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.
When you are faced with the task of moving an object but find it is too heavy to lift, what is your immediate and most natural response? You ask someone to help you lift it. And it makes all the difference.
For those of us interested in a vibrant civil society, it seems to be best of times and the worst of times.
Has organised civil society, bound up in internal bureaucracy, in slow, tired processes and donor accountability, become simply another layer of a global system that perpetuates injustice and inequality?
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”.
A few weeks ago, I co-signed perhaps the most important open letter
of my career. It was an open provocation to my fellow activists and colleagues, to the members of our organisation, and to all those who, like me, earn their living in the civil society sector.
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.
I had the privilege of visiting South Sudan a few months after the world’s youngest state had been born in July 2011. Then, most people were wondering what the future held for the country. The road has not been easy so far.
Last July marked 19 years of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh’s inordinately long rule. His legacy during this time is to mark his country as one of the most unapologetically repressive states in Africa.
As Zimbabwe is expected to head to the polls in a little less than two months, clampdowns on civil society in that southern African nation have increased, according to Godwin Phiri, western region chairperson of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zimbabwe.
The Global Civil Society Network CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation has a new secretary general - Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah, who was appointed Monday by the board of directors following the CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal.
"Very disappointing." That was the term business and non-governmental organisations used to describe the formal intergovernmental negotiations at the Rio+20 Earth Summit as of Tuesday.