Announcing CIVICUS new Board Officers

After an energetic and engaging Board Meeting we are proud to announce new Board Officers for the term of 2013-2016 below.

Board Chair & Chair of the Executive Committee
Nyarardzayi Gumbonzvanda 
Follow Nyarardzayi on Facebook and Twitter @NyaradzayiGumbo

Vice Chair
Feliciano Reyna 
Follow Feliciano on Twitter, @fjreyna 

Elisa Peter 
Follow Elisa on Twitter, @elisapeter 

Treasurer & Chair of the Operations Committee
Uygar Özesmi 
Follow Uygar on Twitter, @uygarozesmi 

The Chair of the Governance & Membership Committee will be Anabel Cruz. Follow Anabel on Facebook.

The CIVICUS Board is keen to engage with CIVICUS members and partners to lead, guide and advise the organisation as it moves forward in engaging and advocating for civil society worldwide. Watch this space!

Nasiruddin Elan, Bangladeshi activist, detained and at risk of torture

It is with extreme alarm that CIVICUS demands the Bangladeshi government halt its campaign of harassment against Odhikar, Bangladesh’s leading human rights organization. Odhikar has been drawing attention to human rights abuses since 1994.

elan bhai 
Odhikar’s Director, Nasiruddin Elan, and its Secretary, Adilur Rahman Khan, stand accused of committing offences under the controversial and recently amended Information and Communication Technology Act 2006. Nasiruddin Elan’s plea for bail was rejected this morning by the Cyber Crimes Tribunal which ordered that Elan be detained and taken to jail.
CIVICUS is deeply concerned that Nasiruddin is at risk of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment whilst in detention, and that Adilur Rahman Khan, currently released on bail, is in danger of further politically motivated harassment on spurious charges constructed by the state.
CIVICUS reiterates its call to the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately and unconditionally drop all charges against Adil and Elan and to end all harassment against Odhikar.
For more information please contact

UN expert says elections cannot be legitimate if freedoms of peaceful assembly and association are curtailed

A Global Update by the Civic Space Initiative

The Civic Space Initiative (CSI) welcomes the recent report on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the context of elections by Mr. Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association (UNSR).  The report was presented to the United National General Assembly (UNGA) on October 29. 

In his presentation of the report, Mr. Kiai stated that he had received “numerous complaints from individuals and groups concerning the excessive force used by law enforcement officials in dispersing protests that advocate for electoral reform or challenge election results.”  He argued that the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association are often violated before, during, or after elections particularly in a highly tense political environment.  As “the electoral process is a major avenue” for citizens to participate in democratic governance and “elections confer legitimacy on governments,” he urges UN Member States to ensure the conduct of legitimate elections by protecting those rights.

FreeAssembly dot netCoinciding with the presentation of the report, Mr. Kiai launched, which will serve as a portal for information related to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.  The October 29 report to the UNGA, along with his previous reports to the UN Human Rights Council, is available on this website. It also includes press releases and public statements by Mr. Kiai as well as information related to countries that he has visited or seeks to visit.  Through the website, various stakeholders, especially civil society groups and national human rights institutions, can communicate and share their information directly with UNSR.

No more time outs from poverty - Case Study

Living In a Shanty Town (L.I.S.T)

No more time outs from poverty
27 June 2013
Nairobi, Kenya

In the absence of active engagement with slum dwellers and serious consideration of their points of view and aspirations, most poverty alleviation and youth empowerment programs fail to offer a real chance for breaking the poverty cycle. This dialogue aimed at sparking a conversation between stakeholders that don't usually interact directly with each other in order to jointly share views on how to tackle poverty in Kibera, Nairobi's biggest slum, identifying who can play a role in that change and exploring ways of further engagement with the hope to build and validate an otherwise unlikely partnership. It was hoped that such a dialogue could shift the relations between the beneficiaries of poverty alleviation programs and donors and government agencies.

Incoming CIVICUS Board of Directors 2013-2016

Dear CIVICUS member,

I am writing to you as the current Chair of CIVICUS Board of Directors. As an outgoing Board Member, I am also on the Nominations Committee. The Nominations Committee was established by the CIVICUS Board of Directors to oversee the nominations and elections process for the CIVICUS Board of Directors 2013-2016. The Nominations Committee was given the very challenging task of reviewing the large amount of nominations received, selecting a maximum of 26 candidates that reflected the diversity and balance we seek for the CIVICUS Board and reviewing the election ballots received from CIVICUS voting members.

I am very pleased to announce the incoming CIVICUS Board of Directors. The exceptional quality and talent of the candidates on the ballot paper was reflected in a very tight election. The Nominations Committee examined the election results closely, which resulted in a multi-person tie for the 13th position. To avoid this tie-break, the Nominations Committee ultimately decided to elect 14 candidates to work on the Board of Directors. The names of elected candidates can be found below.

CIVICUS Board of Directors 2013-2016

      Anabel Cruz      Uygar Özesmi       
Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda Elisa Peter
Nabila Hamza   Feliciano Reyna
Wael Hmaidan João Felipe Scarpelini
Joanna Kerr Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye
Anselmo Lee Pauline Wanja
Anne Firth Murray Sam Worthington








We are hoping that most of the newly elected Board Members will be able to join CIVICUS in Johannesburg for the first Board Meeting this November, when they will take on their official duties as elected CIVICUS representatives.

Many thanks to all CIVICUS members for participating in this important process. We received a record number of nominations, and had a large voter turnout in the elections.

Yours sincerely,
 David Bonbright Signature
David Bonbright
Chair, Board of Directors
Member, Nominations Committee

CIVICUS speaks to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights - Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona

Magdalena CarmonaAhead of the release of her next report due to be presented at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2014, CIVICUS speaks to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights - Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona. 

1)    What is the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights?

My role is part of one of the so-called “United Nations special procedures”. Special Procedures are human rights monitoring mechanisms established by the UN Human Rights Council and endorsed to individual experts called “Special Rapporteurs”, “Independent Experts” or “Working Groups", whose common mandate is the investigation and reporting of human rights situations either in a specific territory (country mandates) or with regard to a phenomena of violations (thematic mandates).

The scope of the action of special procedures is truly universal: all the States of the world are monitored by these bodies and they cover civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. As mandate holders, we report on our activities and findings to the most important United Nations bodies dealing with human rights, the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. We also carry out country visits to investigate the situation of human rights in specific domestic contexts. We are independent, we serve in our personal capacity, and we do not receive salaries or any other financial compensation for our work.

2)    How would you describe your working relationship with civil society and how can they make better use of your mechanism to advance human rights of vulnerable groups?

Creating linkages with civil society and using the mandate on extreme poverty as a platform for civil society issues is a definite priority for me as Special Rapporteur. I see immense value in collaborating with and taking up issues being pursued by civil society organisations and grassroots movements. I have enjoyed very productive working relationships with a number of civil society organisations to date, both with respect to my thematic reports and to my country missions, where collaboration with civil society is an essential element of a successful mission.

CIVICUS Webinar: "A new paradigm shift for development: views from civil society"

When: 12PM GMT, 23 October 2013 Where: Online

CIVICUS is pleased to invite you to webinar on "a new paradigm shift for development" which will bring together representatives of civil society organisations to discuss the need for a new approach to development and key reforms needed in global governance. More specifically, the webinar will seek to address the following questions:

  • Why is a new paradigm shift for development necessary?
  • How should key global institutions be reformed to reflect this new shift?
  • How can the voices of citizens be included in decision-making processes?

Please use the following link to register for the event:


Gina Govender, former trade unionist and anti-apartheid activist
Antonella Valmorbida, Association of Local Democracy Agencies
Aldo Caliari, Rethinking Bretton Woods Project
Jenni Williams, Women Of Zimbabwe Arise
Myrna Cunningham, Indigenous Rights Activist

Moderator: CIVICUS

For more information, contact:
Lerato Pagiwa, CIVICUS Communication Officer:
David Kode, CIVICUS Policy and Advocacy Officer:

Prominent Bangladeshi civil society activist released on bail!

On October 11th, Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of Bangladeshi human rights organization Odhikar, was released on bail following over one month in pre-trial detention.
    Adil free        
Adil was originally arrested on 10 August 2013 in apparent reprisal for publishing reports critical of the government’s response to May 2013 demonstrations in Dhaka in which over 60 people were reportedly killed.

While CIVICUS welcomes the decision to release Adil on bail, we reiterate our call that the government drop all charges against him and end the harassment of Odhikar and other human rights defenders persecuted for their legitimate work.

For more information please visit the CIVICUS Civil Society Behind Bars page

An open letter to the African Union from War Crimes Victims

What follows is an open letter from Victor Ochen, a Ugandan civic leader and victims' rights advocate. Ochen is the founder of the Africa Youth Initiative Network, which works with war crimes victims in Northern Uganda. Ochen brings a perspective that has been completely overlooked at this meeting of the African Union and his missive ought to be heeded by governments seeking to exit the ICC.

Africa made of Country Flags
To the Kind Attention of Your Excellencies the African Presidents:

I write to you as a fellow African, as a brother to you and those millions of Africans who continues to suffer from different forms of injustices. Above all, as someone who shares with you the deep love for our beloved continent. I reach to you Heads of African States, with my deepest compassion in the light of the effects of decades of dreadful conflicts in Africa. I do believe that my views are widely shared by majority of Africans and people around the world with desires to see profound meaningful and positive change comes to the continent. Above all, I am representing the voices of victims and survivors whose lives have been shattered by wars, and who are living with great despair, anger and bitterness.

Enhancing religious pluralism and tolerance - Case Study

AFFCAD-293x300Action For Fundamental Change and Development (AFFCAD)
Enhancing Religious Pluralism and Tolerance - Multi Stakeholders' Meetings and Dialogue in Kawempe Municipality
May - June 2013
Kampala, Uganda

This project was motivated by the perceptions that the many faith-based organisations in Kawempe Municipality tie their humanitarian assistance to the faith they profess, which has created tensions, mistrust and hatred within the local communities. This initiative was thus intended to encourage these organisations to enhance and mainstream religious pluralism and tolerance in their work to promote peaceful co-existence and to ensure community cohesion at local level.

Stakeholders forum on building citizen engagement and participation - Case Study

Niger-Delta-Womens-Movement-for-Peace-and-DevelopmentNiger Delta Women's Movement for Peace and Development (NDWMPD)
Stakeholders forum on building citizen engagement and participation
5 June 2013
Ughelli, Nigeria

The forum was conceived as a one day capacity building workshop and engagement forum for citizens from the Niger Delta communities, multinationals companies, local governments and civil society organisations. Its ambition was to provide an opportunity for reflection on the roles and responsibilities that several economic and social groups play in the Niger Delta's environmental, economic and socal situation today. In many rural communities, most citizens, especially women, do not participate in the decisions that affect their daily lives, and there is often a lack of trust between citizens and local officials. Communities have also been suffering from the negative effects of oil's extraction without necessarily benefiting from this industry. The objectives of this dialogue were primarily to increase citizens' knowledge and participation about those issues and to create opportunities for citizens and relevant stakeholders to engage with each other to improve their community.

Social responsibility: A commitment to cross learning - Case Study


Centro Ecuatoriano de Derecho Ambiental (CEDA)
Social responsibility: a commitment to cross learning
20 June 2013
Quito, Ecuador

CEDA sought to promote innovation in the management of civil society organisations (CSOs) based on the experiences of the private sector and through the creation of new channels of dialogue and learning between them. This new space for dialogue would allow sharing specific experiences of social responsibility, analysing and discussing its implementation in the civil society and social sector.

CEDA has been working on positioning the corporate social responsibility as a management model which could allow for a better accountability for CSOs, and this dialogue between CSOs and private companies in Ecuador built on the private sector's interest in actions based management models in social responsibility.

"Strengthening the Conditions for Civil Society" - Launch of the CIVICUS Enabling Environment Index

CIVICUS recently published its new Enabling Environment Index, showing that many governments around the world are failing to keep their promise to create an environment that allows citizens to mobilise and participate in civil society.
To share its findings, CIVICUS is holding a launch event in London on Tuesday 8 October, 13:00 – 15:00 at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3EU. It will include a panel discussion on the road to effectively measuring civil society health, what the results mean for the UK, and its role in protecting civil society conditions domestically and around the world.
Please RSVP to Radmila Evanics () if you would like to attend. Places are limited and on a first come first serve basis.

Light refreshments will be provided.

You can view the event programme here
You can view the full report and Index findings here

Azerbaijan: Civil society and media crackdown underway in the run-up to presidential elections

30 September 2013. The government of Azerbaijan’s intensified crackdown on independent dissent severely undermines the prospect of free, fair and credible presidential elections, says global civil society alliance, CIVICUS and the Azerbaijan-based Center for National and International Studies (CNIS).

azerbaijan elections
“The government’s pre-emptive campaign to silence independent journalists, human rights defenders and civil society groups ahead of the October 9th elections is emblematic of the systematic and widespread repression of civil society in the country,” said Ine Van Severen of CIVICUS. “Azerbaijan’s European trade and development partners need to revaluate their relationship with the government and demand greater protection for democratic freedoms in light of the country’s international obligations,” said Severen.

A Call for Justice for Post-2015

Civl Society Voices

 New York, September 23, 2013. “The economy is growing, but poverty is increasing. Clearly, we need to change the way we define progress”, said one participant in a community meeting in Nigeria on development priorities. This was among the key messages shared by civil society representatives from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe at the United Nations Headquarters today, ahead of the UN Special Event on 25th September where Governments will debate what should follow the Millennium Development Goals after their 2015 deadline.

“We need to seek out the people who are not usually heard in these high level debates – this is what we are trying to do here” said Richard Ssewakiryanga from the Uganda NGO Forum.

Call for Expressions of Interest: Convening partners to conduct locally initiated multi-stakeholder dialogues

Español | Français | Português

Application deadline: 15 October 2013

We are living in an age characterized by climate change, financial collapse, resource depletion and a growing gap between rich and poor, amongst other factors. In order to properly address those complex challenges and demands, societies need to adopt new approaches fostering innovative, cross-sector, decision-making and action strategies. To explore these new pathways for participation, CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, has launched the action-based research project, New Social Contract.

AFFCAD Multistakeholder Dialogue in Uganda

Within this framework, CIVICUS seeks Expressions of Interest by potential convening partners to organise and oversee locally-initiated multi-stakeholder dialogues, following the methodological approach proposed by the project. More specifically, we are looking for:

  • A relevant challenge (social, economic, environmental) existing in a given community, that – if properly tackled by a group of diverse stakeholders joining hands and bringing their added value to the table - could lead to a systemic change;
  • A convening partner (or a small group of co-convenors) that is directly affected by this challenge, is able to articulate the potential impact of an inclusive dialogue and identify and engage relevant stakeholders.

Prominent Iranian human rights defender freed

CIVICUS welcomes the release of prominent human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh and at least ten Iranian prisoners of conscience on 18 September 2013.Nasrin and Son

Arrested in September 2010, Nasrin was sentenced to 6 years in prison as a result of her work as a human rights lawyer and member of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders in Iran.

While the decision to release Narsin represents a welcome step in the right direction, CIVICUS urges the government to revoke the unwarranted ban preventing Nasrin from practising law and from leaving Iran for 20 years and further release all prisoners of conscience imprisoned as reprisal for their legitimate human rights work.  

For more information please visit Civil Society Behind Bars or contact

the New Social Contract project

Through the New Social Contract project, CIVICUS seeks to find new ways of partnerships, engagements and commitments around collective goals for society. New Social Contract will input on the discussions around participative governance and how to reconsider the rules that govern how citizens engage in the decisions that affect their lives.

Through local, multi-level and virtual activities and consultations New Social Contract will gather compelling examples of collaborations, commitments and action strategies taking place between diverse stakeholders around the world, including government, business, scientific community and the civic sector, across a broad range of issues.

One method to do so will be the co-organisation with convening partners of locally initiated multi-stakeholder dialogues, following a methodology developed by CIVICUS. The local partners will be selected through a call for expressions of interest, based on the relevance of the proposed challenge, their willingness to address it and their motivations, reasons and interest to establish a local multi-stakeholder platform.

Joint Submission to the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on Sri Lanka

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, FORUM-ASIA, Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative would like to draw the attention of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been under review by the UN Human Rights Council, since March 2013 for its government's egregious human rights abuses, both past and ongoing. The UN Secretary‐General's Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka, in its April 2011 report, found credible allegations associated with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by both, the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. These abuses have been well documented and have twice been the cause of censure at the Council. In the latest development, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, in her observations at the end of her official mission to Sri Lanka between 25 and 31 August 2013, highlights several of our past and continuing concerns.

Read the full submission


International CSOs call on Bangladeshi Prime Minister to immediately release advocate Adilur Rahman Khan

Adilur Rahman Khan

A group of international civil society organisations has called on the Bangladeshi Prime Minister to immediately release advocate Adilur Rahman Khan. In a joint letter to the Prime Minister they note Mr Khan’s extensive work with Odhikar, the organisation for which he is the Secretary, as well as his human rights work and campaigns against extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association. Mr. Khan’s arrest and subsequent detention under the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006 appears to be aimed at intimidating and silencing critics of the Bangladeshi government.

Read the full letter here

Bahraini activist Nabeel Rajab spends a second birthday behind bars

Nabeel Rajab Today, on 1 September, Nabeel Rajab, the prominent Bahraini activist and president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Director of the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, spends a second birthday behind bars.

CIVICUS joins thousands around the world in calling for the immediate release of Mr. Rajab, who is being unjustly persecuted for his work as a human rights defender and for his peaceful role in the Bahrain peoples’ uprising which began in February 2011.

Sign the petition for Nabeel Rajab’s release on Civil Society Behind Bars!
For more information please contact

CIVICUS Alert: Attacks on free speech in Fiji continue

Activists are increasingly being targeted as freedom of expression is threatened in Fiji. In the latest instance, on 9 August, a High Court Judge sentenced human rights defender and head of the Citizens Constitutional Forum (CCF) Reverend Akuila Yabaki to a three months suspended sentence for “contempt of court.”

Fiji Free Speech

Reverend Yabaki was accused of reproducing the summary of an article in his organisation, CCF’s newsletter, Tutaka.  The article originally published by the Law Society of England and Wales” noted that “there is no rule of law” in Fiji and the “independence of the judiciary cannot be relied upon.”

The judge indicated that Reverend Yabaki’s sentence was suspended on condition that he pays a FJD $ 2000 (approximately US $1000) fine within a month of the handing of the sentence.  The court also demanded that he pays FJD $ 2500 (approximately US $ 1250) as costs to the Attorney General’s Office. In addition, CCF was also fined FJD $20000 (approximately US $10000) and asked to issue an apology which must be pre-approved by the courts and then published in CCF’s newsletter.

Pacific development goals post 2015 will be more ambitious

The Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme says the Pacific’s development goals beyond 2015 will be more ambitious and deal with unfinished business.

Helen Clark says the Millennium Development Goals have been mostly successful - there is less poverty, more children in school and fewer babies dying in the Pacific.

But she says beyond 2015, there is still plenty of work to be done.

HELEN CLARK: In my opinion, the MDGs have been a success. That’s not to say that every country has achieved every goal, which obviously is not the case. But overall there’s been tremendous progress reducing poverty, tremendous progress towards getting every child in school, fewer babies and children dying. So we have to say there’s success, but there’s unfinished business. And now as we’re talking about what will follow the MDGs in 2015, we’re looking at how to finish the unfinished business, but also be more ambitious.

MARY BAINES: So places like Solomon Islands are expected not to meet those goals? What about other places like Melanesian states, Polynesia, Micronesia - are they going to meet their goals?

Read more at Radio New Zealand International


Key report to General Assembly outlines Secretary General's vision of 'a world we have a right to expect' Ban ki Moon

The UN has just released the Secretary General’s report to the forthcoming General Assembly on progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals and recommendations for what should replace them in 2015. The report, entitled “A life of dignity for all,” is a powerful and timely endorsement of the need to follow up the MDGs with a holistic and transformative framework of development commitments anchored in the universal fulfillment of human rights.

Echoing the central premise that has motivated CESR’s advocacy and analysis over the last two years, the report asserts that ending poverty is “a matter of basic justice and human rights”. It includes a welcome recognition that freedom from fear and want are inseparable, and that human rights encompass the economic and social dimensions of human well-being. “No person should go hungry, lack shelter or clean water and sanitation, face social and economic exclusion or live without access to basic health services and education”, says the Secretary General. “These are human rights, and form the foundations for a decent life.”

Read more at the Center for Economic and Social Rights

International Civil Society Week: Citizen Action, People Power

International Civil Society Week: Citizen Action, People Power
8th - 15th November, Johannesburg, South Africa

CIVICUS and its partners will host a series of events from 8-15 November in Johannesburg, South Africa, which will bring civil society organisations and activists together to address some of the most important issues facing global civil society today. International Civil Society Week is expected to convene more than 300 civil society actors from around the world.

Below, you will find the full programme for the week, as well as hyperlinks to registration forms and contact details for more information. You can also download your International Civil Society Week welcome pack.


9 Nov

Registration closed

Global Call for action Against Poverty (GCAP) Global Assembly

Protea Hotel Parktonian

Invitation only

CIVICUS Board of Directors Meeting

ActionAid Offices


10 Nov

Registration closed

Global Call for action Against Poverty (GCAP) Global Assembly

Constitution Hill

Invitation only

CIVICUS Board of Directors Meeting

ActionAid Offices

Invitation only

Development Awareness Raising and Education (DARE) Forum

Protea Hotel Parktonian

Invitation only

Post 2015 and the Enabling Environment for Civil Society

Protea Hotel Parktonian


11 Nov

Registration closed

DEEEP “Building a Global Citizens Movement” Conference

Protea Hotel Parktonian

Registration open

The State of Human Rights and Civic Space in the Commonwealth – read the concept note

Protea Hotel Parktonian
Register here


12 Nov

Registration closed

DEEEP “Building a Global Citizens Movement” Conference

Protea Hotel Parktonia

Open for observation

CIVICUS Members’ Annual General Meeting

Wits Science Stadium

Registration open

Old Struggles, New Movements Event - view the poster

Wits Science Stadium
Register here


13 Nov

Invitation only

African Human Rights Defenders Workshop

Gender Links Cottages

Invitation only

Affinity Group of National Associations (AGNA) Annual General Meeting


Invitation only

CIVICUS Youth Advisory Group Workshop


Invitation only

Global Perspectives 2013 Conference

Sunnyside Park Hotel


14 Nov

Invitation only

CIVICUS Youth Advisory Group Workshop


Registration open

Meet the CIVICUS Youth Advisory Group Event – view profiles

Register here

Invitation only

Global Perspectives 2013 Conference

Sunnyside Park Hotel


15 Nov

Invitation only

Global Perspectives 2013 Conference

Sunnyside Park Hotel

CIVICUS stands in solidarity with detained Bangladeshi human rights defender Adilur Rahman Khan

CIVICUS expresses shock at the arrest and subsequent detention of Adilur Rahman Khan, Secretary of the prominent Bangladeshi Adilur Rahman Khanhuman rights NGO, Odhikar, a CIVICUS member. Adil was arrested in front of his house on the night of 10 August by plain clothed police from the Detective Branch. No warrant was produced at the time of his arrest. Adil was taken before a judicial magistrate on 11 August and has been remanded to custody for five days. He is reportedly being accused of violating the Information and Communication Technology Act for the publication of a fact finding mission report by Odhikar on the alleged killing of 61 people by Bangladeshi security forces in May 2013.

CIVICUS believes that Adil is being unjustly persecuted for his work and beliefs as a human rights defender by Bangladesh’s security forces. Adil and Odhikar have been particularly active in raising concerns about Bangladesh’s human rights record at international forums including the UN Human Rights Council. He has been threatened and placed under surveillance in the past.

CIVICUS has written to the Head of Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission in Geneva amid heightened concerns about Adil’s safety and security in custody.

CIVICUS asks you to spread the word and join the call for Adilur Rahman Khan’s release by signing the petition to Bangladesh’s Prime Minister here

Find out more:
Odhikar statement on arrest of Adilur Rahman Khan 

International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus

Ales Bialiatski

In commemoration of "International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society of Belarus", CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation reiterates its call for the immediate release of imprisoned Belarusian activist, Ales Bialiatski.

Bialiatski, the founder of one of Belarus' leading human rights organisations, "Viasna", was sentenced in August 2011 to four and a half years in prison as reprisal for his work and beliefs as part of the government's on-going crackdown on civic dissent. Today, Belarus has one of the most disenabling and oppressive operating environments for civil society in the world.

Sign the petition for Ales Bialiatski's release on Civil Society Behind Bars!
For more information please contact Tor[dot]Hodenfield[at]

CIVICUS busca candidatos para integrar su nuevo Consejo de Administración.

24 de junio 2013

CIVICUS: Alianza Mundial para la Participación Ciudadana está buscando candidatos a  la elección de su nuevo Consejo de Administración. El actual Consejo se está acabando, y estamos buscando dirigentes de la sociedad civil competentes para ayudar en la gestión de la organización desde fines de 2013 hasta fines de 2016.

1. Funcionamiento

Los miembros de CIVICUS pueden ahora ser candidato a la elección del nuevo Consejo de CIVICUS. Después del 28 de julio 2013, un Comité de Nominaciones de CIVICUS (compuesto de los actuales miembros del Consejo quienes no pueden presentarse a estas elecciones) examinara las candidaturas recibidas y seleccionara los 26 candidatos más calificados quienes corresponden más a los criterios enunciados abajo.

Scoring Local Democracy

CIVICUS Guest Column by John Coonrod, PhD, Executive Vice President, The Hunger Project

All politics is local. The truth of this saying is underscored by the experience of my Hunger Project colleagues working in 20,000 villages, as well as by studies such as the World Bank’s massive 2010 study “Moving Out of Poverty.”

Progress on all eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) requires planning and action at the local level: food security, jobs, primary health care, primary education, changing gender attitudes, water, sanitation and preserving the natural environment.

While national governments need to provide resources and standards, the nitty-gritty details of ensuring that people can reach these fundamental services depends on local government.

When we look at success stories where people have rapidly liberated themselves from extreme poverty - such as in Brazil and the Kerala state of India - these are often the result of strong decentralisation and strong mechanisms of participatory local democracy that involves a vibrant local civil society.

Yet good local governance is virtually absent from the international agenda. How do we transform this?

Civil Society Week: Bringing citizen voice into the post-2015 development vision

French | Spanish

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation would like to invite you to a series of civil society events taking place between 10th and 15th November 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Coming just two months after the UN General Assembly meetings in New York in September, the week of strategising, dialogue and mobilisation will be a key milestone and space for global civil society to chart a route forwards on how to bring real citizen voice, accountability and mobilisation into the newly emerging development vision.

Two major global civil society conferences, at the heart of the week, are being hosted for the first time outside of Europe:

  • The conference on Building a Global Citizens Movement, convened by CONCORD/DEEEP, will take place on 11-12 November, and bring grassroots activists and social movements together with organised civil society. A session hosted by CIVICUS and partners, with a special South African focus, will connect the experiences of yesterday’s struggle activists with more recent social justice movements.
  • The International Civil Society Centre's Global Perspectives 2013 conference engages global and national CEOs of leading international civil society organisations in a dialogue around navigating disruptive change. The conference is co-hosted by ActionAid International and CIVICUS and will take place on 13-15 November.

In the wings of these two important conferences, CIVICUS will also organise a range of side meetings and events, bringing together many of its existing networks for regular meetings and holding a number of workshops, for example on strengthening the enabling environment for civil society. We will also convene the alliance’s membership Annual General Meeting, Board of Directors, and Youth Advisory Group.

In late 2012, CIVICUS announced that it would not hold a CIVICUS World Assembly in 2013, instead using the year to learn and evaluate what kind of spaces could best convene global civil society around the issues that matter. While we carry on this learning process, the series of events scheduled for 10th – 15th November will provide an important space and opportunity for global civil society to convene, and is expected to bring together around 500 civil society leaders and activists.

Are you interested in participating in or organising your own session in the wings of the CIVICUS civil society week? We want to bring as many CSOs, activists and friends of civil society to Johannesburg as possible for this important week, so please let us know as soon as possible by emailing , and watch this space for details of formal application and registration!

CIVICUS cherche des candidats pour son nouveau Conseil d'Administration

24 juin 2013

Veuillez télécharger et compléter le formulaire de mise en candidature en Anglais, Espagnol, Français. La date limite de dépôt des candidatures est le dimanche 28 Juillet 2013.

CIVICUS: Alliance Mondiale pour la Participation Citoyenne recherche des candidats pour l'élection de son nouveau Conseil d'Administration. A l'heure où le mandat de l'actuel Conseil touche à sa fin, l'alliance mondiale de la société civile pour le renforcement de l'action citoyenne recherche des dirigeants de la société civile compétents afin d'aider à diriger et gérer l'organisation de fin 2013 à fin 2016.

1. Fonctionnement

Les membres de CIVICUS peuvent maintenant être candidat à l'élection du nouveau Conseil de CIVICUS. Passé ce délai (28 juillet 2013), un Comité de Nominations de CIVICUS (composé des actuels membres du Conseil qui ne peuvent pas se présenter pour ces élections) examinera les candidatures reçues et sélectionnera les 26 candidats les plus qualifiés, et qui répondent le mieux aux critères énoncés ci-dessous.

The Revolution Continues

by Marlyn Tardros, PhD Executive Director of Virtual Activism

The world watched the January 25th revolution which ousted long-time president Hosni Mubarak. Now the world is watching again, this time with less optimism. But this is the story of a people who refuse anything less than freedom. Egyptians of all walks of life are not sleeping in tonight. Everyone throughout Egypt is on the streets determined to continue their revolution which had been interrupted.

Tahrir Square Panorama by Mohamed Azazy on Flickr

Words from a Syrian prison


Mazen Darwish, president of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression, has been held in detention for more than a year by the Syrian authorities. Mazen’s colleagues have appealed to CIVICUS to highlight his case ahead of the International Day of Torture on 26 June. 

CIVICUS looking for nominations for its new Board of Directors

Read this call in French or Spanish

Download forms (EnglishSpanishFrench). Nominations close Sunday 28 July 2013

CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation is looking for nominations for election to its Board of Directors. As the term of the current Board draws to a close, we - the global civil society alliance dedicated to strengthening citizen action - are now searching for suitable civil society leaders to help steer and govern the organisation from the end of 2013 to the end of 2016.

1. How it works

Members of CIVICUS can now be nominated to stand for election to the new CIVICUS Board. Once the deadline(28 July 2013) has passed, a CIVICUS Nominations Committee (comprised of current Board members who will not be eligible to stand for election) will review the nominations received and select the 26 most suitable candidates to stand for election, who best fit the criteria outlined below.

An election will then be held, in which CIVICUS members with voting rights will elect 13 of the 26 candidates on the ballot paper. The 13 successful candidates will then be elected as the new Board of Directors, taking up their positions in November 2013 for a three-year term. The first meeting of the new Board is expected to take place in Johannesburg in the week beginning 11 November 2013. Board members appointed for the first term in 2013 will be eligible to stand for their second, final term again in 2016.

"The arrival of a new political generation"- Brazilian human rights advisor speaks on the Brazil protests

Maurício Santoro, human rights advisor at Amnesty International Brazil speaks on the on-going protests in his country and what they mean for civil society.

EC2014 confed protests

1)      Many are connecting the protests in Brazil to the protests in Turkey. Your thoughts?
There is a direct link. When the Brazilian demonstrations began, the activists in São Paulo were shouting: "Turkey is here".  Besides that, there any many similarities, both countries are democracies, with leaders who enjoy high rates of popularity at polls and they are not in economic crises - in contrast with the United States or the European Union. Even so, president Dilma Rosseff and prime minister Recep Erdogan are facing huge demonstrations in the major cities of their nations.

Africa making great strides toward many MDG targets yet serious challenges remain

Converting Africa’s impressive economic performance over the past decade into greater gains on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remains a primary challenge for Africa, according to a new report.

Released today, The MDG Report 2013: Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals concludes that while Africa is the world’s second fastestgrowing region, its rate of poverty reduction is insufficient to reach the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015.

The progress report, prepared by the African Union Commission (AUC), UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), was launched on the final day of the African Union Summit.

Read more at African Brains

Venezuela achieved key Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), recognized Wednesday that Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Peru are the only countries in Latin America to have already achieved the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) related to reducing poverty and malnutrition.

The first of the MDGs – to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – involves reducing by half the number of people who suffer from malnutrition between the years 1990 and 2012. This was also the biggest challenge to emerge at the World Food Summit.

In addition to the three Latin American nations, several other countries around the world were also recognized by the FAO for reducing poverty and malnutrition: Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Djibouti, Georgia, Ghana, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Thailand, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

Read more at SiBCI

Jordan achieves 2015 anti- hunger target- FAO

Jordan was among 38 countries worldwide that were able to halve the proportion of hungry people between 1990-92 and 2010-2012, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Wednesday.

FAO said in a statement, posted on its website, that these countries have met internationally established targets in the fight against hunger, Millennium Development Goal (MDG) number one, making successes ahead of a deadline set for 2015.

Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger is one of eight MDGs to be met by all the world's countries by 2015. The other goals are: reducing child mortality, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, improving maternal health, combating diseases such as HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability and creating global partnerships for development.


Women Deliver 2013: Lessons learned for Indonesia

The Women Deliver 2013 Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur concluded with a united call for continued investment in girls and women at a time when the world critically needs to prioritize girls and women in the lead up to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline and beyond.

All speakers and panelists at the conference, billed as the biggest in the decade, addressed the importance of placing girls and women at the center of the next development agenda, discussing advocacy strategies to keep girls’ and women’s needs in focus by prioritizing gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women to make their own decisions on the lives they lead.

Read more at The Jakarta Post

Thoughts on the UN- High Level Panel’s Post- 2015 Report

The U.N. high-level report on the post-2015 framework reflects an evolution on global development thinking that departs substantially from the MDGs, writes Terra Lawson-Remer, Fellow for Civil Society, Markets and Democracy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Last week the U.N. High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda released its long anticipated report: A New Global Partnership: Eradicate Poverty and Transform Economies Through Sustainable Development. I’ve finally had time to give the long report a good read. It is an aspirational manifesto, reflecting a “new mainstream” in development thinking that departs substantially from the development thinking of the 80s, 90s or even the 2000s.
The HLP focuses on some critical issues that have too long been sidelined: governance and rule of law, inequality and social and economic exclusion, and sustainability (especially climate change) to advance shared opportunity within and across generations. The report also recognizes the central role played by global economic rules, rather than aid flows, in creating opportunity or perpetuating poverty and exclusion. This attention to the local impact of global rules is similarly the starting point of my ongoing CFR series on poverty, inequality, and global economic governance.

Read more devex

The Post- 2015 Development Agenda: New Goals, New Questions

On 30 May 2013, the High-Level Panel assembled by the UN Secretary General published its recommendations for the post-2015 development agenda. The document outlines both a general view on the future of global development (culminating in the five ‘big, transformative shifts’) and a list of goals and targets to follow up on the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The new list is longer than the original: there are now 12 instead of eight goals, and 53 instead of 21 targets. Two clear observations can be drawn from this sheer rise in numbers. First, the increase may be interpreted as an indication of a wider and higher level of ambition. Coming from this group of eminent persons, including many political leaders, this is a positive factor. Despite attracting various critiques, the MDGs have been a positive focusing device for policy and thinking about policy. By increasing the scope of goals, this focusing function is potentially stronger because it will affect a larger set of relevant issues.

Read more at Talkin’ Business

At General Assembly debate, UN officials stress vital role of culture in development

United Nations officials today highlighted the need to recognize the vital role of culture in poverty reduction and sustainable growth, and to ensure that it is integrated into the post-2015 development agenda.

As Member States plot the course for the global development agenda after 2015, the target date for achieving the anti-poverty objectives known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the General Assembly convened today’s high-level thematic debate to consider the role and impact of culture on development.

“The significance of the nexus between culture and development for the post-2015 agenda is not yet fully grasped,” said the President of the Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, who convened the debate in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Read more at UN News Centre

Liberia: Pres. Sirleaf on Global Fund Replenishment

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has endorsed the replenishment of funding for the Global Fund and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership.
In a dispatch from Japan, President Sirleaf who spoke just at the close of an opening statement by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, recalled her appointment by Mr. Ban in July 2012, to co-chair, along with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia and Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, and a Panel of 24 eminent persons, to consult and devise a new development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

Read more at allAfrica

Ethiopia: Addis Ababa Hosting Global Cooperation Symposium

The High-Level Global Cooperation for Development Symposium is happening in Ethiopia 6 to 7 June 2013. It intends to see "A renewed global partnership for development for a post-2015 era".

High level delegations from over 100 countries both developed and developing have convened in Addis Ababa to look into the performance of the Millennium Development Goals and to see how the remaining goals would be achieved.

Addressing the Symposuim Sofian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development reckons Africa is on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

The Symposium intends to renew the global partnership for development to meet goals that haven't been achieved and may possibly be unmet in the coming two three years.

This Symposium is a preparatory meeting to the upcoming symposium in 2014 that will convene to renew the millennium development goals for post 2015.

Read more at allAfrica

Good governance: A post- 2015 milestone

Anti-corruption and governance are undeniably key factors for achieving and sustaining development, globally as well as nationally. Governance and anti-corruption serve as forces behind eliminating poverty. Both are preconditions for sustainable and equitable development.
Until now, however, they have not been fully integrated into development agendas and efforts, most notably the Millennium Development Goals that were agreed in 2000 and which are to be achieved by 2015.
Yet all this may be about to change.
On Friday, a high-level panel of experts convened by the U.N. issued a report that identified 12 areas for goals that are to succeed the MDGs come 2015. Included is a stand-alone goal to ensure good governance and effective institutions, including a target to reduce bribery and corruption. It also put governance among the “transformative” factors affecting development beyond 2015. Putting governance so high on the agenda shows how much the development debate has shifted since 2000.

Read more at devex

Time to Deliver for Women: The Post- 2015 Agenda

May was a great month for showcasing the centrality of women to every single goal on the international agenda for development and poverty eradication. Dare I call it a watershed moment? It depends on what happens next.

The third Women Deliver conference -- a global call for action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women -- closed on the day that the UN's High Level Panel on post-2015 development objectives issued its recommendations. Both groups declared that poverty cannot be eradicated until no one, especially girls and women, is left behind.

The message: we must all get out of the "silos" that have each of us working against one problem in the development world while ignoring the rest. We must instead recognize that just as our targets are interlinked -- HIV/AIDS, family planning, maternal mortality, violence against women, child marriage -- so must our work -- and our spending -- be comprehensive as well.

Read more at Huffington Post

African starts dialogue on new global partnership for development

New global partnership for development - Global partnerships in development could work for Africa if they were aligned with the strategic vision of the continent and buttressed by a unified continental voice, Carlos Lopes, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said here Thursday.

”In contrast,” Lopes added, “the partnerships that underpinned the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) framework did not go far enough to address some of the daunting challenges facing African countries.”

Lopes was addressing the opening session of a two-day high-level symposium that is discussing the future and features of a renewed global partnership for a post-2015 era, after the completion of the MDGs period in September 2015.

The symposium is the first of three major consultations in preparation for the Development Cooperation Forum that will be organised by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in July 2014 in New York to advance global dialogue on the future of development cooperation.

Read more AfriqueJet

MTN pledges continued support for education

MTN Ghana has pledged to work with the government in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on education.

Mr James Bukari Basintale, General Manager of the Northern Business District of the Company, said this is in appreciation of the critical importance of education to the development of both the individual and the nation.
“It is the main resource that builds the human capital of every country.”

Launching the “Y’ellow Care 2013”, a community support activity, under the theme: “Investing in education for all”, he made reference to a research report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which indicates that if all “students in low income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty and this will contribute to reducing global poverty rate by 12 per cent”.

Read more at Vibe

MP urges local groups to join fight against poverty

Graham Stuart MP is encouraging charities and not-for-profit groups in Beverley and Holderness to bid for money from a £4m fund to support efforts to reduce global poverty.

The Global Poverty Action Fund’s Community Partnership Window allows small, UK-based organisations to put forward innovative ideas in pursuit of the Millennium Development Goals to help the poorest people around the world.
The bidding process has now opened and closes on 9 July 2013.

Mr Stuart said: “The Millennium Development Goals are a range of ambitious targets that were set by the leaders of 189 countries in 2000 and include the eradication of extreme hunger, the promotion of universal primary education, reduction in child mortality and improvement of maternal health.

Read more at  Driffield Times & Post



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