Voluntary organisations, which will be referred, to in this study as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) currently carry out their activities subject to the domestic laws where they operate. The laws include those that ordinarily regulate the registration and operation of CSOs and other laws and policies that affect the ways they operate within the society. Notable amongst these laws and policies include national constitutions, anti-terrorism laws and legislations that generally regulate freedom of information, association and expression. There is no single international statute regulating the activities of CSOs.
CSOs used as case studies are regulated mostly by states. Although there are pockets of self-regulation, national governments have better-organised forms of regulation. This finding is not unexpected. Governments have the economic and political means to enforce rules and regulations affecting CSOs. In addition, self-regulation by CSOs is as a result of threats by government agencies to regulate and monitor their activities. However, this paper proposes a blend of different models for the regulation of voluntary organizations in West Africa.
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