Call for Expressions of Interest for Partnership Involvement in CIVICUS International Civil Society Week 2014
- Category: News
- Published on Friday, 13 December 2013 07:51
International Civil Society Week
CIVICUS is the only global network of civil society organisations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society around the world. We are proudly based in Johannesburg, South Africa, and have over 1000 members in more than 120 countries. International Civil Society Week 2014 (ICSW 2014) is a key global gathering for civil society, governments, donors and business to engage constructively in finding common solutions to global challenges. The week will bring together concerned citizens across sectors, themes, regions and backgrounds. The key theme of the week is “Citizen Action, People Power”.
ICSW 2014 will be a ‘partnered event’–a model that was tested in the conceptualisation and implementation of ICSW 2013. Between 8-15 November 2013, CIVICUS, CONCORD/ DEEEP, Global Call to Action against Poverty and International Civil Society Centre convened 13 different conferences, workshops and events, which brought together over 300 civil society actors from around the world. ICSW 2014, hosted in November, will build upon the successes of ICSW 2013, bringing together over 500 people in Johannesburg and thousands more through online engagement.
South Africa has a rich legacy of activism and involvement to bring about social change, as exemplified by the liberation struggle. Active involvement did not end there and there are still many examples of positive citizen activism and engagement today. The proposed date for ICSW 2014 coincides with a pivotal moment in South Africa’s history–the 20th Anniversary of Democracy and Freedom. This provides an opportune time for the world to look back, reflect and celebrate what South Africa and the world has achieved in the past twenty years, and also to explore how we can deepen our gains in freedom and democracy to provide a more just and equitable society for all.
- Category: News
- Published on Monday, 11 November 2013 08:54
After an energetic and engaging Board Meeting we are proud to announce new Board Officers for the term of 2013-2016 below.
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!
CIVICUS interviews Andrew Khoo, Co-Chairperson of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee
- Category: News
- Published on Friday, 08 November 2013 08:28
Andrew Khoo, the Co-Chairperson of Malaysian Bar Council's Human Rights Committee (BCHRC), speaks to CIVICUS about the growing restrictions on civil society and obstacles to realizing UPR recommendations in Malaysia.
How would you describe the overall operating environment for civil society in Malaysia? What are the main challenges faced by civil society?
We have seen the overall operating environment for civil society in Malaysia deteriorate significantly in recent years. The government has increasingly responded to criticism from civil society organisations (CSOs) with unwarranted and targeted restrictions. The most common tactics employed by the government to obstruct the work of dissenting groups include unsolicited accounting and tax audits, unjustified inspections to check compliance with registration requirements, questioning of organizational staff and demands for confidential documents and warrantless seizures of equipment and records.
While CSOs in Malaysia are permitted to receive foreign funding, the authorities routinely level unfounded accusation that CSOs which receive international support are agents of foreign governments working to undermine the sovereign interests of the country or national security in Malaysia. CSOs are also subjected to slander and smear campaigns in the media. The government-controlled press regularly accuses CSOs of being enemies of the state or enemies of Islam.
- Category: News
- Published on Wednesday, 06 November 2013 14:33
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.
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.
UN expert says elections cannot be legitimate if freedoms of peaceful assembly and association are curtailed
- Category: News
- Published on Monday, 04 November 2013 06:53
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.
Coinciding with the presentation of the report, Mr. Kiai launched FreeAssembly.net, 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.
"Open spaces for dialogue with citizens and civil society" - A CIVICUS interview with Brazilian lawyer and activist Natasha Zadorosny
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 19:52
In June 2013, protesters took to the streets in Brazil to protest against increases in the prices of bus tickets in the major cities. The protests later spread as demonstrators expressed their displeasure over high corruption in the government, poor public services, high living costs and police brutality. CIVICUS speaks to Brazilian lawyer and activist Natasha Zadorosny who provides an insider’s perspective into the protests and the police’s response.
1. What is the nature of your work and how involved are you with the demonstrations in Brazil?
The protests in Brazil started on 6 June 2013 and at the initial stages I was just another protester. However, since mid-July, I have been actively involved as a lawyer on a voluntary basis. At the moment there are two main groups made up of volunteer lawyers who participate in the protests and assist activists and other participants. These groups are the Institute of Human Rights Defenders (IDDH) and the Habeas Corpus. IDDH is an NGO which advocates for the defence of human rights and protects the rights of protesters who are victims of police harassment and brutality. Habeas Corpus was created in June at the start of the protests to defend and protect the rights of activists arbitrarily arrested during the protests in Rio de Janeiro. I work as an independent lawyer but collaborate with Habeas Corpus. During the protests, I am identified publicly as a lawyer and my presence provides a sense of security to the protesters. I clarify doubts about legal issues for the protesters and pass on information about the protests using social media, including facebook and “whatsapp” to other volunteer lawyers.
- Category: News
- Published on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 12:03
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.
Chair, Board of Directors
Member, Nominations Committee
CIVICUS speaks to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights - Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona
- Category: News
- Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:51
Ahead 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.
- Category: News
- Published on Wednesday, 16 October 2013 08:32
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: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/5jmmo7ed08hc&eom
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
For more information, contact:
- Category: News
- Published on Friday, 11 October 2013 11:28
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 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
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