Civic Space Initiative Joint Statement

CivilSociety_buildfutureStates must implement crucial UN Human Rights Council resolution on civil society space, and cooperate fully with the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of assembly and of association.

The Civic Space Initiative* (CSI) welcomes the adoption of a UN Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution committing States to protect civil society space, and a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom of peaceful assembly and of association for three more years. “At a time when governments and non-state actors are actively suppressing civil society voices, this resolution by the world’s premier human rights body articulates key steps to protect and promote civil society rights,” said Dr Danny Sriskandarajah, Secretary General of CIVICUS. “We urge national governments to both inform their publics about this resolution and also begin a process of dialogue with civil society to earnestly implement its provisions.”

The resolution commits States to create and maintain a safe and enabling environment for civil society (A/HRC/32/L.29 as orally revised). It urges states to:

– Ensure that civil society actors can seek, secure and use resources.
– Maintain accessible domestic procedures for the establishment or registration of organizations.
– Ensure that civil society can input into potential implications of legislation when it is being developed, debated, implemented or reviewed.
– Adopt clear laws and policies providing for effective disclosure of information.
– Ensure access to justice, and accountability, and to end impunity for human rights violations and abuses against civil society actors.

Read more

Our Right to Develop

RightDev_BottomUp_203pxOver thirty years ago the UN proclaimed there is a universal Right to Development, and the Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 41/128 in December 1986. Importantly, the Right to Development is a group right of peoples as opposed to an individual right, and it encompasses all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

“The Right to Development is the measure of the respect of all other human rights” said Kofi Annan.

Now that we are beginning the 15 years of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its 2030 Agenda, it is essential that we know our rights, and understand the Right to Development. This knowledge can help folks in the communities to claim their rights, and to better demand that the Goals are achieved.

Like all human rights, the right to development also contains a specific entitlement — in this case the right “to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development”. This basic entitlement, set out with perfect clarity in article 1 of the Declaration, includes a number of key elements:
People-centred development. The Declaration identifies “the human person” as the central subject, participant and beneficiary of development.
A human rights-based approach (HRBA). The Declaration specifically requires that development be carried out in a manner “in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized”.
Participation. The Declaration calls for the “active, free and meaningful participation” of people in development.
Equity. The Declaration underlines the need for “the fair distribution of the benefits” of development.
Non-discrimination. The Declaration permits “no distinction as to race, sex, language or religion”.
Self-determination. The Declaration integrates self-determination, including full sovereignty over natural resources, as a constituent element of the right to development.

Read more