UN Spotlight for Dark Shadow over Civil Society Rights

With more and more governments narrowing space for dissent and activism, the UN has emerged as a key platform to air concerns about acute rights violations and develop protections for civil society and other vulnerable groups.

The core freedoms that enable civil society to conduct its work are under threat across the world. A report recently released by CIVICUS, the global civil society alliance, documented serious violations of the freedoms of association, expression and peaceful assembly in 109 countries. Individual activists and journalists are also increasingly being targeted to prevent them from exercising their legitimate rights and undertaking their vital work. In 2015, Global witness documented the killing of three environmental activists per week – while the Committee to Protect Journalists identified 199 journalists who were behind bars at the end of 2015.
Read on: IPS News

 

Teachers and Students: Tip of Iceberg of Mexico’s Human Rights Crisis

Mexico is experiencing a monumental human rights crisis. There is abundant evidence of widespread human rights violations in the country, including torture, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and violence against journalists and human rights defenders. As worrying as the hard data is, what’s even more worrying is the Mexican government’s continued refusal to acknowledge the situation. In the words of Yésica Sánchez Maya of Consorcio Oaxaca, a local civil society organisation, the State “is investing more efforts and resources in denying the existence of a problem that is apparent [to the whole world] than in actually solving it.”
Read on: IPS News

 

Egypt: Targeting Mozn harmful to MENA regional gender justice struggle

When the Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) Regional Coalition for Middle East and North Africa met this past week in Beirut, one seat was noticeably empty. While completing departure procedures at Cairo International Airport, authorities informed Mozn Hassan –passionate activist, co-founder and North Africa advisor for the Coalition, and executive director of the inspirational Nazra for Feminist Studies - that she was banned from travel.
Read on: Open Democracy: Arab Awakening

 

Re-igniting youth participation at CIVICUS

In recent years there has been an explosion of attention and focus on young people. As “43% of the world population is under 30 and only 1.8 billion people are between 10 and 24 years old”  young people are a global force that is striving to make their communities a better place. But as civil society faces constrictions and barriers, there is need to support youth organisations and movements to ensure they continue their good work.   

At CIVICUS, we are working to make sure that young people’s voices are heard, given a platform in our global civil society alliance and ultimately influence our work. Since 2007, CIVICUS has formally recognised the leading role that young people play within local, national and international civil society with the organization of CIVICUS Youth Assembly, which has become an established part of our work. With Youth Assemblies held in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 and most recently in Bogota in April 2016, CIVICUS have ensured a dedicated space for young people to be an integral part of the way we approach civil society discussions.

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Youth at the forefront of sustainability

By Fideline Mboringong and Angga D. Martha

Earth is the one place that we all call home, but it is being suffocated by the exceptional pressure to provide natural resources to support demand from the ever increasing population. This excessive demand induced by the extreme capitalism logic, currently exceeds the earth’s regenerating capacity and the situation looks to be worsening. Unsustainable production and consumption patterns/ lifestyles are the order of the day as countries strive towards economic growth. Consumption and production patterns have a great impact on people and the environment now and will continue for future generations.

With this in mind, the United Nations launched the campaign for this year’s International Youth Day under the theme “The Road to 2030: Eradicating Poverty and Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production”, focusing on the leading role of young people in ensuring poverty eradication and achieving sustainable development through sustainable consumption and production. 

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Putting citizens at its heart: The UN needs a 21st century makeover

Most of today’s intergovernmental institutions – the UN included – were designed in the 1940s and 50s, with the pre-eminence of states in their blueprint and post-War hierarchies at their heart. It is a global governance system that has produced some hugely significant and positive outcomes, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the 1951 Refugee Convention, to CITES.

 

Challenging exclusion: why civil society matters

We live in an age of multiple paradoxes. In times of unparalleled wealth creation, according to Oxfam,  just 62 people own as much wealth as half of humanity while 700 million people or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population are said to live in extreme poverty on less than $1.9 a day.

 

We must step up the struggle for LGBTI rights

Every generation has its iconic struggle for equality, from the civil rights movement to the push towards gender parity. Today, that struggle is for LGBTI rights. For our generation, this debate sits at the vanguard of society’s efforts to achieve greater equality and inclusivity.

 

Five things international NGOs are blamed for

I hear lots of talk – sometimes in public and often in private – about the role of big NGOs in development. For many, international NGOs (INGOs) have become part of the problem, rather than the solution. I thought it might be useful to look at the top five accusations I hear levelled against INGOs.

 

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