President Zuma: Urge Angolan government to release human rights defenders

32 civil society organisations working on youth issues have writen to South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, seeking his urgent intervention regarding unacceptable restrictions on the freedoms of expression, assembly and association and gross violations of the rights of human rights defenders in Angola. The letter brings attention to the plight of young activists in detention for engaging in human rights and pro-democracy activities and requests that President Zuma call on the Angolan authorities to release them when they appear in court on 16-20 November 2015. 

Read the letter in English or Portuguese

 

Cameroon: Create enabling environment for civil society

CIVICUS speaks to a civil society member in Cameroon (who asked to remain anonymous) following the arrest in September of members of the non-governmental organisation Dynamic Citizen for holding a governance workshop

1. What is Dynamic Citizen and what does it do?

Dynamic Citizen (Dynamique Citoyenne) is a network of Cameroonian civil society organisations committed to monitoring public policies and cooperation strategies. Dynamic Citizen has a national coverage and is present in all the 10 regions of Cameroon. 

It aims at influencing public policies through social mobilisation by raising the awareness of local populations on issues pertaining to financial governance ( such as budget analysis), political governance (including fighting against corruption, freedom to protest) and other human rights related issues like access to water and other social amenities. Recently, Dynamic Citizen has been engaged in an international campaign dubbed “Tournons la Page’’ (Let’s turn the Page) that addresses electoral governance and change of leadership in African countries.

 

Media Statement: Angola urged to drop spurious charges against youth activists

Fifteen youth activists in Angola are due to appear in court on 16 November, facing charges of preparing for a rebellion and attempting to assassinate the President. CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, is calling on Angolan authorities to end the judicial persecution of these 15 young people, who have been in detention since June this year.

 

The world must not forget persecuted human rights defenders in the DRC

JonasKabienaCIVICUS speaks to human rights defender Jonas Tshiombela Kabiena, who is the national coordinator of the New Congolese Civil Society - a platform of about 300 civil society organisations in the DRC. Mr. Kabiena is also the national secretary of the CSOs-DRC Coalition, a journalist and director of the Congolese Press Agency. He speaks about the challenges to civic space in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ahead of the elections scheduled for 2016. 

1. What is the situation regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms in the DRC?

The state of human rights and fundamental freedoms is a source of concern in the DRC, especially as the country moves towards holding a poll next year. Human rights defenders are targeted on the basis of the work they do and subjected to threats, harassment, arbitrary arrests, judicial persecution, and pro-longed detentions. In addition freedom of assembly and expression are severely constrained. Human rights defenders are threatened by the authorities and on several occasions are arrested and imprisoned for the work they do.  Freedom of assembly is restricted as those who take part in protests are arrested.  For example on 15 March 2015, several young democracy activists from the civil society movements Collectif Filimbi and Lucha were arrested following a day of protests organised by their counterparts in Kinshasa.  Two of them, Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala are in jail

 

Intimidation of Kenyan NGOs unwarranted

Following threats to de-register 959 Kenyan NGOs, many working for good governance and human rights, CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, and the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders–Kenya (NCHRD-K), call on Kenyan authorities to immediately stop the repeated harassment of NGOs and ensure a conducive legal and political operating environment.

 

Joint Media Statement on Cameroon: Cease the clampdown on civil society

Cameroon’s increasing clampdown on civil society and civic freedoms is being strongly condemned by global and national civil society organisations (CSOs). CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance and the Cameroonian civil society network, Plateforme Nationale des Organisations de la Société Civile du Cameroun (PLANOSCAM) are concerned for several activists who will appear in court on October 28 for organising a workshop without permission. Especially worrying is the use of anti-terror dialogue to justify violations of freedoms of association and assembly.

 

Fighting slavery still an uphill battle for human rights activists in Mauritania

MamadouMoctarSarrCIVICUS spoke to Mamadou Moctar Sarr, a civil society activist and executive secretary of the National Forum for Human Rights Organisations (Forum nationalepour l’organisation des droits humains, FONADH) about challenges facing human rights defenders in Mauritania

1. What is the general state of civic space and human rights in Mauritania?

Mauritania, which is a pluralistic and multicultural country, has over the last decades, experienced serious human rights infringements, including the deportation of thousands of black Mauritanian citizens to Senegal and Mali where they are living in inhumane and degrading conditions. There have also been instances of slavery, racial discrimination and exclusion practiced with impunity. This is the daily reality for citizens who also have to face a deterioration of the economic, political and social conditions in Mauritania.

However, thanks to amendments made to the Constitution in 2012, the practice of slavery and torture are now classified as criminal offences.

 

MEDIA STATEMENT: PAKISTAN MOVES TO RESTRICT INTERNATIONAL NGOS WITH NEW POLICY

Pakistan’s new policy to regulate the registration and operations of international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) has been strongly condemned by civil society. 

Issued on 1 October 2015, the new rules place substantial burdens on INGOs while subjecting them to debilitating bureaucratic controls including through excessive interference in their activities and limits on placement and retention of staff.

 

Media Statement: International community must not fail Egyptian activists and civil society

With parliamentary elections currently underway in Egypt, the international community must not overlook the on-going crackdown on civil society and civic freedoms in the country, say CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance.

“Given Egypt’s current authoritarian political climate it is very unlikely that the elections will lead to any meaningful gains on democratic governance,” says Mandeep Tiwana, Head of Policy and Research at CIVICUS. “Some gestures have been made by the authorities to appease the international community, however these are not enough. The international community needs to do much more to pressure the regime to restore sovereignty and rights to the Egyptian people.”

 

CIVICUS ALERT: ANGOLAN ACTIVIST ON HUNGER STRIKE FACING LIFE THREATENING CONDITION

The situation of detained Angolan pro-democracy activist and youth human rights defender Henrique Luaty da Silva Beirão has deteriorated and is now life threatening.

Mr. Beirão has been on hunger strike for over three weeks to protest his detention and that of 14 activists without trial or any formal charges beyond the 90 days stipulated under Angolan law.  Mr. Beirão’s health has deteriorated significantly, rendering him completely weak and unable to walk or talk. He refuses to take any liquids and there are clear signs of some internal bleeding. Mr. Beirão’s current health condition requires immediate intervention from the Angolan government as there are growing fears for his life. If urgent action is not taken to release him and accord him immediate access to treatment, he may not be able to live for much longer.  We are sad to observe that even under such life threatening circumstances the authorities in Angola have so far kept him in solitary confinement and refuse to allow others to visit him. 

 

Ahead of the 2016 election, civil society groups are concerned about a deteriorating environment

OrishabaBagamuhundaJustusCivil society and human rights defenders continue to face daunting challenges in Uganda ranging from judicial persecution and intimidation to harassment and threats for the work they do. Restrictive legislation also impedes the activities of civil society as authorities threaten to close down NGOs and media agencies that are critical of the government. CIVICUS spoke to human rights defender Orishaba Bagamuhunda Justus about ongoing judicial harassment against him and the general state of human rights in the country ahead of the election scheduled for 2016.

1. What is the state of human rights in Uganda at the moment?

The state of human rights in Uganda is very bad. There are ongoing threats to freedom of expression, assembly and association which continue to raise serious concerns in Uganda. Security forces such as the police largely enjoy impunity for the torture of people during peaceful protests. The government has banned political pressure groups that call for peaceful change, obstructed opposition rallies, and harassed and intimidated journalists and civil society activists working in the areas of human rights, corruption, oil, land rights and sexual rights. 

The notorious NGO Bill, which seeks to limit the civic space for NGOs in Uganda, looms in Parliament. Among other issues, the bill grants the NGO Board broad powers to refuse to register an NGO, to issue permits with instructions that place conditions on the staffing of NGOs and to restrict the employment of foreign nationals. The government has accused NGOs of engaging in “political activism” and in one case suspended an NGO working on sexual rights, arguing that it was “promoting homosexuality.” 

 

CSOs at the frontline of the refugee crisis

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Civil Society is on the frontline responding to the refugee crisis. CIVICUS noted in its 2015 State of Civil Society report that it is civil society that is acting as the first and often more effective responders to crises around the world. CIVICUS spoke to Libby Freeman the founder of grassroots campaign Calais Action (Twitter handle: @Calaisaction), a CSO that is on the frontline assisting refugees arriving in Europe on the response of civil society organisations to the crisis and, what they can do better.

1.What are the urgent needs of refugees and what sort of assistance are you offering? 

We are collecting aid donations from around the United Kingdom mostly consisting of sleeping bags, tents, camping equipment, clothes, jackets and food. We are distributing in Calais and went on our first mission to Eastern Europe in September. We are also based in Hungary, and reaching out to refugees in Hungary, Croatia and Serbia. We are also working with NGOs on the ground in Calais to organise volunteer programs and assist in long-term help projects for the refugees.

 

Implications of anti-terror and money-laundering regulations on CSOs financing and what CSOs can do

FAFT
There are concerns over the effects on civil society organisations of recommendations made by the Financial Action Task Force. CIVICUS spoke to representatives of four organisations ─ Charity Security Network, Human Security Collective, European Foundation Centre and European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law ─ about how the work of the Financial Action Task Force affects CSOs and how CSOs can mitigate the unintended negative consequences.

Read the full interview here

 

Israel’s international funding bills dangerous for civil society

IsraelTwo draft laws to restrict civic space in Israel are currently before its Parliament. CIVICUS spoke to a human rights defender, who asked to remain anonymous, on what the new bills mean and the dangers inherent in them for civil society organisations (CSOs). 

Read the full interview here

 

Israel: Repressive bills could severely undermine civil society

Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, expresses grave alarm over reports that members of the Israeli Knesset have proposed two Bills that, if approved, would place unprecedented and debilitating restrictions on the legitimate activities of civil society organisations (CSOs) operating in Israel. The Bills – titled “Obligation to Disclose Support by a Foreign Political Entity” and “Foreign Agents” - were introduced by members of the “Jewish Home” party on 16 and 23 June 2015 respectively.

 

Time to Sign: Stand with students & activists in Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Release and drop all charges against all those arbitrarily arrested and investigate police abuse

Global civil society alliance CIVICUS is calling for your support and solidarity to demand the release of students and protesters who were arrested and charged over the last month in Bangladesh. On 15th August, Bangladesh was added to the CIVICUS Monitor’s Watch List, which means that there has been an escalation in serious threats to fundamental freedoms in recent weeks and months.

Add your voice to the campaign to demand that the government reverse this trend, release all those arbitrarily arrested and investigate police abuses by sending the letter below to government authorities, and adding your voice on social media using #BangladeshProtests.

 

"Burundi is not an isolated island and the people of Burundi have the right to be protected against dictatorship and oppressive regime"

Pierre Nkurunziza was sworn in for a third term as Burundi’s President on Thursday, 20 August 2015, six days ahead of schedule. Nkurunziza’s candidacy - which is widely held to have violated the constitution and peace accord - and his subsequent winning of the elections deemed by the international community as lacking in credibility, have sparked protests over the last few months, leaving scores of people dead with many forced to flee and seek refuge abroad. 

CIVICUS spoke to a trusted partner in Burundi who requested that the interview be run anonymously for reasons of personal safety.  

1.How would you describe the current political situation in Burundi? 

The political situation in Burundi is very tense. Many people, including political opponents, civil society activists, journalists and even ordinary citizens have fled and continue to flee the country for fear of escalating violence and oppression. Killings and torture against opponents of the third term of Pierre Nkurunziza are rife. 

 

Social Protests in Bolivia: Miners’ mobilization in La Paz

RamiroOriasRamiro Orias, is a lawyer and specialist on human rights and issues related to access to justice in Bolivia. He is also a member of Foundation Construir and speaks to CIVICUS about the recent protests related to the mining region of Potosí and the current challenges that civil society actors face to get their demands heard in the country. Foundation CONSTRUIR is a Bolivian civil organization working for the defence of human rights and the strengthening of the rule of law. 

 

Read the full interview in English or Spanish

 

Syrian authorities must drop charges against three human rights defenders and release all prisoners of conscience

Sixteen international organisations have joined the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in welcoming the release of its president Mazen Darwish and in calling for all charges against him and his colleagues to be dropped, as well as for the release of all other prisoners of conscience who remain detained by the Syrian authorities.

 

Civicus Alert: Lengthy sentences for religious freedom activists highlight continuing repression in Ethiopia

Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS condemns the 3 August sentencing of 18 Muslim leaders, protestors and journalists in Ethiopia under the country’s widely criticised anti-terrorism law. Heavy sentences handed out to the religious rights activists represent a serious violation of their rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression.

 

CIVICUS and FHRI urge Ugandan parliamentarians to reject or radically overhaul NGO Bill

Ahead of plans for a parliamentary debate on the proposed Uganda NGO Bill 2015, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) call upon the Honourable Members of Uganda’s Parliament to either reject or radically overhaul the Bill in line with ‘Best Practices’ outlined by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The Parliament of Uganda is currently considering the NGO Bill. 

CIVICUS and FHRI believe that it is in the interests of the Ugandan people to have an NGO law that meets the highest constitutional and international law standards. 

Read more

 

Release activists imprisoned for supporting Sewol Ferry demonstrations

CIVICUS has written to the President of South Korea to express its deep concern over the judicial harassment and detention of individuals and civil society activists for organizing and participating in protests commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry tragedy.

 

CIVICUS letter to President Park Guen-hye: Free Sewol Ferry Protesters

SewolCIVICUS has written to President Park Geun-hye of South Korea to reiterate our deep concern over the continued judicial harassment and detention of individuals and civil society activists for organizing and participating in protests commemorating the one-year anniversary of the Sewol Ferry tragedy.

We join the growing number of international and national civil society groups calling for the immediate release of all demonstrators and representatives of civil society organisations who have been unjustly persecuted and detained for exercising their fundamental rights.

Read the full letter here.

 

 

CIVICUS ALERT: Venezuela: Dialogue with, not harass activists cooperating with UN bodies

  

Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS condemns the Government of Venezuela’s repeated harassment of civil society members who engage with UN human rights mechanisms. Several civil society leaders are currently being subjected to a smear campaign by state authorities for raising legitimate concerns at the UN about Venezuela’s deteriorating human rights record. 

Recently, on 2 July, during ‘The Mallet’, a weekly television programme hosted by the current President of the Venezuelan National Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, several civil society members were subjected to targeted vilification. Among other slanderous claims, Mr Cabello accused activists, who had presented information to the UN Human Rights Committee on June 29 and 30, of conspiring against the state and defending the interests of foreign entities. The UN Human Rights Committee is a body of independent experts tasked with overseeing the compliance of states with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Venezuela is required to report  periodically to the Human Rights Committee on progress made by it in realising the rights enshrined in the ICCPR. 

 

CIVICUS interventions during 29th UN HRC Session

During the 29th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (15 June - 3 July 2015), CIVICUS made a number of joint and individual interventions to highlight restrictions on civil society space. The interventions, including 9 parallel side events and 10 oral statements, underscored pressing thematic and country specific concerns on the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression and persecution of human rights defenders, which require the Council’s attention.

 

Submission Deadline Extended! Call for Partnership Involvement: International Civil Society Week 2016

English | French | Portuguese | Spanish

The deadline to submit a proposal to host an event at the 2016 ICSW has been extended to 13 September 2015!

ICSW 2016 will involve a diverse partnership of civil society actors that seek to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. Let’s face these challenges together! CIVICUS and CCONG invite your organisation to host an event at ICSW 2016, which would bring together concerned citizens across different sectors, themes, regions and backgrounds.

We have extended our Call for partnership involvement until the 13 September 2015. Call is available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

Use this opportunity to become an ICSW2016 partner and contribute to the implementation of one of the biggest civil society events. 

For more information, please contact us at

 

Azerbaijan condemned at UN body whilst hosting European Games

29 June 2015 - In a show of solidarity against grave rights violations, 25 governments have criticised Azerbaijan’s government in the world’s premier human rights body. The strongly worded joint statement was delivered at the UN Human Rights Council even as Azerbaijan was hosting the first ever European Games (12-28 June).

 

Angola: End crackdown on civil society, uphold international commitments

29 June 2015 - Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS condemns the on-going crackdown on civil society in Angola, urging the international community not to look the other way as the safety of activists, members of civil society organisations (CSOs) and journalists is imperilled.

 

CIVIL SOCIETY RIGHTS VIOLATED IN 96 COUNTRIES

CSW15 COVER3A new global report by CIVICUS finds that rights of civil society were violated in almost half of the world’s 193 countries in 2014. In particular, the report draws attention to the systematic assault on Freedom of Association, Expression and Assembly.

The CIVICUS Civil Society Watch Report shows that core civil society freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly were violated to a significant degree in at least 96 countries during 2014. 

 

Addressing the human rights situation and the need for accountability for past atrocities and on-going violations in South Sudan

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To Permanent Representatives of member and observer States of the UN Human Rights Council

Geneva, 10 June 2015

Your Excellencies,

We are writing to urge your delegation to address serious, widespread and ongoing violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law committed in South Sudan and to also address the lack of any credible accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in the country during the upcoming 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

 

Lizet Vlamings (FHRI) speaks on Uganda's restrictive NGO Bill

Lizet Vlamings is a researcher with expertise in human rights and public health. Lizet has been working with the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) for the past 3 years on monitoring human rights violations and conducting legislative advocacy in Uganda.
 
The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) is an independent, non-governmental, non-partisan and not-for-profit human rights advocacy organization established in 1991. The organization seeks to enhance knowledge, respect and observance of human rights, and promote exchange of information and best practices through training, education, research, legislative advocacy and strategic partnerships in Uganda. The organization has Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and is affiliated to the International Federation of Human Rights Defenders, (FIDH

1. What is the current status of the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill (2015) that is being considered?
The Non-Governmental Organisations Bill, 2015 was published in the Uganda Gazette No. 18 Vol. CVIII on 10th April 2015, and is intended to repeal the NonGovernmental Organisations Registration Act, Cap. 113 (as amended in 2006). The Bill was tabled in Parliament on 13th May 2015, and thereafter referred to the parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs. At this stage, the committee tasked with scrutinising the bill normally invites the public to present views on the  Bill. The Committee has not started receiving submissions from the public on the NGO Bill yet, but has shown intent to invite civil society stakeholders as soon as deliberations on the Bill start.

 

CIVICUS submission on China's draft Non-Mainland NGO Management Law

CIVICUS is deeply concerned about the possible impact of China’s new draft Non-Mainland Non-Governmental Organizations Management Law which applies to all non-profit, non-governmental “social organisations” formed outside mainland China that carry out activities promoting “public welfare” within mainland China. 

If enacted, the draft law will severely restrict the work of international civil society organizations (CSOs) and public spirited individuals operating in mainland China. In particular it will impede their right to critique and contribute to the development of national policies and public institutions in breach of the spirit of the International Bill of Rights and the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Read the submission in English or Chinese

 

 

Towards New Social Contracts: using dialogue processes to promote social change

TowardsNew-SocialContractsCover250This toolkit is designed to stimulate a reflection around the potential and limits of multi-stakeholder processes in promoting socio-political change, and provides practical tools and resources to facilitate the use of dialogue processes in new ways.

The proposed methodology is based on the direct observation of several local dialogue processes initiated by civil society around crucial challenges experienced in their communities. It takes stock of the useful and sometimes unusual perspectives of local stakeholders around challenges, trends and innovations on how citizens collectively engage in the decisions that affect their lives. 

 

Joint Letter to government of Cambodia: Work with civil society to address restrictions in draft Law on Associations, and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO)

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7 May 2015

H.E. Sar Kheng
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior
Ministry of Interior,
275 Norodom Blvd,
Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

Dear Excellency,

We the undersigned international and regional civil society organizations write to express our deep concern about provisions of the proposed Law on Associations, and Non-Governmental Organizations (LANGO). If adopted in its current form, the draft would place undue restrictions on the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of association and undermine laudable steps taken to actualize democratic reforms in the country. We urge your government to consult with a wide spectrum of civil society stakeholders to ensure that the draft corresponds to Cambodia’s constitutional and international human rights commitments. 

 

CIVICUS Alert: CIVICUS condemns judicial harassment of Baltimore protesters

Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, expresses grave concern over the arbitrary suspension of fundamental civil liberties and the targeted judicial persecution of persons arrested for participating in ongoing demonstrations in Baltimore, USA.

“The decision to prolong pre-trial detention and the imposition of exorbitant bail on protestors in Baltimore is a blatant manipulation of the right to liberty enshrined in national and international law,” said Tor Hodenfield, Policy and Research Officer at CIVICUS. “The destruction of property during the largely peaceful protests does not give the authorities carte blanche to undermine the rights of its citizens.”

 

Venezuela: Stop Harassing Human Rights Defenders

Intimidation Undermines Independent Oversight

venezuelaVenezuela is intimidating and harassing human rights defenders, and making unsubstantiated allegations that they are seeking to undermine Venezuelan democracy, 28 international and Latin American human rights organizations said today. The authorities’ allegations concern the groups’ legitimate functions of documenting abuses and representing victims before international human rights bodies.

Venezuelan authorities should cease this tactic immediately, the groups said. Governments participating in the Summit of the Americas in Panama on April 10-11, 2015, should press the administration of Nicolás Maduro to ensure that human rights defenders can do their job without fear of reprisals, the organizations said.

The government harassment is clearly intended to discredit and intimidate groups that document human rights violations, the groups said.

 

Civic Space No Longer Under Threat Says Global Civil Society Alliance

civilsociety1 April 2015. Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS has boldly declared that the space for citizens and organisations to speak out, organise and take action is finally expanding and is no longer going to be a world-wide problem. CIVICUS’ analysis is based on several recent positive developments. A number of states have issued synchronised statements to indicate “a new era of engagement” on civic space.

The governments of Uganda and Nigeria in their joint statement released last week termed persecution of the LGBTI community and CSOs promoting their rights as wrong. “This is a clear case of discrimination. Just as we oppose the discrimination of anyone on the basis of ethnicity, sex, place of birth, economic status or religion, we opposed the discrimination of human beings just because they are born gay,” said the joint statement.

 

Over 70 groups sign NPO Statement concerning FATF R8 BPP consultation process

On March 4, 2015, the FATF Secretariat shared a section of the draft Best Practice Paper on Combating the Abuse of Non-Profit Organisation (BPP), requesting input from non-profit organizations (NPOs) to be submitted before the consultation on March 25 or by April 10. Input is requested on self-regulation and due diligence practices and on limited sections of the BPP, mainly those that target NPOs.

We welcome FATF’s approach to consult the sector. We wish to ensure that there is wide and meaningful consultation as possible on the whole paper, especially grassroots service organizations, which are more difficult to reach.

Read more

 

Securing a just and sustainable world means challenging the power of the 1%

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CIVICUS secretary general Danny Sriskandarajah, together with the leaders of ActionAid (Adriano Campolina), AWID (Lydia Alpízar Durán), Greenpeace (Kumi Naidoo) and Oxfam (Winnie Byanyima), have made a joint call for unity against the 1% ahead of the World Social Forum in Tunis.


The widening gap and imbalance of power between the richest and the rest is warping the rules and policies that affect all of us in society, creating a vicious circle of ever growing and harmful undue influence. Global efforts to end poverty and marginalisation, advance women’s rights, defend the environment, protect human rights, and promote fair and dignified employment are all being undermined as a consequence of the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. Decisions are being shaped in the narrow interests of the richest, at the expense of the people as a whole. The economic, ecological and human rights crises we face are intertwined and reinforcing. The influence of the 1% has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

Faced with this challenge, we need to go beyond tinkering, and address the structural causes of inequality: we cannot rely on technological fixes – there is no app for this; we cannot rely on the market – unchecked it will worsen inequality and climate change; and we cannot rely on the global elites – left alone they will continue to reinforce the structures and approaches that have led to where we are. As the Rustlers Valley letter to civil society leaders noted, civil society organisations need to be bold in building from below. We need to help strengthen the power of the people to challenge the people with power.

 

Irish Government should set a higher standard for human rights compliance by business

CIVICUS has submitted recommendations on Ireland's national plan to implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In the submission, CIVICUS argues that civil society should play a central role in implementing and monitoring the plan. CIVICUS also urged Ireland to be proactive in holding companies to account for abuses committed outside its territory. In addition, Ireland must also ensure that effective judicial remedies are available to victims of human rights abuses, while at the same time strengthening regulation of business operations through Irish law.

Download the recommendations here.

 

11 international organisations call on the UN to address restrictions on civil society in Azerbaijan

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Ahead of the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UN HRC), 11 human rights organisations are calling upon the intergovernmental body to address Azerbaijan's rapidly deteriorating environment for human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society organisations (CSOs) and independent media.

 

International Civil Society Week 2016 - Call for expressions of interest for local host in Latin America

Since International Civil Society Week (2014) was such a big success with more than 40 partner-led workshops and more than 630 inspired participants, CIVICUS is excited to continue the conference's legacy by convening the next International Civil Society Week (2016) in Latin America. To begin planning the conference, CIVICUS is seeking a local host partner which can help organise this global affair.

 

What are citizen actions and initiatives? Why participative democracy at local and global level?

mireille-delmas-martyInterview with Mireille Delmas-Marty, Emeritus Professor at Collège de France

This interview seeks to comment on the innovating potential of local democratic practices presented in the CIVICUS- FACTS Report on “Stories of Innovative Democracy at Local Level: Enhancing Participation, Activism and Social Change Across the World". Ms Delmas-Marty shares her analysis of the current governance system, including at the global level, and her vision of a global citizenship.

Read the interview in English or French

 

Kenya must address concerns ahead of Human Rights Council review

Joint Brief by CIVICUS and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
 
21 January 2015 - Ahead of Kenya’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council tomorrow, CIVICUS and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) urge the government to stop its onslaught against civil society and urgently address backsliding on civic freedoms.

 

16 NGOs urge international community to pressure Bahrain to drop charges against Nabeel Rajab

NabeelRajab15 January 2015 – This week, 16 human rights organisations have written to 47 States to express grave concern ahead of a 20 January verdict in the trial of Nabeel Rajab, a prominent Bahraini human rights defender.

Additionally, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain, The Bahrain Center for Human Rights and The Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy sent letters to United Nations officials and Members of Parliament in all 47 States urging them to publicly call on the Government of Bahrain to drop all charges against Rajab.

On 1 October 2014, Rajab reported to the Cyber Crimes Unit of Bahrain’s General Directorate of Criminal Investigations (CID) after being summoned for questioning. Following hours of interrogation in relation to a tweet he published while abroad, Rajab was arrested. The tweet read: “Many #Bahrain men who joined #terrorism & #ISIS came from security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator.”

 

Action 2015

Almost a billion lives hang in the balance at crucial summits in New York & Paris

Famous names back one of the biggest campaigns ever launched

New figures show poverty could increase for the first time in a generation

Action 2015 logoAccording to new research, almost a billion extra people face a life of extreme poverty if leaders duck key decisions on poverty, inequality and climate change due to be taken at two crucial summits in New York and Paris later this year, with billions more continuing to face a life of hardship.

 

CIVICUS condemns draconian sentencing of two Bahraini activists

5 December 2014: Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, is dismayed over the politically motivated sentences handed down this week to Bahraini human rights activists Maryam al-Khawaja and Zainab al-Khawaja. CIVICUS urges the government of Bahrain to end its relentless campaign to silence dissent in the country and release all human rights defenders imprisoned for exercising their legitimate democratic rights. 

 

CIVICUS Welcomes the UN Secretary General's Post-2015 report

4 December 2014: In response to the UN Secretary General's highly anticipated post-2015 synthesis report 'The road to dignity by 2030: ending poverty, transforming all lives and protecting the planet', CIVICUS issued the following statement: 

 

JOINT STATEMENT: Bahrain elections must not be used to cover human rights violations

ElectionsOn 22 November 2014, Bahrain’s citizens will be called to cast their votes for legislative and municipal elections. The elections will be the first to take place since the people of Bahrain took to the streets and squares of the Kingdom in February and March 2011, demanding more openness in the political process and sustained reform to enlarge the space for freedoms and rights enjoyed by Bahraini citizens. Since then, the government of Bahrain has violently repressed any attempt to denounce the human right situation in the country and thwarted any attempt to establish a meaningful and inclusive political dialogue with the opposition. Peaceful protesters, human rights defenders and democracy advocates continue to face extra-judicial detentions, imprisonment, ill treatment and torture in detention centres.

 

Use the UPR to challenge Egypt's crackdown on CSOs - Joint CSO call

The upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Egypt on 5 November 2014 comes at a critical time for human rights, freedoms and independent Egyptian civil society, including rights defenders and democracy activists. As a group of organizations which have documented and spoken out against human rights violations in Egypt, we are urging your Government to use the UPR as an opportunity to challenge the authorities’ crackdown. 

 

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