South Africa

 

  • ¿Puede S.A. mantener su reputación en materia de derechos humanos en el Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas?

    Por Masana Ndinga-Kanga, coordinadora del Fondo de Respuesta a las Crisis y responsable de incidencia para la región de Oriente Medio y África del Norte y Lyndal Rowlands, responsable de incidencia en Naciones Unidas de CIVICUS 

    ¿Puede un influyente país africano que alguna vez fue vitoreado como campeón de los derechos humanos ayudar a que una poderosa nación de Oriente Medio rinda cuentas de su atroz historial en materia de derechos humanos? Esa será la pregunta en boca de algunos observadores cuando Sudáfrica se una al Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas en el mes de enero para un mandato de un año como miembro no permanente.

    Para leer el artículo en inglés: News24

     

  • Achieving Sustainable Development Post- 2015 will Require Addressing Governance Challenges

    Parliamentarians, civil society and academia have repeatedly emphasised the centrality of governance to sustainable development, taking into account capacity development needs of both people and institutions for good governance at different levels, from local to global.

    The press conference held at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), discussed a wide-range of issues, including: the current international development agenda, assessment of progress on the MDGs, governance bottlenecks to the achievement of MDGs as well as the need to align the Post-2015 agenda with the needs and aspirations of global citizens. If sustainable development is to be achieved, “there is need to deal with bureaucratic bottlenecks” in our governance structures and systems  said Hon. Ebrahim Abrahim, South Africa’s Deputy Minister in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO). South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, is committed to taking a leading role in the Global Thematic Consultation on Governance and in shaping the post-2015 global development framework. Mr. Ebrahim cautioned that as important as it might be, the eradication of corruption alone is unlikely to lead to the full realization of MDGs as it was just “one of the many” governance problems the world is facing today.

    Read more at United Nations South Africa

     

  • As the climate crisis intensifies, so does the crackdown on environmental activism, finds new report

    New research brief from the CIVICUS Monitor examines the crackdown of environmental activism and profiles important victories civil society has scored in the fight for climate justice.

    • Environmental protests are being criminalised and met with repression on all continents
    • State authorities and private companies are common perpetrators of violations to civic freedoms
    • Despite the risks and restrictions, activist groups continue to score important victories to advance climate justice.

    As world leaders meet in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Negotiations (COP26), peaceful environmental activists are being threatened, silenced and criminalised around the world. The host of this year's meeting is one of many countries where activists are regularly facing rights violations.

    New research from the CIVICUS Monitor looks at the common tactics and restrictions being used by governments and private companies to suppress environmental movements. The research brief “Defenders of our planet: Resilience in the face of restrictions” focuses on three worrying trends: Bans and restrictions on protests; Judicial harassment and legal persecution; and the use of violence, including targeted killings.

    As the climate crisis intensifies, activists and civil society groups continue to mobilise to hold policymakers and corporate leaders to account. From Brazil to South Africa, activists are putting their lives on the line to protect lands and to halt the activities of high-polluting industries. The most severe rights abuses are often experienced by civil society groups that are standing up to the logging, mining and energy giants who are exploiting natural resources and fueling global warming.

    As people take to the streets, governments have been instituting bans that criminalise environmental protests. Recently governments have used COVID-19 as a pretext to disrupt and break up demonstrations. Data from the CIVICUS Monitor indicates that the detention of protesters and the use of excessive force by authorities are becoming more prevalent.

    In Cambodia in May 2021, three environmental defenders were sentenced to 18 to 20 months in prison for planning a protest  against the filling of a lake in the capital. While in Finland this past June, over 100 activists were arrested for participating in a protest calling for the government to take urgent action on climate change. From authoritarian countries to  mature democracies, the research also profiles those who have been put behind bars for peacefully protesting.

    “Silencing activists and denying them of their fundamental civic rights is another tactic being used by leaders to evade and delay action on climate change” said Marianna Belalba Barreto, Research Lead for the CIVICUS Monitor. “Criminalising nonviolent protests has become a troubling indicator that governments are not committed to saving the planet .”

    The report shows that many of the measures being deployed by governments to restrict rights are not compatible with international law. Examples of courts and legislative bodies reversing attempts to criminalise nonviolent climate protests are few and far between.

    Despite the increased risks and restrictions facing environmental campaigners, the report also shows that a wide range of campaigns have scored important victories, including the closure of mines and numerous hazardous construction projects. Equally significant has been the rise of climate litigation by activist groups. Ironically, as authorities take activists to court for exercising their fundamental right to protest, activist groups have successfully filed lawsuits against governments and companies in over 25 countries for failing to act on climate change.


    DOWNLOAD REPORT

     

  • Attacks On Citizen Rights In SA: Five Trends And Countrywide Threats

    By Kgalalelo Gaebee 

    From the large city centres to the rural townships, South Africans are witnessing a nationwide crackdown on their civic rights. Citizens’ ability to speak out, organise and take action on social issues in South Africa is becoming increasingly restricted. For those critical of business and government elites, there are much higher rates of harassment and detention by security forces. Social activist Kgalalelo Gaebee lists five threats to our basic freedoms that we should be concerned about.

    Read on:The Daily Vox

     

  • blank

  • Can Democracy Stand Up to the Cult of the Strongman Leader?

    By Mandeep Tiwana and Andrew Firmin

    Donald Trump’s presidency, recent protests in Russia and South Africa and the referendum to consolidate presidential power in Turkey have reignited debate about an emerging form of macho conservative politics called ‘Putinism’. This new form of politics is shaping contemporary notions of democracy while undermining the international rules-based system and harming civil society.

    Read on: Diplomatic Courier

     

     

     

  • Can SA uphold its reputation for human rights on the UN Security Council?

    By Masana Ndinga-Kanga, Crisis Response Fund Coordinator and Advocacy Officer for the Middle East/North Africa region and Lyndal Rowlands, CIVICUS UN Advocacy Officer.

    Can an influential African country that was once celebrated as a champion of human rights help hold a powerful Middle East nation to account for its atrocious human rights record? That will be the question on the lips of some observers when South Africa joins the United Nations Security Council in January for a one-year term as a non-permanent member. 

    Read on: News24

     

  • CIVICUS urges the Nicaraguan Government to make Civil Society its partner in development

    27 January 2009. Johannesburg, South Africa


    A fact-finding cum solidarity mission to Nicaragua undertaken by CIVICUS with the support of its members, the Coordinadora Civil (CC) and the Red Nicaraguense por la Democracia y el Desarrollo Local (RNDDL), has found evidence of pressure being applied by the authorities on independent civil society groups. Nevertheless, talks with officials have been positive raising hopes for better government-civil society relations.

    The mandate of the mission included: (i) expressing solidarity with civil society groups in Nicaragua who have had to contend with decreasing space to carry out their legitimate activities through 2008-2009 and, (ii) persuading the authorities to protect civil and political freedoms in the country, particularly the right to express democratic dissent.

    The mission members met with a number of civil society groups, including members of the women's movement who have had to face restrictions in recent times as well as parliamentarians and government officials. The mission noted the positive strides made by the government in providing health care and education resulting in an increase in the overall literacy rate.

    The mission observed that although government-civil society relations at the municipal level were often quite good, there were some outstanding issues in need of redress at the national level. Notably, the mission welcomed the willingness of parliamentarians and government officials to consider the concerns communicated to them by national civil society groups.

    The following are the major areas of concern:
    (a) launch of motivated prosecutions against activists expressing dissent against official policies, (b) ostracising and blacklisting of certain civil society groups particularly those working on accountability matters, (c) marginalisation of independent civil society groups through the creation of government organised NGOs (GONGOs) supported by federal funds, (d) blocking of access to information by official bodies, (e) harassment of independent media groups particularly radio and television outlets critical of official actions and, (f) de facto implementation of the draft law on international cooperation that places restrictions on support to local civil society organisations from international groups.

    "Our talks with key officials have been open and positive," feels Anabel Cruz, chair of CIVICUS' board who headed the mission. "We call upon the Government of Nicaragua to consider civil society as partners in national development and hope that the concerns will be addressed."

    CIVICUS urges the Government of Nicaragua to protect and safeguard the space for civil society in accordance with international, regional and constitutional commitments. A comprehensive report on the mission is being prepared and will be released shortly.

    CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is a global movement of civil society with members and partners in over a hundred countries. The Civil Society Watch (CSW) programme of CIVICUS tracks threats to civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly across the world.

    For more information contact:
    Devendra Tak ( ), Communications Manager
    or Mandeep S.Tiwana ( ) and Adam Nord ( ) Civil Society Watch Programme, CIVICUS
    Ph +27- 11-8335959

    Click here for Spanish translation(requires pdf reader).

     

  • Civil Society “Contested and Under Pressure”, says new report

    Read this press release in Arabic, French, Portuguese and Spanish

    Civil society around the globe is “contested and under pressure” according to a 22-country research findings report released by CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, and The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL). The report, Contested and Under Pressure: A Snapshot of the Enabling Environment of Civil Society in 22 Countries, brings together insights from Enabling Environment National Assessments (EENA) conducted around the world between 2013 and 2016.

     

  • Civil Society deeply concerned about roll back in democratic freedoms in South Africa

    12 August 2010. Johannesburg. Civil society organisations express deep apprehension at the recent attempts to strangle the media and the freedom of expression in South Africa. On 3 August, Sunday Times journalist Mzilikazi wa Afrika was arrested by a large posse of policemen in what appear to be intimidating tactics. He was arrested without a warrant for purportedly being in the possession of a forged letter announcing the resignation of the premier of Mpumalanaga province. He had recently authored a media report on 1 August in which he questioned the police chief's decision to lease a building to house the top brass of the police at a sum of 500 million rand for ten years. 


    Relations between the government and independent media groups have been strained of late particularly in respect of the controversial Protection of Information Bill which impedes access to information, and the proposed Media Appeals Tribunal to adjudicate perceived misleading reports by the media. 

     

  • COP26 : « S’attaquer à la vulnérabilité au niveau de l’UE est une priorité essentielle »

    Mubiru HuzaifahÀ la veille de la 26ème Conférence des Parties des Nations Unies sur le changement climatique (COP26), qui se tiendra à Glasgow, au Royaume-Uni, du 31 octobre au 12 novembre 2021, CIVICUS a interrogé des militants, des dirigeants et des experts de la société civile sur les défis environnementaux auxquels ils sont confrontés dans leur contexte, les actions qu’ils entreprennent pour y faire face et leurs attentes pour le sommet à venir.

    CIVICUS s’entretient avec Mubiru Huzaifah de l’Ecological Christian Organisation (ECO) Uganda, une organisation de la société civile (OSC) qui œuvre pour assurer des moyens de subsistance durables aux groupes marginalisés, négligés et vulnérables en Ouganda. Ses initiatives en cours portent sur la gouvernance des ressources naturelles, la résilience et l’adaptation au changement climatique, ainsi que la gestion et la restauration des écosystèmes.

    Quelle est la question climatique qui est actuellement au centre de votre travail ?

    La question la plus préoccupante est celle des niveaux élevés de vulnérabilité que le changement climatique engendre dans les systèmes humains. La modification à long terme des éléments climatiques par rapport aux niveaux précédemment acceptés entraîne des changements dans les systèmes environnementaux et humains. Selon les rapports sur l’état de l’environnement publiés par l’autorité nationale ougandaise de gestion de l’environnement, les principaux problèmes liés au changement climatique sont la pollution industrielle, le brûlage inconsidéré de la végétation, l’utilisation non efficiente des carburants et les réseaux de transport mal planifiés, qui génèrent tous des niveaux élevés d’émissions.

    Existe-t-il des initiatives gouvernementales visant à atténuer le changement climatique ?

    Il existe un projet d’atténuation mis en œuvre par le ministère de l’eau et de l’environnement, intitulé « Amélioration des revenus agricoles et conservation des forêts », qui distribue gratuitement des plants destinés à améliorer la capacité d’absorption du sol. Il existe également un régime de subvention à la production de sciure, qui vise à augmenter les revenus de la population rurale par la plantation d’arbres commerciaux par les communautés locales et les moyennes et grandes entreprises, ce qui contribue en même temps à atténuer les effets du changement climatique grâce à une reforestation intensive. Il existe également plusieurs projets d’énergie solaire dans les districts de Mayuge, Soroti et Tororo, qui ont permis d’augmenter la production d’énergie solaire du pays, ainsi qu’un projet de zones humides soutenu par le Fonds vert pour le 00climat, qui vise à conserver les zones humides et à mettre un terme à leur dégradation.

    Parmi les autres interventions pertinentes, citons la mise en œuvre de systèmes d’écoulement de l’eau par gravité pour faciliter l’approvisionnement en eau sans utiliser de sources d’énergie ; l’aménagement de routes dotées de canaux d’évacuation de l’eau et d’éclairages solaires, et le développement de réseaux routiers sans encombrement pour permettre une circulation fluide et contribuer à réduire les émissions des voitures. On peut également citer l’adoption de motos électriques ou sans émissions, pour réduire davantage les émissions dues à l’utilisation de combustibles fossiles, sur laquelle le ministère de l’énergie travaille en collaboration avec le secteur privé.

    Quel type de travail l’ECO accomplit-il sur ces questions ?

    Le travail de l’ECO vise à accroître la résilience des communautés aux impacts du changement climatique, à réduire les risques de catastrophes, à améliorer la gouvernance et la gestion des ressources naturelles, notamment dans le secteur extractif, et à promouvoir la gestion et la restauration des écosystèmes.

    Par exemple, dans le cadre d’un projet qui vise à promouvoir et à soutenir les zones conservées par les communautés dans le bassin du lac Victoria, nous avons soutenu les pratiques de pêche légales, élaboré et dispensé des formations sur la promotion de l’agriculture durable et encouragé les bonnes pratiques de gouvernance des ressources locales. Nous avons un autre projet qui vise à accroître la transparence, l’inclusion sociale, la responsabilité et la réactivité des sociétés minières dans la région de Karamoja.

    Dans ces projets, comme dans beaucoup d’autres sur lesquels nous travaillons, nous cherchons toujours à susciter le changement en plaçant les personnes à risque au centre et en nous appuyant sur les connaissances et les ressources locales et traditionnelles. Nous essayons de relier les domaines de l’action humanitaire et du travail de développement en nous concentrant sur les moyens de subsistance. Nous nous efforçons de garantir une planification adaptative, en cherchant à relier les réalités locales aux processus mondiaux et à intégrer les disciplines et les approches pour faire face aux différents risques. Pour ce faire, nous travaillons en partenariat avec les communautés, les OSC, les agences gouvernementales, les universités et les instituts de recherche, les entités du secteur privé et les médias.

    Quel lien entretenez-vous avec le mouvement international pour le climat ?

    Nous sommes liés au mouvement mondial pour le climat par le biais du Climate Action Network-Uganda, qui comprend plus de 200 OSC nationales. Nous le présidons actuellement. Cela nous permet de participer en tant qu’observateurs aux réunions de la COP.

    Nous participons également aux réunions consultatives pré-COP organisées par le gouvernement ougandais pour préparer les négociations internationales sur le changement climatique. Lors de ces réunions, nous avons contribué à évaluer les progrès réalisés dans la lutte contre le changement climatique et dans le respect de nos contributions déterminées au niveau national.

    Nous transformons nos leçons apprises en actions de plaidoyer qui peuvent être adaptées aux forums internationaux sur le changement climatique. Certaines questions locales peuvent alimenter l’agenda national, devenir des actions de politique publique et aller jusqu’à influencer la politique internationale.

    Dans quelle mesure espérez-vous que la COP26 permettra de progresser dans l’atténuation du changement climatique ?

    Nous nous attendons à ce qu’une nouvelle plateforme d’échange de droits d’émission émerge de la COP26 pour remplacer le mécanisme de développement propre, qui permettait aux pays ayant pris un engagement de réduction ou de limitation des émissions dans le cadre du protocole de Kyoto de mettre en œuvre des projets de réduction des émissions dans les pays en développement. Nous attendons également que davantage de fonds soient engagés pour accélérer la diffusion des énergies renouvelables.

    Ces processus internationaux sont pertinents tant qu’ils contribuent au financement des efforts d’atténuation du changement climatique et produisent de nouvelles stratégies de financement, comme le Fonds vert pour le climat et le Fonds d’adaptation au changement climatique et son programme pilote visant à encourager l’innovation dans les pratiques d’adaptation dans les pays vulnérables. Venant d’un pays en développement, je pense qu’il est essentiel d’augmenter immédiatement le financement des mesures d’adaptation, car les effets perturbateurs du changement climatique sur les systèmes humains sont déjà évidents.

    Quel changement voudriez-vous voir - dans le monde ou dans votre communauté - qui aiderait à résoudre la crise climatique ?

    Une priorité essentielle est de s’attaquer à la vulnérabilité au niveau communautaire. Notre vision est celle d’une communauté ayant une capacité d’adaptation accrue pour faire face aux impacts du changement climatique et à ses effets ultérieurs. Cela peut être fait en augmentant l’accès aux technologies et en fournissant des fonds pour l’atténuation et l’adaptation par le biais de structures communautaires.

    L’espace civique en Ouganda est classé « réprimé »par leCIVICUS Monitor.
    Contactez l’Ecological Christian Organisation via sonsite web ou sa pageFacebook, et suivez@EcoChristianOrg sur Twitter. 

     

  • Five human rights trends in South Africa

    Students protest SA

    Photo by Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images

    By Mawethu Nkosana, LGBTQI+ Advocacy and Campaigns Lead at CIVICUS & Safia Khan, Innovation and Communications Officer at CIVICUS

    From the rise in student activism to the rise in levels of xenophobia in South Africa, Mawethu and Safia list five human rights trends since COVID-19 took over.

    Read on The Daily Vox

     

  • Freedom Day: more needs to be done to stop killings of LGBTQI+ people in South Africa

    SouthAfrica LGBTQI FreedomDay 2021

    Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images

    It has been almost thirty years since Freedom Day was first introduced in South Africa but still the fundamental freedoms of many people are being curtailed - particularly the rights and freedoms of people within the LGBTQI+ community. On Freedom Day, global civil society alliance CIVICUS would like to draw attention to these brutal murders by calling on the South African government to guarantee the safety and protection of all LGBTQI+ members in the country, as enshrined in the constitution.

    There has been a recent spate of violent attacks against LGBTQI+ people and at least 6 known murders in the last few months. Gay man Lonwabo Jack was sexually assaulted and stabbed on his 22nd birthday in mid-April. A few weeks before this attack, 34-year old Sphamandla Khoza was brutally stabbed to death in his hometown of Ntuzuma, KwaZulu-Natal, while 40-year-old Andile “Lulu” Ntuthela was butchered and dumped in a shallow grave in Uitenhage, the Eastern Cape.

    South Africa has been lauded as a champion for LGBTQI+ rights in the continent because of its progressive legal framework that recognises same sex marriage and full equality for everybody. However, in reality the situation of LGBTQI+ rights has been deteriorating, with LGBTQI+ rights campaigners and individuals living and operating in a hostile environment characterised by hate speech, death threats and killings. 

    On Freedom Day, to make freedom and equality a reality for the LGBTQI+ community across the country, CIVICUS is calling on the South African government to:

    • Guarantee the safety and protection of all LGBTQI+ members in the country as enshrined in the constitution;
    • Conduct independent investigations into all cases of those killed and bring the perpetrators to justice;
    • Fast track the implementation of the Hate Speech and Hate Crimes Bill;
    • Invest in gender sensitisation workshops for rural communities to foster harmony and understanding of the LGBTQI+ community;
    • Appoint an LGBTQI+ rights expert to monitor the situation of LGBTQI+ rights defenders in South Africa, and ensure an enabling environment for LGBTQI+ rights organisations and human rights defenders to operate.

    South Africa is rated as 'narrowed' on the CIVICUS Monitor, an online platform that tracks civic freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, association and assembly, in countries across the world.

    INTERVIEWS

    To arrange an interview with Mawethu Nkosana, CIVICUS LGBTQI+ Lead, please contact:
      Mobile/Whatsapp: +27(0)78 501 3500

    ABOUT CIVICUS

    CIVICUS is a global civil alliance of over 10,000 civil society organisations and activists, dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society across the world. CIVICUS Headquarters is in Johannesburg.

     

  • High Level Intersessional celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela

    CIVICUS welcomes this celebratory discussion of a true icon of our times. For an organization headquartered in Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela has been for us a constant reminder and an inspiration to engage in the fight for justice, to call for the release of prisoners of conscience and to continue to protect the space for a vibrant civil society to operate.

    But today this is also my personal witness:

    I was privileged to meet and look into the eyes of Nelson Mandela on 9 June 1990 when he had come to pay tribute to the World Council of Churches (WCC) here in Geneva for their long-standing support, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison.   It was a moment I will never forget.

    Later, during extensive visits in South Africa, in 1998, I was awed by his prison cell in Robben Island. I met with Commissioners of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Archbishop Desmond Tutu and was inspired by the institutions Mandela had created to help overcome the hate and mistrust of the long standing racial segregation but also as a mechanism to hold violators of the worst crimes to account.

    In the same year, at the 8th World Assembly of the WCC in Harare I saw President Mandela with a broad smile and as Statesman and committed activist dancing,.. spreading joy and love to the whole world.

    Where in the world do we have such an Icon today?

    Distinguished panelists, how can Mandela’s visionary legacy, his long peaceful march to freedom, to human rights, democracy and social justice be the inspiration and hope for many who are still suppressed and enslaved, but above all how can he be the example for many governments today?

     

  • Hope for citizen voice, despite ‘narrowed’ civic space

    By Ine van Severen and Corlett Letlojane

    President Jacob Zuma heads to China this week to meet with the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and China at the the 9th Brics Summit. As far as respect for civic space is concerned, South Africa outshines its counterparts in the Brics bloc, whose members together account for more than 40% of the world’s population. But President Zuma now heads to Xiamen with that record looking worse for wear, in the midst of increasing restrictions on South Africans’ basic rights to organise, speak out and take action.

    Read on:Mail and Guardian 

     

  • Joint Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Submissions on Civil Society Space

    CIVICUS makes UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on civil society space in Algeria, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    The United Nations Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States once every 4.5 years.


    CIVICUS and its partners have submitted UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) submissions on ten countries in advance of the 41st UPR session in October-November 2022, which marks the beginning of the 4th UPR cycle. The submissions examine the state of civil society in each country, including the promotion and protection of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression and the environment for human rights defenders. We further provide an assessment of the States’ domestic implementation of civic space recommendations received during the 3rd UPR cycle over 4 years ago and provide a number of targeted follow-up recommendations. 

    Algeria  -  See consolidated report | See full version in EnglishThe submission by CIVICUS, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, ARTICLE 19, Front Line Defenders, FIDH, MENA Rights Group, the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH), SHOAA, and Alter’Solidaire highlights our concerns around the use of violence and restrictive legislation limiting freedom of expression and targeting protesters.  It also documents the arrests of journalists, the targeting of civil society organisations and the attacks on human rights under the pretext of countering terrorism. 

    Brazil - See consolidated report | See full versions in English and Portuguese: CIVICUS and Instituto Igarapé examine the deterioration of civic space in Brazil, highlighting legal and extra-legal measures that have restricted freedom of expression and the participation of civil society in policymaking. The submission shows that violence against human rights defenders and journalists is widespread and continues to take place with impunity as the environment for civil society worsens.

    Ecuador - See consolidated report | See full versions in English and Spanish: CIVICUS and Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo (FCD) assess the important reforms removing legal restrictions on the freedoms of association and expression in Ecuador, while also highlighting the lack of institutional mechanisms to protect and promote an enabling environment for civil society, HRDs and journalists. We discuss the recurrent judicial harassment, criminalisation and violence of these actors and the repeated repression of protests. 

    India - See consolidated report | See full version in EnglishThis submission by CIVICUS and Human Rights Defenders Alert – India (HRDA) highlights the continued use of the draconian Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) by the authorities to target CSOs, block foreign funding and investigate organisations that are critical of the government. It also documents the continued judicial harassment of human rights defenders and journalists and the use of repressive security laws to keep them detained as well as restrictions on and excessive use of force against protesters.

    Indonesia -  See consolidated reportSee full version in EnglishIn this UPR submission, CIVICUS, The Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM), and YAPPIKA-ActionAid highlight, among other issues, the implementation of legal restrictions concerning civic space and fundamental freedoms, increased scrutiny and excessive use of force by authorities to control both offline and online civic space and the heightened repression against marginalised groups including people from and who work on the issue of Papua/West Papua.

    The Philippines - See consolidated reportSee full version in EnglishIn this joint submission, CIVICUS and Karapatan detail systematic intimidation, attacks and vilification of civil society and activists, an increased crackdown on media freedoms and the emerging prevalence of a pervasive culture of impunity in the Philippines over the last five years. Often, crackdowns have taken place under the guise of anti-terrorism or national security interests. We further note that a joint programme on human rights between the Philippines and the UN established in July 2021 has not, to date, resulted in any tangible human rights improvement.

    Poland - See consolidated report | See full version in EnglishCIVICUS and the Committee for the Defence of Democracy – Komitet Obrony Demokracji (KOD) highlight our concerns of the dismantling of judicial independence and the rule of law by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party, which has been used as a tool to violate civic freedoms. In this joint submission we examine cases of women HRDs (WHRDs) advocating for reproductive justice and LGBTQI+ defenders who are facing judicial harassment and intimidation. In addition, we assess the state of freedom of expression, with repeated attempts to diminish media independence through restrictive legislation, government allies acquiring ownership of major media outlets and the filing of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) against independent media.

    South AfricaSee consolidated report | See full version in English In this joint submission, CIVICUS, Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA) and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR) highlight threats, intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders (HRD), in particular women HRDs (WHRDs) and those defending land and environmental rights, housing rights and whistleblowers. Furthermore, the submission addresses concerns on the continued use of force by security forces in response to protests and legal restrictions which undermine the freedom of expression and opinion.

    TunisiaSee consolidated report | See full version in EnglishIn this submission, CIVICUS and the Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) highlight the increased deterioration of civic space in Tunisia, particularly since July 2021, when President Kais Saied suspended the parliament. Activists and journalists have faced increased attacks, prosecution and arrests, while access to information has been limited and media outlets have faced restrictions. In addition, the submission examines the government’s attempts to introduce restrictive legislation that could unduly limit the right to association.

    The United Kingdom  See consolidated report | See full version in EnglishCIVICUS highlights our concerns on the UK government’s repeated attempts to unduly restrict the right to the freedom of peaceful assembly. We examine how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (PCSCB), introduced in March 2021, seeks to unduly limit this right. We discuss cases in which protesters advocating for climate justice and racial justice have faced undue restrictions, including detentions and excessive force. We also highlight how several laws have been used to unduly limit press and media freedoms.


    Civic space in the United Kingdom is rated as Narrowedby the CIVICUS Monitor. In Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Poland, South Africa, Tunisia it is rated as Obstructed,whereas in Algeria, India, The Philippines civic space is rated as Repressed

     

  • Nuestro patrimonio es una sociedad civil de éxito

    Por William Gumede, presidente ejecutivo de la fundación Democracy Works

    La publicación de este artículo ha sido promovida por CIVICUS como parte de las celebraciones de nuestro 25 aniversario.

    Al celebrar nuestras diversas culturas durante el Mes del Patrimonio, vale la pena celebrar también una cultura de la sociedad civil que no sólo ha promovido la diversidad cultural, sino que también es diversa en sí misma, con un patrimonio ganado con mucho esfuerzo y que lucha incansablemente por los derechos de los pueblos de este país.

    Encuentre el artículo en inglés en: Mail and Guardian

     

  • Our heritage is a successful civil society

    By William Gumede, Executive Chairperson of Democracy Works Foundation

    The publication of this piece was facilitated by CIVICUS as part of our 25th anniversary celebrations

    As we celebrate our diverse cultures during Heritage Month, worth celebrating too is a civil society culture that has not only promoted cultural diversity but is also itself diverse, with a hard-won heritage of tirelessly fighting for the rights of the people in this country.

    Read on: Mail and Guardian

     

  • People power is China’s great untapped resource

    By Frances Eve, Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) and Cathal Gilbert, World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS

    From 3-5 September, the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met at the ninth BRICS summit. The venue was Xiamen - a gleaming port city which symbolises China’s rise as the new economic and political force in the world. It is also a fitting venue to mark the continued emergence of BRICS as a bloc with some serious geopolitical heft.

    But what does BRICS mean for Chinese people and how can they have any say in these annual meetings, which bring together heads of state from 5 of the most prosperous and populous emerging economies?

    These are uncomfortable questions for a group of leaders who, thus far, have not sought any meaningful inputs from their citizens on the future direction of BRICS. They are particularly awkward questions for host, China, where civil society activists, human rights lawyers, and others who seek to have a say in tackling China’s 21st century problems are systematically repressed by a small elite determined to hold on to power.

    Regular monitoring of the space for civil society by the CIVICUS Monitor and the China Human Rights Briefing shows the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression are systematically curtailed in China. These research tools show that civic space is ‘repressed’ in China, indicating that citizens are not able to safely and fully exercise their fundamental rights, namely to associate, peacefully assemble and express themselves. Based on these indicators, the state of civil society rights in China is the lowest amongst BRICS countries and in the bottom quarter for all UN member states.

    Since 2014, a series of restrictive new laws on national security, non-profit organisations and anti-terrorism have been passed, coinciding with a sustained escalation of detentions of dissidents. The latest of these is China’s new National Intelligence Law, which gives authorities “sweeping powers to monitor and investigate foreign and domestic individuals and institutions”. The Law on the Management of Overseas NGO Activities, which allows the police to control CSOs' funding sources, staffing and activities, came into force on the 1st of January this year.

    Aside from laws, China has relentlessly pursued its critics through mass arrests of lawyers and activists in 2015, the shutdown of websites promoting peaceful dialogue and deploying riot police to prevent a demonstration on poor air quality in Chengdu. The list goes on.

    The Chinese authorities’ distaste for free speech and human rights activism was perhaps best displayed following the death in July 2017 of China’s only Nobel Peace Prize Laureate  Liu Xiaobo. Rather than allow Xiaobo’s colleagues and friends to mourn, the authorities tightly controlled his burial at sea to prevent a commemoration, arrested activists after his funeral and orchestrated the subsequent disappearance of his widow, Liu Xia, whom they have held in arbitrary detention since 2010.

    None of these issues were discussed at the summit in Xiamen. The agenda was dominated by concerns of international security, especially as North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb on the first day of the summit, global trade and the rebalancing of the global financial systems.

    But if any of this is to be achieved, and particularly if BRICS is to realise its goal of “strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive economic growth”, its leaders will have to start listening to their people. Fans of China’s spectacular economic growth may say that political reform  is not necessary but history shows us that silencing your citizens is always a strategy with a limited shelf life. Either education and prosperity will rise to levels where citizens demand a proper say, or exclusion and frustration will spill over onto the streets.

    China’s leaders are smart enough to know that even their industrial-scale repression is only partly successful. Indeed, China does allow for tens of thousands of protests to take place across the country every year. By adopting this pressure valve strategy, China allows citizens to let off steam while it simultaneously goes after the organisers or those who share information. This month’s sentencing of a citizen journalist to four years in prison for documenting labour protests is one such example of this tactic.

    Deep down, China’s leaders know that a state can never completely kill the spirit of activism and resistance. Nowadays, the rising influence of the internet, despite being  a tool of repression and rigidly controlled and monitored in China, continues to make the spread of ideas and calls to action easier.

    BRICS may seem a strange place for China to begin the journey towards a more open society. But within the BRICS framework, China can learn from South Africa, where one of the world’s most progressive constitutions is still largely intact, there is a pluralism in the media and protests take place on a daily basis. This dialogue about the merits of democracy could take place through a genuine South-South spirit of partnership, devoid of the often toxic dynamics of North-South dialogue.

    An empowered and engaged civil society doesn’t just mean there will be greater checks on power. It is also a means to create innovation, social cohesion and prosperity within society, share new ideas, challenge the status quo and explore the wealth of generosity and creativity in each individual.

    With almost 1.4 billion people, surely this is China’s greatest untapped resource?

    Frances Eve is a Hong Kong-based researcher with the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD), a coalition of Chinese and international NGOs dedicated to the promotion of human rights in China.

    Cathal Gilbert is a researcher at The World Alliance for Citizen Participation, CIVICUS

     

  • South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day but major challenges remain

    As South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day tomorrow, 21 March 2018, it is an opportunity for the government now led by President Cyril Ramaphosa to situate human rights at the centre of all actions of the government in line with the constitution and address recent human rights violations.

     

Página 1 de 2