ONLINE EVENT | Countering Shrinking Civic Space: Connect the Struggles

Civic Space is shrinking everywhere. Today, only 3.4% of the world’s population lives in countries with Open civic space, according to CIVICUS Monitor. With civic space, we mean the space in society to exercise fundamental rights: freedoms of speech, assembly, and association. With shrinking, we mean the variety of legal and extra-legal restrictions, violations that civil society actors face and that hinder their access to fundamental rights. Some examples? Police disrupting peaceful protests, restrictive laws for CSOs to access funding, censorship and harassment of trade unionists, activists and journalists, to name a few. These worrying trends are the reason why, at the occasion of the 2022 World Day for Social Justice, CSOs across the world are mobilising against this threat to fundamental rights, which affects societies across the globe, from Myanmar, to Poland, to Colombia, to Turkey. Recognising these trends is key for advocacy and mobilising purposes. Connecting the struggles of journalists, activists, civil society in different countries is a fundamental exercise of solidarity.  

This is why SOLIDAR calls for a great mobilisation of its members and partners, in Africa, Europe, Latin America and South Asia for this year's GLOBAL WEEK OF ACTION from 14 to 21 February. To open this week and set up a clear framework of what shrinking civic space means, what are the global trends and what actors on the ground are doing to push back, SOLIDAR and its network are organising an online webinar. This event will host the network of CIVICUS Monitor, following developments on civic space worldwide, civic space expert from Europe and SOLIDAR’s members giving their perspective on how the space is shrinking in the regions where they operate. We hope to raise awareness on this issue that more and more affects the work of human rights activists and organisations, and provide food for thought on how to counter these worrying trends and create synergies across different actors, and regions worldwide. 

Meet our panellists:

Chair: Mikael Leyi, Secretary General, SOLIDAR

Marianna Belalba Barreto,  Civic Space Research Lead, CIVICUS

Khaing Zar Aung, Treasurer, Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar, President, Industrial Workers' Federation of Myanmar

Giada Negri, Research and Advocacy Officer, European Civic Forum

Michael Hauer, Head of Asia and Latin America Region, Olof Palme Center

Claudia Guillen, Programme Manager, Movimiento Por La Paz Guatemala