The United States and Norway recognize that supporting human rights is the responsibility of all governments and peoples, and that the organizations that promote those rights should be able to do so without fear of threat or attack. Promoting and protecting the freedoms of assembly and association is part of our shared human rights policies, and of our respective foreign policies. Demonstrating its commitment to these values, on Monday, June 22, Norway announced an additional pledge to increase its support to the Lifeline: Embattled CSOs Assistance Fund by six million Norwegian kroner. This contribution builds off earlier contributions Norway made to the Fund in 2012 and 2013. As part of its contribution, Norway will continue to work with the United States and other like-minded partners — including the governments of Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay, as well as the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation — to build on our shared commitment and partnership to stand firm with civil society.
The Lifeline: Embattled CSOs Assistance Fund provides a means through which civil society organizations can protect themselves from threat and attack and amplify their own voices. Since it began in 2011, Lifeline has provided more than 600 CSOs in 90 countries with vital assistance so that they can continue their work and promote the freedoms of assembly and association. Through Lifeline, like-minded governments and foundations work together to affirm a consistent global message that CSOs play a key role in ensuring that governments are accountable, responsive, and effective and that societies are strong, successful, and vibrant—and therefore, these groups must be protected and allowed to work.
Working collectively not only increases our effectiveness, but also helps to further the belief that ensuring the ability of CSOs to work safely and freely is a growing priority among governments and non-governmental partners. The United States and Norway will continue to focus our mutual efforts to strengthen civil society.