These are activists beyond borders who help to fight and protect the rights of individuals and groups. Civil society organizations contribute immensely to promoting, protecting and advancing human rights. They are non-governmental organizations made up of activists that volunteer to fight and defend human rights by ensuring -that the principles upon which democracy and rule of law stand are maintained. They also work for a better future and share the common goals of justice, equality and human dignity.
The roles of civil society organizations can be summarized thus:
1. Acts as a force of proposal for new social values that respect human dignity, physical security of persons, freedoms and responsibilities,
2. Acts as a force of change by mobilizing people, and generating ideas, with the support of experts and researchers.
3. Serve as a catalyst for new practices on the ground that it gives its work a social pillar, strength and legitimacy.
4. Serve as an instrument of justice equality and rule of law.
5. Consolidates constitutional human rights guarantees.
6. Adopts and implements an integrated national strategy against impunity.
7. Strengthens the control of the constitutionality of laws and autonomous regulations resulting from the executive arm.
8. Ensures security, and governance, which entails the upgrade, clarification and publication of regulations.
9. Draws up and implements public policies in the areas of justice, security and law enforcement education and in-service training and ensures active involvement of all components of the society.
Note: Civil Society Organizations are of different types and pursue different objectives. While some are political in nature, others are economic. The political type of civil society organization helps to fight the interest of people on good governance while that of economic civil society organizations help to fight poverty and provide free legal aid to those whose rights have been abused or violated especially the less privileged/oppressed members of the society.
Examples of Civil Society Organizations are:
1. Civil Liberties Organization (CLO).
2. Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR).
3. Constitutional Rights Project (CRP).
4. Campaign for Democracy and Human Rights (CDHR).
5. Save Nigeria Group (SNG).
6. National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
7. Women for Change and Development Initiative.
8. Amnesty International.