WE EXIST TO STRENGTHEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND CITIZEN ACTION
AROUND THE WORLD
13 June 2014: The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) must act to address the shrinking space for civil society across the globe, urged member organisations of the Civic Space Initiative* (CSI) at a side event in Geneva on 12 June.
In September 2013, the HRC adopted by consensus a landmark resolution urging States to create a safe and enabling environment for civil society to operate and carry out their essential work.
The side event sought to identify how States must address the “implementation gap” between international standards and domestic law and practice, in particular for marginalised groups.
“Freedom of association is a fundamental right, yet its core is being chipped away. Perhaps it’s time to shape the contours of this right more clearly: the existence of an independent civil society is a prerequisite for a legitimate democracy,” said Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and association. “It is the primary vehicle for people to organize and make their voices heard. States have no business interfering with that process – rather, they should encourage it.”
ARTICLE 19 on behalf of the Civic Space Initiative* congratulates Frank La Rue on his final thematic report to the Human Rights Council. You have worked tirelessly over the last six years to defend freedom of expression where it is most at risk – including on free speech online, the threats of State surveillance, and providing the intellectual framework for Resolution 16/18. This report too will greatly enhance the work of civil society working on freedom of expression and elections.
Where freedom of expression is suppressed - the legitimacy of election outcomes will be contested, and avoidable political violence becomes inevitable, as seen in Pakistan, Venezuela, and Iran.
We underline that States must act to prevent and protect against threats, harassment and attacks on journalists, bloggers, activists and civil society, including during elections. We stress that criminal defamation and insult laws continue to be abused to silence dissent and insulate politicians from criticism – as seen in Ecuador and Peru - and must be repealed.
Introducing two new practical guides for good advocacy
Thursday 12 June 2014
Webinar [in English]: 10am (EDT- New York) / 3pm (BST- London)
Webinar [in French]: 10am (CEST- Central Europe) / 10am (CAT- Central Africa)
Thursday 19 June 2014
Webinar [in Spanish]: 4pm UTC+2
SD2015 has produced an Advocacy Toolkit and Media Guide for civil society and other stakeholder organisations, coalitions and individuals that want to influence the post-2015 development agenda, including the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Representatives from CIVICUS and Stakeholder Forum will introduce these two new publications and walk you through how to use this information and the guiding activities to develop an effective advocacy strategy that will help you and your organisation shape the post-2015 agenda.
There will be time at the end of the webinar for Q&A and sharing of post-2015 advocacy experiences, with reflections on approaches that have worked well and practical advice on lessons learnt from SD2015 partners and networks.