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CSOs seek joint action on shrinking social space

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
15 December 2019   |   3:25 am
Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and human rights groups have raised the alarm over closing space for their operations in the country, especially in the area of unhindered discharge in their call of promotion of civil liberties.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and human rights groups have raised the alarm over closing space for their operations in the country, especially in the area of unhindered discharge in their call of promotion of civil liberties.

The alarm came on the heels of activities marking this year’s International Human Rights Day. Speaking in Ibadan, Oyo State to mark the day, African Representative, Civil Society Partnership For Development Effectiveness, Dr. Tola Winjobi said aside Nigeria, which paraded a frightening credential, the global picture of shrinking space for civil society and human rights operation, is generally not encouraging. 
  

Making reference to what he called Belgrade Call to Action (2019), Winjobi said: “Over six billion people are living in countries where there are serious constraints on civic space: the conditions are closed for civil society in 23 countries; civil society is highly repressed in 35 countries, while civil society faces substantial legal and political obstacles in 53 countries.

“Civic actors across many sectors are being threatened and persecuted – including those supporting and representing rural communities, indigenous people, journalists, trade unions, women’s rights activists, youth, people living with disabilities, and environmentalists. Harassment through arbitrary arrest, detention, targeted use of legal and regulatory measures, and restrictions on finances has become common experience among civil society organisations (CSOs) in many countries.”
 

To arrest the global trend, Winjobi said UN member states have been tasked to take decisive actions to reverse the closing and shrinking space for civil society, to stop the attacks on human rights defenders and the undermining of democratic participation, and to renew the prospects for the full realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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