Despite their increase almost everywhere over the last decade and the growing recognition of the key role they play in social development, civil society organizations are faced in some quarters with legal restrictions and even with threats and attacks on their members. CIVICUS continues to respond to these threats by issuing alerts, calling for action, and drawing attention to new restrictive laws. However, more is needed.
Along with partners around the world, CIVICUS is initiating a Campaign for a Charter on Civil Society Rights, which will seek to define, advocate and enhance protection for the rights of civil society worldwide.
Prior to the forthcoming CIVICUS World Assembly, scheduled to be held on 21-25 June, CIVICUS aims to produce two resources which will enable civil society around the world to identify gaps and weaknesses in current rights commitments, as well as to recognize existing positive practices.
The first will be a compendium of rights, a collection of the various safeguards for civil society on freedoms of expression, assembly and association as they currently exist in international and regional law. The compendium will be followed by a manual, which will suggest methods of protecting and advocating for the rights of civil society, either through existing mechanisms or through innovative legal and grassroots strategies. The ultimate end product of the campaign is a ‘charter,’ or other international legal instrument, which will assist in protecting and raising awareness of the fundamental rights of civil society.
While the charter itself will be an important outcome of the campaign, the process of raising awareness and encouraging debate on these rights is essential in building cohesiveness within civil society and among the public. Each step of the campaign will be based on extensive consultations with leaders of NGOs, faith-based organizations and trade unions around the world.
For more information or to become involved in the campaign, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
CIVICUS House, 24 Pim Corner Quinn Sts, Newtown, 2001 Johannesburg, South Africa
Tel+27 11 833 5959
Fax +27 11 833 7997