The 15 Montreal commitments for a new social contract

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We're pleased to share our short summary report on the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly, which contains 15 key commitments for further civil society action towards a new social contract.

Please share it with your networks and tell us what you think. Is there something you will commit to doing differently to take forward one of the 15 ideas? If so, we'd love to hear from you, and to have your ideas about how you'd like to work with CIVICUS in future.

Les 15 engagements de Montréal pour un nouveau contrat social
Nous sommes heureux de partager notre court rapport de synthèse sur l'Assemblée Mondiale de CIVICUS 2012, qui contient 15 engagements clés pour poursuivre l'action de la société civile vers un nouveau contrat social.
Nous vous invitons à le partager avec vos réseaux et à nous dire ce que vous pensez. Vous engagez-vous à faire quelque chose différemment pour faire avancer l'une de ces 15 idées? Si c'est le cas, nous serions ravis d’entendre vos idées et la façon dont vous souhaitez travailler avec CIVICUS à l'avenir.

Los 15 compromisos de Montreal para un nuevo contrato social

Estamos encantados de compartir nuestro breve informe de síntesis sobre la Asamblea Mundial de CIVICUS 2012, que contiene 15 compromisos fundamentales para la acción futura de la sociedad civil hacia un nuevo contrato social.Le invitamos a compartirlo con su red y a decirnos lo que piensa de ello. ¿Se compromete a hacer algo diferente para hacer avanzar una de esas 15 ideas? Si es el caso, nos encantaría escuchar sus ideas y la forma en que desea trabajar con CIVICUS en el futuro.


Open Letter to the Commonwealth Secretary-General

When Commonwealth countries announced at the 2011 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Australia that Sri Lanka could host CHOGM 2013, they agreed to actively promote and uphold the fundamental values and principles of the Commonwealth, including human rights and the rule of law. We therefore urge you to press for adequate and satisfactory human rights progress in Sri Lanka by CHOGM 2013. We believe that the failure of the Commonwealth and its members to do so would be contrary to the Commonwealth’s values and principles, and undermine its credibility.

Read the full letter here


Exige al Gobierno de Venezuela retirar su decisión de separarse del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos

¡Firma nuestra petición!

Nosotros, ciudadanos y ciudadanas de distintas partes del mundo, estamos profundamente preocupados por la reciente denuncia, por parte del Gobierno de Venezuela, de la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos (CADH), y por su futuro retiro de la jurisdicción de la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. Pensamos que esta denuncia es una ofensa para todas aquellas víctimas de violaciones de derechos humanos de Venezuela, quienes verán ahora menoscabadas sus posibilidades de reclamar justicia, y que no representa la voluntad del pueblo venezolano.

La CADH es la base del más sólido sistema de protección de los derechos humanos en las Américas. La Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CorteIDH) ha dado muestras suficientes de independencia frente a los estados signatarios y ha actuado fiel a su mandato de interpretar adecuadamente la CADH en sus decisiones.  El intento del Gobierno de Venezuela de evadir la jurisdicción de la CorteIDH tiene motivaciones políticas y responde a decisiones cuyo fin no ha sido otro que hacer al Estado Venezolano responsable de las violaciones a los derechos humanos, cuyas víctimas no han encontrado un sistema de justicia independiente e imparcial en Venezuela.      

Es imperativo, para la protección de los derechos humanos alrededor del mundo, que todos los estados, incluyendo al Estado Venezolano, se mantengan dentro de los sistemas internacionales de derechos humanos. Si retira su decisión, el Gobierno de Venezuela establecería un buen precedente y sería un ejemplo para otros estados de la región, particularmente en un momento en el que la membresía de Venezuela en Mercosur es objeto de análisis por los estados miembros, los cuales, como parte de este grupo sub-regional, han ratificado su compromiso con el fortalecimiento y respeto del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos.

Ratificamos que los sistemas internacionales de derechos humanos están por encima de toda agenda política y que retirarse del Sistema Interamericano constituiría además una violación de la propia Constitución Venezolana.  ¡Esta no es una buena decisión!  Los mecanismos regionales de derechos humanos son clave para el fortalecimiento del marco internacional de protección de los derechos humanos y se constituyen en un factor externo de garantía de la vital separación de poderes, sobre todo entre el gobierno y el poder judicial.  Además, garantizan a los ciudadanos de la región, así como a la población venezolana, el derecho de elevar sus reclamos de justicia ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, para su posterior proceso a través de la CorteIDH.

Por lo tanto, urgimos al Gobierno de Venezuela a retirar su denuncia de la CADH y, más bien, a asumir un papel internacional de liderazgo como defensor de los derechos humanos, no como como evasor de sus deberes de garantía y respeto.

Defendemos y promovemos la causa de la dignidad de toda persona en cualquier parte del mundo

¡Firma nuestra petición!


Call to sign Petition condemning Venezuela denunciation of the American Convention on Human Rights


Venezuela’s government has recently denounced the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR). It also plans to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. This move is seen as political retaliation for the Inter-American Court’s support for human rights claims in Venezuela. Any decision to withdraw from the Inter-American Court’s jurisdiction would set an extremely regressive precedent and constitute a setback for the human rights of the peoples of the Americas.

CIVICUS urges civil society around the world to stand in solidarity with the Venezuelan people and unanimously condemn these anti-people actions of the Venezuelan government through a global petition. Please urgently sign the petition by 1 October 2012.


Global civil society network CIVICUS announces new leader

Global civil society network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is delighted to announce that it has appointed Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah as its new Secretary General.

The appointment was confirmed by CIVICUS’ Board of Directors in Montreal, Canada following CIVICUS’ annual global gathering of civil society, the CIVICUS World Assembly.

Danny joins CIVICUS from the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), a UK-based international civil society network with members and branches in more than 40 countries, where he has been Director General since January 2009. As the first non-British and youngest ever head of the RCS, he led a complete overhaul of the organisation and its profile. During this time, he was seconded to serve as Interim Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, the only intergovernmental development agency with a sole remit to support civil society, where he steered the organisation through a restructure. Previously, he was Deputy Director of influential think tank the Institute for Public Policy Research. Long recognised as an influential researcher and thinker, particularly on migration issues, in 2012 he was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

On hearing news of this appointment, Danny commented, “I’m thrilled to be taking the helm of CIVICUS, an organisation I have long admired. With the global political and economic landscape changing so rapidly, there’s never been a more important time to support citizen action. I look forward to working with CIVICUS colleagues to help civil society around the world to connect, mobilise and agitate for a fairer world.”

Danny is a true global citizen, hailing from Australia, of Sri Lankan Tamil heritage, long resident in the UK, and married to a Trinidadian. He will begin the process of taking up duties at CIVICUS in the coming months, and plans to move his family to Johannesburg, South Africa, where CIVICUS has its headquarters, early in 2013. He is the fourth Secretary General of CIVICUS, following in the footsteps of Miklos Marschall (Hungary), Kumi Naidoo (South Africa) and Ingrid Srinath (India).
Announcing the appointment, CIVICUS Board Chair David Bonbright said, “We’re delighted to welcome Danny to the CIVICUS team after an extensive selection process in which we’ve sought the best candidates from around the world. In a time of renewal for CIVICUS, with a new set of strategic priorities to take us into the  twentieth year of our existence, we’re convinced that Danny is the right person to lead our international team to new heights.” David added an appreciation of the outstanding job done by Acting Secretary General, Katsuji Imata, “By the time Danny is fully on board, Katsuji will have been Acting Secretary General for nine months. In that time CIVICUS will have raised the lion share of its budget for the next two years, successfully hosted a world gathering with nearly 1,000 delegates, completed a worldwide consultation process to refresh its strategy, and issued a number of significant reports. Thanks largely to Katsuji’s impeccable steward leadership, we are able to welcome our new Secretary General to an organisation that has never been stronger.”


For more information contact:

Mark Nowottny (), Coordination and Planning Manager, +44 7415 217002
Lerato Pagiwa (), Junior Communications Officer, +27 11 833 5959


An open letter to the 11th CIVICUS World Assembly from the Family of Nabeel Rajab, the Bahraini prominent Human Rights Defender

Prominent Bahraini Human Rights Defender, Nabeel Rajab, is facing extreme danger. Please intervene.

Dear all,

My name is Sumaya Rajab, the wife of a prominent Bahraini human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Nabeel Rajab. I write this letter in my name, and the names of our son Adam and our daughter Malak to appeal to you to support our call to the Government of Bahrain to help guarantee my husband’s safety and release from prison and to help support the Bahraini people struggle for freedom, democracy and justice.

The violent and brutal regime of Bahrain has been condemned numerous times by all international human rights organisations including the UN high commission for human rights for unleashing a cruel “sectarian apartheid” against the Shiite Muslim majority in Bahrain. In 2012, Bahrain was ranked 173rd by Reporters without Borders which made it one of the world’s 10 most repressive countries, because of its relentless crackdown on pro-democracy movements.

Since the beginning of the Bahraini uprising in Feb 2011, more than 100 Bahrainis were killed by the Bahraini and Saudi security forces, many of them were innocent children. Thousands were systemically imprisoned and tortured, electrocuted, raped, emotionally severed, some were even tortured to death. Thousands others were harassed and fired from their jobs just for participating in peaceful protests. Hundreds of Shiite villages and houses were raided and robbed at dawn by masked security forces, many women and children were subjected to humiliation and sexual harassment.


Show your support for imprisoned Ethiopian civil society activist Eskinder Nega

Today, please join your colleagues at the CIVICUS World Assembly in showing your solidarity for journalist, civil society activist and blogger Eskinder Nega, who is currently in jail in Ethiopia simply for expressing his fundamental rights of free speech.

In February 2011 Eskinder was detained and warned by the Ethiopian authorities for writing an article in which he called on security forces not to shoot unarmed protesters should democracy protests similar to those of the Arab Spring erupt in Ethiopia.

Eskinder was arrested in September 2011 after he published an article criticising the manner in which the government uses its 2009 anti-terrorism law to restrict the basic freedoms of Ethiopians. He was charged under anti-terrorism laws in November 2011.

In June 2012 Eskinder was found guilty of links with a terrorist group, and on 13 July 2012 he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for “attempting to incite violence by posting articles online.”

Eskinder has long been a victim of judicial persecution, having been arrested along with his wife in November 2005 and imprisoned for 17 months for reporting on demonstrations that followed controversial elections in Ethiopia.   

We ask all our members, partners and stakeholders to join with delegates at the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal, Canada on Friday 7 September to show your support for and solidarity with Nasrin by sharing this information on your websites and Facebook pages, and by tweeting as follows:

Support Eskinder Nega: 18 years for inciting violence by posting articles online in Ethiopia: now a prisoner of conscience #freeEskinderNega

Thank you

More information:


Call for immediate release of UAE human rights defenders

Appeal to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates

We respectfully appeal for the immediate release of human rights defenders Dr Mohamed al-Mansoori, Dr Mohamed Abdullah al-Roken and Salem al-Shehhi, arrested between 16 and 18 July.
Dr Mohamed al-Mansoori and Dr Mohamed Abdullah al-Roken have only engaged in the peaceful promotion of the rule of law and of human rights and their arrests are contrary to international law. this. The arrest of Salem al-Shehhi for his peaceful work as a defence lawyer is also contrary to international law.

The arrests of these men took place amid a wave of arrests of people who the Attorney General has said are investigated for “plans which jeopardize the security of the state” and ties with “suspicious foreign parties and organizations (statement reported by WAM news agency, 5 August 2012). According to media reports however, a number of them were engaged in non-violent political debate in the UAE. This in itself does not constitute a crime, and anybody arrested as part of the group the Attorney General referred to should therefore be released as well unless they are to be tried promptly on an internationally recognized criminal charge .

The location of all arrested men should be disclosed immediately. Please also ensure they are protected from torture and other ill-treatment, in accordance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which the UAE has become a party on 19 July 2012. Lawyers of their choice and their families and relatives should be given access to them, and they should be provided with all necessary medical treatment.


Statement on behalf of imprisoned Palestinian activist Ameer Makhoul at the CIVICUS World Assembly, Montreal, Canada, 6 September 2012

Today, please join your colleagues at the CIVICUS World Assembly in showing your solidarity for Palestinan civil society activist Ameer Makhoil. He couldn’t attend the World Assembly in person as he is imprisoned in Israel, but his wife attended to make the following statement on his behalf.  

It is a great honour for me to be able to address you from the confines of an Israeli jail through my wife Janan Abdu, who is an ardent campaigner for the protection of human rights.

I have now spent 40 months out of the nine years in an Israeli jail.

Dear friends of CIVICUS, you are on my mind. Being a human rights defender is very costly for Palestinians under Israeli domination. Exercising my basic right to free speech and free expression, assembly and association by communicating with Palestinian refugees outside Palestine and with Arabs is considered a crime and an act of terror under Israeli law.

One of the most powerful feelings of a Palestinian political prisoner is the knowledge that one is not alone. I have received thousands of letters and postcards from concerned citizens and organisations all over the world, in different languages but with a common message, which says, “you are not alone.” It sounds the same; it feels the same. It is a language of solidarity. This is the language of CIVICUS.


Show your support for imprisoned Iranian civil society activist Nasrin Sotoudeh

Today, please join your colleagues at the CIVICUS World Assembly in showing your solidarity for human rights lawyer and civil society activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is currently in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, Iran simply for doing her work as a human rights activist.  

Nasrin was arrested in September 2010, held in solitary confinement for around four months and charged with “acting against national security, propaganda against the regime and for being a member of the Human Rights Defence Centre,” a human rights civil society organisation in Iran.

In January 2011, she was sentenced to 11 years in prison and handed a 20 year ban from legal practice and from travelling abroad. On appeal, in September 2011, the court reduced her sentence to six years and the ban on legal practice from 20 years to 10.  

Nasrin is an advocate of women’s rights and has defended juveniles facing the death penalty and activists involved in protests calling for reforms.  

We ask all our members, partners and stakeholders to join with delegates at the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal, Canada on Wednesday 5 September to show your support for and solidarity with Nasrin by sharing this information on your websites and Facebook pages, and by tweeting as follows:

Free Nasrin Sotoudeh! Jailed activist from Iran. Join the campaign! #civWA @freenasrin #freenasrin

Thank you

More information:


2012 World Assembly mobile app

Plan each day in advance, read speaker bios, find meeting rooms and side events easily, exchange contact details on the go, share pictures on flickr, tweets on twitter and posts to facebook and find cool spots in Montreal at the push of a button - all with the CIVICUS World Assembly Ap

 Click on the logo below for more information.

For iPones, iPod Touch, iPads, Blackberry devices, Nokia devices, Windows phones and most mobile browsers
Android_Logo For Android devices


This week in e-CIVICUS

  • Final countdown to CIVICUS World Assembly
  • A new low in Bahrain as Nabeel Rajab is sentenced
  • Cambodia: CIVICUS calls for unconditional release of detained activists
  • Debate sobre un Nuevo Contrato Social en Buenos Aires
  • Guest blog: towards global health justice at the CIVICUS World Assembly?
  • Thoughts on Rio+20 from NGO co-organising partner ANPED
  • Upcoming post-Rio+20 workshop in Argentina
  • Egypt: veil falls over media
  • Greece: UN body rules government failed to protect Roma people
  • Human Rights Day - 10 December

Read Online nowSubscribe to the e-CIVICUS here


CIVICUS announces winners of 2012 Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards

Global civil society network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is pleased to announce the winners of its latest round of Nelson Mandela – Graça Machel Innovation Awards.

The awards offer seed funding of US$5,000 to innovative civil society projects that follow up on the ideas of the CIVICUS World Assembly, our annual global gathering of civil society. In 2011, organisations from the Caribbean and Latin America were invited to submit proposals. The winning projects from Argentina, Haiti and Uruguay each receive a US$5,000 grant courtsey of the Inter American Foundation.

 An international panel of civil society experts selected three winning projects:

  • Monitoring and mapping the implementation of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’s recommendations in Argentina - Juan Martín Camusso, FUNDEPS (Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables), Argentina
  • Reinforcing local authorities’ accountability to improve local democracy in Haiti - Lucien Dossous, Action Communautaire de Solidarité et d’Intervention Sociale (ACSIS), Haiti
  • Strengthening grassroots organisations and women’s groups in Latin America, Analia Bettoni, Instituto de Comunicación y Desarrollo (ICD) and the Iniciativa Regional Rendir Cuentas, Uruguay.


CIVICUS denounces pussy riot verdict

Global civil society network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is shocked at the two year sentence handed out to members of Russian band Pussy Riot by a Moscow Court.

“Members of the band have clearly been victimised in what appears to be a blatant attack on free speech,” says Netsanet Belay, Policy and Research Director of CIVICUS. “The way in which the band members have been treated is designed to send a chilling message that democratic dissent is not welcome in Russia.”

The three members of Pussy Riot have been handed out harsh sentences of two years’ imprisonment on charges of “hooliganism” which the judge described as being motivated by “religious hatred.” The band drew the attention of Russian authorities on 21 February this year after standing in front of the altar of Moscow's main cathedral and performing a song in protest at President Vladimir Putin. The trio were arrested in March and subsequently charged with hooliganism, as their protest act was deemed to have seriously undermined public authority. The band members have already been held for five months in pre-trial detention in what is widely viewed as an act of political retribution.

CIVICUS condemns the harsh sentences handed out to the band members as an attack on internationally recognised freedoms of speech and assembly. Over the course of the last few months, a raft of restrictive laws have been hurriedly passed through Russia’s parliament to limit the key civil society freedoms of expression, association and assembly.



Building tolerant and inclusive societies through intercultural and interfaith dialogue – perspectives from the CIVICUS Youth Assembly and UN Alliance of Civilisations Summer School participants

A series of three virtual consultations hosted by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

  • Changing nations through citizens, Monday 20 August at 11am UTC/GMT
  • Building partnerships for social innovation, Wednesday 22 August at 2pm UTC/GMT
  • Redefining global governance, Friday 24 August at 2pm UTC/GMT

The three webinars aim to strengthen the role of young people in the development of cooperative, inclusive societies, by looking at how the good governance of cultural and religious diversity can be enhanced through: active young citizens’ participation; the development of innovative and alternative models of social partnership; and the reform of institutions of global governance.

The webinars bring together key CIVICUS Youth Assembly delegates in an intercultural dialogue with UN Alliance of Civilisations Summer School participants, relating to the three thematic tracks of the CIVICUS Youth Assembly and World Assembly, which will be held in Montreal, Canada from 3 to 7 September.

Each session is expected to last for 60 minutes, 25 minutes of which will be dedicated to an open discussion during which participants are invited to share their experiences and perspectives.


Civil society concern at ban of newspaper in Tanzania

3 August 2012

Article 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Committee to Protect Journalists, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project, Legal and Human Rights Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition and the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Tanzania, are concerned about reports that, on Monday 30 July, the government of Tanzania indefinitely banned MwanaHalisi, a weekly Kiswahili newspaper.

At a news conference on Monday, the acting Director of the Information, Youth, Sports and Culture Ministry reportedly accused MwanaHalisi of publishing seditious material, and has used the powers under The Newspapers Act (1976) to ban the newspaper. The Newspapers Act grants the Minister of Information broad powers to prohibit publication of newspapers for the sake of the public interest, peace and good order. This law creates offences such as sedition intention, seditious offences and false news, which are often invoked against media houses.

Read the full statement


Drop all charges against Nabeel Rajab and unconditionally release him from jail

Nabeel Rajab_BOn 9 July 2012, Nabeel was sentenced to three months imprisonment after he was accused of libel and using social networking site twitter to "insult the citizens of Muharraq." These accusations stem from tweets he posted on 2 June 2012 in which he called on the Prime Minister to resign citing corrupt practices.

While in detention Nabeel has lodged an appeal against his three month-sentence which is expected to heard on 5 August 2012.

Nabeel Rajab is also facing other charges for "instigating demonstrations and participating in illegal gatherings without prior notification" on account of his peaceful human rights work. He is due to appear in court again on 26 September 2012 in respect of these charges.

CIVICUS believes that the charges against Nabeel are unwarranted and aimed at preventing him from carrying out his activities as a human rights defender.

Nabeel has been a prolific campaigner against the continuing and widespread human rights violations in Bahrain, taking place in the backdrop of demands for democratic freedoms since March 2011. A keynote speaker at last year's CIVICUS World Assembly, Nabeel has been the victim of judicial persecution in the past.

For more information on how to take action on Nabeel's case please see his profile at the CIVICUS Civil Society Behind Bars Campaign.


Global civil society network CIVICUS welcomes new Directors to its Board

Johannesburg, South Africa, 31 July 2012: Global civil society network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is pleased to announce the appointment of three new Board members:

Antonella Valmorbida, from Italy, is the Director of the Association of Local Democracy Agencies (ALDA), which has promoted local governance and citizens’ participation in Europe and neighbouring countries since 1999. Headquartered in Strasbourg, France, ALDA also implements substantial civic participation work in Balkan countries. She also served as Chair of the Committee on Democracy and Civil Society of the Conference of the International Non-Governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe from 2008 to 2011, and co-chaired the Steering Committee of the Civil Society Forum for Eastern Partnership in 2011.

Henri Rouillé d'Orfeuil was the first chairman of GRET – Professionnels du Développement Solidaire and has worked in the World Bank’s agricultural research unit. A French citizen, Henri has also worked for the French Foreign Office as a special advisor on agriculture and as the deputy director of technical and scientific international cooperation. He is the author of the books ‘The Third World’, ‘Economics and Awakening Citizens’ and ‘Non-governmental Diplomacy: Can NGOs Change the World?’


CIVICUS calls for nominations to the Accountability Charter Independent Review Panel

CIVICUS is a member and signatory to the INGO Accountability Charter. The Charter requires members to submit annual reports on their performance, seeking to improve the accountability and transparency of INGOs, and these reports are reviewed by an Independent Review Panel. Now, the Charter is seeking to appoint new members to the Independent Review Panel.

As a member of the INGO Accountability Charter, the CIVICUS alliance is entitled to submit nominations. According to the guidelines:

  • Panel members should have a comprehensive understanding of the international NGO sector and sufficient time resources;
  • Candidates from the global South are particularly welcome;
  • A representative from a corporate sector would be welcome.

CIVICUS would like to submit nominations as an alliance, so please send any nominations to Mark Nowottny at , by Friday 24 August, and they will be consolidated and sent on to the INGO Accountability Charter secretariat.

Find out more about the INGO Accountability Charter or view CIVICUS' latest report covering 2011 including feedback from the Independent Review Panel.


This week in e-CIVICUS

  • Pakistan: government must protect civil society
  • CIVICUS launches youth video contest
  • Guest blog: caste based discrimination in Nepal
  • The post-Rio climate - reflections from the Vitae Civilis Executive Director, Marcelo Cardoso
  • The UN and the 21st Century
  • Unilever's CEO strongly advocates for sustainable growth in government and business policies
  • No arms for atrocities

Read Online nowSubscribe to the e-CIVICUS here


Entries Open for CIVICUS Video Contest

English | French | Spanish

ENGLISH -  CIVICUS is launching a video contest for youth aged 18-30 attending the CIVICUS Youth Assembly or the 2012 United Nations Alliance of Civilisations Summer School answering the following question: How would you like the CIVICUS World Assembly to help foster a new social contract that integrates intercultural and interfaith dialogue?

The winner will receive a US$500 cash prize as well as having your video featured at the closing session of the Youth Assembly. The video should be under 5 minutes and the deadline for voting is 30 August. Submit your videos to .
For more info contact


CIVICUS is deeply dismayed by bill that stigmatises civil society in Russia

CIVICUS is deeply dismayed by the actions of the upper house of the Russian Parliament, the Federation Council, to pass a bill that stigmatises civil society groups which receive foreign funding.

The bill approved on 18 July obligates civil society advocacy groups which receive foreign funding to register with the Justice Ministry as "foreign agents." The bill now needs presidential approval before becoming law.

CIVICUS believes that passing of this regressive bill violates Russia's constitutional and international law commitments to guarantee freedom of association.

Learn more about CIVICUS' actions on this issue:

CIVICUS Condemns Russia's Controversial NGO Law 

Urgent Call for Action on moves to muzzle NGOs in Russia 

Another setback for freedom of assembly hits Russia, say CIVICUS and Greenpeace Russia  


Act to end hate crimes targeting LGBT people, non-nationals and other marginalised people in South Africa


South Africa Forum for International Solidarity (SAFIS) takes the occasion of Mandela Day 2012 to remind our government, politicians of all parties, religious and community leaders that the South Africa we fought for and envisaged through our 1994 democratic transition was one where tolerance of difference and equality of all was fundamental to the transformation of the country from its racist, patriarchal past.

The country’s constitution adopted in 1996 prohibited many forms of discrimination including that based on gender, sex and sexual orientation. Various legislative instruments such as the Equality Act of 2000, the Civil Union Act of 2006 further affirmed Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT)’s equal rights and status in South African society. In 2011, South Africa further successfully championed the first ever United Nations resolution on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at the Human Rights Council, risking the ire of its many of its peer states globally who oppose the equality of LGBT people.


CIVICUS Human Rights Council interventions on Israel and Serbia

CIVICUS' latest two interventions in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of the UN Human Rights Council, which reviews countries' human rights progress, address the status of civil society freedoms in Israel and Serbia. CIVICUS raises a number of concerns regarding freedom of assembly and expression, the placing of legal and regulatory impediments on CSO activities, and the treatment of human rights defenders and LGBT activists. The submission on Serbia is made jointly with Serbian CSO Policy Center.

State of Israel: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review

The Republic of Serbia: Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review


This week in e-CIVICUS

  • Belarus and Eritrea resolutions an important step towards accountability
  • Civil society behind bars: take action for imprisoned Bahrain activist Nabeel Rajab
  • Partnering for the future of development - remarks from CIVICUS Acting SG Katsuji Imata at the UN Development Cooperation Forum
  • International community must act against latest curbs on free speech in Ethiopia
  • The Rio+20 summit and its follow up
  • UNICEF and UN Women call for papers: addressing inequalities in the post-2015 development agenda
  • UN media interview with Jeffery Huffines, UN CIVICUS Representative, on the NGO Major Group’s reactions to the Rio+20 Outcome Document
  • World Assembly blog: 20 días después de Rio+20: el Futuro que queremos
  • Kyrgyzstan: UN human rights chief calls attention to corruption, discrimination and rights deficiencies

Read Online nowSubscribe to the e-CIVICUS here


CIVICUS Condemns Russia's Controversial NGO Law

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is disappointed and shocked that the Russian Duma has approved a law requiring organisations that receive international funding to label themselves as "foreign agents," opening them up to excessive government oversight. The law, "On Introducing Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Regarding the Regulation of the Activities of Non-commercial Organizations Performing the Function of Foreign Agents", if approved, will aggressively undermine the work of civil society in Russia and negatively impact broader international solidarity activities in the future.

On 18 July, the law will be reviewed by the upper house of Parliament, The Soviet of Federations and, pending their approval, is expected to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. We express strong condemnation of the steamrolling of this anti-people law through the Duma by Russia's government.

This news is just the latest in Russia's attempts to restrict civil actions in that country.

See recent CIVICUS actions on civil society restrictions in Russia:

Urgent Call for Action on moves to muzzle NGOs in Russia

Another setback for freedom of assembly hits Russia, say CIVICUS and Greenpeace Russia


Joint NGO letter on the endorsement by the African Union of candidates to the UN Human Rights Council

As nongovernmental organizations working to promote human rights at the United Nations Human Rights Council, we are deeply concerned by the recent decision of the African Group in New York to endorse the candidacies of Sudan and Ethiopia in the upcoming UN General Assembly elections for membership in the Human Rights Council within a closed slate that does not allow for a competitive vote.

Read the full statement


Burundi: CIVICUS sets out civil society freedom concerns

Joint Submission by CIVICUS and Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la région des Grandes Lacs to the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR), 15th Session of the UPR Working Group, submitted 9 July 2012

Joint Submission by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, NGO in General Consultative Status with ECOSOC And Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la région des Grandes Lacs


Forging ahead: partnering for the future of development ( ECOSOC High-level Segment 2012



Forging ahead: partnering for the future of development ( ECOSOC High-level Segment 2012) - 
Katsuji Imata, CIVICUS' acting Secretary General


Partnering for the future of development - remarks from CIVICUS Acting SG Katsuji Imata at the UN Development Cooperation Forum

Interactive debate:  Forging ahead: partnering for the future of development, Friday 6 July 2012

Bruce Jones, Director, Centre on International Cooperation, New York University

HE Kim Bong-hyun, Deputy Minister of Multilateral and Global Affairs, Republic of Korea
Rogelio Granguillhome, Executive Director of the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation
Katsuji Imata, Acting Secretary-General, CIVICUS
Talaat Abdel Malek, Co-Chair, OECD/DAC Working Party on Aid Effectiveness and
Economic Adviser to the Minister of International Co-operation, Egypt


Brief analysis of the Ethiopia Draft Proclamation on Telecom Fraud Offences

July 2012

CIVICUS is deeply concerned about the compatibility of Ethiopia’s draft Telecom Fraud Offenses Proclamation with internationally guaranteed human rights standards.

The draft proclamation, which is currently under consideration, purports to unencumber the telecommunication industry, a state run telecommunications monopoly, as part of implementing peace, democratisation and development programmes. The stated intention of the draft proclamation is to control “telecom fraud” described as a “serious threat to national security beyond economic losses.”

Nevertheless, the draft proclamation seeks to bring contemporary means of electronic communication within the state’s ambit to limit severely freedom of expression. Ambiguous language contained in the draft, along with links to anti-terrorism legislation, would provide government officials with a convenient tool to clampdown on anyone critical of the dominant political discourse.


Urgent Call for Action on moves to muzzle NGOs in Russia

Russia's Parliament -the Duma- will consider amendments to laws governing NGOs on 13 July.

Civil society across the globe is shocked by the proposed amendments which will force organisations that receive international funding to label themselves as "foreign agents" and require them to be subject to excessive government oversight and onerous reporting requirements in violation of Russia's constitutional and international law obligations.

If the changes are passed, they will severely undermine the work of civil society and be a blow to international solidarity activities. CIVICUS appeals to civil society across the world to express their indignation at this negative precedent being set in Russia by signing and sending the attached letter to the Russian Duma at


Государственная Дума Российской Федерации рассмотрит поправки к законам об НКО 13 июля.

Гражданское общество во всем мире шокировано предлагаемыми поправками в отдельные законодательные акты, которые предусматривают обозначение организаций как «выполняющих функции иностранного агента» в случае получения ими зарубежного финансирования. Такие организации становятся объектом повышенного государственного контроля и обязаны предоставлять дополнительную финансовую отчетность, что противоречит Конституции РФ и международным обязательствам.

Принятие поправок серьезно подорвет деятельность гражданского общества и нанесет урон международной солидарности. СИВИКУС выступает с призывом к гражданскому обществу во всем мире выразить свое возмущение создаваемым в России прецедентом, подписав и отправив прилагаемое письмо в адрес Государственной Думы Российской Федерации по адресу


This week in e-CIVICUS

  • No more global musty gatherings: World Assembly blog
  • Activists who spoke at People’s Summit found killed
  • UN senior officials highlight Rio+20 achievements
  • Poorer countries seek assurances on technology transfer after Rio+20
  • CIVICUS World Assembly: Early Bird registration extended!
  • 2012 Millennium Development Goals Report
  • Yemen: Enduring Conflicts, Threatened Transition

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Призыв к срочным мерам по предотвращению ущемления НКО в России

Государственная Дума Российской Федерации рассмотрит поправки к законам об НКО 13 июля.

Гражданское общество во всем мире шокировано предлагаемыми поправками в отдельные законодательные акты, которые предусматривают обозначение организаций как «выполняющих функции иностранного агента» в случае получения ими зарубежного финансирования. Такие организации становятся объектом повышенного государственного контроля и обязаны предоставлять дополнительную финансовую отчетность, что противоречит Конституции РФ и международным обязательствам.

Принятие поправок серьезно подорвет деятельность гражданского общества и нанесет урон международной солидарности. СИВИКУС выступает с призывом к гражданскому обществу во всем мире выразить свое возмущение создаваемым в России прецедентом, подписав и отправив прилагаемое письмо в адрес Государственной Думы Российской Федерации по адресу


This week in e-CIVICUS

  • Become a CIVICUS citizen - join us for only US$5
  • Ethiopian blogger found guilty of ‘terrorism’
  • Call for clips for a new civil society video
  • Enhancing the capacity of human rights defenders to monitor public policy and respond to threats in West Africa
  • Another setback for freedom of assembly hits Russia
  • CIVICUS expresses concern about civil society rights in Bahrain and Belarus at UN Human Rights Council
  • Rio+20: civil society analysis and reflections
  • A completely transformed Youth Assembly
  • New analysis of participatory citizenship in Europe

Read Online nowSubscribe to the e-CIVICUS here


Enhancing the Capacity of Human Rights Defenders to Monitor Public Policy and Respond to Threats in West Africa

With freedom of expression, association and assembly under attack in many countries in West Africa, experience suggests a greater need in response for intervention at the early stages of the drafting process of restrictive laws, policies or moves to introduce restrictive practices. Through early intervention at an opportune moment, and engagement before the actual enactment of a law or policy, success in influencing and cooperating with a government or vested stakeholders is greatly increased. To enhance civil society capacity to respond early to threats, CIVICUS and RESOCIDE are teaming up, with the support of Irish Aid, to hold a workshop on Enhancing the Capacity of Human Rights Defenders to Monitor Public Policy and Respond to Threats in West Africa, to be held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 2 to 3 July 2012.

Enhancing the Capacity of Human Rights Defenders to Monitor Public Policy and Respond to Threats in West Africa



Call for clips for new civil society video

CIVICUS has engaged with IRIBA on a project to create a short advertising spot to be launched at the 2012 CIVICUS World Assembly in September and featured at other external events, on the CIVICUS website, promoted on our social networks and shared with our members and partners.

Our goal is to share with the world the dynamic nature of your work and the strength, diversity, and impact of civil society and the members of the CIVICUS Alliance. To do this we would like your input! Please send us your essential images and video clips of civil society in action to be included in the spot, so that we can use this opportunity to showcase your organisation and your work.


Update: Eskinder Nega found Guilty in Ethiopia


Eskinder Nega was found guilty of encouraging "terrorist" acts and conspiring with rebels in Ethiopia's High Court on 27 June.

Eskinder was initially arrested on 14 September 2011 and charged under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law after he wrote an article in which he criticised the manner in which the government used the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation of 2009 to stifle freedom of expression by persecuting those who expressed views contrary to those of the government. Charges against him also stem from accusations that he incited violence through his articles on the Arab Spring and his analysis of the political situation in the country.

Ethiopia's anti-terrorism law has been used disproportionately to target journalists and human rights defenders and equates the free expression of views and peaceful dissent with "terrorism."

The verdict is the most recent attempt by the government to completely stifle the activities of human rights activists and journalists by criminalising free expression and peaceful dissent.


Joint Letter to the Commonwealth Secretary-General on Uganda

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and CIVICUS: World Alliance for Cirizen Participation have written an open letter to the Commonwealth secretary-general on their concerns about Uganda's treatment of human rights defenders.

Read the letter


This week in e-CIVICUS

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  • Final weekly webinar: cultural activists, the champions of social change
  • CIVICUS statement to UN Human Rights Council
  • Network profile: Nigeria Network of NGOs
  • NGO Major Group Statement delivered to Rio+20
  • Rio's roadmap falls flat, civil society groups say
  • CIVICUS expresses NGO Group disappointment in UN interview
  • The Future We Don’t Want

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Vous avez seulement 4 jours pour nous donner votre opinion sur le travail que devrait faire CIVICUS dans les 5 prochaines années!

Chers collègues,

Il ya seulement 4 jours pour participer à la consultation en ligne de CIVICUS, de sorte que vous pouvez apporter votre contribution à laquelle vous pensez devrait être le travail de l'alliance dans les 5 prochaines années! Si vous n'avez pas répondu à l'enquête, s'il vous plaît faites-le maintenant! Alors ne manquez pas l'occasion de faire partie de CIVICUS Orientations stratégiques 2013-2017.


This week in e-CIVICUS

  • Tell us what CIVICUS should work on in the next five years!
  • CIVICUS World Assembly 2012: an action-packed programme!
  • ‘The main issue is equality of opportunities’: Rio+20 interview with Sabina Anoye-Mensah, Voice of African Mothers
  • CIVICUS at the Cape Town Book Fair
  • Next weekly webinar: amplifying marginalised and muted voices, 20 June
  • Bangladesh: civil society under attack as dissent is silenced

Read Online nowSubscribe to the e-CIVICUS here


CIVICUS side events at the UN Human Rights Council

CIVICUS is co-organising two events during the 20th session of the UN Human Rights Council, being held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 18 June to 6 July:


Amplifying marginalised and muted voices

A virtual consultation hosted by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Wednesday 20 June 2012 at 1pm UTC/GMT

The work of organised civil society can sometimes reinforce existing paradigms of power and exclusion. Global alliances such as CIVICUS must live their values by practising and promoting diversity within our organisations, networks and programmatic work. As a platform organisation, CIVICUS needs to facilitate access for muted voices in order to ensure just processes and decisions, particularly in the global arena, to ensure the inclusion of traditionally excluded, exploited, and marginalised groups. The challenge lies in moving beyond shallow, box-ticking approaches and towards forming legitimate partnerships with marginalised groups and mainstreaming their issues and concerns into our core work.

Join us as we explore how CIVICUS can increase access for muted voices locally, regionally and globally, and how CSOs can form genuine partnerships with marginalised groups. 

This webinar will feature presentations on:

  • Patriarchy and the Occupy Movement - Lucinda Marshall, Director, Feminist Peace Network
  • Gender mainstreaming - beyond box-ticking - Ennie Chipembre, Acting Country Representative, ActionAid International
  • The role of international solidarity and a global alliance in amplifying marginalised and muted voices - Patrick Anderson, Policy Adviser, Forest Peoples Programme

The session is expected to last for 90 minutes. 50 minutes will be dedicated to an open discussion during which you are invited to share your experiences and perspectives.

Register here: Space is limited so mark your calendar and register now!

This consultation is part of a series of weekly webinars which are helping to shape CIVICUS’ new strategic directions. Find out more about the other webinars and the strategic directions process.


Tell us what CIVICUS should work on in the next five years!


Dear colleague

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation needs your voice so that we can together shape an inclusive and ambitious global civil society agenda for the next five years.

Earlier this year, we started to develop our new Strategic Directions, which will guide the work of the CIVICUS civil society alliance between 2013 and 2017. Planning together now will help us strengthen civil society and citizen action around the globe in the near future.

We turn to you - the members, partners and friends that make the CIVICUS alliance tick - to find out what key trends and issues are affecting you and your constituency at the moment. We need your insights on the challenges and opportunities that civil society organisations and citizens face. In particular, we want your guidance on how the CIVICUS alliance should respond to these challenges and opportunities over the next five years.

It will take you 10-15 minutes to complete this simple survey, and your input will shape the alliance's work for the next five years. The deadline for completion of the survey is Monday 25 June 2012. You may have already participated in a consultation session, in which case we give you our thanks, but we would also invite you to answer this survey.

If you have any technical difficulties in completing the survey, please contact Mariano de Donatis, CIVICUS Senior Stakeholder Engagement and Regional Outreach Officer, .

Beside this survey, there are lots of other ways you can help shape the new Strategic Directions - you can join one of our physical consultations, you can take part in one of our weekly thematic  webinars on specific themes, or you can run your own consultation. Or you can simply email the CIVICUS Strategic Directions team with your own ideas on what CIVICUS' future focus should be at .

Please access the survey by clicking here English Francais Espanol
In solidarity,

Katsuji Imata

Acting Secretary General


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Read Online nowSubscribe to the e-CIVICUS here


Dites nous ce sur quoi CIVICUS devrait travailler dans les 5 prochaines années!

Chers collègues,

CIVICUS l’alliance Mondiale pour la Participation Citoyenne, sollicite tes idées et tes connaissances afin de construire tous ensemble une société mieux intégrée et élaborer un agenda ambitieux pour la société civile internationale dans les 5 prochaines années.

Au début de l’année nous commencerons à procéder au développement de nos nouvelles directions stratégiques, lesquelles guideront le travail de l’alliance CIVICUS entre 2013 et 2017. Planifier ensemble ces stratégies nous aidera à renforcer la société civile et l’action citoyenne à travers le monde dans les prochaines années. 


¡Díganos sobre que CIVICUS debería trabajar en los próximos cinco años!

Estimad@ coleg@

CIVICUS: Alianza Mundial para la Participación Ciudadana necesita tus ideas y conocimiento para que todos juntos podamos construir una sociedad mas inclusiva y una agenda ambiciosa para la sociedad civil mundial para los próximos cinco años.

A principios de este año comenzamos con el proceso de  desarrollo de nuestras nuevas direcciones estratégicas, las cuales guiarán el trabajo de la alianza CIVICUS entre 2013 y 2017. Planificar juntos ahora nos ayudará a fortalecer a la sociedad civil y a la acción ciudadana en todo el mundo en los próximos años.


Multi-stakeholder engagement in the institutional framework for sustainable development and compendium of commitments

This Rio+20 side event, to be held on 14 June, is the third in a series that will examine the representation, participation and accountability of civil society and Major Groups in informing, monitoring and implementing intergovernmental policy-making in a reformed institutional framework for sustainable development that embraces multi-level governance. Speakers will evaluate best practices of public participation in other multilateral bodies as well as civil society proposals not yet implemented. It's jointly organised by CIVICUS, Stakeholder Forum and UN-NGLS.

Find out more.


Quebec not alone in legislating against freedom of association

Current events in Quebec, Canada where a law has recently been introduced in an attempt to limit long-running student protests, offer a reminder that the challenges of state pushback against protest, as documented extensively by CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation in its recent report, the State of Civil Society 2011, are not limited to developing countries and those without elected governments.

The new special law – Bill 78 – that has been introduced to limit strictly assembly of more than 50 people, flies in the face of accepted good practice about laws to regulate and enable citizen action. The new law was also introduced in a hasty manner with minimal consultation.


CIVICUS believes that as a minimum, governments must guarantee the rights of freedom of association, freedom of expression, and the right for civil society to operate free from unwarranted state interference and to communicate, cooperate and seek and secure funding. Without these conditions, fundamental rights of people to express their concerns and combine to seek change, rooted in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, cannot be properly realised.




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