Make your voice heard in 2013!

As we conclude another fruitful year of work advancing citizen action and strengthening civil society, I would like to thank you – CIVICUS’ colleagues, members, supporters and friends – for your participation in various CIVICUS activities and for taking part in our ambitious vision of achieving a worldwide community of informed, inspired, committed citizens engaged in confronting the challenges facing humanity.

Organisationally, CIVICUS was able to inscribe several key milestones in 2012. As our five-year strategy for 2008-2012 was coming to an end, we set out on a broad and in-depth consultation process with members, partners and key stakeholders to agree on a new five-year strategy for 2013-2017. Due to the diversity of our constituents, as well as the fast-moving and often crisis-led global situation affecting civil society, it was a challenge to prioritise and de-prioritise many of the issues that are related to day-to-day struggles of our members and others. In the end, the CIVICUS Board was able to crystallise the focus of the alliance in the next five years into the CIVICUS Strategic Priorities 2013-2017 with the three key themes of 1) influence, 2) connect and 3) enable, as introduced and endorsed at the members’ meeting during the CIVICUS World Assembly in Montreal in September. Continue reading

A Moral Voice for the Belarus Cause: The meaning of the Ales Bialiatski trial

The trial of Belarusian human rights defender and prominent civil society leader Ales Bialiatski is slated to begin on 2 November in Minsk. It has the potential to ignite the fight for freedom in Belarus,  but only with  more creative coordination and long-term planning by international civil society.

Belarusian human rights defender and FIDH Vice President Ales Bialiatski’s August arrest on tax evasion charges and his subsequent two month detention represents the untold scandal de jure of the EU fringe and the reality of a continent torn between vibrant inclusive democracies at one end of the spectrum and on the other, authoritarian regimes presided over by macho oligarchs. Consequently, as events surrounding the impending 2 November trial of Belarus’s most prominent civil society leader reach a head, a moment emerges in which Belarus could become a true cause. Continue reading

Don’t forget Uzbekistan

By Will Lasky, Eurasia Project Coordinator, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

Every week, we receive graphic accounts of torture and arbitrary detention in Uzbekistan. These are usually associated in some way with the chaotic Andijan events of 2005 when government troops opened fire on those protesting the prosecution of 23 local businessmen on extremist charges. The only consistent fact about this event which has been put forward in narratives ranging from that of a prison break, a hostage taking crises, a peaceful protest, are the deaths of hundreds. Continue reading