Season 3: New episodes

CIVICUS Voices is a podcast that brings you voices of people, communities, and organisations defending civil liberties and human rights.Hosted by Aarti Narsee, the third season of the podcast is focused on the right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly (aka protesting). In this 6-part series, we will be joined by civil society experts and on-the-ground activists to tell us about their experiences with protesting. Check out season two of the podcast below and season one is available here

Season 3

Books not guns: Protests for school safety

In the final episode of season 3 of CIVICUS Voices, we look at protests for school safety, specifically those opposing gun violence. Our guests include Vuk Cvetković, a Serbian high school student who shares how students mobilised after school shootings to demand a safe learning environment and reforms to prevent other incidents. We later speak to Bruno Langeani a data analyst from Brazil to help us understand the trends and nuances of school violence in Brazil, and what can be done to protect students and teachers.


  • Vuk Cvetković
  • Bruno Langeani

Season 3

A precious resource: protests for the right to water

In this episode of CIVICUS Voices, we look at protests movements demanding for safe and accessible drinking water.

Our guests include Alana Potter from WaterAid, who provides an international perspective on how access to water is being threatened and restricted in different communities around the world. We then speak with Faeza Meyer, a community organiser at the Africa Water Commons Collective whos shares her experience from Capte Town's 'Day Zero' restrictions on water. Later we speak with lawyer, Edy Tábora who has defended persecuted Guapinol water defenders in Honduras.


  • Alana Potter
  • Faeza Meyer
  • Edy Tábora

Season 3

Protests in the time of war and conflict

In this episode of CIVICUS Voices, amidst ongoing conflicts globally, we explore the complexities of mobilising and campaigning during wartimes.

Our guests include Polina Kurakina from OVD-Info, monitoring assembly and expression rights in Russia, Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk, and Sudanese youth climate activist Nisreen Elsaim, offering insights into protesting in the middle of a conflict.


  • Polina Kurakina

  • Oleksandra Matviichuk

  • Nisreen Elsaim

Season 3

Workers' rights

The global cost-of-living crisis has been met with a crackdown on the rights of working people in every region of the world, and this year has seen the violations of workers rights reach record highs.

We continue this season by looking at workers' rights protests and mobilisations from across the world that have brought about real change, with a special focus on migrants, who are among the most vulnerable of all workers.


  • Lennon Ying Dah Wong
  • Eva Maria Jimenez Lamas

Season 3

LGBTQI+ Rights in Africa

Same-sex relations are criminalised in 27 countries south of the Sahara. Penalties include fines, jail & even the death penalty. The hostile environment extends to activists who campaign for LGBTQI+ rights. In this episode, we speak to activists campaigning for change in the face of restrictions.

In this episode, Frank, Rose and Henry share their experiences in campaigning for equal rights.


  • Frank Mugisha, Executive Director, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)
  • Rose Wakikona, human rights lawyer in Uganda
  • Henry Wackam, Founder, Rainbow Refuge Africa


Protect the Protest

We kick off the third season by discussing the state of protest rights amid growing restrictions. The right to the freedom of peaceful assembly continues to be critical, especially where we see democracies backsliding, governments failing to listen to the people, and a growing anti-rights backlash.

In this episode, Marianna and Ruki will be answering our questions.


  • Marianna Belalba Barreto, CIVICUS Monitor
  • Ruki Fernando, Human Rights Activist (Sri Lanka)


Protesting 101

We kick off the second season by discussing the basics of protesting: Protesting 101. What is protesting? How do we do it? Why should we mobilise?

In this episode, Luciana, Busisiwe and Abigail will be answering our questions.

Protests & Repression: How does it work?

The authorities and governments of closed or repressed countries do everything in their power to curtail the right of its citizens to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly. So how do people living in these repressed spaces go about mobilising and protesting? In this episode, we speak to Nadim Nashif, the founder and executive director of 7amleh, and Sandra Sierra, a protest organiser from Colombia.


Young people: Loud & relentless

There are over one billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24 worldwide, but their voices are often left out in policy spaces and in decision-making. Youth-led movements are an important part of civil society, and key in motivating for change that will affect generations to come. In this episode, we speak to Syed Ali Abbas Zaidi, who is involved with HIVE Pakistan, and Wits Fees Must Fall leader Busisiwe Catherine Seabe from South Africa.

Reproductive rights: Struggle, resistance & victory

The fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights is being waged in countries around the world, as people seek to access legal and affordable reproductive health care services, like contraception, sex education, safe pregnancies, and abortions. In this episode, we speak to Justyna Wydrzyńska, from the Polish group Aborcyjny Dream Team (ADT). Justyna is the first pro-choice activist in Europe to have been charged with aiding someone in an abortion.

Resisting coup d’état: Determination & hope are key

When there has been a coup d’état in a country, the protests surrounding this regime-change are often critical but difficult.In this episode, we look at how this works, through the example of Myanmar, where the military junta took over control from the democratically elected ruling party in 2021. Thinzar Shunlei Yi, the advocacy coordinator at the Action Committee for Democracy Development speaks about the role of protests in the country, before Wai Hnin Pwint Thon from the Burma Campaign UK shares how she has been supporting the cause from abroad.

Refugees’ double fight: Escaping home & surviving the host

At the beginning of 2022, there were more than 27 million refugees worldwide, and their right to protest is often limited or repressed. Nadia Hardman, a researcher in the Refugee and Migrants Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, speaks to us about these challenges. Abdul Aziz Muhamat shares his story as a Sudanese refugee who became an advocate for refugee rights while under long-term detention at the Australian government detention centre on Manus Island.

Meet the host

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Aarti Narsee She/Her

Aarti Narsee is a civic space and gender rights expert and a former journalist, who has worked both with civil society and in civil society for several years.  In her former role at CIVICUS, she researched and documented trends in civic space in Europe and Central Asia for the CIVICUS Monitor. Through her intersectional feminist approach, she monitors and provides commentary on the intersections between gender rights and civic space. As a former journalist and avid storyteller, Aarti has written extensively about gender, LGBTQI+ and human rights. Follow Aarti on twitter: @ajnarsee.

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