"Civil society is the oxygen of democracy. Civil society acts as a catalyst for social progress and economic growth. It plays a critical role in keeping Government accountable, and helps represent the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
"the hallmark of successful and stable democracies is the presence of a strong and freely operating civil society -- in which Government and civil society work together for common goals for a better future, and at the same time, civil society helps keep Government accountable."
Christos Stylianides @StylianidesEU 2015-09-15
"This past year, we saw peaceful democratic transitions in Sri Lanka and Nigeria. We saw an outpouring of popular support for constitutional term limits in Africa, and the courage of activists around the world who are demanding governments that are accountable, inclusive, transparent, and honest."
"That is why the United States will continue to stand up and speak out when authoritarian governments crack down on civil society, imprison peaceful reformers, silence legitimate dissent, or enact legislation that violates the freedoms of worship, speech, and press. "