Stories written by Mandeep S.Tiwana

OPINION: Why South Africa Must Not Lose Plot on Civil Society

South Africa celebrated human rights month this March with President Zuma recalling the “heroism of our people who stood up for their rights.” However, this same month which commemorates the sacrifices of those who took part in the struggle against apartheid and those who died in the Sharpeville Massacre of 21 March 1960 was not a happy one for today’s civil society activists and organisations engaged in defending human rights. Two shocking incidents raise troubling questions for the future of civil society in the country.

Opinion: Why Are Threats to Civil Society Growing Around the World?

Whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange are hounded – not by autocratic but by democratic governments – for revealing the truth about grave human rights violations. Nobel peace prize winner, writer and political activist Liu Xiaobo  is currently languishing in a Chinese prison while the killing of Egyptian protestor, poet and mother Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, apparently by a masked policeman, in January this year continues to haunt us. 

Opinion: Measurement Matters – Civic Space and the Post-2015 Framework

For those of us interested in a vibrant civil society, it seems to be best of times and the worst of times.

Civil Society Freedoms Merit Role in Post-2015 Development Agenda

Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, an advocacy NGO, is facing criminal charges for sending a tweet that said: “many Bahrain men who joined terrorism and ISIS have come from the security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator”.

Why Principle Matters at UN Human Rights Council

The killings of hundreds of civilians, including scores of children, in Gaza – whose only fault was to have been born on the wrong side of the wall – was a major point of contention at the United Nations Human Rights Council at the end of July.

Civil Society Under Attack Around the World

In December 2011, 159 governments and major international organisations recognised the central role of civil society in development and promised to create an “enabling” operating environment for the non-profit sector.

CAN BUSAN FORGE A NEW DEAL FOR AFRICA?

In the hope for a fairer deal on aid for the continent, African leaders are planning to present a unified position at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) in Busan, South Korea. Currently, discussions are underway between the African Union, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and private sector and civil society representatives on how to improve the impact of aid for the most vulnerable and marginalised. The outcome of these discussions will then be taken to Busan in November this year as the 'African Consensus and Position on Development Effectiveness'.

CAN EMERGING DEMOCRACIES CHALLENGE THE MORAL HEGEMONY OF WESTERN POWERS?

Interestingly, the website of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization proudly proclaims "NATO Allies decided on March 27 to take on the whole military operation in Libya under UN Security Council Resolution 1973." This sole claim of ownership over a UN-sponsored mandate by a military alliance is indeed worrying and begs the question whether international precedents are being established here to conflate a multi-lateral UN force with a NATO force.