defenders have increased exponentially in recent years, with 734 leaders and human rights defenders murdered between 1 January 2016 and July 2019. [1, 2] Additionally, ex-FARC combatants have also been murdered, such is the case of Dimar Torres, who was assassinated by the Colombian Army. A large portion of these murders have not been solved by the Colombian justice system, nor have individuals been found guilty even when suspicions and testimonies fall on drug paramilitary groups and State agents. [3, 4] Regarding the responsibility of the Colombian State in its exercise of the guarantee of protection and life of social leaders and ex-combatants of FARC, the Report of the Commission for Clarification of the Truth on Patterns of Aggression Against People who Defend Human Rights and Territory in Colombia (2018) reports that the exercise of socio-political violence falls mainly on the State, “either because it exercises it directly, or because it does so through paramilitary organisations that act with their acquiescence, collusion or tolerance, directing its actions not only to the rebels in arms, but taking it to broad layers of the unarmed civilian population, who fall or could fall into the territorial or ideological influence of the combatants.” [5] The Report recognises several patterns of repression of human rights defenders: i) repression by state intelligence entities through illegal surveillance, harassment, sabotage, defamation, threats, and murders; ii) extrajudicial executions committed by the state security forces as part of a phenomenon known as ‘false positives’; iii) executions committed by paramilitaries and/or post-demobilised groups with the collusion, acquiescence, or tolerance of the state security forces; iv) unsubstantiated criminalisation and abuse of the criminal justice system; and v) excessive force used against human rights defenders in the context of social protests, especially at the hands of the Mobile Riot Squad (ESMAD). Faced with these actions, the Colombian government has a framework for the protection of social leaders implemented by the National Protection Unit. However, this framework has been harshly criticized by the social leaders themselves, arguing that there is not sufficient institutional capacity to carry out this work, an aspect that is affirmed by the entity’s director. [6] It also has the Timely Action Plan (PAO), [7] which seeks to prevent and protect human rights defenders, social and community leaders, and journalists. However, this Plan is made up of statements only, distancing itself from a meaningful quest to attack organised crime, such that, instead of reducing the problem, it contributes to its prolongment, and ignores the instruments derived from the Peace Agreement. [8] Given the above, it can be considered that there is total defenselessness of social leaders even when there is a regulatory framework and an institutional design that protects them, such as the Political Constitution of Colombia. [9] However, there are also regulations that limit the exercise of mobilisation and actions of CSOs. For example, in the Penal Code, the judicialisation of acts directly related to the exercise of the protest, under the assumption of excess or abuse, such as: the disruption in the transport service; obstruction of public roads; and rioting, [10] and in the Police Code and Law 1801 of 2016, guidelines for the regulation of social protest are also established. Both of these laws, then, have a negative impact on the exercise of participation, such as in Title VI of the Code, which in Chapter II regulates everything related to protests in public space. Given the above, it can be stated that in Colombia, regulations stipulate a series of protections for CSOs to ensure their ability to exercise their functions, despite the reality of victimisation by the government and by illegal groups, in addition to the lack of protection and institutional capacity to respond to said violations.

In Colombia there is a legal and regulatory framework around the promotion of transparency and access to information in order to counter corruption, as well as a number of virtual instruments that allow the advertising of public data. So entities in the defence sector, such as the Military and Police Forces, develop anti-corruption and transparency plans in their entities. However, some of these plans may include general activities and strategies, biut not necessarily account for all the processes and budgets managed by Defence Industry entities. In the case of the Military Forces, in 2016 the Directorate of Application of Transparency Standards of the National Army (Dante), an anti-corruption office, was created. It dictates rules aimed at strengthening mechanisms for the prevention, investigation, and sanctioning of acts of corruption. This is intended to facilitate access to information and accountability in the defence sector for greater public transparency for civilians. DANTE represents a participation tool for staff and the community, since it allows more knowledge of the anti-coorruption actions within government. [1] In this same vein, the National Police have the Comprehensive Transparency Policy (PITP), which seeks to prevent acts of corruption through the axes of visibility, sanction, supervision, and control and doctrine, promoting citizen’s exercise of oversight to the actions implemented. [2] Also in terms of citizen participation, Law 850 of 2003 [3] establishes the creation of Citizen Veedurías, for various topics of the public agenda, including defence and security. However, there are no such initiatives that are active to monitor the defence sector in the area of corruption. According to Interview 2, the actions are more focused on the citizens accessing the information, but there is no concerted and organised work with CSOs that strengthens the control and monitoring of security and defence issues. On the other hand, there are initiatives such as Transparency by Colombia [4] or the citizen consultation anti-corruption mandate, an initiative that brings together 70 civil society organisations, academics, and analysts with the aim of monitoring the process of legislative projects agreed between the national government and political parties to materialise the citizen mandate of the Anti-Corruption Consultation. However, these initiatives do not address issues of corruption in security and defence issues.

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 evidence of formal or informal policies that require openness towards CSOs [1].

There is no specific law governing CSOs in Denmark, but the Danish Constitution ensures the right to form associations and organisations, and these cannot be dissolved by government. The Constitution ensures freedom of speech for all, which thus also covers CSOs [1, 2]. Research indicates that CSOs are able to operate freely in Denmark [2].

As stated in the 2015 TI-GDII assessment, inclusion of CSOs in governmental work is based on traditions and norms and not on formal requirements [1, 2]. There is no evidence to suggest that this has changed. There is no evidence that any co-operation between the defence and security institutions and CSOs on corruption issues take, or has taken, place. Involvement with CSOs working with anti-corruption generally concern the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but this is predominantly in relation to developmental work in developing countries, and therefore beyond the scope of this assessment [3, 4]. Transparency International Denmark is the only CSO in Denmark that works with anti-corruption. Transparency International confirms that it does not have – or has not had – any engagement with the Defence (including the ministry) [5]. There is evidence that the Defence/Ministry of Defence does have a practice of openness towards CSOs in general, as for instance illustrated by the fact that the CSO Folk of Sikkerhed [translated “People and Security”] sometimes conducts conferences and seminars in collaboration with the Defence Committee [6], and that the Minister of Defence for instance conducts meetings and visits with veteran organisations [7].

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).

According to the Public Information Act, [1] the state and local government agencies are obliged to grant citizens access to public information. However, they also have the right to withhold information in order to protect national security or people’s privacy.
The National Security Concept of the Republic of Estonia [2] states that in order to ensure the security of Estonian society, military institutions, and the public defence sector in general, need to cooperate with civil society and involve more volunteers. The document gives no further guidelines as to how this should be done.

CSOs have not seen any interference from the government when it comes to the defence sector, as pointed out by two interviewees, both from the civil society sector. [1,2] There are no NGOs in Estonia, however, that focus specifically on the defence sector. Several interviewees did bring up that Estonia’s defence and security sector is an isolated area with very little dialogue and openness to the public. [1,2,3] This fact is perceived as a key problem and risk. However, according to Estonia’s Human Rights Centre, the freedom of expression is widely respected in Estonia and remains stable. The media is free to cover different viewpoints and opinions. [4]

Interviewed experts from the CSO sector perceive the defence and security sector in Estonia to be isolated. [1] This is also reflected in the activities of the civil society. None of the Estonian CSOs engage specifically in defence and security issues, even if there have been meetings between the Ministry of Defence and representatives of CSOs to discuss ethics and corruption related issues. [2]
However, the Comprehensive Development Plan, as part of the National Defence Development Plan for 2013–2022, does mention engaging with CSOs, but as a preventative measure for a safer environment. The plan states that NGOs and other CSOs must be involved to encourage citizens to be more active and informed, which would help the government to react to threats faster. [3]

There is no formal or informal policy that requires openness towards CSOs in the defence sector. However, such openness is generally expected of all government actors.

CSOs in general are able to operate openly and without intimidation from the Government, including CSOs working on security and defence related issues and/or on corruption related issues. For example, in Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2020 report Finland scores full 100 points [1]. The freedoms of CSOs are protected by the Constitution [2]. However, the government may limit public financial support for organisations not seen as cooperative.

Different forms of corruption are considered as a criminal offence and, thus, if suspected, the Police, the disciplinary supervisor of a unit, or the legal section of the Defence Forces Headquarters starts an investigation. It the suspicion concerns the Border Guard, the inspection is carried out by the Border Guard, the Police, or the Customs. Most of the time, the request for criminal investigation comes from the organisation in question. [1] The role of CSOs is not pivotal in this, but they can raise concern – as can the media – if they suspect any wrongdoings. The Defence Forces joined the national anti-corruption network in January 2020, [2] of which Transparency International is also a member [3].

In addition, there is a great number of CSOs that work with the defence establishment, usually within the framework of comprehensive security, on matters other than corruption. The voluntary sector is an important part of comprehensive security production in which the roles of the organisations vary depending e.g. on their size, regional extent, and level of institutionalisation. An important body bringing the different organisations together is the Advisory Board for Defence Information (MTS), that is, a permanent Parliamentary Committee, which administratively functions in the Ministry of Defence. [4]

MTS functions as a parliamentary forum organising seminars and discussions on security policy, national defence, crises, and preparing with CSOs, decision-makers, authorities, media, and experts. In addition, it inter alia aims to develop CSO and media expertise on the aforementioned matters and carries out annual opinion polls and surveys on foreign and security policy, national defence and security. [5]

There is no formal or informal policy that requires openness towards CSOs in the defence sector, even when these CSOs have a spokesperson within Parliament, with all the prerogatives attached to this status. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

France’s rule of law is solid. Freedom of expression and freedom of association are guaranteed by the Declaration of Human and Citizen Rights of 1789, [1] and CSOs can operate openly without intimidation from the government. CSOs such as Transparency International, [2] Amnesty International [3] and HRW, [4] regularly challenge the French authorities without concern of retaliation.

Regarding corruption issues, there is no history of collaboration between French Defence and Security Institutions and CSOs. The reason seems to be both because CSO activity is extremely minimal in this area, and because the French Defence Institutions do not share information with CSOs. A notable exception was a 2008 collaboration between TI France and two high-ranking, retired military staff on a common report about secrecy in defence. [1] [2] [3]

There is not a lot of evidence to suggest that defence and security institutions practise much openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption in Germany. While the overall defence sector in Germany has seen some corruption scandals this past year (for example, the ‘Berateraffäre’ (consultant scandal) or the submarine scandal), neither the German Bundeswehr nor the Ministry of Defence appear to have been directly involved in them. The German Ministry of Defence has (slightly) increased its anti-corruption activities and has, for example, participated in an initiative of the Federal Administration and German industry to exchange information about anti-corruption standards. It has also actively participated in a survey by Transparency International, and a member of the high-profile Bundeswehr-Strukturkommission (‘Structural Commission’), established in 2010, was the chair of Transparency International Germany at the time.

However, there is no evidence of a formal policy that requires defence and security institutions to be open towards civil society organisations and calls for the establishment of mechanisms to that end (e.g. consultation and sharing of information). Openness towards CSOs is predicated more on an informal basis than on a clearly defined policy. In general, the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community is in charge of preventing corruption in the Federal Administration [1]. It adopts guidelines for the organisation of federal administrative bodies and issues a code of conduct for superiors. Citizens and employees can reach out to designated contact points with corruption-related questions or concerns. The ‘Rules on Integrity’ brochure, published by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, provides an overview of the most relevant legal provisions and recommendations on corruption prevention for the German Federal Administration [2]. This brochure states: ‘The Directive applies to the measures taken by all federal agencies for the prevention of corruption; the supreme federal authorities, the authorities of the direct and indirect Federal Administration, the federal courts and federal special funds are all considered to be federal agencies. The Directive also applies to the armed forces; the Federal Ministry of Defence is responsible for settling the details’ (see page 6) [2]. The Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community also publishes an annual integrity report, which contains data on (potential) corruption cases within the Federal Administration and the armed forces, including the facts and the respective status (new, ongoing or closed), measures taken and the outcome of each case [3].

Civil society organisations enjoy a range of protections, including rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association without government interference, and are able to operate openly and without intimidation from the government. A 2019 report by Freedom House states that ‘Germany (…) is a representative democracy with a vibrant political culture and civil society. Political rights and civil liberties are largely assured both in law and practice (…) Freedom of expression is enshrined in the Constitution, and the media are largely free and independent’. The report continues: ‘Germany has a vibrant sphere of NGOs and associations, which operate freely’ [1]. According to an article by Facts About Germany, ‘civil commitment in Germany is high. Lots of people volunteer and the importance of foundations is growing. Around 31 million Germans are involved in voluntary work in their spare time, thus assuming responsibility for society’ [2]. A variety of German NGOs, CSOs and associations are active in the field of transparency, open government and anti-corruption, including LobbyControl, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, Abgeordnetenwatch (‘MP Watch’), Whistleblower-Netwerk e.V., Arbeitskreis OGP,, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Informationsfreiheit, Anti-Corruption International and the German chapter of Transparency International.

There are also organisations and initiatives at a local level, such as the Antikorruptionsverein Berlin. The Allianz für Lobbytransparenz comprises six organisations from both the private sector and civil society (the Verband der Chemischen Industrie, Transparency Deutschland, the Federation of German Industries, Die Familienunternehmer, the Naturschutzbund Deutschland and the Federation of German Consumer Organisations), which are all calling for comprehensive lobbying legislation by the end of the current legislative period. This alliance advocates the establishment of a commissioner for lobbying affairs, a lobbying code of conduct (including sanctions for non-compliance) and a publicly accessible lobbying register. Finally, proposed laws should outline the interests considered during the drafting process [3].

Defence and security institutions are open towards CSOs but their work on issues of corruption is infrequent or superficial. The military does not engage with CSOs specifically on corruption issues, but some ‘citizen dialogues’ have been carried out by all ministries as part of the ‘Citizens Dialogues on the Future of Europe’. Some of these dialogues were held in the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) to discuss security policy issues and related ethical issues; some were held in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on artificial intelligence during the Future Conference 2019 and as part of the nationwide dialogue events organised for the Science Year; and some were held in the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the German Resource Efficiency Programme (citizens’ dialogue on resource conservation). Since 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has conducted more than 100 citizen dialogues focussing on Europe, as well as discussions with citizens in ‘Open Situation Rooms’ and ‘Bürgerwerkstätten’ (citizens’ workshops) [1]. There are also lots of magazines and brochures available online that provide some insight into the anti-corruption policy of defence and security institutions [2,3].

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).

[1] There are neither formal nor informal policies requiring openness towards civil society organisations. Despite Greece’s high defence expenditure, there are no national CSOs dealing with corruption in the defence sector.

Greek CSOs enjoy a range of protections from government interference. They are thus able to operate without fear of potential reprisals [1]. Nevertheless, they do not have complete access to areas of defence which are deemed to be sensitive. On the other hand, there are some concerns about random attacks against CSOs dealing with other issues, for example migration [2].

There is no engagement between Greek CSOs and the defence sector for two reasons. Firstly, Greece’s high defence expenditure is widely perceived as a necessity due to the security environment. Secondly, CSOs have focused on more urgent issues, such as the protection of refugees/migrants [1, 2].

No policy of openness exists [1, 2].

Civil society organizations (CSOs) operate in the country, but critical or potentially critical CSOs and critical journalists face regular harassment by pro-governmental media [1]. Recent examples such as the Stop Soros Law [2], or legal requirements of registering a CSO as a foreign agent (if the CSO primarily operates through foreign funding) indicate the rapid deterioration in this field [3].

Meetings only take place at CSOs and GONGOs funded by the government. Independent CSOs have little or no room to cooperate with the relevant ministries. Meetings are mostly managed through the Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies (SVKK), National University of Public Service, the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade both funded and controlled by the government or taking place at Stefania Palota, a venue owned by the ministry [1].

Today, India has more than 3 million Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) [1]. The current government has taken to the digital sphere and created a platform for civil society engagement through the portal ‘Self4Society’ launched on 26th July 2014 [2]. The NGO-Partnership System (NGO-PS) earlier maintained by the erstwhile Planning Commission, has been replaced by the NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) portal NGO Darpan on 1st January, 2015: The website is a free facility offered by the NITI Aayog in association with National Informatics Centre to bring about greater partnership between the government and the voluntary sector to foster better transparency, efficiency and accountability. The website has a list of NGOs state and sector-wise as well as a blacklist. It states government departments that engage with VOs and NGOs who have registered with the portal. The Ministry of Defence is not mentioned [3].

There is no presence of policy or evidence of CSOs working with defence and security institutions. CSOs can use the Right to Information Act 2005 to obtain non-sensitive information from the defence establishment. There is evidence of think tanks engaging with the latter, including the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) which is funded by the Ministry of Defence and Observer Research Foundation (ORF) [4][5][6].

India has a vibrant civil society and CSOs are allowed to operate without interference from the government. There has been criticism lately that the current government has been seemingly more hostile towards CSOs. The government has noted the activity of some CSOs as anti-national with interference from foreign interest groups. In 2016, the government utilised the existing Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) to stop renewal of foreign funding licenses to a number of CSOs [1]. A notable case was that of Greenpeace [2]. As of January 2019, NGOs registered under the FCRA no longer need to be registered with the Darpan portal for availing of FCRA-related services such as registration and renewal. The relief comes after many NGOs complained of technical difficulties experienced on the portal [3]. This is an encouraging indicator of the government engaging with CSOs and acting upon their recommendations.

According to a 2017 report by NGO CIVICUS ‘India: Democracy Threatened By Growing Attacks On Civil Society’, there have been incidences of attacks on members of civil society and independent media [4][5]. According to Reporters sans frontières (RSF) 2018 World Press Freedom Index, India ranks 138 out of 180 countries. According to RSF since the current government took office in 2015, 17 journalists have been killed. The same number were killed in the 2 years preceding 2015 during the previous government’s rule [6][7].

There is no evidence suggesting CSOs’ requests to work with the government have been denied. There seems to be no specific formal government policy in the defence sector towards CSOs when dealing with issues of corruption. There is some evidence on the Darpan portal that suggests the government intends to bring about greater partnership with the voluntary sector to foster better transparency, efficiency and accountability with the addition of more government departments engaging in the process. This may in the future include the MoD [1].

There are not any known policies or any other evidence, such as consultation or information sharing, indicating the government’s openness towards CSOs on corruption issues. Interviewee 9 confirmed that there is no openness among defence and security institutions towards CSOs when it comes to corruption issues [1]. Furthermore, CSOs have been prevented from accessing information that is critical for public oversight. For example, CSOs’ efforts to request information on corruption-prone military businesses were overlooked by both the Ministry of Defence and the Committee for Public Information (Komite Informasi Publik, KIP). As a result, CSOs gradually lost interest in oversight because defence institutions are deemed to be impenetrable and unaccommodating to their feedback. CSOs have not only lost hope in the government but also in the DPR, while the Corruption Eradication Commission of the Republic of Indonesia (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi Republik Indonesia, KPK) is considered to be ineffective due to its limited authority on the subject.

CSOs are governed by Law No. 17/2013 on Community Organisations, which is considered to be authoritarian and anti-democratic because it narrowly interprets CSOs and overemphasises the administrative requirements for verification [1]. Therefore, this law is considered to endanger the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association. The 2016-2018 period was also marked by the repressive behaviour of the system towards CSOs, students, labour unions, etc., who staged demonstrations in various cities across Indonesia [2]. According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Indonesia’s 2018 democracy index shows that the state of democracy is stagnant with a tendency to improve with a score above 70. This suggests that improvement is required in the areas of civil liberties, political rights of participation and democratic institutions. Not only is the government repressive, there is also evidence suggesting that the majority of the population is becoming more authoritarian. For example, in 2016, the Left Turn Festival (Festival Belok Kiri), which was planned to be held at Taman Ismail Marzuki, was forced to be cancelled due to pressure from radical groups (the cancellation was later sustained by a high court decision [3]). When the festival was moved to the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the masses forced it to close and even stormed it, despite a police presence. Nevertheless, at least two interviewees stated that CSOs working in the field of security and defence enjoyed rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association and never encountered government intervention throughout the 2016-2018 period [4,5]. The reason for this difference in treatment could possibly be attributed to a significant number of former CSOs leaders working closely with the president [6,7].

Government Regulation No. 45/2017 governs community participation in the implementation of regional government policies, such as the stages of planning, budgeting, implementation and supervision. However, this regulation does not govern the obligation to provide a mechanism for community participation [1]. The KPK encouraged CSOs and journalist organisations to oversee ‘open government partnerships’ in eradicating corruption in local governments [2]. Unfortunately, no information can be found on a community participation mechanism for working together on corruption issues in the security and defence sector that fall under the authority of the central government. According to Interviewee 9, there is no collaboration between the government and CSOs when it comes to handling corruption issues [3]. No other news can be found to verify or deny this.

No formal or informal policy requires openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) in the defence sector [1]. Under the Rouhani government, the stance towards NGOs was initially softened. Between 2014 and 2015, the number of registered NGOs in Iran rose by 30 per cent to 7,000. However, most of the newly established NGOs focus on health, the environment and entrepreneurship — avoiding more controversial topics such as human rights and the defence sector [2].

Although sporadic acts of protest occur, and these are becoming more frequent, these are rarely concerned with the defence sector, usually, they relate more to freedoms and civil liberties in general [1, 2]. Activists are often charged with or accused of espionage, treason, subversion, being influenced by foreign powers, and terrorism [3, 4, 5].

There have been no noted requests by NGOs to work in the defence sector [1]. This is unlikely to occur due to the risk of being accused of spying [2]. (Please see question 4A).

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 or evidence of defence institutions have a policy of openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption. There are also not a lot of discussions or debates about it in public because it would require that corruption actually exists in Israel – which is still debated because a lot of Israelis do not believe that corruption exists in the society at all and also question the corruption trial against Benjamin Netanjahu. Only the submarine scandal (case 3000) has drawn some attention to the topic. Most of the topics and issues related to the defense and security institutions are top-secret (e.g. secret operations; high secret technologies); only more general issues are openly discussed (1).
However, CSOs have a much more significant voice on anti-corruption in cooperation with government institutions outside of the defence sector. Knesset committees sometimes invivte CSOs to input on anti-corruption issues, while government representatives, such as the deputy Attorney General, also sometimes cooperate with these organizations and take an active part in workshops and events that they hold on governance and corruption issues. (2) (3)

CSOs in Israel enjoy protections from government interference, and are able to operate without intimidation from the government. There are no laws prohibiting the activities of CSO. However, they do not have complete access or freedoms in some sensitive areas and some of some experience or fear potential reprisals by government. Some interviewees from the civil society sector said that “there is no pluralism, no liberation, no access to information in the society” and that their influence is very narrow and limited (1). Furthermore, the Knesset passed in 2016 the ““Funding Transparency” Law (official name: Transparency Requirements for Parties Supported by Foreign State Entities) (2) which requires NGOs to inform, disclose and declare their funding publicly and any written or oral communications with elected officials in every publication to the media, press, internet and television. The measure mainly affected groups associated with the political left that oppose Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians; foreign funding for right-leaning groups that support Jewish settlements in the West Bank, e.g., more often comes from private sources (3) (4). There are less NGOs active that relate to the defence sector such as “Breaking the Silence” – an organization of veteran soldiers who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to everyday life in the Occupied Territories (5). Also Freedom House (2020) describes that in recent years the environment for NGOs has deteriorated. “A 2017 law bars access to the country for any foreign individuals or groups that publicly support a boycott of Israel or its West Bank settlements. The measure was criticised by civil society organizations as an obstacle to the activities of many pro-Palestinian and human rights groups. In November 2019, the Supreme Court upheld a deportation order that authorities had issued the previous year against Human Rights Watch’s regional director, Omar Shakir, for allegedly supporting the boycott of Israel, and he was expelled. In a separate 2018 case, authorities sought to bar entry to a US student pursuing a graduate degree in Israel on the grounds that she had been involved with a proboycott organization in the past. The Supreme Court ruled that October that the 2017 law did not apply to the student, in part because it was meant to be preventive rather than punitive.” (6).

There is no evidence that there is cooperations or that there are meetings between representatives of the defence sector and CSOs, in particular related to corruption issues (1). There are only some policy papers from research institutes available (2) (3) and newspaper articles (4). Citizens, civil society and the media should have access to information from the defence and security institutions, however, it takes either a long time until the responsible ministries and institutions reply or they do not answer at all. In June 2021, the Ministry of Justice launched an open call asking for CSO inputs into the direction of the anti-corruption strategy and for opinions on which sectors to target in particular (5). However, this process will not involve direct engagement between CSOs and defence institutions and will go through the MoJ.

The Three-Year Corruption Prevention Plans were approved since 2015. In the 2016-2018 plan, one can find specific mentions of civil society organisations’ involvement, included for training programmes on ethical and legal matters as well as public procurements (art. 19) [1]. However, in the most recent plan (2018-2020), there are limited mentions of CSOs [2], leaving only the establishment of Open Days, or “Transparency Days”, in which the public can visit Defence institutions and give feedback through questionnaires. These took place in 2016, 2018 and 2019, however no evidence can be found that their focus was on the fight against corruption. They also appear to have been addressed more to private citizens than to CSOs. The latest Corruption Prevention Plan sees civil society groups mentioned again, more specifically with regard to the activation of a procedure to collect reports of corruptive acts concerning the administration and its personnel [3]. Moreover, the 2015 White Book on Defence does call for a rapprochement between the military and civil society spheres, yet more in terms of professional reinsertion than cooperation on transparency issues [4].

Article 18 of the Italian Constitution protects the right of citizens to form associations freely [1]. A formal list of CSOs operating in Italy exists and is open to any organisation that meets the requirements established by the Law 125/2014 [2]. In the field of defence, there is no evidence of threats or intimidation towards CSOs interested in such issues. However, important limits exist as to the extent to which these organisation have access to and are involved in the functioning of defence and security institutions, with the exceptions highlighted in questions 4A and 4C.

Within the framework of the 2016-2018 Three-Year Corruption Prevention Plan, awareness projects on issues of anti-corruption were established in collaboration with civil society entities such as Libera Contro Le Mafie association and the universities of Turin and Pisa [1]. However, no significant collaboration between the defence apparatus as a whole and CSOs on issues of corruption appears to take place after that. Nevertheless, some projects were carried out by single Forces, such as the Carabinieri with Association Libera with a focus on organised crime [2] and the Air Forces, which took part in a conference on transparency and lawfulness organised by the University of Salerno in 2018 [3]. Finally, signs of a policy of openess towards CSOs and the general population on the issues of corruption prevention and transparency can be found in the possibility to present proposals and observations for the update of the three-year anticorruption plan [4].

No formally stated Japanese policy of openness specific to CSOs was found. Japan does, however, have a Freedom of Information Act. Transparency International Japan, which works on anti-corruption issues, reported in 2016 that it had contacted the Ministry of Defence in Japan on a project dealing with transparency and accountability in the defence and security field and also held a seminar on the same topic for businesses. [1] No references to this or other contacts with CSOs dealing with corruption issues by the Ministry of Defence or SDF of Japan was found on the ministry’s webpages. [2] Under Japan’s Freedom of Information Law of 1999, anyone can request access to information. The Act applies to the Cabinet, the organs within the Cabinet or established under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet, and certain other agencies. [3] Access to documents from the civil service will in principle be provided, with the exception of documents to which the law states that access shall be denied. National security and internal decision making are among the factors that can give reason to deny access to information. [4] As there is much secret information with regards to national defence, information on that topic will seldom be provided. However, one option (for CSOs) is to cooperate with an MP (who has more extensive rights to information). [5] Application for access to information from the Ministry of Defence will also be subject to the Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets. Under this act, the head of an agency can designate information under the categories defence, diplomacy, counterintelligence and terrorism as special secrets. [6] Nevertheless, journalists and lawyers have successfully used requests under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain significant information about defence policy that had been withheld from the public, such as GSDF logs regarding the security situation in Southern Sudan, where they were deployed for UN PKO. [7]

The Constitution of Japan guarantees freedom of assembly, association, speech, press and all other forms of expression. [1] Furthermore, as one interviewee explained, “if the Japanese government directly intimidated such an organisation and it became publicly known, that would be become a major issue, so I don’t think that there would be such a thing.” [2] Nevertheless, CSOs are hampered by the difficulty of achieving the status of a Non-Profit Organisation, which provides tax benefits. [3] Firms can receive tax deductions for donations to certified NGOs, but fewer than 3 % of NGOs had been given that status as of March 2018, according to Japan NPO Center, which acts as a national infrastructure organisation for the nonprofit sector in Japan. This institution also noted that few Japanese NGOs are active within advocacy. [4] In addition, CSOs working within the defence field will experience difficulties getting access to information with an impact on national security (see Q4A). A search of the webpages of the Japanese MOD for information on NGOs turned up webpages with information on NGOs in connection to international operations such as PKO only, indicating that there is cooperation with NGOs in this field. [5]

Defence and security institutions have worked with CSOs. One example is a call for applications from CSOs for a project where they would work with the SDF. [1] A case where Transparency International Japan took contact with the Ministry of Defence of Japan was discussed under question 4A, but there is no evidence that this issue was followed up by the ministry. The major case of corruption in procurement involving former Administrative Vice-Minister of Defence Takemasa Moriya from more than a decade ago was uncovered by the media rather than CSOs (see Q10A). [2]

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 formal policy that requires security institutions in general, and the defence sector in particular, to be open towards Civil Society Organisations. This is in spite of the multiple calls from major security reforms from major Commissions of inquiries, such as the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nation Human Rights Council, for the institutions to engage with issues related to security reforms including tackling corruption. [1]

Nonetheless, recent threats from terrorism have prompted the defence sector to revisit its approach. Through various counter-terrorism initiatives, the defence sector has, for instance, been engaging faith-based organisations on countering radicalisation among the youth. [2] This initiative follows various recommendations put forward by the National Counter-Terrorism Centre. [3]

Today, Kenya has a relatively significant and diverse number of Civil Societies Organisation (CSO) in the country compared to most countries in the East African region. [1] CSO’s have, since the end of one-party rule underformer President Moi in the early 2000s, fought and struggled to create a space where they continue to play a prominent role of holding public individuals and institutions to account on especially in the security sector. [2]

Since 2013, the space has been shrinking. Multiple attempts have been made by the current government to constantly use security agencies to threaten and intimidate CSOs that are critical of the government, especially on its failures to tackle corruption, mismanagement of elections and security. [3] Moreover, although there efficient and effective structures to safeguard rights of all persons including CSO’s actors in the country, CSO’s across faith groups, arts, media, opposition parties, human rights defenders continue to express concerns of violent attacks, harrassment, discrimination and repression from state and non-state actors. [4]

Kenyan defence institutions rarely engage civilian and non-governmental organisations on operational issues. However, recently the KDF engaged non-governmental organisations in monitoring one of the military recruitment exercises. KDF invited the Media and CSOs, including Transparency International, to monitor the exercise and raise corruption incidences if any. [1]

The Kosovo Constitution guarantees the freedom of expression [1], right to access public documents [2], and freedom of association for citizens [3], which is applicable to Civil Society Organisations as well. The Law on Freedom of Association in Non-Governmental Organisations outlines in detail that freedom of association in Kosovo is a fundamental principle [4]. Furthermore, the law defines in principle the relationships between NGOs and the public institutions in Kosovo [5]. The latter states that Civil Society Organisations in Kosovo are independent from the state institutions [6], while the latter support and promote Civil Society Organisations’ activities [7]. Public institutions are legally mandated to treat Civil Society Organisations with full respect, equality and non-discrimination [8] as well as providing an adequate environment for Civil Society Organisations to exercise their activities in line with their objectives [9].
Regulation No. 11/2010 has been introduced to address Dealings with the Non-Governmental Organisations and Public and Private Bodies [10]. This regulation is applicable to all members of the Ministry of Defence and the Kosovo Security Forces [11]. Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence plays a crucial communications role in dealing with NGOs and public and private bodies, in order to sign agreements [12], while the Minister of Defence and General Secretary of the Ministry of Defence are the only authorities who can approve the communication and sign the agreements [12]. However, the regulations and existing legal framework do not clarify how to conduct the process with Civil Society Organisations and there is no reference to any relevant mechanism for doing so.
Additionally, the 2019 Kosovo Government Strategy for Cooperation with Civil Society 2019-2023 does not explicitly refer to the openness of the defence institutions towards Civil Society Organisations [14].

From a legal standpoint, the Law No. 06/L-043 on Freedom of Association in Non-Governmental Organisations states that Kosovo public institutions should not interfere with the non-governmental rights and freedoms, nor with the persons exercising their right to freedom of association [1]. In addition, this law stipulates that the public institutions should protect NGOs in Kosovo from third-party interventions [2]. Nonetheless, NGOs or Civil Society Organisations in Kosovo do not have full access to sensitive areas within security and defence institutions, especially with regards to corruption cases within these institutions. This limited access is highlighted with regards to the Parliament more so than with regards to the Kosovo Security Forces [3].

There is no information available to confirm whether Civil Society Organisations are involved or have been involved with the security and defence institutions to tackle corruption [1].

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.

According to the Information Transparency Law, the public has access to information that is at the disposal of the institution. This law establishes a common procedure for the right of private individuals and civil society organisations (CSOs) to obtain and use information from the institution. [1] The MOD has very good practice of engaging with CSOs. The MOD cooperates with CSOs on different levels. Also, the MOD has cooperated with Transparency International (TI) since 2004. It has discussed its implementation of the Defence Integrity Pacts (DIP), provided an overview of its integrity reforms in 2010 and engaged with the NATO Building Integrity Program in 2012 following recommendations from TI. Also, the representatives from CSOs highlight the good cooperation with defence and security institutions. They admit that sometimes it is necessary to ask twice or more, but in the end it is possible to reach the information. [2]

According to the law “About Public organizations and their associations”, CSOs have the right to perform public activities that are not in conflict with regulatory enactments in order to attain the objectives set out in the statutes. For this purpose they can freely distribute information about their activities, create their own press releases and other mass media reports, organise rallies, demonstrations, street rides and meetings in public places, keep in touch with foreign public organisations, influence public opinion and perform other public activities. [1] Organisations annually submit an activity report to the State Revenue Service. [2]

In practice, and in comparison with other sectors, the cooperation is good. But sometimes it is necessary to ask twice or more. Also, the cooperation with CSOs is better than with society because they ask more. There is a lack of information consisting of a report of why some decisions are made and not others, without mentioning the sensitive information, for example, a deeper explanation of why one kind of weaponry is bought and not another. In general, the government is open to the discussing issues with CSOs. [1]

Recently, the Transparency International Latvia chapter (Delna) was invited to monitor the procurement of items related to Covid-19 at the MoD, with a focus on corruption issues [2]. The MoD was selected to handle this procurement given its reputation for low levels of corruption.

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 a policy issued by the Ministry of Defence which confirms its collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), who directly contribute to the safety of the country. This policy lists the objectives of such collaborations, how they are formed, and how they can be established. For example, an NGO and the Ministry of Defence could host a joint event or implement an educational project in partnership [1]. NGOs and the Ministry of Defence can develop both short-term and long-term collaborations. What is more, each year, there are several priority topics which are prioritised as subjects for collaboration. NGOs can apply for financing which can be used namely to educate civilians about the security and defence politics of Lithuania [1].

There are over 2000 CSOs in Lithuania and they operate under the ‘Law on NGOs’ [1]. These officers have the rights to freedom of expression and freedom to carry out their activities without government interference, and there is no evidence that they are unable to operate openly, nor that they face intimidation from the government.

The Defence Military has listed on its website a list of NGOs with which the Ministry of Defence is collaborating. Their main details and description are provided [1]. There is also a separate list of organisations that collaborate with the Mobilisation and Civil Resistance Department under the Ministry of Defence, such as the Organisation of Volunteer Firefighters. The objectives and general activities of the collaboration with each organisation are described. A main goal in advertising these collaborations is to educate and inform citizens on issues relating to Lithuanian security and defence policy [2]. The Ministry of Defence only occasionally collaborates with NGOs on corruption issues. For instance, seminars and lectures on corruption prevention have been held for Ministry of Defence representatives by TI Lithuania [3,4].

There is a informal policy of openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption within MINDEF. In fact, the Ministry has been very receptive to requests for interviews regarding this area. [1] [2]

Although CSOs theoretically enjoy freedom of operations in Malaysia, their operations are notably limited. There are a number of restrictive laws in place which limit freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. These laws do not specifically pertain to the defence and security sector and may be applied to any situation as deemed fit. Such laws include the Sedition Act 1948, [1] the Official Secrets Act 1972, [2] the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, [3] Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012, [4] Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, [5] and Anti-Fake News Act 2018. [6] The new government has pursued a repeal of the Anti-Fake News Act, although it has yet to pass. [7] There were no notable CSO reprisals in 2018.

In anti-corruption initiatives, greater involvement of CSOs can be noted. The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) consistently works with numerous representatives of CSOs such as the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) and Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) [1] [2] as is reflected through numerous workshops held with multi-stakeholders from the government and various CSOs. Renewed commitment to transparency is also reflected in the drafting process of the proposed Malaysia Defence White Paper, for which MINDEF consults and discusses the content with civil servants, military personnel, think tanks, academics, industry representatives, and NGOs. [3] [4] [5] However, beyond the formulation of the Defence White Paper, the military is hardly seen to engage with CSOs in anti-corruption matters. Investigations of anti-corruption may be called for by CSOs and submitted to the MACC and other bodies, but the investigation process is predominantly conducted by the MACC or other governmental institutions [6] [7] not related to defence.

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:]. 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 policy that demands openness of defence and security institutions towards civil society organisations. In fact, the National Defence Sector Program 2013-2018 indicates that “it is necessary to strengthen civic-military relations in order to establish close and continuous contact with organised civil society, through companies, foundations, and educational institutions, carrying out activities together for the benefit of the general population, or to help them in the event of disasters and / or public needs.” [1]

SEDENA, for its part, has a Citizen Liaison Unit whose function, among others, is to establish links with civil society organisations and the media to maintain a permanent dialogue on issues such as the fight against organised crime and human rights. Likewise, the National Anticorruption System has a Citizen Participation Committee made up of 5 honourable citizens who have stood out for their contribution to transparency, accountability, or the fight against corruption, whose purpose is to link social and academic organisations to issues of transparency, as well as encourage collaboration with institutions on the matter, with the purpose of preparing investigations on public policies for the prevention, detection, and combat of acts of corruption or administrative misdemeanors, in all federal agencies, including those of defence and security. [2]

Despite institutional efforts, civil society organisations and academia still feel that the lack of a true engagement strategy prevents them from being incorporated at levels where they can really participate in creating mechanisms for solving problems. [3] [4] [5]

By constitutional mandate “the manifestation of ideas will not be the object of any judicial or administrative inquisition” [1] and “the right to associate or assemble peacefully with any lawful object cannot be restricted.” [2]

In recent years, there has been a greater openness towards civil society organisations, especially with regard to addressing issues related to human rights violations by members of SEDENA or SEMAR [3]. It is important to mention that for a few years and due to the situation of violence and insecurity, civil society organisations are one of the most attacked groups and have argued that they still face closed doors in the construction of public policies, mainly surrounding security. Still, they represent a counterweight to most government decisions.

Recently, a group of civil society organisations sent a letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, on the occasion of her visit to Mexico in May 2019, expressing concern about not being involved to provide assistance and advice on matters of human rights in the newly formed National Guard and for the murder of journalists and human rights defenders in the preceeding months. [4] [5] [6]

In practice, and despite institutional efforts such as the creation of partnership areas, society and academia consider that the lack of a true engagement strategy prevents them from being incorporated at levels where they can really participate in creating mechanisms to solve problems. [1]

Recently, civil society has demanded more dialogue, not only with government and defence institutions, but with the government in general, to deal with issues of various kinds, including corruption. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

According to a governmental Decree, all ministries, including the Ministry of Defence, are obliged to consult NGOs in developing laws and strategies. [1]

The Integrity Plan of the Ministry also envisages cooperation with NGOs in order to improve its integrity. [2] However, the action plan for the implementation of the Integrity Plan does not envisage any concrete activity of the Ministry or the Army in cooperation with NGOs. [3]

At the same time, the Ministry of Defence has announced on its website several public calls and competitions addressing cooperation with NGOs on various aspects of its activity. A recent one, as of April 2020, is a public call to consult interested NGOs in order to prepare the Sector Analysis and the Draft Sector Analysis to determine the proposals of priority areas of public interest and the necessary funds for financing projects and programs of NGOs from the state budget in 2021. [4]

NGOs are allowed to operate and laws regulating NGOs are not restrictive. [1] However, in practice, those who criticise the government are exposed to pressure and various accusations through extensive media campaigns, investigated and prosecuted after exposing corruption, and exposed to illegal wiretapping and surveillance. [2][3][4]

Only one NGO is dealing with issues related to corruption in defence, and they experienced significant obstacles in establishing cooperation with the Ministry. [1] NGOs do not have the cooperation of defence and security institutions, with a few exceptions of NGOs cooperating on NATO issues. [2] More recently, however, there is evidence (open public calls) that defence and security institutions are open towards CSOs and begin to work more frequently with them, including on issues of corruption. [3]

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.

There is little evidence to suggest that defence and security institutions have a policy of openness towards civil society organisations (CSOs) when dealing with issues of corruption. In fact, just like the NLD government, the Tatmadaw and the Ministry of Defence are not keen on building good relations with CSOs and NGOs. The government and Parliament regard CSOs as troublemakers because civil society groups are pointing out the mistakes of the government [1]. Nearly 300 CSOs called for an end to the violence in Rakhine State but the statement was ignored and the violence continued even in the time of the Covid-19 crisis [2,3]. When it comes to corruption issues, the local media and NGOs have tried to hold the government and the military accountable. Although the NLD government and the Tatmadaw do not see eye to eye on many things, they have one thing in common: neither of them like CSOs because, in their view, CSOs are making their lives difficult.

CSOs are allowed to operate within the country. The Registration of Organisation Law was enacted in July 2014 [1] and, according to this law, local non-profit organisations and CSOs can now officially register with the government. The new law acknowledges the legal existence of CSOs. However, the government uses restrictive laws to silence the media and CSOs. For instance, journalists and social and political activists have been sued under Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law for ‘extorting, defaming, disturbing or threatening any person by using any telecommunications network’ [2]. Section 66(d) can put people in prison for up to two years. Athan, a local NGO that promotes freedom of expression, has said that 200 criminal complaints were made under Section 66(d) between November 2015 and April 2019 [3]. According to Athan, the use of Section 66(d) has substantially increased under the NLD government.

CSOs and NGOs must register at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the activities of the CSOs and NGOs require the approval of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Minister of Home Affairs is nominated by the Commander-in-Chief of the military. The Special Branch of the police force is always investigating the activities of CSOs [1]. 31 CSOs sent an open letter to the Commander-in-Chief of the Military asking him to reject the cases that the military had brought before the court [2]. There have been many statements made by CSOs accusing the military of abuses of freedom of speech. The military has not responded. Therefore, the role of CSOs is always ignored and oppressed by the military.

The Dutch government’s policies exhibit openness towards CSOs. Such policies require the engagement in strategic dialogue on goals and results with CSOs, the exchange of knowledge and the use of each other’s networks, and there is broad acknowledgement that this openness is the most effective way to achieve change [1]. For example, the policy framework for Strengthening Civil Society (2021-2025) focusses on the strong, independent role of civil society organisations and the social contract between the public, the state and the private sector [2]. The policy states that ‘strengthening civil society contributes to an open society and strengthens democracy and rule of law.’ And Section E on ‘Strategic Partnership’ and Section G on ‘Mutual capacity strengthening’ outline methods and mechanisms for information sharing and consultation [2]. In terms of military operations, reservists of the 1 Civil and Military Interaction Command work together with civil society organisations in mission areas through the use of thematic networks, consisting of experts who specialise in (i.e.) human rights, healthcare or public administration [3].

CSOs are able to operate free from government interference and intimidation [1]. Freedom of expression in the Netherlands is protected by Article 7 of the Dutch Constitution and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and covers every type of expression from any individual, group or type of media, notwithstanding its content, with the exception of expressions that negate the fundamental values of the ECHR or that constitute hate speech [2,3]. Additionally, the right to submit petitions in writing to the competent authorities, the right of association and the right of assembly and demonstration are guaranteed by Article 5, Article 8 and Article 9 respectively [2]. However, some CSOs, such as Justice and Peace Netherlands, Mensen met een Missie, Human Security Collective and Wo=Men Dutch Gender Platform, have spoken out against the recently proposed ‘Transparency Civil Society Organisations Act’, claiming that its implementation (specifically the collection of donors’ personal data) would infringe on the right to association and right of privacy [4]. The Transparency Civil Society Organisations Act has not yet been implemented.

Defence and security institutions regularly work with CSOs on corruption issues. For example, civilian representatives of government have regularly been involved in discussions with Transparency International Nederland, including during conferences [1]. In November 2020, a letter to Parliament from the Minister of Justice and Security and the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation dedicated several pages to responding to Transparency International’s ‘Exporting Corruption’ report [2]. Military representatives also work with CSOs on corruption issues. Military personnel often work together with civilians and civil society organisations, with expertise in public administration, government, law enforcement and justice, in mission areas [3]. Trade unions, such as the Trade Union for Civilian and Military Defence Personnel (VBM), work with civil and military defence personnel on a regular basis to improve integrity policies, including through discussions with the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of Defence, which are held several times a year [4]. The topics of discussion include how whistleblowing and misconduct reporting processes can be improved [4].

The Official Information Act establishes the regulatory framework for ensuring the availability of official information. Additionally, all Ministries and public institutions must uphold the principles set out in the Public Service Act 2020, which promotes and upholds a State sector system that: (a) is imbued with the spirit of service to the community; (b) operates in the collective interests of government; (c) maintains appropriate standards of integrity and conduct; (d) maintains political neutrality; (e) is supported by effective workforce and personnel arrangements; (f) meets good-employer obligations; (g) is driven by a culture of excellence and efficiency; and (h) fosters a culture of stewardship [1].

At the ministerial level, the MoD’s fourth Strategic Priority is focused on ensuring that “defence is open, transparent, accessible and trusted, and supports system improvement” – principles that are specifically aimed at maintaining public trust and confidence [2]. Progress is measured against the Ministry’s Four-Year Excellence Horizon. According to the Ministry’s Statement of Intent 2020-2024, Strategic Priority Four (openness, transparency, accessibility, and trust) underpins the way in which the Ministry works across all areas of its activity as it acknowledges the unique nature of its work. The Strategic Priorities are further articulated through actionable ‘interventions’ and measurable ‘impact’ activities, the main vector of which is the Ministry’s website. Proactive release of defence advice to Cabinet and “the associated decisions” are some of the transparency decisions listed [3]. From searches of the MoD Publications’ web page, the increasing frequency of proactive releases – a stated “intervention” of the Ministry’s Strategic Priority Four – authenticates the effectiveness of its application in at least one area. It is recommended that the Ministry investigate means by which it can more flexibility meet its commitment to engage with key domestic stakeholders as apart from proactive release of defence advice, the remaining measurable ‘impact’ activities are largely legislated requirements (assessments, audits, capability project probity and anti-corruption, and internal controls).

The NZDF adheres to a number of high-level principles which underpin the fundamental expectations of Defence by Government and the public, one of which requires it maintain public trust and confidence through transparency and openness [4]. The mechanism for this is detailed in the NZDF’s Guidelines for Domestic Engagement, which sets out when and how to engage with domestic agencies (read as stakeholders). The goal is the building of confidence that “relies on good practice across Defence at all levels” [5.] Additionally, transparency forms one of the eight principles of engagement within the NZDF Engagement Framework [6]/ The limited number of documents available on the NZDF “Public Information” web page is due to the fact that servers for all three services experienced a fatal technical failure in 2020 which resulted in the loss of all previously uploaded information, which explains the spartan environment vis-à-vis the MoD. Additionally, the NZDF has proved most open to questions and requests for documentation in preparation for this assessment, a fact that would put it at odds with the initial findings of a lack of transparency based on a reading of its website. In context, therefore, it seems appropriate to view the NZDF’s transparency principle as effective. The intelligence agencies do not have a specific policy for engaging with CSOs, but the wider national security system engages with CSO to inform policy development. For example, DPMC have consulted with a number of non-government organisations when developing Ministerial Policy Statements required under the Intelligence and Security Act 2017. The agencies also use NGO reporting when undertaking due diligence required by the Ministerial Policy Statement on cooperation with overseas public authorities [7, 8].

The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 ensures civil liberties are enshrined in law. This includes freedom of expression, as in Paragraph 14 of said Act [1]. The Official Information Act 1982 also seeks (a) to increase progressively the availability of official information to the people of New Zealand in order – (i) to enable their more effective participation in the making and administration of laws and policies; and (ii) to promote the accountability of Ministers of the Crown and officials,— and thereby to enhance respect for the law and to promote the good government of New Zealand; (b) to provide for proper access by each person to official information relating to that person; and (c) to protect official information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the preservation of personal privacy [2]. Freedom House awarded New Zealand “Free” status in its 2020 report, and the country received the highest score for free and independent media, academic freedom, and freedom of expression [3]. There is a strong presence of CSOs in New Zealand with the National Residents Association Database listing almost 1,000 organisations (the database operates under the Draco Foundation (NZ) Charitable Trust, an organisation that seeks to promote democracy and the preservation of natural justice) [4].

Opening remarks delivered by the New Zealand Chief of Defence Force at the 2017 workshop for Transparency and Accountability in Modern Military Operations, shows a culture that promotes openness and the strengthening of oversight over members of the NZDF [1]. The MoD has employed subject matter experts, who may or may not be civilians, as part of Integrated Project Teams within the lifecycle of a defence capability [2, 3]. In the Summary Report on Military Justice released in June 2019, the Ministry of Defence consulted a civilian professor for the specific purpose of human rights analysis within the review. This suggests that the NZDF takes accountability and openness seriously [4]. The Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Chief of Defence Force also recently joined Transparency International’s New Zealand Branch as a means to further enhancing openness and transparency [5]. One of the MoD’s strategic priorities (Priority 5: Defence is Open, Transparent, Accessible and Trusted) appears to have been a success, as the institution was helpful in the compilation phase of this assessment [6]. No obstacles were encountered by the Assessor from the NZIC in the course of completing this report, and their responses were punctual and comprehensive (see also Q4A). As befits their role, IGIS proved most accommodating in assisting with this assessment. Personnel from across the NZDF (uniformed and civilian) and MoD were involved in submitting responses to this assessment, with NZDF personnel in particular showing a willingness to disclose as much information as possible. These all point towards a healthy practice of openness on issues of corruption. As an addendum, there are no known CSOs in New Zealand that specialise in issues of defence and security, other than academic units. However, there are CSOs who have an interest in defence and security within specific matters.

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].

The Ministry of Defence, following the political changes of 2016, pursued a policy of “equal partnership with the civil society” and “active transparency” in all matters of public interest, including areas related to the risk of corruption [1]. In this context, the Ministry of Defence adopted document No. 09-3508/1 in July 2017, to highlight the responsibility, accountability and full transparency of the work of Ministry employees [2]. Additionally, in January 2018, the Minister of Defence adopted a Rulebook on Transparency through which the Ministry committed to maximum transparency towards the public [3]. Consequently, a number of documents across the institution (including laws and general by-laws, strategic documents, Ministry of Defence budgets, asset declarations by the minister and the deputy minister, salaries of the overall management staff in the Ministry of Defence and the Army) were published on the Ministry of Defence’s website [4]. In addition, the Ministry of Defence complies with the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Character, and has appointed two employees responsible for accessing and sharing public information [2]. Their contact details are available on the Ministry’s website, as are the necessary forms for submitting any public request [5].

The Constitution guarantees the citizens’ right to free association [1]. Legislation has existed since 1998 to regulate Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with the latest Law on Associations and Foundations being passed in 2010 [2]. However, CSOs have been subject to political pressure, and suffer frequent defamation and lawsuits lodged against them [2]. The situation particularly escalated in the period 2012 – 2016 in which, during the so-called policy of “De-Sorosisation,” a number of CSOs, in particular those financed by the “Open Society Institute,” supported by the Hungarian businessman George Soros, were coerced by their Government [3]. Following the election of the new Government in 2016, the situation changed slightly. The Government explicitly expressed the will to cooperate and to support the development and independence of the security sector [4]. This approach has also formed the basis of urgent reform priorities [5].

There is no record of active cooperation between the Ministry of Defence and CSOs on the issue of corruption. However, on the Ministry of Defence website, a free hotline – 0800-50030 has been established to which citizens, organisations or employees may report corruption activities. Citizens can also submit an application anonymously and electronically through the website of the Ministry of Defence through the following link:; or by sending an e-mail to the e-mail address: The goal of the project “Report Corruption” is to systematically prevent the risks of corruption [1]. At the same time, the Ministry of Defence also operates under the Law for Protecting the Whistleblowers. It follows a rulebook and employs a member of staff responsible for this issue [2].

Norway has been part of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) since 2011. OGP members are not required to take any action but may use recommendations to improve their policy. As an OGP member, Norway has worked on the implementation of periodic action plans featuring commitments related to different aspects of open government [1]. Norway is currently implementing Action Plan 4. In the most recent Action Plan for the period 2019-2021, the Norwegian Government declares its commitment to ensure that civil society has an opportunity to participate in policy formulation at an early stage and that civil society and the population can ensure that public resources are used efficiently, and that rule of law is maintained [2]. Both the Norway Action Plan prepared by the Ministry of Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation [2] and the Norway End-of-term Report prepared by the Independent Reporting Mechanism [3] refer to specific objectives and commitment aims which are instrumental in implementing mechanisms of openness. In addition, the document “Core Values of Norway’s Defence Sector” broadly outlines ethical values, including openness, broadmindedness, respect, responsibility and courage [4]. This document does not explicitly refer to openness towards CSOs when dealing with issues of corruption, but expresses a commitment to transparency towards society in general terms. Norwegian defence and security institutions are also obliged to respect the Freedom of Information Act, which provides for a general right of access to information [5].

Both freedom of expression and freedom of association are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Norway in Articles 100 and 101 respectively [1]. Data collected by the Open Government Partnership (IRM-based findings and third-party scores) shows that Norway’s commitment to strengthening the civic space is very high [2]. Norway gets the highest score in most of the indicators for this dimension of open government, among others on NGO freedom, women’s participation in CSOs, CSO entry and exit, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression for individuals and free and independent media. The score on freedom of expression for CSOs is also high according to the Open Government Partnership.

One of the measures adopted by the Norwegian Ministry in order to facilitate greater openness towards CSOs when dealing with issues of corruption was established by the Centre for Integrity in the Defence Sector (CIDS) in 2012. The CIDS seeks to promote and enhance professional integrity and good governance in the defence and security spheres. Its work includes collaborating with a range of CSOs, including Transparency International UK [1]. In 2018 the Norwegian Armed Forces became a member of the Norwegian division of Transparency International (TI) and began a close collaboration on a comprehensive anti-corruption programme. In the first place, the programme was implemented by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, but with plans to expand it gradually to other agencies [2]. Due to a lack of funding on the part of the Norwegian division of TI, the scope of the programme had to be reduced [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 Philippine Constitution specifies that government institutions, including those in the defence and security sector, should be open to engaging other non-governmental actors which would include CSOs, but there is no direct or formal mention of how this should be achieved [1, 2, 3].

Protections are enjoyed but access and freedoms are limited and security continues to be an issue in some cases [1]. Rights groups including CIVICUS have documented a rise in instances of “red-tagging”, excessive force and harrassment by government institutions including security forces and militias [2]. According to the 2018 CSO Sustainability Index report, the Philippines’ civic space has been shrinking since 2016 as crackdowns on traditional and online media and harassment of online critics of government policies have led to an increase in self-censorship and a reduction in the number of organised groups joining protests [3 ,4, 5].

CSO engagement occurs but not with consistent depth and intensity, including with respect to corruption-related issues more directly [1, 2]. The armed forces has established a multi-sectoral governance council composed of members from business, academia and civil society, the purpose of which is to guide the institution in its professionalisation and modernisation agenda [1].

The rules of cooperation are defined by internal acts that are decisions or ordinances, including those established based on Art. 5b para. 1 of the Act of 24 April 2003 on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work. [1] Utilizing Regulation No. 24 of August 3, 2017 (Journal of Laws of the Ministry of National Defence, item 166), the “Cooperation Program of the Minister of National Defence with non-governmental organizations and entities listed in art. 3 par. 3 of the Act on Public Benefit and Volunteer Work, for the years 2017-2018,” which systematically regulates cooperation with the third sector and enables the implementation and measurability of the set objectives.

Cooperation with civil society organisations is one of the tasks of defence ministers, due to Art. 2 item 22 of the Defence Minister Office Act [3]. Procedures of cooperation have been set in the MoD order no 187 of 2009 [4]. Neither the act nor the order, require openness of the MoD.
Grants for NGOs are awarded as a result of open and transparent competition. Calls for proposals and the results (including the granted budgets) are published on the MoD website. [5] However, analysis of the papers shows no call’s subject designated to such areas as defence policy, transparency, integrity or anti-corruption. Consequently the openness towards NGOs is limited to the process of awarding grants for tasks decided by MoD, such as defence trainings for youth organisations, veterans’ care or national memory.

CSOs enjoy a range of protections from government interference and can operate within the country. Although the current ruling majority is not enthusiastic about the third sector in general, and try to favour government-friendly organisations, there are no reprisals against critical CSOs nor widespread fear of such reprisals. However, suspending public subsidies despite a previously signed contract [1] or a negative campaign about CSOs in the public media [2] gives CSOs fewer freedoms to operate. These examples refer generally to CSOs and are not defence specific.

The ministry has no practice of creating separate rules for cooperation or programmes with non-governmental organizations for anti-corruption issues. This co-operation is centred around military training and education, history, and promotion of patriotism rather than anti-corruption and transparency issues.

Defence and security institutions are mandated by the Portuguese Constitution [1] and the Law on Access to Administrative and Environmental Information [2] to provide information as well as open public consultations [3]. There is evidence that public consultations are used by defence and security institutions [4], although this is limited. While recent statements by the minister of defence suggest increased openness to civil society [5] and activities suggest some degree of opening up [6], there is no evidence suggesting concrete steps towards opening defence policy or the defence sector to engagement with civil society organisations.

In 2020, Portugal ranked as a highly functional democracy in the influential V-Dem report [1]. However, this changed in 2021: it ranked as an electoral democracy with lower democratic performance [2]. CSO protections are high [3] and the country ranks consistently high in freedom of expression [4] and association [5]. Civic space is evaluated as safe [6] and peaceful assembly are protected in practice [7].

There is no engagement with civil society on matters of transparency, integrity or anti-corruption in the defence sector. The GDI 2015 results were met with unease [1], and no further evidence of engagement with CSOs was found. There is evidence of extensive CSO consultation in other policy domains [2]. In 2020, the “Roteiros da Defesa” initiative [3] sought to engage civil society, among other groups, with defence and security. Furthermore, the second edition of the National Defence Seminar, convened by theNational Defence Institute (NDI) [4], was explicitly mentioned by the minister of defence as an important step in public engagement by defence and security institutions [5].

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.

As of January 30, 2014, the Declaration of Openness of Federal Executive Agencies requires all federal agencies to be open towards CSOs in their anti-corruption efforts [1]. Following the Declaration, every federal agency issues a list of anti-corruption mechanisms. The order of the Minister of Defence ‘Plan for countering corruption in the armed forces’ directs the Ministry of Defence to cooperate with civil society in the fight against corruption and to establish mechanisms to collect, disclose and respond to information about corruption in the army [2].

There are numerous CSOs operating in the country but the authorities impose strict sanctions against independent CSOs that criticise the official policies or even suggest improvements to the status quo. Since 2012, the Russian government has used its ‘foreign agent’ law to demonise independent groups that accept foreign funding and carry out public advocacy, especially those that challenge government policies and actions [1,2,3]. Dozens of Russian citizens were charged with ‘extremism’ for criticising the Kremlin online [4]. In addition, authorities use the law on ‘undesirable organisations’ to ban foreign organisations that support civil society groups or media outlets in Russia [5]. Those Russian CSOs that cooperate with the foreign ‘undesirable organisation’ face fines or jail sentence of up to six years [6].

The defence sector rarely engages with the CSOs that uncover human rights abuses in the army and any interactions are usually limited to bureaucratic correspondence. For example, in 2015, a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council sent an official letter to the Ministry of Defence asking it to provide details on the investigation of crimes in the army [1]. The official response from the Ministry of Defence included standard reference to the federal laws only. When it comes to the CSOs’ reports on violations of the international law, the Ministry might use smear campaign to discredit the critics. When Human Rights Watch reported on the Russian MoD’s involvement in chemical attacks in Aleppo and the bombardment of the Idlib school, the MoD official called the researchers ‘fairy tale writers’ [2] and ‘liars’ [3]. The Ministry of Defence randomly provide informational support for the related CSOs, including committees of soldiers’ mothers and veteran unions [4]. The MoD engages with several representatives of civil society under the auspicies of its MOD Public Council. Among this council’s 39 members are religious leaders, doctors, artists and academic and military professionals [5]. The Public Council’s activity is limited to visiting military bases and monitoring soldiers’ procurement.

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 no evidence of an official policy within the MoD which would promote cooperation with civil society on corruption issues. However, MoD and SAF representatives have, on several occasions, expressed interest and participated in civil society initiatives focused on combating corruption within the defence system [1, 2].

Most recent amendments to the Law on Defence missed the opportunity to remove disputable provisions, which open up the space for misuse and further constraints for organisations involved in research on defence issues. Namely, Articles 71 and 71a propose that the MoD regulates scientific research areas “of importance for defence, security and general interest of the Republic of Serbia” and thus, all legal entities involved in this research should notify and provide information on the results to the MoD [1]. The vague definition of the scientific research area enables wide interpretation, where any research in the field of social or natural sciences can be regarded as “relevant for defence” and subject to the control of the MoD [2].
According to the MoD, under Article 5 of the Law on Science and Research (RS Official Gazette, No. 49/2019) the scientific work is free and not subject to any restrictions except those arising from the respect for the standards of science and ethics in scientific and research work, protection of human and minority rights, protection of defence and security interests, as well as the environmental protection. In the view of the MoD this article of the law clearly underlines the responsibility of the Ministry in connection with the research in the field of defence interests as defined in the Defence Strategy. The MoD indicates notifying and informing it about the results of the research in the mentioned areas contributes to security and is in the interest of all citizens of the Republic of Serbia.

Under the mandate of the current minister (from June 2017), the cooperation of the MoD and SAF with civil society on corruption issues has mostly come down to the legal obligation of responding to requests for access to information of public importance [1]. Generally, MoD provides answers to civil society organisations and journalists within the legally envisaged deadline [2]. Previous Minister (March 2016 – June 2017), Zoran Đorđević, has expressed interest and was engaged to a certain extent in civil society initiatives directed at identifying corruption risks in the defence system. For instance, in July 2016, the minister visited Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP) precisely to discuss integrity building in the defence sector and in February 2017, he participated in an international conference “Financing security for the 21st century,” organised by BCSP [3, 4]. Besides the personal engagement, MoD and SAF representatives have participated in several events intended for dissemination and analysis of Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2015 results, organised by the MoD [5, 6].
Engagement of the MoD and SAF in civil society activities aimed at integrity building depends to a great extent on personal interest and willingness of the personnel at the top level. Cases of cooperation with civil society on corruption issues are rather scattered individual endeavours than established practice, grounded in institutional and legal mechanisms. Moreover, the initiative for cooperation usually comes from the organisations themselves, thus, it can be concluded that the MoD has not yet recognised the importance of systemic work with civil society on corruption issues.

The government does not articulate any formal processes to engage with independent civil society organisations (CSOs), although there is also no evidence to suggest that it actively discourages dialogue initiated by these organisations. There is no evidence that the Singapore Government is actively engaged with independent/international CSOs on matters regarding corruption in defence. The Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) set up the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) in January 1984 as a channel for the community to provide feedback on issues concerning Singapore’s defence [1]. However, while the government has not been observed to be open to independent CSO engagement in defence-related matters, there is also no evidence to support that it has persecuted organisations or individuals for flagging corruption concerns. For example, ACCORD has a Family & Community Council that engages the public and relevant organisations though mainly for goodwill and welfare purposes [2, 3].

CSOs in Singapore are governed by strict regulations set forth by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has significant powers over the behaviour and operations of these organisations [1].
In 2019 the government enacted restrictive legislation on freedom of expression – the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) – that has been widely seen by the public to potentially stymie the ability of organisations and individuals to stage public protests or criticise the government or politicians [2]. However, the Act appears to have been used in a limiting manner [3] [4].

There is evidence indicating government engagement with CSOs on defence-related matters, although these mainly revolve around continued support for conscription (National Service) and enhancing public perception of the SAF and defence science community. For example, Nexus, and agency within MINDEF’s Defence Policy Group (DPG), is responsible for a range of strategic activities, including planning and executing national awareness and whole-of-society (Total Defence) initiatives. CSOs are encouraged to participate in these programmes as part of the wider community where appropriate [1].
ACCORD also conducts comparable outreach programmes to leverage support from partners and stakeholders from the “public-people-private” sectors, although there is no evidence of formal or systematic collaboration in policy implementation on corruption [2, 3].

There is no evidence of a formal policy requiring openness towards defence sector civil society organizations (CSOs).

CSOs are protected from government interference, and are, in terms of legislation, able to operate openly and without intimidation from the government. These protections derive from the Constitution itself (in the form of freedoms of speech and association) [1], and in specific legislation, namely the Nonprofit Organizations Act which provides “for an environment in which nonprofit organisations can flourish; to establish an administrative and regulatory framework within which nonprofit organisations can conduct their affairs; to repeal certain portions of [previous legislation used by the Apartheid government to prevent funding of CSOs]” [2].

CSOs played a prominent role in agitating for investigations into allegations of corruption relating to the 1999 ‘Arms Deal’. This prominent example of CSO involvement in defence sector oversight is, however, an outlier, and does not reflect the apparent defence sector (and broader government) approach to the proactive engagement of CSOs.

It is worth noting that civil society organisations have, in other sectors, lost government funding and support, and had contracts withdrawn due to perceived criticism of the government [1]. An investigation conducted under orders from President Ramaphosa into allegations of politicisation of the State Security Agency (SSA) found that, in the previous years under President Zuma, the SSA had, among other violations, conducted unspecified intelligence operations against CSOs [2]. There is no evidence of defence institutions reaching out to CSOs for formal engagements or partnerships.

South Korean defence and security institutions are required to provide information to CSOs. According to Article 9 of the Official Information Disclosure Act, all information managed by public institutions should be disclosed under the conditions prescribed by this Act. However, the Act states that information regarding highly sensitive national security and national defence matters can be kept secret. [1] There is evidence that defence institutions decline information requests, including on corruption issues, based on Article 9. The 2018 Defence Statistic Annual Report shows that the number of information requests rejected by the Ministry of National Defence in 2017 was 334, accounting for 22.8% of total requests. 167 cases were rejected due to privacy and national security concerns. [2] In 2008, the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) was established to fight against corruption in the public sector by dealing with public complaints filed by citizens. [3] Under the Moon Jae-in administration, there has been an attempt to encourage CSOs to take part in dealing with corruption issues. In October 2018, the Integrity Ombudsman Bureau within the Ministry of National Defence was launched to handle complaints filed by citizens. This Bureau invited 5 members from CSOs in the anti-corruption field, legal professionals and academics. [4] An interview with a member of the Integrity Ombudsman Bureau indicates that it is a significant improvement to open potential corruption risks in the defence sector towards CSOs because South Korean defence institutions have been reluctant to disclose internal corruption issues to citizens. [5] The Integrity Defence Private-public Consultation is another example of encouragement of the CSOs’ involvement in corruption issues. In March 2019, it was established to monitor corrupt activities in the defence sector. It consists of 3 representatives from the Ministry of National Defence, Military Manpower Administration and Defence Acquisition Programme Administration alongside relevant CSOs. [6]

Although the freedom of expression of CSOs has increased under the current liberal administration, CSOs do not have complete access or freedom in some sensitive areas. The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), which is one of the leading CSOs supporting the Moon administration, even criticised the fact that the general public does not have full access to major defence acquisition decisions. [1] A number of former PSPD activists went to work for the Moon administration. [2] Despite the request from the PSPD, the BAI refused to disclose the result of a two-year inspection over the F-35A purchase, which cost 7.7 trillion won (equivalent to 4.5 billion pounds). It indicates that even liberal CSOs are struggling to get complete access in the defence area.

As mentioned above, the current government began to seek CSOs’ engagement to tackle corruption within the defence and security sector through multiple programmes. However, CSOs have limited access to corruption issues in the sector and are frequently barred from gaining information due to national security concerns. [1] In a recent example, in May 2019 the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), a non-governmental organisation, criticised the Board of Audit and Inspection of Korea (BAI) for deciding not to publicise the two-year inspection over the stealth fighter jets acquisition process worth about 7.9 trillion won. Although the PSPD requested that the BAI publish the details of the arms acquisition process showing whether there had been corruption or collusion between officials and arms manufacturers, its request was rejected due to national security concerns. [2]

The Sudan People’s Liberation Army Act 2009, in outlining the duties and functions of the Minister in charge of the army, clearly states that the Minister shall conduct his/her duties on the basis of democratic civil military relations and on the basis of transparency and accountability. [1] Implicit in this language is the fact that the civilian leadership will exercise oversight on security and defence institutions. The democratic aspirations mentioned in the Act suggest that oversight is exercised not only by the formal government institutions, but also by civil society, NGOs, and think tanks. [2] Nevertheless, there is no language in the official documents of defence and security organisations, including in the National Security Act of 2014, that clearly states how these interactions (which have happened) should happen. [3]

CSOs are allowed to operate in the country, however their ability to conduct their duties is restricted. Until recently, CSOs required a permit for gatherings. CSO members are intimidated frequently by the National Security Service. [1] They face threats such as harrassment, illegal taxation, and intimidation. South Sudan has been termed one of the world’s most dangerous countries for aid workers. [2] In July 2018, Peter Biar Ajak, chair of the South Sudan Young Leaders Forum, Cambridge University PhD Student and a member of the civil society was arrested at Juba International Airport by the NSS and spent two years in jail. [3] His organisation, which championed the notion of a new leadership of the “sunrise” generation (children born during the 1983-2005 war) was considered a threat to the system.

There is some engagement with CSOs and an awareness that they need to be engaged with. Recent examples include the engagement of CSOs in the committees working on drafting the policy frameworks for security and defence issues stipulated in the peace agreement in 2018-2019. [1] Previous examples include a period when the National Security Policy was being drafted. [2] However, there is scant evidence to suggest that CSOs are being engaged with on corruption issues at this time.

Article 8 of Law 36/2015 National Security establishes “The Government, in coordination with the Autonomous Communities, will establish mechanisms that facilitate the participation of civil society and its organizations in the formulation and execution of the National Security policy” [1].

However, an example shows the contrary, a think tank dependent on the Ministry of Defence identified that the approach should be taken in the opposite direction, making CSOs aware of the defence culture [2]. In fact, in the creation of the so-called defence culture to promote defence and military values among Spanish society, it cannot have participation beyond the military [3] as stated in Art. 31 of Law 5/2005 [4]. Moreover, the Law of Transparency does not mention civil society participation in the defence and security sector [3, 5]. Despite no existing evidence of a formal policy of openness with civil society from the Ministry of Defence, the final provisions of the national security law provide for their existence [6].

There are a wide range of civil society organisations (CSOs) that focus on defence. Most CSOs are government-controlled such as the Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos de España (IEEE) [1] or the Real Instituto Elcano [2], but there are some others with expertise on defence with a more critical approach, such as the Instituto de Estudios Sobre Conflictos y Acción Humanitaria (IECAH) [3] or Centre Delàs for Peace Studies [4]. There are even antimilitarist groups that regularly publish critical reports and positions on defence issues.

CSOs operate with freedom on defence issues, as is stated in the last Freedom House Report on Spain, according to which domestic and international nongovernmental organisations operate without significant government restrictions, with the exception of members of the military and national police [5]. Freedom of speech for CSOs on any matter that includes defence and security is regulated by Art. 20 of the Spanish Constitution [6]. Nevertheless as a consequence of Law 4/2015 [7] human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International, have highlighted strong concerns about its impact on freedom of speech and mobilisation in Spain because it broadened the sanctioning power of the administration, and it is plagued with legal inaccuracies that favour police discretion, provokes informational self-censorship and citizen demobilisation [8]. Law 4/2015 is of particular importance because of the measures related to the holding of meetings and demonstrations since they affect the exercise of fundamental rights that are especially sensitive in times of dissatisfaction with the actions of the public powers. It was approved by the party in government, the People’s Party (PP) with its absolute majority, against all opposition. Also relevant is the very important increase in financial penalties that can be imposed for conduct that is considered an administrative offence in this law [9].

There are defence and security CSOs with close working relationships with the government; some may be ‘dependent’ on the Ministry of Defence [1, 2]. Nevertheless, there are other independent CSOs that are rarely engaged in meetings with the defence sector, and there is no evidence of them being consulted on defence corruption issues. Most of independent CSOs on defence and security are members of a network of peace research organisations, the Spanish Association of Peace Research (AIPAZ) [3].

Former President Bashir’s regime had no formal or informal policy of openness towards civil society organisations with respect to the issue of corruption. Two experts on Sudan’s defence and security sector confirmed this [1,2]. The transition process set forth in the 2019 Constitution Document requires power-sharing between military leaders and civil society leaders, such that the FFC represents parts of civil society during its engagements with military leaders on the Sovereignty Council, and the Constitution also requires a portion of seats on the appointed transitional parliament to be filled by civil society actors who are not party to the FFC [3]. The processes by which these consultations must occur are not specified and in November 2020, members of resistance committees, who were invited by the FFC to a meeting to discuss the next steps in making legislative appointments, walked out of the meeting after making a statement that characterised the decision to include them in it as being last-minute and accusing the FFC of sidelining them [4].

Before Sudan’s transition began, civil society organisations – both domestic and international – were closely scrutinised and avoided engaging in activities that powerholders might perceive as subversive. During the uprising – in which civil society demanded participation in political transition processes – on June 3, 2019, armed forces, consisting mostly of Rapid Support Forces, attacked demonstrators, killing and wounding hundreds in a massacre that catalysed a power-sharing deal [1]. Since the establishment of, and in accordance with, the 2019 transitional Constitution Document, Civil Society Organisations’ (CSO) operations in Sudan been relatively free from government interference. However, defence forces affiliated with the transitional government have been heavy-handed during some peaceful public demonstrations and have continued to harass or commit acts of violence against individuals or entities that they perceive to be threatening [2]. As verified during a phone interview with an expert on Sudan’s transition, this causes some civil society organisation members to fear reprisals by defence forces if their civic activities target or touch upon sensitive issues, relationships, resources, etc. [3,4]. A report published by the Center for International Public Enterprise’s (CIPE) Anti-Corruption & Governance Center in October 2020 reads: ‘Sudan’s civic space must be strengthened to allow citizens to hold the government accountable without fear of retribution’ [1].

The transitional government has targets for its corruption investigations, primarily officials who have been purged since the previous regime and who benefitted unduly from their positions [1]. Defence forces have appropriated large amounts of property and business assets from individuals affiliated with the former regime. However, issues of corruption in the transitional government’s defence forces are not on the table for discussion or action during government discussions with CSOs or during internal government discussions. Global Integrity’s 2019 Global Integrity Index for Sudan gave a score of zero against the following criteria: ‘In practice, citizens are able to associate freely’; ‘In practice, the government does not create obstacles for existing non profit organisations (NGOs) or put in place barriers for establishing new ones’; ‘In practice, no NGO employees were killed, imprisoned, interrogated, threatened or physically harmed in the past year’; ‘In practice, no NGOs have been shut down or harassed with unwarranted administrative burdens, investigations or sanctions in the past year as retribution for their work’ [2]. Protests against misconduct by security forces has been tolerated at times, but violently shut down at others, prompting further protests about the security forces that have sometimes prevented or attempted to prevent the media from reporting [3,4,5].

There is no official policy that requires defence and security institutions to be open towards Civil Society Ogranisations (CSOs). The Principle of Public Access to Official Documents [1] is imporant for CSOs who want to seek more transparency from the defence sector, but there are no explicit instructions or formal mechanisms in place for this purpose. Moreover, reports have shown that the de facto willingness of agencies to turn over records have been poor at times [2].

In accordance with the Swedish constitution [1], CSOs enjoy a range of protections (e.g. rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association) from government interference, and are able to operate openly and without intimidation from the government.

Although the government works closely with civil society in other aspects, and there is a strong freedom of association, no evidence can be found that the government or the defence establishment regularly engages with CSOs on corruption or transparency issues within defence. The dialogue that does exist with civil society tends to take place between leading defence figures and Folk & Försvar [1] – an organisastion generally very supportive of defence institutions and the expansion and improvement of their capabilties. The government and defence establishment does usually not engage in any substantial way with more critical CSOs such as the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) [2] [3]. The government also established and provides funding to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which conducts research on disarmament, military and conflict-related issues, however there is no clear evidence of active engagement with the defence establishment [4].

The formal consultation mechanism prescribed in Swiss law is to ensure broad support for proposals and prevent them from being blocked at the end of the process through direct democratic means. This systematically applies to law projects and for “ordinances and other projects of major political, financial, economic, ecological, social or cultural significance” (Article 3.1 CPA) [1]. Article 4.1 of the Consultation Procedure Act (CPA) opens the consultation to “[a]nyone and any organisation may participate in a consultation procedure and submit an opinion” and “interest groups relevant to the individual case” are directly invited to submit an opinion; however, it does not explicitly mention openness towards civil society organisations. The CPA also outlines certain procedures and transparency standards that apply to such consultations.

The Swiss Constitution grants important rights and freedoms to members of the civil society. Article 23 guarantees the freedom of association and Article 17 the freedom of media. Article 34 guarantees the “freedom of the citizen to form an opinion and to give genuine expression to his or her will”. The Swiss Constitution confers the right to petition the government (Article 33) [1].

No meaningful outreach to civil society from the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) in connection with questions of transparency and corruption was found [1]. However, there is a formal consultation mechanism that plays an important role in the creation of legislation and ordinances. This is to ensure broad support for proposals and prevent them from being blocked at the end of the process through direct democratic means. This method only systematically applies to law projects; however, and for “ordinances and other projects of major political, financial, economic, ecological, social or cultural significance” (Article 3.1 CPA) [2]. For such consultations, civil society organizations (CSOs) are also consulted (interest groups, trade unions, political parties etc). During the period covered by this report, for example, the planning of the purchase of new fighter jets and a ground-based air defence system (2018) and the ordinance on the supervision of the intelligence services (2017) were sent to CSOs (although the latter to a more restricted list) [3]. The militia system (i.e. non-professional parliament) means that members of parliament often also represent civil society organizations [4, 5, 6].

The MND considers engagement with public organisations to be an essential mechanism through which to increase public support for Taiwan’s Armed Forces, especially to increase Taiwan’s all-out defence [1, 2]. Hence, the MND has a policy of openness for public support and gathering of resources under the pressures of LY and the President [3]. Mechanisms of communication or dialogue between the MND and CSOs are established for issues such as environmental protection, human rights in the military, and anti-corruption [4]. One example of the policy of promoting openness in Taiwan’s defence sector is the section titled “The Military and People United as One” in the 2017 National Defence Report [4].

CSOs’ participation in defence and security affairs is regarded as a mechanism for all-out defence in acccordance with the National Defence Act [1]. All-out defence is designed to advance national defence knowledge and awareness, to complete national defence development, and to ensure national security within the public [2]. Taking the scandal surrounding the death of Corporal Hung Chung-Chiu in 2013 as an example, social movements organised by civil society organisations have removed two ministers from their positions in the Ministry of National Defense and triggered a series of reforms within Taiwan’s military for human rights and transparency [2, 3]. The scandal surrounding the death of Corporal Hung Chung-Chiu in 2013 began with an improper leadership issue and was concluded by massive CSO movements demanding for more transparency in Taiwan’s defence sector [4,5].

No specific details regarding CSO protections could be found however, Freedom House states that CSOs are generally able to comment on policies and legislation and the government generally operates with openness [6]. There is not enough relevant information to provide a score for this indicator, so it is marked ‘Not Enough Information’.

With the policy of Taiwan’s All-Out Defense, the MND has strategised a long-term scheme to work with the public and civil society organisations, e.g. Transparency International [1]. Ongoing CSO engagements in Taiwan’s defence sector are being organised and conducted on various issues and agendas for anti-corruption and integrity as reported by experts from TI Taiwan [1, 2]. Regardless of this, there are still some criticisms about the effectiveness of openness in the MND [3,4].

No such policy could be identified in the public domain. The Access to Information Act specifically exempts military matters from disclosure, including in Section 6[3]a: “military strategy, doctrine, deployment, and capability”. [1]

The constitution sets out broad rights to freedom of association and to participation in public affairs in Articles 20 and 21. [1] However, in recent years, some NGOs have faced oppressive restrictions on their operations, including suspension of bank accounts. [2]

A review of websites of governance-oriented CSOs, as well as that of the Ministry of Defence and National Service, showed no evidence of engagement between the defence and security institutions and CSOs on corruption issues.

Even though the Official Information Act 1997 was implemented to guarantee Thai people’s right to have full access to government information, it does not allow the disclosure of information that would jeopardise national security, international relations or national economic or financial security [1]. The term ‘national security’ has been frequently used by the junta government to reduce openness of the defence sector towards CSOs. The problem of interference by the junta government has continued to hinder the development of Thai civil society organisations as well as the policy of openness towards them. Many websites of human rights NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch and Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, were also subsequently blocked as they include content that threatens ‘national security’ and ‘social unity’ [2].

Due to Thai society’s authoritarian political culture, which considers NGOs to be drivers of political instability, this reduced the legitimacy of NGOs in the public eye and obstructed the development of openness towards CSOs; instead of promoting CSOs, the junta redefined appropriate civil society spaces by replacing the term ‘civil society’ (pracha-sangkhom in Thai) with ‘state-society’ (pracha-rat), which implies that citizens are obliged to follow and obey state rule, without an autonomous sphere of organisation [3]. According to BTI 2018 Country Report Thailand, even before the 2014 coup, most civil society institutions were under the control of institutions that were not monitored by elected civilians, including the monarchy and military. Although the 2016 constitution aims to reinstall democracy in Thailand, this democracy is weakened as the monarchy and military still dominate the system [4].

Ever since the junta government rose in power in 2014, the government has continued to arbitrarily arrest, detain and prosecute peaceful protesters and government critics under an array of laws, including the Computer Crimes Act and Penal Code provisions related to defamation and offences against the monarchy; these actions have created a fearful environment in which people, including CSOs, cannot freely express their opinions, criticise public authorities or peacefully assemble without risking arrest and prosecution [1].

Emilie Pradichit, Founder and Director, Manushya Foundation stated that CSOs in Thailand have deteriorated due to the shrinking civic space and the restrictive legal environment. Based on discussions between the Manushya Foundation, as a host, and other CSO actors, their work has become more and more challenging since the Coup d’État in 2014, as restrictive NCPO Orders were passed and civil society actors have been increasingly monitored [2]. According to BTI 2018 Country Report Thailand, any NGO members voicing opposition to the military junta could be detained or incarcerated, and their organisation might ultimately be dissolved. In 2017, civil society continued to have no formal voice in political decision-making as the NCPO junta continued to dominate the country in which the civil society organistions that mattered to the government were those who supported military intervention or those who had benefited from the regime [3].

Civil society organisations, together with political parties, had been growing and some were later able to form an opposition to the military government [1]. Unfortunately, even after the 2019 general election, restrictions on press freedom, intolerance of criticism, which limited civil society’s engagement, and the junta’s solid control over all public affairs took its toll on most CSOs. One example is the case of the Isaan Land Reform Network, which supports local communities and forest protection in a region in Northeastern Thailand. The organisation has been monitored by the government and the local communities are harassed and intimidated by the military, resulting in a lack of support from lawyers [2]. As a result, the election witnessed limited public participation from domestic observers, with the exception of some CSOs, reflecting the structural, enduring control held by the former junta government. It should be noted that the joined force of all domestic observers was not adequate to cover even 10% of polling stations in the 2019 general election [3]. According to Interviewee 1, a political scientist, CSOs are not involved in monitoring security institutions [4].

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).

As seen in the past 17 years since the AKP took office as a single-party government in 2002, the leadership style of President Erdoğan, as well as his agency to manage power relations among different individuals and groups in the state structure and among AKP cadres, has not changed. The motto ‘Erdogan always protects his men and does not let them down’ makes Erdogan the only actor among AKP circles that everybody should be accountable to [1]. Unfortunately, this extremely personalised way of thinking and acting leads to messy, corruption-related issues being resolved behind closed doors. So there is absolutely no policy of openness with regard to issues of corruption in the field of defence/security. Interviewee 1, an MP serving as a member of parliament’s National Defence Committee, suggests that under the current conditions and in the extremely securitised environment, it is impossible for a CSO to publicise/disseminate its findings about a case of corruption in the field of defence/security [2].

Interestingly, Interviewee 2 suggests that the best way to report an alleged corruption case is either to inform the presidential palace via secure personal ties or to drop a personal claim to the presidential CIMER system [3] (CIMER = Presidency’s Communication Centre), which was established in 2018 upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s instruction in order to provide the quickest and most effective response to requests, complaints and applications for information from the public [4].

Interviewee 4 suggests that the Ministry of National Defence traditionally has no openness towards CSOs when dealing with issues of corruption and anti-bribery. He says that ‘the Ministry of Defence has always solved its problems and allegations about corruption within itself. It is considered an overarching norm that has been valid for decades’ [5].

The Regulation on the Procedures and Principles of Legislation Preparation includes provisions on consultation with CSOs. The Annual Presidential Programme for 2020 includes the following main goals: strengthening the institutional capacity of CSOs; developing the necessary legal framework and administrative structures; fostering relationships between civil society and the public sector/private sector; ensuring a climate of social dialogue. There are also EU-funded projects that aim to strengthen public sector-CSO relations. However, these projects focus on the provision of various services (e.g. health, social services, research, etc.) by CSOs through tendering or delegation and strengthening cooperation.

Moreover, there is no legal framework or mechanism for public sector-CSO relations. There is no national institution, coordinating cooperation office/unit or ministry contact point working on the development of public sector-CSO relations and civil society. Under the Presidential Government System, nine Presidential Policy Councils were established to engage CSOs, academia and sector representatives in decision-making process and to develop policy recommendations. The President appointed the members of the councils, composed of at least three members, on October 8, 2018. Head of Turkish think tank SETA Burhanettin Duran, Altınbaş University Rector Çağrı Erhan, Gülnur Aybet, Presidential Spokesperson and Foreign Policy Aide İbrahim Kalın, İlnur Çevik, İsmail Safi, Mehmet Akif Kireçci, Mesut Hakkı Caşın, Nurşin Ateşoğlu Güney and Seyit Sertçelik have been appointed to the security and foreign policy council. However, it should be noted that these councils are not effective in determining defence policy and do not operate as oversight/monitoring mechanisms for issues related to corruption or integrity in the defence/security sector [6].

Civil society organisations and free media in Turkey are still active, but very weak. There are still some critical academicians, experts, retired bureuacrats and journalists conducting research in the defence/security sector, but their attempts continue on an individual basis. Furthermore, the influential pro-government media in Turkey can easily label those independent and critical voices as ‘traitors collaborating with the foreign powers’ to erode Erdogan’s legacy and topple the government. These frequent smear campaigns kill the appetite of independent reserachers and make it very risky for them to cricitically engage in the debate on defence/security-related issues. Interviewees 1 and 2 agree that it is almost impossible for CSOs to openly deal with issues of corruption in the field of defence/security in Turkey without being legally and financially harassed and politically smeared as ‘local collaborators with foreign powers’ by the pro-government media and nationalist circles [1,2]. There is therefore very little space for CSOs to operate in Turkey, particularly critical ones, and they don’t enjoy much protection from the government’s interference [3].

As long as CSOs have a pro-government stance and glorify the rise of the Turkish defence industry, they can produce freely, even with the government’s support. There are government-funded and supported CSOs, such as SETA, ORSAM and SDE, which produce a lot on the defence/security sector [4,5].

As emphasised in the US’s 2019 Country Report on Human Rights Practices of Turkey [6], CSOs with a critical stance do not enjoy a wide range of protections from government interference and they experience or fear systematic reprisals by the government as well as supression of their critical voices.

There are some CSOs, such as Ankara-based SETA and ORSAM, producing in the fields of defence/security. Additionally, in parallel with the government’s increasing interest in the defence industry, we are noticing a rise in publications about issues related to the defence industry. However, the government uses these CSOs as instruments to disseminate ‘success stories’ and justify/glorify the government’s ‘succesful’ policies and the rise of Turkish defence industry [1]. Interviewee 4 suggests that defence institutions, i.e. the military and the Ministry of Defence, have not traditionally engaged with Turkish-based CSOs on issues of defence and corruption [2].

There are four major reasons behind Erdogan’s increased interest in the defence industry. [3] First, Erdogan’s popular support drastically increased after Turkey’s incursion into Syria on October 9, 2019, known as Operation Peace Spring. Second, the defence industry is a good tool for producing success stories to divert public attention at a time of economic crisis, as well as an effective instrument for creating a ‘gather around my flag’ effect to maintain Erdogan’s personal legacy and thereby consolidate his conservative-nationalist power base. Third, success in the defence sector leads to political gains in foreign policy. And finally, the defence industry creates profitable opportunities to export to several countries including Qatar, Pakistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and some African nations.

There is a clear policy of openness when dealing with the CSOs by the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs (MoDVA) [1, 2]. However, there have not been any indications that this happens. Civil Cociety Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) and some members of the public endeavour to hold the ministry accountable on issues of the budget, but the results are yet to be felt and seen. The most evident aspect of openness is via the military-media relations and responses to operations, though some processes and actions are not disclosed to the public [3, 4]. The MoDVA appears to be using the provisions of the NGO Act 2016 to limit or not even engage meaningfully with the CSOs. As a result, the two institutions seem to always treat each other with suspicion.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Access to Information Act, the NGO Act protect freedom of assembly, freedom of association, access to information. Therefore, CSOs have some level of space to operate within the country because they are protected in Article 28 of the Ugandan Constitution, Section one of the NGO Act, 2016. These laws require the government to provide a conducive and enabling environment for civil society organisations and NGOs, to strengthen their capacity and promote their mutual partnership with the government [1, 2]. However, some sections of the NGO Act are seen as restrictive [2, 3] and as such, there have been clashes between the CSOs and security sector players. For instance, in September 2017, security officers raided the offices of three CSOs (Great Lakes Institute, ActionAid, and Solidarity Uganda ) over claims of funding the opposition to prevent amendments to the national constitution, particularly, to remove the presidential age limit. The government went ahead and froze UGX 7 billion for Action Aid over allegations of illicit transfer of funds for purposes of unlawful activities [4].

The MoDVA and security institutions have started seeking engagements from CSOs on a range of issues, but they do not discuss corruption. The ministry has signed Memoranda of Understanding with Refugee Law Project, UN Women, Save the Children, Foreign Correspondents Association of Uganda, Amnesty International to discuss mainly human rights issues [1]. According to some MPs [1, 2, 3], when some CSOs become very active on issues of corruption and accountability, they are labelled as serving the interests of foreign countries.

The Law of Ukraine [1] provides that activities of the AFU and other defence institutions and law enforcement bodies (if the information is not classified) should be open to civil society as one of the principles of civilian control. All major documents in the MoD on the national level in the defence sphere have to pass an open debate and discussion with civil society groups. The MoD has the Civil Council, for such purposes, that consists of different NGOs from defence and security sphere [2]. The law also provides for a role for the media and citizens in the implementation of civilian control over defence and security [3]. However, there is a draft Law On National Security being currently debated by the VRU (as of May 3, 2018); in case it is adopted, it will also provide new provisions on openness towards civil society [4].

Although citizens of Ukraine have constitutional rights to freedom from accusations [1] and freedom of expression [2], there is evidence that CSOs are under systemic pressure from the government. These types of cases became more frequent in 2016-2018. Such pressures include the introduction of an e-declaration of assets for anticorruption activists [3], attempts to excessively restrict freedom of association [4], criminal proceedings against activists [5], etc.

The MoD has experience cooperating with anti-corruption CSOs, including Transparency International Ukraine, the Independent Defence Anti-corruption Committee (NAKO), and the Norwegian Center for Integrity in the Defence Sphere (CIDS). For instance, TI Ukraine representatives cooperated with the MoD on analysing MoD public procurement [1], NAKO representatives organized educational events for MoD officers [2], MoD officers keep communicating and ask for consultancy on anti-corruption issues [3], and high-level MoD officials are open to dialogue [4] as well as call the public to contribute on anti-corruption issues [5]. At the same time, there is no evidence of active cooperation between security institutions like the Security Service of Ukraine or the Ministry of Interior and CSOs on anticorruption issues.

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).

There is a policy that encourages defence and security institutions to be open to CSOs, however there is no formal requirement to do so. Working with CSOs is encouraged at government level in the UK Civil Society Strategy [1] and the Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022 [2].

Formal public consultation mechanisms exist [3] and sharing of information is assured within the framework of the Freedom of Information Act [4]. However, there are exemptions for security bodies, national security and defence (sections 23, 24 and 26 respectively).

The latter is subject to a public interest test but the former two are absolute. This means the right to information on defence and security is partial. There are also issues with FOI compliance. See for example pages 10, 11, 23 [5].

CSOs enjoy a range of protections from government, and are able to operate openly and without intimidation from the government, as evidenced by the 2017 Civil Society Strategy [1], as well as by the way civil society operates in practice [2].

Defence and security institutions have specifically worked with CSOs on issues of corruption. For instance, the 77th Brigade of the UK Army has worked with Transparency International Defence and Security (TI-DS) for operationalising corruption for the armed forces [1, 2].

Additionally, BI UK, when delivering courses overseas, routinely invites the local AC CSO to deliver a presentation on AC initiatives in the host nation. Recent examples are: Business Development Council and Foreign Investors Association (Bishkek, Kygyzstan Aug 2019); Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (Dushanbe, Tajikistan Oct 2019); Integrity Commission Jamaica (Kingstown, Dec 2019); Integrity Watch Afghanistan (Kabul Feb 2020); and DfID Governance Advisor and AC lawyer (Kampala, Uganda Feb 2020) [3].

Under the Obama administration, there was the Department of Defense Open Government Plan as part of the Open Government National Action Plan [1]. While this plan did not include a specific policy on openness towards CSOs, it did have an Open Data Policy and a Proactive Disclosure policy. The most recent DoD Open Government Plan was updated in 2016 [2] and it is not clear that the plan or the DoD Open Government website have been updated under the Trump adminstration, although they have not been archived [3].

The DoD has a Public Affairs doctrine which, in Chapter 1.b, states that ‘the US military has an obligation to communicate with its members and the US public’ [4]. The Public Affairs doctrine is underpinned by the ‘Principles of Information’ [5], and led by the Assistant to the Secretary of Defence for Public Affairs (ATSD(PA)) [6]. The ATSD(PA) is responsible for requests relating to DoD cooperation with non-governmental organisations, however, there is no explicit requirement for either the DoD or ATSD(PA) to be ‘open’ to civil society actors. It is also important to note that the above-mentioned doctrine and related policies are not enforceable. There is also a public affairs ‘Community Relations Policy’ [7] but this does not discuss civil society.

To clarify, there is no specific policy of openness to civil society actors on issues of corruption. The DoD Public Affairs doctrine does not make mention of ‘corruption’ or ‘civil society’.

The US Constitution protects the right to freedom of expression from government interference [1]. According to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labour, the US government does not prevent CSOs from advocating on political issues or criticising the government. It does not, however, specifically mention the defence sector or issues of corruption [2].

The 2020 Freedom House Index scores the US 4 points out of 4 with regard to non-governmental organisations being free to engage in governance and human rights issues without retribution [3].

Each of the military services has their own public affairs unit, however, there is no evidence of public engagement specifically on the issue of corruption [1,2,3] Senior defence staff do speak at prominent think tanks and at universities, but there is no information about the extent to which these organisations work with the DoD [4,5]. There is no evidence of collaborative work with regard to corruption.

There is no policy of openness in Venezuelan legislation that would enable citizens and social organisations to access information, neither in the security and defence institutions nor in other state institutions. Although the constitution grants all Venezuelans the right to demand information about public administration through a right of petition procedure [1], this right has not been regulated by law and there are currently no conditions to guarantee access to public information [2].

Denial of information requests made through petition rights has become increasingly frequent, a pattern that has been reinforced by court decisions that prevent appeals of the denials. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of accountability of government institutions to the National Assembly, and in terms of budgets, balance sheets, and management documentation [3, 4]. In the particular case of the defence sector, external audits have been blocked, preventing both State institutions and civil organizations from demanding information on the management of the sector [5]. According to leaders of civilian organisations that monitor the military and security forces, the Venezuelan defence sector operates with a complete lack of transparency [6]. In 2016 a bill on access to public information was introduced in the NA, but this has not been passed [7].

Civil society organisations can operate in the country. However, they face obstacles in accessing information, there are no legal safeguards to protect them, and they constantly fear reprisals from the government – which in some cases have become direct threats. Cases of aggression against journalists and leaders of social organisations have increased in recent years [1]. Representatives of civil organisations that directly address defence issues have been victim to threats while carrying out their investigative work [2, 3]. One compounding factor – especially in terms of monitoring corruption cases in the defence sector – is the persecution and detention of military officers who have denounced corruption malpractices, military and police involvement in crime, or abuses committed within the FANB or military companies [4]. Therefore, the lack of protection not only affects civil organisations, but there is widespread persecution of both civilian and military whistleblowers.

Civil society organisations are not invited to work with the defence sector. Recommendations and complaints from civil organisations are not considered by the government, given the persecution of leaders of civil organisations, the government’s constant refusal to respond to requests for information [1], and secrecy in the defence sector [2]. Various reports by civil organizations – on the management of the defence sector and documentation of violations of legal procedures in the development of defence work – have indicated the government’s refusal to collaborate with these organisations [3, 4]. Following an exhaustive search and consultation carried out for this study, no information was found that demonstrates government interest in involving civil organisations in the development of their actions.

No policy requires the military to be open to civil society, nor is there an interaction framework. In fact, the security sector in Zimbabwe is hostile towards civil society, which is accused, together with the opposition, to be vital threats to Zimbabwe who pursue a regime change agenda [1, 2].

Civil society organisations can operate in Zimbabwe; there are general provisions in the Constitution that allow freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of opinion [1]. However, this is only enjoyable when CSOs are not viewed as a threat to the interests of the ruling elite. Several CSO leaders have been abducted, tortured then dumped at a police station only to appear before courts of law with various kinds of charges, including treason or other serious charges [2, 3, 4]. Some complain of being followed by unknown individuals or receiving death threats. The relationship between civil society and the state are always frosty. It is only CSOs programs that have nothing to do with human rights, democracy or elections which are not threatened by the Zimbabwe State [5]. CSOs/NGOs working on health or agriculture or other humanitarian sectors are not targeted for repression compared to human rights CSOs [5].

The Zimbabwe Peace and Security Programme is one of very few known initiatives to facilitate engagement between CSOs and the military [1]. The project has been hindered by a lack of funding, especially after 2018. Other than that, there is no significant platform of interaction; generally, the Zimbabwean State resents the work of CSOs in Zimbabwe, there are threats on the work of CSOs, some as recent as in 2020 made by senior government officials and securocrats [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
Albania 50 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Algeria 0 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Angola 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Argentina 50 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Armenia 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Australia 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Azerbaijan 0 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100
Bahrain 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Bangladesh 25 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Belgium 75 / 100 100 / 100 0 / 100
Bosnia and Herzegovina 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100
Botswana 0 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Brazil 0 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Burkina Faso 50 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Cameroon 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Canada 25 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Chile 50 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
China 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Colombia 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Cote d'Ivoire 0 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Denmark 0 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100
Egypt 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Estonia 50 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Finland 0 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
France 0 / 100 100 / 100 25 / 100
Germany 25 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100
Ghana 0 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100
Greece 0 / 100 75 / 100 0 / 100
Hungary 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
India 25 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Indonesia 0 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Iran 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Iraq 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Israel 0 / 100 75 / 100 0 / 100
Italy 50 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Japan 0 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Jordan 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Kenya 0 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Kosovo 50 / 100 75 / 100 0 / 100
Kuwait 0 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Latvia 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Lebanon 25 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
Lithuania 100 / 100 100 / 100 75 / 100
Malaysia 75 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Mali 25 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Mexico 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Montenegro 75 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Morocco 0 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Myanmar 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Netherlands 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
New Zealand 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Niger 0 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Nigeria 0 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
North Macedonia 100 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Norway 100 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
Oman 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Palestine 0 / 100 75 / 100 25 / 100
Philippines 50 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
Poland 25 / 100 75 / 100 50 / 100
Portugal 50 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100
Qatar 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Russia 100 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Saudi Arabia 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Serbia 25 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Singapore 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
South Africa 0 / 100 100 / 100 25 / 100
South Korea 75 / 100 75 / 100 75 / 100
South Sudan 50 / 100 25 / 100 50 / 100
Spain 50 / 100 50 / 100 25 / 100
Sudan 50 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Sweden 50 / 100 100 / 100 25 / 100
Switzerland 100 / 100 100 / 100 50 / 100
Taiwan 100 / 100 75 / 100 100 / 100
Tanzania 0 / 100 50 / 100 0 / 100
Thailand 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Tunisia 25 / 100 25 / 100 25 / 100
Turkey 0 / 100 25 / 100 0 / 100
Uganda 50 / 100 50 / 100 50 / 100
Ukraine 100 / 100 50 / 100 75 / 100
United Arab Emirates 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
United Kingdom 75 / 100 100 / 100 100 / 100
United States 25 / 100 100 / 100 25 / 100
Venezuela 0 / 100 0 / 100 0 / 100
Zimbabwe 0 / 100 0 / 100 25 / 100

With thanks for support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs who have contributed to the Government Defence Integrity Index.

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