Freedom of speech and of movement, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of assembly, freedom of association, and freedom of religious worship. . . All are taken for granted by many and they are, of course, fundamental to volunteerism as an associative activity within the civil society space. These rights and freedoms became enshrined in laws over centuries in democratic countries, often after having been hard fought and won in the first place. But they can just as easily be removed or revoked.
Volunteers around the world are monitoring civil rights. They often also take action to defend rights where there is a risk of them being eroded, or if governments need to be challenged where rights are being abused. This issue of Along the Web looks at examples of where and how volunteers are protecting fellow citizens from unequal treatment. These examples show that volunteers often work alongside professionals such as lawyers, and in some communities even place themselves at personal risk in the course of defending or promoting extension of rights.