Political repression and the war on terror are affecting civil society by "undermining democratic space and sending people into the hands of the terrorists", according to Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Civicus.
At the Civicus world assembly in Glasgow this week, Naidoo will focus on the plight of 14 imprisoned activists.
Among the cases will be those of Daniel Bekele and Netsanet Demissie, Ethiopia's co-ordinators of the Global Call to Action against Poverty.
Their trial on treason charges could lead to life imprisonment or execution.
Naidoo said the charges were unfounded. "Both are activists who use their skills to advance the interests of the poor," he said.
- See feature, page 28.