The CIVICUS Civil Society Watch Report “has documented serious violations of the freedoms of association, expression and peaceful assembly in 109 countries over the course of 2015”.The recently launched Civic Space Monitor identifies only nine countries worldwide that are not unduly interfering with civic activities. Around the world activists and CSOs are facing arrest, frozen bank accounts, threats, revoked licenses, blocked websites, coerced registration and closed offices.
The Centre is playing a crucial role in the fight for civic rights, and aims to build on our current projects and intensify our involvement in the fight for civic space. We aim to deliver contributions to three strategic imperatives in the struggle for civic rights:
- to convince citizens that they have precious and powerful civic rights, to explain to them what these rights are and that they are worth fighting for;
- to build stronger and much more effective multi-sector alliances including governments, business, the media, philanthropy and civil society to promote the concept of civic rights globally and nationally and advocate jointly against oppressive laws or practice;
- to open up new spaces for civic participation by systematically encouraging, identifying and supporting innovations in the field of civic participation and by providing finance for promising approaches to empower citizens in new ways.
Civic Charter - The Global Framework for People's Participation
The Civic Charter provides a global framework for people’s participation in shaping their societies. The two-page document, which people and organisations can sign on to and use as a basis for joint action, articulates a common set of civic and political rights. Based on universally accepted human rights, freedoms and principles, the Civic Charter serves as a reference point for people claiming their rights. It can be used as a tool for awareness-raising, advocacy and campaigning. The Civic Charter promotes solidarity among local, national, regional and global struggles to defend the space for civic participation.
The Civic Charter is now live and open for sign-on by organisations and individuals. We thank all participants for their valuable feedback and contributions throughout the past months! Please join the global struggle for our rights to participate in shaping our societies and sign on to the Civic Charter.
The development of the Civic Charter is carried out in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the Wallace Global Fund.
In October 2016, the Civic Charter was launched around the world, including at the Global Perspectives conference in Berlin.
International Civic Forum
The International Civic Forum is a platform for leaders from civil society, media, foundations, government, and business who are at the forefront of protecting and advancing civic space around the globe. The Forum will provide the starting point for an annual platform to develop face-to-face networks, make strategic decisions, and build trust. Complementing the face-to-face meetings of the Forum, the International took place on 26 October 2016 and was co-hosted by co-hosted by CIVICUS, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, the Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society (FICS) and Reporters without Borders.
PROJECT I: Promoting Citizen Participation through the Civic Charter aims at disseminating the Civic Charter globally as a tool to mobilise citizens to stand up for their rights to participate in shaping their societies. In addition the project will provide resources and training for using the Charter as the basis for sharing learning among activists and their organisations in order to improve the effectiveness of their work.
PROJECT II: Building Effective Multi-Sector Alliances for Civic Rights aims at generating concrete early wins in multi-sector cooperation in order to overcome scepticism between the different sectors and lower the threshold for future cooperation. Furthermore it aims at establishing an annual International Civic Forum as the platform where actors from all sectors can turn to for information, discussion, advice and finding partners for their specific activities.
PROJECT III: Occupying New Spaces for Civic Participation aims at systematically generating innovative ideas on how to further develop the space for civic participation. It will strategically support individuals and organisations that pursue new approaches to civic participation and it intends to make small amounts of funding available to support courageous innovators through the start-up phase of their project.