How to counter shrinking space for civil society?

Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and activists are increasingly being oppressed and prosecuted on a global scale.

Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) and activists are increasingly being oppressed and prosecuted on a global scale.

Within the Partos Civic Space Platform, a broad range of Dutch CSO’s is mobilizing, with the aim of fostering mutual learning and formulating one common political voice. As such, the Platform’s members seek to counter the global trend of shrinking space for civil society. On Tuesday November 29th, the 3rd assembly of the Platform took place. 15 organizations gathered at Partos, discussing recent events and upcoming challenges on civic space.

Marianna Belalba from CIVICUS presented the recently launched Civic Space Monitor. This tool provides bottom-up, real time updates of civic space trends worldwide. It aims to strengthen local and international civic advocacy action, dealing with data blind-spots on civic space developments.

Within the Partos Civic Space Platform, a broad range of Dutch CSO’s is mobilizing, with the aim of fostering mutual learning and formulating one common political voice.

Margriet van der Zouw shared her experiences at the Concord learning & exchange conference in Budapest, which she attended on behalf of Partos and gender rights platform WO=MEN. The meeting reflected a strong urgency for international civic action to counter the trend of shrinking civic space.

Finally, Barbara Oosters, Civic Space expert at Oxfam Novib, presented the recently launched Civic Charter. This document, which could be signed by both citizens and civil society organization, embodies a global appeal for the preservation and expansion of civic space, translated through existing human rights frameworks. The Charter’s website will contain information and support on advocacy action. The Platform urges all Dutch civil society organizations to sign the charter and to share it with their partner organizations in the Global South as a guiding tool for advocacy.

In order to further capitalize the international momentum, the Partos Civic Space Platform will establish two working groups. Working Group Urgent Action aims to learn from best practices  on safe and successful urgent actions for activists that are being harassed. The Election Working Group will develop a specific civic space election strategy

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