Civil Society

India Steps Up Citizen Activism to Protect Women

Last month, Delhi Police launched a unique initiative to check spiralling crimes against women in the city, also known dubiously as the "rape capital" of India. It formed a squad of plainclothes officers called "police mitras" (friends of the police) -- comprising farmers, homemakers and former Army men -- to assist them in the prevention and detection of crime and maintenance of law and order.

Nicaraguan Women Push for Access to Land, Not Just on Paper

A group of women farmers who organised to fight a centuries-old monopoly over land ownership by men are seeking plots of land to farm in order to contribute to the food security of their families and of the population at large.

Civil Society On Aleppo: UN General Assembly Must Act 

Hundreds of civil society organisations from around the world have united to call on UN member states to step in and demand an end to unlawful attacks in Aleppo.

“Dead Men Don’t Vote” in Gambia

“Dead men don’t vote,” said a Gambian political activist known as Mama Africa. She spoke during an event on the side-lines of the 59th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) held in Gambia’s capital Banjul last month.  The focus was the crackdown on freedom of expression and assembly ahead of the 2016 presidential elections.

Violence Against Black Women in Brazil on the Rise, Despite Better Laws

Four months in hospital and a number of operations saved the life of Maria da Penha Fernandes of Brazil, but the rifle shot left her paraplegic at the age of 37. When she returned home, her husband tried to electrocute her in the bathroom.

Australian Activists, Dissenters and Whistleblowers Feeling the Heat

For Australian activist Samantha Castro, it was her association with the non-profit publishing organisation Wikileaks that brought her to the attention of the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Coal Mine Threatens Ecological Paradise in Chile’s Patagonia Region

An open-pit coal mine in the southern island of Riesco, a paradise of biological diversity in Chile’s southern Patagonia wilderness region, is a reflection of the weakness of the country’s environmental laws, which are criticised by local residents, activists, scientists and lawmakers.

Rural Job Creation Holds the Key to Development and Food-Security Goals

Harvesting the benefits of core agricultural research, which often bears on improved crop varieties and plant diseases, increasingly depends on the social and economic conditions into which its seeds are sown.It is a sign of the times that Kanayo F. Nwanze, the president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development who started off as a cassava entomologist when ITTA posted him to Congo in the 1970s, was recently hailed for his efforts to create African billionaires.

Trump’s Offensive Against Undocumented Migrants Will Fuel Migration Crisis

“Donald Trump will not stop me from getting to the U.S.,” said Juan, a 35-year-old migrant from Nicaragua, referring to the Republican president-elect who will govern that country as of Jan. 20.

Opposition to Oil Pipeline in U.S. Serves as Example for Indigenous Struggles in Latin America

Canadian activist Clayton Thomas-Muller crossed the border between his country and the United States to join the Native American movement against the construction of an oil pipeline, which has become a model to follow in struggles by indigenous people against megaprojects, that share many common elements.

The Mythology of Freedom and Democracy

Many US citizens may instinctively believe they still live in the land of the free, but a new global rights rating system shows the country is far less tolerant than they may think.

Latin America to Take the Temperature of Paris Agreement at Climate Summit

With the ratification and entry into effect of the Paris Agreement still fresh, the countries of Latin America are heading to the climate summit in Marrakesh in search of clear rules that will enable them to decarbonise their economies to help mitigate global warming.

Wonder Woman: Not the Hero the UN Needs

For those of us who ever feel conflicted about the United Nations, the past month has been an exercise in managing absurd cognitive dissonance. First, on October 21 2016, the United Nations announced that the 1940s comic book heroine, Wonder Woman would be its new mascot for promoting the empowerment of women and girls.

The Key Role Women Played in Culture of Peace

In the fifteen years since the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, we have seen a tremendous enthusiasm among civil society at all levels in raising awareness, engaging in advocacy and building capacity for its meaningful implementation. It is my pleasure to write the foreword to this publication which is a meaningful endeavour to move the agenda forward on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the adoption of this groundbreaking resolution.

Cities Address a Key Challenge: Infrastructure Needs

“We as mayors have to govern midsize cities as if they were capital cities,” said Héctor Mantilla, city councilor of Floridablanca, the third-largest city in the northern Colombian department of Santander.

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