This paper analyzes how dynamics between Brazil’s right-wing populist government and civil and uncivil organizations affected the role of civil organizations, especially rights-based ones, and Brazil’s democratization process. These dynamics contributed to stripping policies of their progressive nature and rejecting the values of diversity, freedom, and equality. Our analysis relies on the inhabited institutions approach to comprehend the role of action, interaction, and meaning in institutionalized spaces. We analyzed two policy fields—gender, sexual, and reproductive rights, and ethnic and racial relations—through documents and in-depth interviews. Our analysis shows that Bolsonaro’s government mobilized mechanisms related to institutional changes, the replacement of actors, and their interactions to inhibit civil society organizations’ influence in policy formulation and provision and strengthen the participation of uncivil groups, thereby legitimating conservative ideas and discourses, and closing civic space for NGOs with rights-based agendas.