Countering Shrinking Space through SOLIDAR Members’ Actions | Global Week of Action 2022

This 20 February 2022 marked the third year of SOLIDAR’s mobilisation for the World Day for Social Justice. In the span of a week, SOLIDAR and its members shared about their work to further social justice in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central and Latin America and how they keep doing so despite their space for action keeps shrinking. 

As highlighted by SOLIDAR Members and Partners in the SOLIDAR Joint Statement for the World Day for Social Justice, the trends of shrinking space for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Trade Unions (TUs) and Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) continue to worsen due to the COVID-19 world pandemic. For this reason, this year SOLIDAR has set a special focus to address the issue of shrinking civic space and the actions taken by CSOs to counter such developments. 

Only 3.4% of the world’s population lives in countries in which there is an open civic space in place, whereby people and groups can exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms of speech, assembly and association in society.1 As demonstrated in the SOLIDAR Economic and Social Rights (ESRM) Reports, civic space for CSO, TUs and HRDs is shrinking globally through legal and extra-legal restrictions2. 

Yet, CSOs, TUs and HRDs are fighting this trend back. From Thailand where “[d]espite the restrictions on freedom of assembly, (…) workers facing heightened precarity under this pandemic are organizing themselves to demand change in working conditions and benefits”3 to Colombia, where civil society mobilised to protest deteriorating economic conditions, lack of education and health services and unemployment due to the armed conflict.   

SOLIDAR 2021 Economic and Social Rights Reports released in the last days raise the voices of those claiming their space and call on the EU to further CSO independence, capacity and participation, as well as an open and enabling environment for civil society and to support the fight to counter shrinking civic space.

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