An Intro to INCLO, the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations

Those who dream of the globalization of civil liberties will cheer the news that the ACLU has a sister organization. It is the International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations (INCLO), a group that shares information and collaborates to promote fundamental liberties and rights of all persons in their respective countries. Like the ACLU, each of the member organizations is multi-issue, multi-constituency, and independent of its government.

The network is comprised of the domestic civil liberties and human rights organizations of twelve countries:

International efforts to promote freedom started in 2008 with a series of meetings of the executive directors of civil liberties and human rights organizations and formalized itself in 2012 with a structure and staff. In 2015 INCLO incorporated as a Swiss association with headquarters in Geneva. Its governing body is the 12 executive directors of each of the network’s organizations. The network supports the work of the member organizations through litigation, legislative campaigning, public education, and grass-roots advocacy. Following are some highlights of its work on the issues of police brutality and social protest, informational rights, and religious freedom and equal treatment.

Police Brutality and Social Protest

Informational Rights

  • 2015: participation of six INCLO members in litigation by the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal challenging government surveillance. This produced landmark rulings that both the previous UK-US data sharing and the handling of intercepted private communications of the Legal Resource Center (South Africa’s INCLO member) were unlawful. These were the first times the Tribunal ruled against agencies dealing with transnational mass digital surveillance.
  • the launch, with INCLO support, of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union website promoting privacy enhancing technologies (
  • participation of INCLO members in the successful drive to get the UN Human Rights Council to approve the creation of a Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

Religious Freedom and Equal Treatment

Joan Laskowski
ACLU of Indiana Legislation Committee Chair