- Category: News
- Published on 10 March 2014
CIVICUS is supporting a new campaign to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis in Syria. You can see who else is part of the campaign by visiting www.with-Syria.org
The 15th March marks the third year anniversary of the Syria crisis - a crisis that has been labelled one of the worst of our generation; half the country has been forced to flee their homes; over 100,000 people have been killed.
In the run up to the anniversary, Syrian groups, prominent international NGOs, former world leaders and celebrities around the world are holding vigils in over 30 countries, turning global landmarks into symbols of hope, from the Eiffel Tower to Za’atari camp, from Trafalgar Square to Dadaab camp in Kenya. The artist, Banksy, has donated the use of his iconic image of the girl with the red balloon as a motif for the campaign.
The campaign calls on everyone to redouble efforts to raise awareness about the crisis. As part of the #WithSyria campaign, we are asking world leaders to make every effort to ensure the people of Syria do not lose another year to bloodshed and suffering. This means pressing all parties to the conflict and all those with influence to:
- Stop the bloodshed: This means ending attacks on civilians, including schools and hospitals. It means respect for the laws of war and the rights of those affected by the conflict.
- Ensure all those in need can access life-saving assistance.
- Commit to inclusive peace talks: This means making sure the voices of those affected – including civil society and women – can be heard and heeded.
Please lend your support to the #WithSyria campaign by:
- Adding your voice to thousands of others to help #WithSyria trend the week of 10th March. Anytime from 10th March please get as many people as possible to tweet: “Don't let the people of Syria lose another year to bloodshed and suffering. I stand #WithSyria. Retweet if you do.”You can also add your Facebook or Twitter profile picture to the Faces for Syria thunderclap. Find out how here.
- Watching and sharing the beautiful animation of Banksy’s girl with the red balloon find hope with Syria. The video will go live on 12th March at www.TheSyriaCampaign.com
- Organising a vigil around the 13th March, so you can join with people around the world in saying, with Syria, there is always hope. This can be a simple candle-lit vigil of one person or as many as you can get together, bringing in balloons to copy Banksy’s image. There is further information regarding organising a vigil here.
- Category: News
- Published on 06 March 2014
4 March, 2014
Feliciano Reyna is a human rights advocate working on HIV and AIDS related issues in Venezuela since 1995. He has been involved in CIVILIS since 2009, a non-profit organisation in Venezuela promoting and defending human rights.
CIVILIS´ mission is the development of information and capacity building skills for organized citizen actions aimed at the promotion and defense of human rights, based on multidisciplinary approaches and on civic, democratic values. CIVILIS seeks to contribute to the expansion and strengthening of frameworks of respect, and guarantees to the dignity of human life, in their civic, political, social, economic and cultural dimensions.
Feliciano Reyna speaks to CIVICUS about the ongoing protests and the fragile political situation in Venezuela.
1. What prompted Foro Por La Vida and other Venezuelan organizations to issue a call for urgent international action to support human rights, justice and peace in Venezuela?
The impetus for the call arose from the pattern of criminalization of protests in Venezuela, which started in 2005, that led the government to suppress protests in the Western part of the country in early February. The largest protest to date took place on February 12 this year in the capital, Caracas. During this protest, three people died, many were wounded and others were detained. This was then followed by an information blackout where TV stations and media were heavily censored or self-censored themselves.
This environment of criminalization has not just been about criminalising protests but also takes the form of government officials, from the President down, condemning the protests as part of an “attempted coup” and as “fascist movements sponsored by foreign agents and enemies of the state.”
Instead of promoting dialogue with the protesters, the state resorted to extreme use of force, arbitrary detentions, cruel and degrading treatment of detainees, which include some cases of torture, denying due process of law, as well as utilising state terrorism laws against protestors. In effect, many of the close to 1,000 arrested are forbidden now from exercising their right to freedom of expression and to protest.
Silence is not an option: A call from Civil Society for the UN Human Rights Council to address the grave human rights situation in Egypt, and ensure respect for democratic development
- Category: CIVICUS at the UN - Geneva
- Published on 04 March 2014
As civil society from around the world we express support for those struggling for a future in Egypt based on human rights and democracy. At this critical juncture in Egypt’s history, at a time when peaceful political activists, human rights defenders and all forms of independent media in Egypt are under attack, we write to urge your delegation to work with other members and observer states of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) to address the grave situation of human rights in Egypt at the upcoming 25th Session of the UN HRC. We believe that the serious and rapid deterioration of the human rights situation in Egypt requires the HRC to take a principled position of addressing this situation now, through the adoption of a resolution on Egypt.
According to Egyptian and international human rights organizations, repression in the country has reached levels unprecedented since the 2011 uprising. The security forces have embarked on a severe and comprehensive crackdown against persons who have dared to publicly criticize the military-backed government, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, as well as pro-democracy and human rights movement activists within the country.
TOGETHER WE STAND: Coordinating efforts for a global movement on the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda
- Category: CIVICUS at the UN - Geneva
- Published on 03 March 2014
Over 50 people from 6 continents and representing more than 30 key platforms and organisations engaged in civil society-led campaigns relating to sustainable development gathered in Istanbul, Turkey on 23-24 February 2014. The meeting was convened by CIVICUS in collaboration with the United Nations, the Overseas Development Institute and the United Nations Foundation. This communiqué summarises the discussions held in Istanbul.
- Category: News
- Published on 27 February 2014
By Danny Sriskandarajah
Last weekend, I took part in two back-to-back meetings in Istanbul on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. It was an intense and, sometimes, tense few days, but I have a feeling that the two meetings mark the start of two initiatives that have the potential to transform the role of civil society in the post-2015 process.
The first was a convening of some 50 people representing more than 30 platforms and organisations that work on post-2015 issues, and was aimed at identifying what scope there was for a new global campaign over the next 18 months. We had a great mix of participants, ranging from large networks such as Climate Action Network International (CAN) and Global Call to Action on Poverty (GCAP) to individuals like Amina Mohammed (the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on these issues) and Richard Curtis (the acclaimed filmmaker who has been working on ideas for a new campaign).
There has been talk of a new global campaign on post-2015 for a while, including at meetings like the ones we co-hosted in Johannesburg in November 2013, but nothing firm had materialised. One of the reasons was that there had yet to be a broad-based conversation involving a range of civil society actors, including those from the worlds of development, climate and gender justice. This is why the Istanbul meeting was so important.
In Istanbul, there was consensus that civil society needed to come together urgently to ensure that the two processes culminating in 2015 (the climate negotiations and the agreement of a new set of development goals) deliver an ambitious and transformative set of outcomes that will serve the interests of people and planet. We agreed to build a genuinely global movement through which people would put pressure on our leaders to deliver; to be radical and radically inclusive. We agreed to build a light-touch governance structure that would help coordinate and amplify existing and planned initiatives, without centralised command-and-control functions. And we agreed to produce campaign materials that would be powerful enough to capture the imagination of billions of people around the world.
- Category: News
- Published on 25 February 2014
Member organizations of Foro por la Vida, together with other Venezuelan organizations, have made the following statement in light of events in the country.
We, the undersigned organizations, given the worsening of the Venezuelan situation resulting from violence, misinformation, arbitrary detentions and other major violations of human rights that have occurred in the month of February 2014 make a call for urgent action in support of the observance of human rights, justice and peace in Venezuela.
The events taking place in Venezuela showcase the deterioration of public institutions to effectively arbitrate the diversity of political positions that exist in the country. In light of this situation it is important that various sectors of the national and international community take a stand to challenge human rights violations, calling for an independent investigation, requesting the cessation of repression and the opening of genuine dialogue.
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