Welcome to the Online Consultation

Monday 13 January at 9:00 GMT to Friday 24 January at 18:00 GMT

 

 

Read the Consultation Summary

📄 Civic Space Online Consultations - Final Summary (5 Feb 2020)

 

 

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From 13 Jan - 24 Jan 2020, please contribute to the development of the UN coherent and systematic approach to protecting and promoting civic space. The feedback and recommendations received during the consultations will feed into the development of the UN’s overall approach and strategy on the protection and promotion of civic space.

The target audience for this consultation are civil society actors at international, regional, national and local levels working on issues related to development, peace and security, human rights and humanitarian action.

Participants are not required to be part of discussion during the entire consultation. They may wish to contribute their inputs on any consultation questions at any day and time (during 13-24 January 2020).


Important information:


Receive a notification from this consultation:

  1. Select "Sign up" from the top right of the page and create an account (or "Log in" if you already have an account)
  2. Return to this page (http://globaldevhub.org/civicspace) and select the yellow "Join" button that will appear in the banner image

 

Please Respond Below to the Following Questions
 

Q1. Partnership/participation:

  1. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN?
  2. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?
  3. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups?
  4. Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)? Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?

Q2. Protection of civil society actors:

  1. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?
  2. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

  1. What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?
  2. What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?
  3. How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

 

13 Jan 2020 - 24 Jan 2020

Comments (446)

SparkBlue Admin

Dear Participants,

We would like to thank you all once again for your participation and for your contributions, and we are pleased to share with you the final summary of the consultations.

In the context of significant threats to civic space and attacks against civil society, your contributions and recommendations will help the UN to strategize, identify priority actions, frame and inform the development of the UN system strategy on protecting and promoting civic space going forward.

Many of you emphasized the essential role of the UN in strengthening partnerships with and protection of civil society actors, and in actively engaging a diversity of actors in promoting civic space at international and national levels.  You also brought to our attention your shared concerns relating to the shrinking and closing of civic space, challenges you faced in your daily life and advocacy, and severe human rights violations committed against specific population groups, civil society activists and human rights defenders.

Based on your reflections, the attached summary provides key recommendations or “key asks” from you all on what the UN should do to improve partnership, participation, access to information, protection of civil society actors from threats and reprisals, and to proactively promote civic space and civil society participation in national decision-making processes.  We heard a diversity of views and suggestions from you, and we hope many of them are reflected in this summary in various ways.

We also hope that the discussions and the summary will be useful in your future advocacy efforts, and we invite you to share these with your friends, family, peers, professional and personal associates, and with anyone whose voice needs to be heard!

Please note that all your contributions and comments, as well as this summary, will still be accessible on the Global Dev Hub platform until further notice.

 

Thank You!


 

Read the Consultation Summary

📄 Civic Space Online Consultations - Final Summary (5 Feb 2020).

 

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

DAY 1

 

Dear participants, a very warm welcome to you all and thank you for engaging with this important forum! I am Baatar Bayarmagnai and I work on civic space issues at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. And I am very pleased to be one of the moderators.

As many of you know, or have experienced, the civic space is shrinking and is under threat across the world. The civic space allows us, without fear, to express freely, assemble and associate with others, participate and have a say in decisions that affect our lives, and thus is a fundamental precondition for a dignified life. This space also guarantees the achievement of development objectives, maintaining peace and security, delivering humanitarian assistance, and ensuring the realization of human rights. The United Nations, its entities and processes, has a long tradition of partnering and working together with diversity of civil society actors in variety of ways. However, faced with shrinking civic space and threats against civil society, the UN must step up its approach and do better to protect and promote civic space, together with you as agents of real change.

We need to hear your voices, your views and opinions, lessons learned and experiences, as well as your practical recommendations on how the UN can improve and do better. For this purpose, you will find some key guiding questions for discussions at the top of this page. These questions could be also summarized as: 

  • How can the UN partner better and effectively with diverse civil society actors, and improve the channels of participation and access to information?
  • What role should the UN play in protecting better civil society actors under threat, including from reprisals for cooperating with the UN and from offline and online attacks?
  • What role should the UN play to promote civic space and support civil society better, including effective civil society participation in national decision-making processes?

We encourage you to refrain from posting anything too lengthy or duplicate messages, and be succinct and concrete in your postings.

Thank you again and we look forward to your constructive contributions!

 

 

Liu Si

As for the roles of UN in promoting civic space and supporting civil society better, my experience tells me that average people don’t have even the most basic knowledge of human rights, which affects their own pursuits of rights and justice.  People don’t even know the division between public and private spaces, which leads to all the wrong perceptions on human rights and freedoms.  I also have a hard time looking for suitable materials to do my online education. 

Therefore, I want to say simply publish the laws and news are not enough to make sure people understand these things.  I would like very much that UN set up a channel to establish open courses online on human right laws and other related topics, so that instead of my telling the audience that it’s from some professor of some university that I can’t tell you, I can simply tell my audience that it’s all from UN website.  As far as I know, UN has high credit among the people, but UN is so extremely high that it’s too far from everyday life.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Liu Si, thank you for your valuable comment. You are raising an important issue of access to information.  If possible, could you elaborate a bit more on what the UN can do to improve access to information?  Is it about availability of basic information in local languages, simplicity of the content to be understood by people, or any other measures that the UN can adopt?  Many thanks again for your contribution

Liu Si

Baatar Bayarmagnai I would like to identify it as an issue of access to basic conception.  Here are a few examples that can be observed in China: 

People typically understand freedom as willfulness or “do whatever one wishes”.  As a result, if you want to talk about liberalism, they would rebuke by saying it’s wrong to allow anyone do whatever they wish.  Also, people can’t tell the difference of the term liberal in respects of economy and politics.  Therefore, people usually think China is a free country already.  That’s why popular objectionS against the liberals in the West is seen among the dissidents too.

People interchangeably use the terms “power“ and “rights”, including the scholars, because the typical understanding is that equality means equal standard everywhere, even between the government and individuals. Yet, where restrictions are posed on the government is the individual’s freedom, therefore, the standards for the government (public) and individual (private) must be different.  Thus government is also Allowed to enjoy freedom, and gets no restrictions either from the constitution or from the people.

Also people commonly believe that human rights are the same as morality.  Therefore, where morality requires that the society punish individuals for their immoral conducts and consequently deprive them of all their rights, people, including human rights defenders, would agree without realizing human rights are there equally for every individual, not just the “good” guys. Mistreating criminals is thus widely accepted, by which the government can conveniently  label the innocent as criminals and violate CAT, but only the mistreatment on “good guys” are questioned.

There are countless such misperceptions in the society.  I would like to suggest that UN establish an open online education platform and provide courses that will clearly teach people these fundamental concepts.  And I hope the entire program will be downloadable freely so that it will be easy to copy and spread.  It doesn’t have to be translated to various other languages, because otherwise it’s time-consuming.  I believe there may be many volunteer translators, openly or anonymously.  The reason why I raise this issue is that even the relavant courses in the free countries do not cover such topics, probably because they are considered as “common sense”.  But they are not common sense at all in many other nations and communities, such as Chinese.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Liu Si, many thanks for clarifying different understandings and misperceptions.  Your point of the need for free online educational courses and materials to dispel these is well noted.

moka

Merci beaucoup le moderateur pour votre mot d'introduction avec un aperçu du contexte de forum en ligne, c'est très clair et enrechissant. L'approche holistique de l'espace civique est très capitale et nécessite comme vous venez de le dire et une affaire de tous; Moi même, je me dis si nous nous organisions dans nos missions d'accès à l'information comme les églises s'organisent avec un jour dominical par semaine, tout le monde changerait le comportement d'où l'espace civique n'est pas du tout une fatalité mais c'est question d'organisation, de communication et de partenariat durable et permanent.

Merci vraiment et au fur et à mesure , nous allons développer le débat 

 

moka

Baatar Bayarmagnai , je comprends de "l'accès de l'information" comme un circuit de message ou de l'information qui part de l'emeteur vers le recepteur avec, en principe un feedback jusqu'à l'entourage même de l'émeteur mais nous avons une observation malheureuse pendant les séances  organisées dans nos différents clusters d'où les acteurs de la societé civile livrent ces informations à l'auditoire mais par contre , les informations une fois être dispersées à travers le monde entier, l'emeteur ne sache pas d'habitude le fruit que message a apporter dans l'humanité. Allors C'est très important et stratégique d'encourager en terme de livraison des  medailles ou avec les différents prix en nature ou espèce afin d'implique tout le monde au métier de recherche d'information

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@mocha, thank you for your comment regarding the need for "information loop" or feedback. If we understood you correctly, it is not only important to have an access to information by civil society, but also some feedback from the UN how civil society information was used and with what impact.  We believe that information loop or feedback could also work the other way around, where civil society are also able to say how the UN is performing, thus providing relevant feedback back to the UN.  Would be interesting to hear more from you what would be the channels or mechanisms that could be established to promote such information flow.

moka

Baatar Bayarmagnai 

Oui, Baatar, les canaux d'information qui seraient important d'innover sont celles entre autres avoir des experts engagés par les ONU qui auront uniquement la tâche de faciliter la transmission de l'information entre la communauté et les acteurs de la societé civile et avec les agences de nations unies car le défi est que chaque acteur de societé civile s'organise pour avoir propre information à présenter,

je voudrai aussi que cet organe ou cette structure  s'occupe de promotion culturelle à travers la barza culturelle avec la promotion des denses et jeux culturels et en encourageant les festivales culturels afin de reconsilier le dialogue communautaire, faire passer le message de Nations Unies et beaucoup d'avantage que la structure sera à tout temps en communication avec les acteurs de la société civile. La création des émissions des jeunes, femmes et autres couches seront les stratégies que cette structure pourait organisée à tout temps

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear participants,

Welcome to the global consultation on UN's Approach to Promoting and Protecting Civic Space. 

My name is Ivona Truscan. I am Associate Human Rights Officer at UNHCR. I will be moderating during the second week of the consultation (20-24 January 2020).

I look forward to hearing about your experience engaging with UN processes and to having constructive exchanges with you all. 

Ledoux

Dear Ivona Truscan,

 

I am Wamba André Le Doux, the president of the association AFVMC (http://afvmc.free.fr) , a Civil Society Organization (CSO) based in Cameroon.

My propositions to the global consultation on UN's Approach to Promoting and Protecting Civic Space are the followings:

 

1) UN to revamp CSO's actors , stakeholders and partners in the Social Mobilization (meaning working with the grassroot populations / communities) including Indigenous Peoples through a bottom-to-up's approach;

 

1) UN should give a new orientation (by including CSOs in the running process of the UN Volunteers' board through bottom-to-up's approaches) in its online or outline recruitments of its volunteers - who are always been the main key actors working on the field in any organization.

 

Kind regards

 

Wamba André Le Doux,

Social and cultural worker in the sustainable development

Douala (Cameroon)

 

Mildred Achoch

Thank you for this opportunity.

The United Nations office in Nairobi is located quite far from the Central Business District, making it not easily accessible to many people. It would be helpful if small satellite UN offices could be established in or around the CBD. The UN could also partner with CSOs and other grassroot organizations in counties so as to establish satellite UN offices, especially in the very remote areas. This will increase accessibility and engagement of the marginalized and the disadvantaged.

Regards,

Mildred Achoch.

Pepsie Adiukwu

Many thanks for providing this platform. 

Effective patnership depends a whole lot on interests. Once a genuine interest is established, the other necessary factors would be commitment, competence and integrity in carrying out the tasks.

The UN can diversify on areas of inclusivity - try the paths less travelled, new methods of engagement.

Regular town hall meetings with communities/schools/religious institutions at the grassroots level is one channel that could be effective.

Collaborations on community/communal projects at the grassroots level.

Consistent/constant monitoring of projects.

Awareness can be created through the mass media (traditional/social) and various social institutions.

The UN representatives in Countries/States/Communities should have an "open door" policy to enable a robust exchange of information.

There could be a review of some of the terms of engagement that are not very friendly to young/small civil society organisations who do credible and problem solving work oriented to the vulnerable communities.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Pepsie Adiukwu, thank you for your contribution. Increasing the interest of civil society to engage with the UN and diversifying areas of inclusivity is an important point. In order to make the UN's engagement at the grass-roots and community levels more systematic, what kind of incentives the UN could provide to increase the civil society interest in engaging with the UN?  This may also be linked how the UN promotes and/or promoted civic space.  We welcome your additional comments and contributions on this. 

Pepsie Adiukwu

Baatar Bayarmagnai 

I believe that the number one incentive for any individual doing a job is assistance in getting that job done.

For me an incentive would be a patnership - moral/financial support to get my work done.

I don't know if I answered your question.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Pepsie Adiukwu, thank you and your answer is clear.

Adriana Solano

es imposible llegar a un buen índice cuando hay muchas comunidades tan vulnerables donde no llegan a entender que derechos tienen y menos que luchen por ellos, la ONU debe de desentralizarse, he estado trabajando con gobiernos locales, asociaciones de desarrollo, junta de vecinos y lo único que a ellos les importa es solucionar sus problemas comunales antes que el de los demás y el error que la ONU es que los jóvenes, los más vulneranbles no solo deben enfocarse en LGTBIQ (sin sonar en contra) porque no es así.es mas que eso, acá hay mucho pobres y la ONU no llega fácilmente a ellos, la oficina de aquí en Costa Rica se enfoca en una agenda y no muchas veces es real, sacar informes cuenta si....Pero hay niños en extrema pobreza que no llega a alcanzar esos datos, la prensa muy pocas veces hacen campañas sobre esos derechos, son anuncios que pautan ONU, y sus oficinas y por obligación de compromiso de pauta lo hacen, hace tanta falta el periodismo de campo social, que nos muestre esas historias reales, de indígenas, de discapacitados, de violencia infantil,irse más a la periferia y salirse del centro de la ciudad, han hecho esfuerzo pero hace falta mucho.

Falta sensibilizar con casos reales.

trabajé con la junta de jóvenes Unesco en Costa Rica y las necesidades de pueblo alejados, donde falta mucho trabajo con ellos, porque ellos son los líderes que los otros jóvenes y niños deben escuchar a sus líderes territoriales.

Un niño pobre un joven pobre no tienen  acceso a las publicaciones por redes sociales.

 

pagan a agencias de publicidad pero no sensibilizan antes en el tema a los trabajadores, entonces no vale gastar tanto en ese recurso no bien dirigido.

Falta compromiso de los líderes jóvenes políticos del país, que nos representen afuera pero que se le de seguimiento no es ir a pasear a la ONU, con una comitiva increíble y no traer una carpeta deseosa de ser expuesta y replicar lo aprendido allá , entonces para que enviar a líderes que no traspasan sus conocimientos, ojo aquí pasa mucho. 

 

 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Adriana Solano, 

Thank you very much for sharing your views and for highlighting the limitations that the UN may face in reaching out to the most marginalized communities or to children and youth living in poverty situations. Your point about developing planning strategies that are based in concrete evidence from the ground and which reach to local communities, local leaders, local structures and dynamics is very important. 

KeGenderQueer

Greetings from Nairobi Kenya. I am a drag queen performing Artist who uses Art to create an enabling environment for my community to express themselves freely through diversity. Maintaining such spaces without sustainable resources limits our liberty, potential and visibility to continue empowering and advancing community's engagement from the local regional moving forward.

Most of the time i see United Nations during marking of the Gay pride month to show their solidarity but the big question is, do you understand that our lives don't revolve round carnivals and pride parades? Discrimination, stigma, violence, prejudice and ostracization by our families are amongst what we go through everyday. I would recommend the United Nations Un Habitat to state clearly their commitment on engaging to build a more sustainable safe spaces by engaging the communities on the grassroots because we are the people who know what we go through every day.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

KeGenderQueer, thank you for your important recommendation for the UN to state its commitment clearly. This implies that "effective partnership," to which @Pepsie Adiukwu alluded to, would be key to go beyond a symbolic support. What would you recommend for the UN to show a clear commitment, would it be a proactive messaging and statements by UN senior leadership and staff members at the country and community level, and other actions by the UN?  Thanks for any additional thoughts and comments.

KeGenderQueer

The UN GLOBE has continued its great work of solidarity with the LGBTQ Community globally. However in country context especially here in Kenya, I have seen them organizing and holding IDAHOBIT celebrations at the UN headquarters twice. For a full community participation moving forward from the mininimal representation by just appearing and reading speeches, we would like to see and see those speeches reflected even during our darkest moments especially now civic spaces are under systematic Attack and normalising dictatorship in our country.We want to see UN globe coming to the grassroots and involve more LGBTQ Persons in the marking of this noble day and also get an opportunity to engage with us and consult us on how we would like the celebration to look like. The nothing for us without us Voice should be heard and implemented practically. 

Ekwen Lovet

Warm greetings from Cameroon. Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity to consult the United Nations via this online forum.

The United Nations and its organs have put in very significant efforts in reaching out to diverse civil society actors or groups locally and globally for participation and partnership. Over the recent years, civil society actors and human rights activists evolved from the business sector, film and entertainment industry, social enterprises, and technology. I strongly recommend the United Nations and all its organs to also focus on reaching out to these other sectors which contribute to the welfare of mankind and its society. They play significant roles in the protection and preservation of humanity and human rights, advocacy and humanitarian response to humanitarian crisis. A good example is UNDP’s recent cooperation with African foundations for social investment in African youths affected by conflict and human rights violations.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Ekwen Lovet, thank you for pointing out that other actors from the business sector, entertainment industry, social and tech enterprises, have also an important role to play for the betterment of society, and also in defense of human rights as you pointed out. Thanks also for sharing a good example of partnering with UNDP.

Pepsie Adiukwu

I will use my NGO's work as an example to answer some of these questions.

In 2018,  during the 16 days of activism, we went to one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Abuja, Nigeria to engage/educate the women and children on their human rights. After speaking to the children in the school, they seemed hopeful.

On the other hand, the women in the camp were very skeptical about the message - their response were words of despair:

"How can you say we have rights when we are abandoned in this place...some of us have lost our husbands, some children...some of us are disabled, we have lost our sources of livelihoods...we are  visited by some people in the government once in a long while and they give us food/ things that would sustain for a few days. What then happens after that?"

Indeed individuals and Non Governmental Organisations like mine, visit them and try to help them but this is not sustainable.

After four years of visiting them and engaging them with several initiatives, we decided to establish a sports academy for the girls.

Our goal is to teach them skills that would equip/empower them for the future.

We would consistently expose them to information and a lifestyle different from what they get in the camp.

This now brings me to the answer to one of your questions.

We wish to partner with the UN on this project but there's no easy entry point.

We know that the children stand to gain a lot if the UN lends a helping hand.

This project has been self-funded so far.

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Pepsie Adiukwu, thanks again for sharing your hands-on experience. When you mentioned that "there's no easy entry point" do you mean that the information about what the UN could do or support your cause is not clear, or even if information is available, there are no dedicated focal points or established structures to facilitate a systematic and sustainable partnership? Would be good to have your feedback on this, if possible, which will be helpful to understand some of the challenges relevant to your context.

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

There was a great video on You Tube that discussed the out look of what African Parents want for their children to learn,  that went into great detail about functional real life skills African Parents instill in their children everyday.

It's always better to leave children closer to their family in any helping situation then when you came.

"The unimaginable of just the feeling,  let alone the real everyday life of hopelessness, is really a big deal!"

When African based groups present a help day in the community,  they always make it a grand day.

That the day is happy while the message gets through.

This is also an example of a different type of civic space that may be more informal with different rules and permits you need, if you need them. Also a some what overlooked space and traditional factor that we could maybe learn from in the future, The Importance of Civic Spaces.

As well as factors that reflect on decision makers even at refugee camps, if they  would be more likely to allow events if they are fun, bring people together and accomplish a goal then ones that cause controversy even in the family unit of refugees at a refugee camp.

This is also my opinion and I'm sure your program and visit was appreciated and worthwhile.

Pepsie Adiukwu

Baatar Bayarmagnai A little bit of both really  - I have read some of the guidelines for partnership and my project seems to float in-between several funding/grants options, particularly in terms of format and duration.

Also, some of the terms of engagement are cumbersome.

Pepsie Adiukwu

I believe there are obstacles in accessing intergovernmental fora.

The number one obstacle is information then, protocol/procedures...many of these fora have restrictive guidelines.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Pepsie Adiukwu, you are raising yet another important issue, which is one of the questions posed for the discussions. Indeed, participation in many UN inter-governmental processes are limited to NGOs with ECOSOC consultative status.  Despite this limitation, and lack of clear information on protocols/procedures as you pointed out, what other challenges you may have experienced in engaging with such processes?  What would be your practical recommendations in improving the engagement of diversity of civil society actors with the inter-governmental processes, if one has no ECOSOC consultative status and if restrictive guidelines set by the UN Member States may be difficult to change?  Any thoughts and recommendations are welcomed.

Ekwen Lovet

@Baatar Bayarmagnai, To answer the last question you posed on practical recommendations in improving the engagement of diversity of civil society actors with the inter-governmental processes, if one has no ECOSOC consultative status and if restrictive guidelines set by the UN Member States may be difficult to change, I recommend that the United Nations should create a Special Unit covering civil society actors without ECOSOC consultative status to facilitate their engagement with inter-governmental processes. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Ekwen Lovet, thank you for your comment.  It is great to see that participants are able to respond to questions posed to others, so that we build upon each other's questions and replies.  Much appreciated! 

Ekwen Lovet

@Baatar Bayarmagnai You are welcome.

Alejandra

Dear all, good morning and thank you for have created this space of discussion. Following Liu Si  comment i would like to reinforce the fact that most people don´t know about their rights and this is the case of the majority of women. Here in Spain some civil society (some women organisations) know about the existence of the CEDAW of the platform of Beijing, but regular people don´t know about these regulations. So, i good idea could be to mainstream those norms and regulations. 

Alejandra

Another idea should be related to the consultation with politicians, it has to be mandatory

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Alejandra, thank you for your comment on the need for consultations with politicians. Your comment reinforcing the point on accessibility of information, especially in a simpler and easily understandable format for broader public (if I understood correctly that this is what you are saying), is well noted.

Rugaiyatou Ubale

Hello everyone I'm happy to be part of this organization. I'm a Fulani mostly known as the minorities and indigenious here where I come from many don't know their right lack of education Early marriage and so on. 

Women suffering and children young men running after cattles while others are in the streets smoking marijuana. I see this everyday but I don't have no means to talk to no one so I take this opportunity to plead that the Muslim community should be looked at especially in Cameroon

They know nothing about their right they're being manipulated and taken advantage of. 

We need a pen not a man not cattles

We need education

I'm sorry I'm not that much educated and I might not put my words together correctly I hope y'all understand

Busayo Obisakin

I will like to raise the issue of protection of human right activist. It has been a serious issue in Nigeria and issue that we have been grappling with since I have stated the work ten years ago. As a result of the corrupt system, most of the time activist are seriously exposed to attack. You cannot expect the person you are fighting to protect you and you cannot afford your own security outfit then you are left on your own unprotected. And like Alejandra has pointed out, most women don't know their rights and few that knows their are always afraid of fighting for their rights because getting justice is always very cumbersome and many times impossible. Mainstreaming norms and regulations is a good idea but consultation with the police and judiciary is also germane 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Busayo Obisakin, thank you for sharing your concern regarding the protection, or lack thereof, of human rights activists.  The issue of protection is not an easy question, and the UN needs to do more.  Have you engaged with any UN entity in your country regarding protection, and what was your experience like?  In addition, do know and/or have you worked with any NGO-led protection networks, and how UN could make bridges and partner with such protection networks?

Busayo Obisakin

Baatar Bayarmagnai Thank you for your response! you will agree with me that it is not easy at all for grass root NGO to have access to our country entity. I apply to be part of the spotlight consortium  in my country but not successful. I think I will agree with Sister Ling on the online interactive forum that Ngo's in each country should have access to get information from UN and able to send messages quickly.  for those that may not have access to internet , there should be a way they can call or send messages through their cell phone.

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Busayo Obisakin 

Thank You So Much!👍😊

Believe me they do care and many of us worry alot about you guys and the ladies fighting so hard for freedom and fair treatment for everyone. The MDG's were formulated in the year 2000. It didn't really take off untill many years later.

The UN SDG30 is going to be like that. Its still early now and the UN Bodies work hard at putting things together for many, many communities all over the world. Many are still very poor too. Just know sometimes don't say stuff if its going to be dangerous. Many of the tuff guys beating people up and worse had very hard lives growing up. Over time as things get better and they will, safety will be less of an issue even for activists. Taking it slow when it seems like trouble,  is not bad to do but just how it is. Don't give up speaking out even if here and there you must be quiet.

Thanks again. 👍💕👍

 

Hepzibah

Warm greetings from Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) Owerri, Imo State Nigeria.

I thank you immensely for this privilege to participate in the discussion in UN's pproach to Protecting and Promoting Civic Space.

The work of the CSOs cannot be over emphasized as they respond on emergencies especially at any humanitarian crises and generally on governance issues that bother on human rights. They have also increased media activities affected government policies.

Moving forward, UN can partner better with the CSOs by creating list serve with proven organizations and actors and constantly updating them with relevant information and UN policies on humanitarian issues. Also granting them access without much bureaucratic bottlenecks to access vital information for action.

The UN can also consider convening face to face meeting with  Civil Societies on Sustainable Developments affecting human rights issues e.g, climate action and environment, quality education, peace & conflict resolution, gender equality, good health and well-being etc. We have observed the rapid growth of CSOs members and their demands, even while some lack clear definitions and purpose, however, UN should stick to strict verification as experiences without making the processes difficult with CSOs with clarity of vision.

UN can also strengthen responsiveness to the inputs of CS.

Encourage Civil Societies to speak collectively rather than individually.

Increase CS accountability and credibility.

UN can also help in protecting CSOs from threat by intervening in national issues without necessarily having to overstep boundaries. For e.g most of the countries especially developing countries like Nigeria is a signatory to most of the human rights instruments and treaties, yet no reasonable effort seen by the UN to threaten these countries using sanctions. Yes we understand diplomatic interventions in international relations but having upheld human right issues and still upholding, the UN should intervene in threats, condemning it and discourage, frown at it. The Nigeria National Assembly wants to pass Social Media bill into law, by implication shutting out the rights to freedom of  information/speech. This idea came up when Civil Societies rose to condemn various abuse of human rights action by members of the house etc. Some Civil Societies received threats and some inhuman treatments while they carried out peaceful protests and solidarity march. There is so much to talk about. Before the end of the Global Dev Hub.

UN can promote Civic Spaces and support Civic Society better to function effectively and also participate meaningfully by empowering them through support, build their capacities by offering both offline and online courses and leverage on the above to grant them access to be part and parcel of GA and also allowed to make inputs no matter how brief in GA meetings once in a while. By the this, the people at the grassroots who do not have access and are limited to information can increase their awareness level in human rights issues, able to increase their demand for better services and accountability from their leaders whom they put in power through voting to represent them.

CSOs also need funding, training and information to participate and contribute effectively to UN 's work.

Our organization happened to have introduced Open Budget Policy in Imo State, with so much strategic advocacy and sensitization program, we could not continue for now because of lack of funding as we would work wit the 27 Local Goverment Area councillors and traditional heads, different stakeholders and actors to ensure that the project succeeds enabling the people to monitor projects approved in their communities and the budgets (figures) approved. It is their right, and also check the budget if any on security issues.

Thank you as we move on before the end date elapses, will make more contribution 

   Ogechi Ikeh

Executive Director CCIDESOR

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hepzibah, thank you for your detailed contribution on many pertinent issues, and many of your recommendations do reinforce many other suggestions made above by other participants, including on better access to information, capacity building and training for civil society (including online courses mentioned above), political support and funding to civil society, as well as better channels of civil society participation in intergovernmental processes such as the UN General Assembly.  Thank you very much also for making the important links with the Sustainable Development Goals, which seek to "leave no one behind" and meant to be an inclusive process of all voices, including from civil society and the people. The latter is highly relevant to the UN's role in promoting civic space, including in the national decision-making process and the implementation of the SDGs.  We look forward to more contributions and recommendations from you.

Adelfa Malpica

Buenos días, estoy muy agradecida de poder opinar en esta consulta pública que la ONU ha creado para que la sociedad civil participe y sea oída.
Al respecto puedo decir que es una gran oportunidad de aportar mi opinión respecto a los aspectos que son una preocupación para mi como ciudadana, como profesional, como trabajadora, como ente político particular y como integrante de una familia.

Asi que desde éste día aprovecharé para poder comunicar cada cosa que me hace sentirme excluida del mundo y asi tratar de ser voz de aquellas personas que no tienen voz en estos momentos porque no pueden comunicarse por aqui para decir lo que sienten y lo que les aqueja. Estoy consciente que  aún cuando soy un grano de arena en un desierto, mantengo la esperanza de ser escuchada.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Adelfa Malpica, welcome to the forum, and we look forward to hearing from you more and your recommendations.

Mohammed Mominul Haque

Hi: warm greetings from Canada, I want to thanks OHCHR for creating this opportunity to participate in this important issue now have been facing civil society in the world, I think UN and Global leaders need to do more to Protecting and Promoting Civic Space as well human rights, In 1948 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. The 30 Articles' needs are implemented by every signatory state, we feel that if every country fulfills those articles there will be no more conflict, crisis, the civil war in the world. At present about 75 million are forcefully displaced from their home for the internal conflict, these conflicts are the result of  Leaders are fighting for power and money, sometimes victims peoples asking is there any UN or organization who could come forward to prevent them from conflict and protect them from the corrupt leaders.

I am a Bangladeshi Canadian my personal experience tells me that average people in Bangladesh and Canada do not know the basic knowledge of human rights, which affects them to get the right to justice.

At present in the world is experiencing rising incidents of hate crimes, shrinking democratic spaces, worsening environmental and economic turmoil and violence, we are reminded that every day must be a day to uphold human rights. As voices of hate and discrimination become more emboldened, we are reminded that it is our responsibility as global citizens to stand up to injustice everywhere. Now many parts of the world people are protesting for freedom and basic needs.

 

In Bangladesh, since 2009, the present government to keep the power they have been continuously violating the universal declaration of human rights as well Bangladesh constitution. If any person or civil society raise voice against government oppression either they will face illegal imprison, false case, arbiter arrest or kidnap.

It is hard to get funds to implement a program, my suggestions we want to fund easily to work for the people.

I want the UN and other Global organization needs to stand against the hybrid regimes around the world, we need to take necessary action rather than statements. In the ground, vulnerable peoples have been upset about our failure to protect their lives and humanity.

Thanks.

 

 

Douala Bertrand Francis

PRESIDENT HUMANITARIAN LAW AGENCY

JE SUIS DOUALA BERTRAND 

Diplome de l institut des nations unies pour la formation et la recherche 

avant de repondre a ces questions il serai important d exprimee ma gratitude a la grande famille des nations unies pour tout ce qui a ete fait depuis 1945 pour les etats favorisant leurs ascesion a l independance 

la prevention des conflit internationnaux et non internationaux tel jadis la situation du ruwanda ,la consolidation de l etat de droit et de la democratie

la conduite des operations humanitaires de part et d autre face a l excalade des conflit suite a la recrudecence du terrorisme .

le soutien social atravers LE PNUD,UNESCO,LE PAM ,ECOSOC,LA BANQUE MONDIAL ECT.

les informations sont transmise atravers les centres d information des nations unies

ou a l intermediaire de certains ONG ou club scolaire et universitaire

1.Malgres les efforts des nations unies beaucoups reste a faire 

face aux arrestations arbitrais des journaliste et des observateurs de droits de l hommes sans oublier les poursuites penal contre les membres de certain ONG pendant l excercice de leurs fonction pour sauver l homme en danger

2 nous ammenes a pense qu il faut une resolution des nations unies relatif a la protection des acteurs de la societe civile ,journalistes ,observateur des droits de l hommes pendant leurs travail.

3 pendant les crise politique et armees les civiles sont plus exposes car les soldats ont les gilet pare balls et arme et les civils non rien pour leurs protection

4 il faudra creer un corp amee d elite specialiser pour la protection du convoi humanitaire operationelle pour les zones des conflits armees pour la protection des camps de civil et leurs convoie en deplacement.

5 les haut commissaire des droits de l hommes l orqu il arrive dans les pays ou il ya violation des droits de l hommes ils doivent faire une descente dans le terrain avant d arriver a la presidence

6 mettre l accent sur le financement des project des ONG et accorder des bourse a certain membre dans les domaines pointure developpement durable,action humanitaire ,aeronautique ,engeenerie ,medecine dans les universites .

 

 

 

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Douala, thank you so much for taking the time to share your perspectives on some of the main challenges civil society actors are facing - particularly those working in conflict areas - these insights are really valuable. You speak about violations against human rights activists and journalists, and the need for the UN to improve its protection efforts for civil society actors at risk. I'd be interested in your view as to how the UN might better protect human rights activists and journalists who are experiencing violence. Have you worked with the UN previously on protection of human rights activists, and if so, can you tell us about that experience? Busayo Obisakin and @Djepangyvonne, you have also expressed that the UN could strengthen its protection of human rights activists who are experiencing violence, and so we'd be grateful for your perspectives also. 

Samir Kumar Das

I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

IMAECSED is very much grateful for this wonderful opportunity to engage & consult the expert of United Nations along with the global stakeholders via this online Global Development Hub. We can get wider scope of knowledge sharing, join hands for collaboration and Partnership, improve our projects and take action wherever necessary..We can play an active role in the protection and preservation of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation and humanitarian response in crisis. Since 1995 we are terribly facing lot of crisis to accelerate our varied objectives and activities. In the present context my obervatioin regarding civic space, is a very significant topic in the [resent day competitive world. It is a very crucial subjecthow can we enjoy this space, leave this space and in case of conflict what are the solutions.

Non cooperation from various sectors many a time hinder our work but our untiring effort and continuous movement within such a limited resource lead us to accelerate our activities with various UN Organ and other global stakeholders. We are always extending our hands to join with the interested Group or any other sector to achieve our target for 2030 Agenda.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Samir Kumar Das, thank you for message, and for emphasizing that civil society and NGOs "can play an active role in the protection and preservation of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation and humanitarian response in crisis."  This is an important point, which is not often discussed.  Therefore, we would also be keen to hear from you what civil society will be able to do as active agents of change, and how UN can support you in your endeavors.  Thank you for your comment!

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Mohammed Mominul Haque, @Douala Bertrand Francis, thank you for your comments, and for reminding us of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as the purposes and values of the UN system enshrined in its Charter.  We look forward to more contributions from you. 

Samir Kumar Das

I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

IMAECSED is very much grateful for this wonderful opportunity to engage & consult the expert of United Nations along with the global stakeholders via this online Global Development Hub. We can get wider scope of knowledge sharing, join hands for collaboration and Partnership, improve our projects and take action wherever necessary..We can play an active role in the protection and preservation of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation and humanitarian response in crisis. Since 1995 we are terribly facing lot of crisis to accelerate our varied objectives and activities. In the present context my obervatioin regarding civic space, is a very significant topic in the [resent day competitive world. It is a very crucial subjecthow can we enjoy this space, leave this space and in case of conflict what are the solutions.

Non cooperation from various sectors many a time hinder our work but our untiring effort and continuous movement within such a limited resource lead us to accelerate our activities with various UN Organ and other global stakeholders. We are always extending our hands to join with the interested Group or any other sector to achieve our target for 2030 Agenda.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Hello Samir, we're so pleased that you've joined the consultation and thanks for introducing yourself. In your comment, you share some of the challenges NGOs have been experiencing in recent times, including lack of cooperation from various stakeholders, which make it difficult for organizations to achieve their objectives. I'd be interested in your view as to how the UN could strengthen its support to NGOs to help them overcome some of these challenges and enable NGOs to carry out their work safely.

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Hello Everyone!

I'm here and trying to navigate the platform at GlobalDev Hub.

So far I have only found the comment section. I await further instructions on how to proceed or will wait for others in the community to upload their answers and opinions.

I also would like to thank UN Staff for putting this great opportunity to contribute to an important issue together for everyone.

"Thank You!"

SL

HOL GS

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Sister Ling ( Lisa Liz Steele), welcome to the forum.  You are in the right place and this comments section is the discussion forum!  We look forward to your constructive contributions to the questions posed.

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Thank You For You Welcome Message👍❤!

I would also like to add, I and my group have been studying these very hard issues of poverty, violence and displacement as well as sustainable future's for young ppl and children for some time now. So if I seem more knowledgeable about many issues, this is acquired knowledge that happened over almost 20 years. 14 of them as a Founder of two ngo organizations HOL GS & LWSF.

You all will grow with your organizations and causes over time just don't give up and keep at it.

They Are Listening Believe Me They Are!

On this first day of this great opportunity to connect with others that are doing the same thing.

It greatly pains me as I look at the suggested reading that was also a focus of the invitation email and what we all actually just did.

Quote

"Restrictions and attacks against civil society persist at all levels."

That is really who we all are and this talks about our work and what we each face each day.

We are all trying to say this too in our own way and experience that something is wrong,  weather our own experiences are direct to our person or cause or more indirectly done and difficult to place as such a threat.

That one even exists.

I think we should each go back a re-look at the expectations of the sponsoring UN Bodies and or Committees and re-read the intros and then think about what the UN CSO is really asking everyone to give input and think about.

This could also change the tone of what we say, see and respond too but might be well worth the extra reload to make this event more memorable to everyone who participates.

We are free here to talk and share our stories and opinions including the fact that UN People are usually very understanding and face each intervention and forum with high expectations for dialogue and change to take place.

We should too.

Ps. I'm known for being wordy so nothing personal as that's what I do.❤

Emolji's are allowed used in reason I believe so feel free to add some too!👍

 

 

 

 

Angelica Flores

Buenos días , la falta de educación y cultura legal que hizo de México lo que hoy lamentablemente vivimos.

Recalco lo que Si Liu menciona la gente comun no conocemos nuestros derechos y los pocos qué los conocemos no tenemos el apoyó de nuestras autoridades, alcontrario nos volvemos enemigos públicos, blancos de injurias, críticas, maltratos psicológicos y físicos;

Como lo dice mi organización civil fabricamos fantasias en un mundo de mentiras jurídicas y legales con los derechos, la gente aprende a defender y al llegar a una autoridad para qué nos defienda recibimos un NO como respuesta y un seguimiento físico en nuestra contra, me gustaría que la ONU formara modulos así cómo los derechos humanos en todas las delegaciones Políticas y en los estados para qué vigilen y observen el procedimiento que tienen los derechos humanos en el país me entristece el día de hoy México es uno de los países con menos acceso ala información ya que todos los pasa por filtros específicos, que él dia de hoy la verdad sea un fin político, no el verdadero, el de defender el derecho humano a la salud, la vivienda y la educación de calidad.

Nuestros chicos con discapacidades en muchos estados como Hidalgo, todavia pasan desapercibidos por sus propias familias y al hablar de temas cómo éstos nos dicen que nuestros proyectos son buenos pero tienen que ir respaldados por un político entonces donde esta mis derechos a identificarme y proponer un benedicio sin fines de lucro para una comunidad y dónde me difiendo si todo se vuelve un círculo vicioso entré los tres poderes.

Qué propongo mas acceso ala información.

Que la ONU tenga espacios en medios de comunicación no solo en redes sociales sino en radio y televisión

Hagamos virales nuestros derechos.

Escuchen a los más pobres.

Eschen ala gente de la calle.

Escuchen a las mujeres que sufren violencia

Escuchen a los migrantes

 

Busquemos el fondo del problema y empecemos a trabajar desde un bajo para que los de arriba no sigan pisoteando a nadie. 

Las organizaciones civiles nos financiamos con dinero propio y todos los días estamos preocupados del cómo seguir apoyando si se nos cierran puertas.

Más spot, más publicidad, más reuniones con la gente u organizaciones civiles, una universidad de la ONU enfocada a los derechos humanos ahi se daran cuenta de qué nadie sabe nada respecto a esto, más comerciales, más empresas patrocinadoras, más información internacional, más de la ONU en los congresos, más de la ONU en las legislaturas , más de la onu en el mundo mas de la ONU en nuestros niños que son el futuro más de la onu en la música y en las ecuelas.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Angelica Flores, thank you for reinforcing some of the earlier points by others for more awareness raising among broader public, educational materials and online resources, as well as access to information in general.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

@angelicaflores welcome to the discussion and thank you very much for these insightful comments. Indeed, a lack of information and awareness on human rights standards is an issue and a concern that is shared by other participants including Pepsie Adiukwu and @liusi. Many thanks for suggesting that the UN could more actively communicate on various media and social media channels in order to ensure the UN is communicating with, and listening to, those who are often marginalized such as women and migrants.

In your comment, you suggest that those who advocate for human rights become, “public enemies, targets of insults, criticism, psychological and physical abuse”. @Busayoobisakin has shared similar concerns. Can you elaborate on these concerns? How can the UN strengthen its support to those who are experiencing violence and pushback in their human rights work?

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

@AngelicaFlores

A very heart felt comment that I took the time to translate if you do not mind and be free to translate my reply back to Espanol.

The many issues you mentioned including the lack of clear support from policy makers and others of power is a very real problem all over the world.

Our children are growing up in a world that in some ways is saying, " They will have to figure this out themselves one day later."

We all have to use 2020 as the year where we figure more things out and make the world better. .

It can happen, even if it seems very difficult to do right now. 

My best input for your many valid examples is take each step to a better tomorrow,  one step at a time. Change attitudes and opinions about the poor and displaced slowly with each person or out reach you can make happen. Continue to just be vocal and tell the other side of each story you embrace to tell.

Many people are listening and trying to help but there is a common factor on all sides of these very serious issues and that is, that there is a real problem that is not just going to go away.

We also need to consider this week and next, about why are civic spaces important and what we can all add and receive from this forum about this serious problem.

How the need for spaces and venues to reach people about these very important issues and how important they are to other things if the rights to civic spaces was not to be anymore.

Let's hope that doesn't happen.

 

 

Angelica Flores

Baatar Bayarmagnai 

La falta de conocimiento, abuso de las autoridades, nos vuelve blancos perfectos,hablare en lo que vivimos dia dia ... Vamos y damos cursos de derechos humanos básicos a comunidades que sufren de violencia de genero pero vamos sólos por nuestros medios nadie nos respalda queremos que niñas estudien que no sean víctimas de abusos y desapariciones y los presidentes municipales envenenan a los hombres de éstas regiones diciéndoles que queremos robarlos, que eso no es cierto que su ley se ara y que mejor nos retiremos y no vuelvamos e sido acompañada por mujeres con machetes para que no no hagan nada, no hay una autoridad.

Seria perfecto que alguien nos acompañara que alguien fuera con nosotros a educar no a generar problemas, vamos a ayudar a que ahiga una cordialidad entre ellos vamos a luchar para que terminen los abusos para que ahiga escuelas no para generar mas conflictos pero las mismas autoridades nos ven como enemigos, AY UN DICHO Y ES VERDAD ALREDEDOR DEL MUNDO LOS POLITICOS NOS QUIEREN IGNORANTES Y CALLADOS..

Angelica Flores

Giorgina Piperone LA ONU DEBE HACER DOBLE REFUERZO APOYARNOS CON MAS DIFUSION Y SE QUE ES ALGO COMPLICADO PERO DEBERÍAN HACER UN LISTADO DE PERSONAS DEFENSORAS DE DERECHOS HUMANOS Y TENER UN SEGUIMIENTO DE SUS ACTIVIDADES DE ESTA MANERA ABRÍA MENOS DESAPARICIÓNES FORZADAS DE PERIODISTAS Y PERSONAS DEFENSORAS DE DERECHOS HUMANOS PARECEMOS DELINCUENTES ESCONDIENDONOS CON LA VERDAD QUE USTEDES NOS MUESTRAN PERO SIN APOYO ACTIVO

MIRIAM SAAVEDRA SERNA

Angelica Flores Expresas con claridad la situación actual de nuestro País, no hay nada más que agregar.

Te felicito por tu trabajo. Saludos desde Tampico, Tamaulipas.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Dear friends – thanks so much to all those who have taken the time to share their perspectives and experiences on how the UN can improve its approach to protecting civic space, and a warm welcome to those who are just joining the conversation!

My name is Giorgina Piperone, I work in the Civil Society Division at UN Women and it’s a pleasure to be joining the conversation as a moderator this week (13-17 January). Let’s keep the conversation going by sharing insights on how the UN can more effectively protect civil society actors at risk, build strong partnerships with a diverse range of civil society actors, and actively promote a safe and vibrant civic space.

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Alejandra

I would like to reinforce the idea of creating broader spaces for women and women rights

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Thank you very much for your important contribution and indeed, the UN must be engaging with a broad and diverse range of marginalized groups and civil society actors, including women and women's rights activists. Could you perhaps elaborate on this suggestion further - how might the UN strengthen its work to engage and create spaces for women in your community, and do you have any examples of previous efforts that have been effective? I'm also inviting Pepsie Adiukwu and Busayo Obisakin to share their perspectives given the examples of their work with women and girls shared earlier.

Alejandra

Giorgina Piperone  Pepsie Adiukwu and Busayo Obisakin 

For me a substantial work is lacking at multiple levels:

1.- political participation : women from civil society have the right to participate in politics in our communities, we need to be present and represented at the political level, and i am not talking about parity i am talking about being able to bring women issues to the table: feminicides, violence against women, etc. mostly urgent issues. 

2.- consultation: politicians should be obliged to consult women issues with the CS movements, with all, not just with some of them 

3.- population sensitization: a plan needs to be implementing to sensitize people on international norms and regulations as the Cedaw and the Beijing platform, on national lows on women´s rights

4.- education: girls of all ages should have access to the information concerning their rights from early stages, from primary school or even before

5.- talking about public space: women movements need to have public spaces at their disposal for public action

6.- protection for victims of gender based violence at the  domestic level, in order for women organizations to count on enough places to have women protected

I will come back with other ideas. 

Thank you

 

Alejandra

Talking about methodologies theater can be an awsome tool when talking about sensitization at school and education programming

 

Georgina Piperone Moderator

@Alejandra thank you for your comment and for detailing some of the main challenges facing women's rights activists. As you suggest, the UN has an important role to play in ensuring civil society, including women's rights activists, LGBTI individuals and other marginalized groups, can safely engage and consult with and national decision making bodies. Many thanks again for your comment!

djepang yvonne

                                 PROTEGER ET PROMOUVOIR L'ESPACE CIVIQUE

1-PARTENARIAT:

LUCOVIFA ayant un statut Consultatif Spécial auprès d'ECOSOC depuis 2013, travail à promouvoir et à  participer à atteindre les ODD institués par les Nations Unies en 2016.

Sur cette trajectoire, nous accédons aux informations de l'ONU aux travers des news lettres, des e-mail, et des sites de l'ONU.

Considérant que le travail des ONGs, associations, groupes communautaires, OSC, chercheurs, ... sont nécessaires pour la réalisation des activités et programmes de l'ONU, il serait souhaitable de les identifier et y prêter une attention sérieuse à long terme, mais alors comment?

- Créer une représentation ECOSOC par pays afin d'assurer à cette cible(groupe, ayant le Statut Consultatif à ECOSOC): Protection - Accompagnement - renforcement des capacités - faciliter l'accès aux conférences(par la mise sur pied d'un fonds d'assistance) ceci pour échanges, partenariat avec d'autres groupes pays - travail en synergie, en réseau... ayant en commun le même champs d'action...

2- PROTECTION:

Pour la protection des acteurs menacés, l'ONU doit mettre sur pied une POLICE de veille de protection de ces acteurs, afin qu"elle puisse investiguer et collecter toutes preuves d'attaque contre un(e) défenseur(e) des droits de l'Homme victime; ensuite inciter à juger et à sanctionner les responsables de près ou de loin de ces attaques, soit au niveau national ou bien international.

3- PROMOTION:

A partir de la création des représentations d'ECOSOC pays citées plus haut, des séminaires de formation des acteurs de la société civile permettront à ces derniers d'être outillés pour mieux participer aux processus décisionnels nationaux.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

@Djepeng thank you so much for your considered contribution. In particular, your idea to build national based civil society networks to facilitate information sharing, build capacities and develop strong partnerships between civil society and the UN, is very valuable and well noted. Many thanks again for your comment!

Ahmed Abdulkadhim ALaskari

شكراً جزيلاً على هذه المنصة المهمة والتي من خلالها يمكن تبادل الافكار و المعلومات و ايضاً تطوير المهارات الخاص بحقوق الانسان و الحريات الأساسية.

أما بالنسبة إلى الدور الذي مكن أن لتلعبة الأمم المتحدة لتعزيز معرفة الناس بحقوقهم فهذا دور مهم جداً لكون الكثير من الناس لا تعرف ابسط الحقوق الاساسية و من وجهة نظري كصحفي من بلد مثل العراق أعتقد ان الناس لا تحب القراءة بشكل كبير و خاصة النصوص الجافة و الطويلة فممكن أن تلجى من خلال أقامة منصات معينة تطلق من خلالها صور أنوغرافك ذات الوان و اشكال ممزة و فيديوغرافك و حتى موشن غرافك و انميات صغيرة تساهم في فهم و تعزيز حقوق الانسان بطرق بسيطة ممكن ان يشاهدها الشخص ويتذكرها ولاتأخذ منه وقت ولاجهد لمعرفة الاحداث والطرق القانونية التي يمكن ان تفيده .

محرد رأي .

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Many thanks for your comment, Ahmed! Several participants share your concern about the lack of information and awareness relating to human rights standards, so your suggestions for how the UN might improve its communication through the use of creative media (ie, the use of images, motion graphics and video), is very much appreciated. 

moka

De l'efficacité de partenariat avec l'ONU, au fait, étant qu'une organisation des nations unies, chaque personne devra se sentir implique d'une manière ou d'une autre aux actions des ONU  sur le terrain mais plus souvent, on remarque beaucoup de rigueur aux agences et organes mendatés des nations unies c'est-à-dire pour qu'une personne entre dans l'enclos ou bureau d'une agence de nations unies c'est vraiment un problème oui, je comprend que dans le cadre sécuritaire on doit mettre de rigueur mais j'envisage qu'il ait une unité spéciale au sein de l'ONU chargé de l'espace civil qui aura spécifiquement la  mission de collaborer au quotidien avec la communauté locale et c'est cette unité qui pourra éduquer, informer et communiquer le rôle de chaque organes ou agence de nations unies si non tout le monde connait déjà que les actions des nations unies ne sont pas pour l'intérêt de la population.  Cette unité aurai aussi mission de pereniser les activités après projet exécuté par un des organes des nations unies  

Jing Rey Henderson

Thank you very much for having this platform.

One of the key areas where UN can fully maximize resources and partnerships is in the area of human rights. In the Philippines for example, there are CSOs working on this theme entirely alone successfully but would be able to accomplish more if big organizations like UN can be fully supportive not for a given period only but for a longer period to enable full impact. Meaning, support must not only be given per project but more within a development phase. With land rights issues alone, if UN can provide technical, legal and funding support to CSOs and church organizations, the more than 100,000 collective certificates of land ownership can be transferred in no time to farmers. 

The establishment and support to human rights defenders' sanctuaries can also another track UN can support local organizations. Church groups for example have always been the refuge of HR defenders and they receive no support from anyone. If this can be done in a more systematic manner, more can be helped.

Access to information is another way UN can be fully felt at the grassroots. In most cases, working groups are only for international organizations and local CSOs are always left out. The UN-OCHA Community of Practice on Community Engagement in the Philippines is a good example of how UN networks can maximize partnerships and collaborative use of resources with local organizations.

Collaboration and presence must not be done through one-time engagements. UN must try to develop meaningful relationships on-ground long-term.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Jing Rey Henderson, thank you for highlighting the UN-OCHA example on the community of practice on community engagement.  We would encourage other participants to share such examples that you know of, for better information and experience sharing among participants. 

Liu Si

Setting up a mechanism to review constitutions and laws of signatories based on their signed and approved international human rights laws

Regarding the promotion and protection of human rights, I would suggest the above, just like UPR.  Under this mechanism, reviews will not be focused on human rights records but on theIr domestic constitutions and laws based on their respective signed and approved international human rights laws.

Because I find that governments which violate the human rights always quote their own “laws” of their country while their actions actually violate the international human rights laws they have signed and approved.  The consequences of their practice will always end up terrifyIng the entire society from defending their freedom and exercising their rights.

The ground for this proposal is that it’s hard for UN to follow each individual cases but it is reasonably practical and necessary for the UN to care for the implementation of all the international laws, the first of which would be that each signatory should ensure that their constitution and laws must agree to what they have signed and thus promised.

Just to add one point to it, the review should end with a concrete conclusion such as a promise of rectification with a Practical agenda.  I assume this will be helpful for the human rights defenders to exercise self-protection from government reprisals.

Hamid Reza Kazemi

Markaz Toseeh Tehran has been working in the field of cultural and social development with a vision of sustainable development in areas such as the disabled, the elderly, working children, youth, women, and immigrants after formulating scientific programs. Ongoing projects in Markaz Toseeh Tehran are common points our organization has with the United Nations.

It seems there are many challenges to engaging the United Nations in the common areas of concern for NGOs, including:

- Uncertainty about how to participate in projects related to women, youth, immigrants, specifically, the Markaz Toseeh Tehran has three projects running across the country for people with disabilities, the elderly and working children, wishing to cooperate with the United Nations, do you have any solutions for further communication in this area?

- the ambiguity in how how to use the UN experience concerning common issues,

Specifically how can use the results of UN research and programs?

- Do you have a solution to let NGOs know about UN plans and programs?

-  Most of the NGOs active in the areas of immigrants, women, people with disabilities, the elderly, etc are in close contact with the United Nations, but other NGOs cannot obtain information about their plans and the results of their projects.

- Why the UN does not provide the conditions for linking and utilizing the experiences of NGOs with one another?

-Why don't your subordinate departments mention on the UN site have a secretariat or a special section of the UN office where representatives of NGOs can actively interact?

-Markaz Toseeh Tehran after obtaining consultative status from ECOSOC and appointing representatives for United Nations Headquarters in New York, for further communication sent the respected Secretary General and one of its members to the UN Office in New York , Markaz Toseeh Tehran has presented a new approach on disability in the country under the slogan "Positive Discrimination for Disabled", to introduce this plan and to communicate closely with the United Nations, the members of the Center, upon entering the UN Headquarters, found that the Desa Department did not even have a physical presence !!

- There was no secretariat in the UN Office !!!

 

 

- Available is through the organization's website information on United Nations practices and policies, but it is impossible to communicate with departments and use their experience and information.

For example, the Desa department does not respond to emails sent !

 

 The United Nations should provide effective and active communication conditions for the exchange of experiences, the use of information and programs and more details of projects, and how to collaborate and participate in these programs and the exchange of information between NGOs.

- The Markaz Toseeh Tehran hopes to communicate with UN departments and further details on development-oriented programs related to women, youth, disabilities, immigrants, etc., and can benefit from UN experiences in this area.

 

 

Markaz Toseeh Tehran believes, three major issues in our cities and villages are:

1- Disabled People

2- Working Children

3- The Elderly

Unfortunately, a significant percentage of the country's population is among the three groups that face many challenges.

Our organization, after extensive research, has implemented practical programs in the areas of interest and has implemented successful efforts in these areas between 2015 and 2019 in the cities of Tehran and Karaj. despite persistent efforts by Markaz Toseeh Tehran, major obstacles have slowed progress in implementing these projects. with support and participation in these projects, the United Nations can eliminate some of the challenges ahead.

Changing the public outlook on people with disabilities and women and their greater support and participation in civic and social activities with proper UN training and assistance can be effective in reducing the suffering.

 

 

 

NGOs and projects related to sustainable development for women, youth, the disabled, the elderly, working children, immigrants, etc, they need to play a more significant role in UN programs and to provide conditions in the Security Council, ECOSOC, the Human Rights Council, the World Periodic Review and various committees with special attention to civil society activists and NGO programs. That such projects be considered the priorities of the above collections.

- Representatives of NGOs and various civil- society groups appear to lack access to UN commissions and subcommittees. (Compared to government sector representatives)

- Representatives of groups such as women, youth, the disabled, the elderly, working children, immigrants, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples have no role in the decision-making process of major UN commissions and prioritize and plan for sustainable development.

 

- By actively engaging with organizations that pursue the demands of groups such as the disabled, the elderly, youth, women of ethnic and religious backgrounds, the United Nations has advocated for greater diversity of civic groups and take positive steps towards the goals of the 2030 agenda programs.

 

 

- unfortunately, in most cases, civil society activists in developing countries are exposed to all kinds of threats and violence. much of the work of civil society groups is to combat poverty and corruption and to tackle all forms of discrimination and inequality that in themselves are in the interests of individuals and groups that benefit from this inequality. therefore, the United Nations can support their programs by supporting individuals and organizations active in these areas.

 

- The United Nations first identifies and works closely with civil-society actors, and then supporting programs that are in line with sustainable development goals, can provide protection against intimidation, threats, and attacks online and offline. And with the help of executive tools available to prevent threats against civil society actors .

 

 

- Civil-society activists generally pursue goals such as combating poverty and corruption and economic inequality, combating discrimination, empowering vulnerable groups, helping to promote social justice, empowering women, empowering youth, and providing social services. much of this effort is in essence at odds with the interests of government officials.senior UN leaders can support greater diversity by supporting civil society activists against government officials and trying to force governments to prioritize civil society activists' programs.

 

 

National laws and policies on protests, access to information and freedom of expression that affect a large part of civil society activities are generally under the control of governments in developing countries. control and access to information that fights corruption and social inequality and the formulation of laws that can reverse the trend is back to governments.

- Strengthening civil society and supporting civil society projects in these countries and actively and continuously liaising with the programs, removing barriers and problems of civil society sector projects is the proposal of the Markaz Toseeh Tehran to the United Nations in this regard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Hamid Reza Kazemi, thank you for highlighting many of the pertinent challenges in partnering with the UN, especially at the headquarters level and those serving inter-governmental bodies and forums. As you noted, lack of clarity on existing channels and entry points for effective engagement, lack of responsiveness despite proper structures for NGO engagement that may exist, as well as many barriers for persons with disabilities, children and older people for effective engagement are well noted, and through this discussion we are seeking to hear your ideas how theses gaps could be addressed. We hope to hear from many others on this forum about their experiences too, and possibly, your solutions and ideas to these problems.

You have also raised another important role that the UN could play in facilitating conditions for information exchange and experience sharing among civil society and NGO networks. Would be interesting to hear from others if they have experience with this and if the UN facilitated interactions between you and other NGOs or civil society actors, and how in practice this was implemented. Any further comments from others are welcomed.

However, going back to your other comments on the challenges, or lack of opportunities, for persons with disabilities, youth and children, minorities and indigenous peoples, and older persons to engage with the UN.  There are a number of mechanisms that facilitate such engagements.  For example, the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, the UN Forum on Minority Issues and the UN Expert Mechanism and Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office and its Peacebuilding Fund to support civil society organizations, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as the UN DESA promotion of the participation of youth organizations, with or without consultative status, with the ECOSOC’s Annual Youth Forum.  What was your experience like in engaging with these forums and mechanisms, and would you have practical recommendations to improve the engagement?  Thanks for any additional views and comments.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

DAY 2

Dear participants,

Welcome to the second day of the consultations, and we would also like to welcome new participants that may have just joined!

During yesterday’s discussion, we believe we heard many challenges and practical recommendations from you, and we thank you again.  The discussion was reach in its scope and content, however, if we summarize majority of views, then the UN needs to significantly:

  • Improve access to information, especially by civil society actors at the grass-roots and community levels, who otherwise may not have access to and knowledge about the UN and its work
  • Reach out to, communicate with and involve local and community civil society actors in its work, and lend political, technical, financial and other support as may be required
  • Significantly increase public awareness, basic knowledge and capacities on fundamental human rights and public freedoms, including through communication tools and freely accessible online courses and resources
  • The need to better protect those under risk, including human rights activists and defenders, journalists, and vulnerable, marginalized, excluded and discriminated population groups working on human rights issues
  • Improve civil society engagement in inter-governmental processes, especially those that do not have ECOSOC consultative status, and improve the responsiveness of the UN to civil society concerns in relation to these processes 

Of course, you also raised many other issues and concerns.  However, if you allow me to highlight a few comments or contributions that stand out.

@Liu Si made an important point that States and governments often do not honor their legally binding obligations under international human rights law that they ratified voluntarily.  Lack of the public awareness of these obligations exacerbates the already challenging situation. We understand this point is very relevant to what the UN could or should do in reminding States of their obligations and implementation of human rights treaties, and broader public of their rights, including as part of the UN's advocacy and promotion of civic space and fundamental rights and freedoms.

@Samir Kumar Das noted that civil society and NGOs "can play an active role in the protection and preservation of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation and humanitarian response in crisis."  This is an important point, and civil society actors in the frontline are the actual agents of change.  The issue is then how the UN can support better the civil society cause, as well as how civil society actors can come together and combine their efforts avoiding any polarization.

We also encourage you to respond to other issues or questions that were not sufficiently discussed, as well as an active discussion among participants.

Please note that many participants are contributing in different languages, therefore, please do not forget to change the language at the top of this screen, so that entire discussion will be displayed in your own language, if available.

Thank you all again, and we look forward to continued and productive discussions!

Mariana Bwema Chibalonza

Bonjour a tous 

je suis tres heureux d'etre parmi vous .

Bien que les ONGs et la societe civile puissent jouent sont role mais nous devons aussi donne la connaissence a la communaute en matiere de droit de l'homme;sur la gestion de conflits

L'ONU doit donne a nouveau ou renforce la connaissence des acteurs de la societe civile sur le thematique 

Mariana Bwema Chibalonza

L'ONU doit accompagne les OSC en renforcant leur connaissence  sur la thematique ainsi que dans la mise en oeuvres des actions sur terrain pour que la societe civile jouer bien son role il doit etre outille et avoir de connaissence sur la notion de droit il ya aussi le devoir;gestion de conflits et sur la reponse humanitaire  

Ivan Kibangou

Je pense que l'ONU devrait soutenir des programme de vulgarisation des droits et libertés des OSC. 

 

Mariana Bwema Chibalonza

L'un ce qui ou prenons L'ONU ensemble

Samir Kumar Das

 

Dear Ivan Kibangou, I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

Want of English we can not participate your consultation.

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Samir Kumar Das, please don't forget to change the language into English (selection list at the top of the screen) to be able to see the discussion translated into English.

Ivan Kibangou

ONU devrait soutenir les programmes de vulgarisation des droits et libertés des OSC.

Un fond devrait être mis en place pour cela. Et un observatoire avec un système d'information rapide devrait être mis en place. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Mariana Bwema the balonza, @Ivan Kibangou, thank you for your comments, which reiterates the importance of the UN in raising awareness among and supporting, including financially, civil society actors. For example, UN peacebuilding and humanitarian agencies work with many local and community organizations, and also provide some funding, although such engagements could be further improved.  Have you engaged with such UN organizations, and what practical recommendations would you propose based on your experience, including on the options for early warning system?

Mariana Bwema Chibalonza

Je suis en RDC precisement au Nord kivu mais partant de l'experience que j'ai avec les agences de nations unis dans le cardre de la consolidation de la paix je pas encore  je pas encore vu des actions pareilles peut etres ils ont une autre approche mais je me rappel on voulais organise un forum d'echange intule"FEMME et MINES" dans notres approche c'etais dans le cadre de parle au femme travaillant dans l'exploitation miniere sur leur droit et le devoir de l'exercise miniree on a voulu que PNUD et ONU FEMME puisse nous accompagne dans telle activites malhuresement il nous disent qu'il ya pas de fond pour ca,et il connaissent tous ce qui se passe dans le zone minier en lisant de rapport comment le droit sont viole;le conflit entre les entreprises et les artisanaux or il faut mene les activites de rapprochement pour consolide la paix dans de zone conflictuese.je crois il est temp de se releve pour une cause communautaire avec vos agences  surtout sur le violation de droits humains et la consolidation de la paix;pensons y 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Mariana Bwema Chibalonza, thank you for your contribution.

Ivan Kibangou

Je suis en République du Congo, je peux vous affirmer qu'aucune agence des nations unis, principalement le PNUD, n'a un programme d'appui à la protection de l'espace civique au Congo. en effet, depuis 2016, le gouvernement de la République du Congo s'active à faire adopter au Parlement Congolais une loi restrictive de l'espace civique et les agences du système des nations unies au Congo n'assistent pas les OSC engagés dans cette bataille juridique, dans ce plaidoyer avec les parlementaires. seul l'ong américaine ICNL qui assistent les organisations de la République du Congo sur le plan technique et financier dans ce plaidoyer grâce auquel ce projet de loi n'a pas encore été adopté.

cependant, les activistes de la société civile continuent à être arrêtés. rien que ce mois de décembre 2019, cinq ( 5) militants de la société civile ont été arrêtés pour avoir, selon les services de renseignements de la police, voulu organiser une marche contre la pauvreté des populations

il faut que les OSC aient des  fonds pour organiser les campagne de vulgarisation des droits et libertés des OSC 

Ce que nous voulons c'est que le DPI avec le réseau de ses centre d'information des nations unies renforcent la vulgarisation des textes relatifs à la liberté d'association

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@John Kibangou, thank you for your insight on the level of the UN support and engagement with you and other civil society actors, including on the issue of protection.  Across the world and in general, there are many reports, including from civil society, regarding the emergence of draft national legislation that restricts civic space and civil society activities in many ways, as well as of growing crack downs on peaceful protests and persecution of human rights activists, journalists and other civil society actors.  In your view and from your experience, what would be the likely reasons of the UN inaction in protecting civic space and civil society actors when the UN engages with authorities?  Would it be political willingness of the UN to engage on those issues, technical capacities or any other reasons?  When civil society approach the UN with these concerns, what is the usual response by the UN to such civil society concerns?  Of course, you may wish not to respond to questions in a detailed way, but any additional feedback will be helpful.

If other participants have similar experiences to share, we are keen to know them too.

Angelica Flores

QUERIDOS AMIGOS ANALIZANDO LAS INICIATIVAS Y PROPUESTAS DE ESTE FORO CABE SEÑALAR LA IMPORTANCIA EN TODO EL MUNDO DE LOS DERECHOS IRRESTRICTOS DE LA HUMANIDAD, HABLABAMOS DE VIOLACIONES A LOS DERECHOS EN GENERAL Y LA PREGUNTA DEL MILLOS ES? POR QUE ESTAS QUEJAS ?DESDE CUANDO HAY VIOLACIONES Y PORQUE POR MEDIO DE ESTE FORO LA ONU SE VA ENTERANDO, POR QUE HASTA HOY DEBEMOS PONER FIN, PORQUE SOMOS NOSOTROS LOS QUE CON MIEDO VAMOS POR EL MUNDO DEFENDIENDO LO QUE DEBERIA SER POR DERECHO NUESTRO

ESTO HABLA DE LA FALTA DE CRITERIO DE CADA UNO DE NUESTROS GOBERNANTES QUITAR LOS ESPACIOS CIVICOS NOS PONE CONTRA LA PARED EN NUESTRAS LABORES HAGAMOS UN FRENTE COMUN NUEVO, CON GENTE DE LA SOCIEDAD CIVIL RESPALDADO POR LA ONU PARA VIGILAR LOS ACUERDOS, PACTOS Y TRATADOS ,VEAMOS QUIEN NO CUMPLE Y DEMANDEMOS

DICEN QUE NO HAY PEOR LUCHA QUE LA QUE NO SE HACE HEMOS DEJADO PASAR TANTO Y HASTA DONDE LLEGAREMOS SOMOS LIBRES CON RESPONSABILIDADES PROPIAS PERO NO SOMOS LIBRES DE ELEGIR SOBRE OTROS

"EL RESPETO AL DERECHO AJENO ES LA PAZ"

APOYEN NUESTRAS CAUSAS NO SE OLVIDEN DE NOSOTROS MILES DE PERSONAS AN MUERTO POR DEFENDER SUS DERECHOS Y NADIE SUPO NADA LUCHAMOS TODOS EN CONJUNTO POR UN SUEÑO VIVIR EN PAZ DONDE CANINEMOS TODOS JUNTOS SIN DEJAR A NADIE ATRÁS Y QUE NUESTROS NIÑOS NO TENGAN HAMBRE DONDE NUESTRA FAMILIAS VIVAN BAJO UN TECHO Y QUE NO TENGAMOS QUE UIR DE NUESTRAS RAICES.

FORTALEZCAN SUS PROGRAMAS, APOYENSE DE LA SOCIEDAD CIVIL VERIFIQUEN SUS TRATADOS Y PONGANLE FIN A LA OPRESIÓN, NO NOS ABANDONEN EN NUESTRAS LABORES CADA VEZ MAS GENTE NOS QUEDAMOS SIN RECURSOS PARA SEGUIR APOYANDO SI NO RECIBIMOS APOYO NOSOTROS SEREMOS LOS SIGUIENTES EN NECESITAR AYUDA Y NO ABRA NADIE

ALGUNAS ORGANIZACIONES HEMOS PERDIDO TODO Y AUN ASÍ LUCHAMOS . QUE ESTO NO SE QUEDE EN UN FORO EN COMENTARIOS LOS QUE NOS HEMOS ATREVIDO HABLAR ES POR QUE YA NO VEMOS SALIDAS YA NO VEMOS LUZ ENTRE TANTA OBSCURIDAD

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Angelica Flores, thank you for speaking out your concerns and challenges all of us face in the context of shrinking civic space, disregard of international norms and standards, and all types of human rights violations. We understand that your comment also speaks to the contribution made by @Liu Si on the need to push for the implementation by States of numerous international human rights instruments that they ratified. The implementation of these treaties remains a multi-decade challenge.

We would like to encourage you to share with us your views and practical suggestions on, if possible, what measures and solutions you expect the UN as whole (and not just the UN human rights system) should put in place to promote the implementation of international treaties by the States?

Angelica Flores

MAS INFORMACIÓN DIGITAL, MAS PUBLICIDAD, FOROS Y EVENTOS PUBLICOS DONDE SE DE A CONOCER SU LABOR DE USTEDES Y EL COMPROMISO CON LA SOCIEDAD CIVIL, QUE POR MEDIO DE USTEDES SE PUEDAN HACER LISITACIONES DONDE NOS APOYEN PARA SABER NUESTROS DERECHOS Y RESPONSABILIDADES EN UN EVENTO CÍVICO Y NO SE VIOLE NINGÚN DERECHO .. Podría enviar a alguna persona a verificar que se cumpla en conjunto con la seguridad pública de cada país

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Angelica Flores, great, many thanks for your additional clarifications and inputs, which really re-confirm what others have also expressed.

Mohammed Mominul Haque
Hi: how are you all, hope you are all well. I need to bring your attention that peoples in the ground feels that their voice is not heard by the international community. In many places around the world regimes keeps power without listen or provide any social justice to the peoples, regimes never provide any space to the civil society or opposition, normally there should be space to express peoples grievances, if there will no real space for the people and civil society activist than they will try to find another option to express their concern, people want that their voice has heard by the authority, if citizens has failed to get their rights or service from the country they will try to raise voice to get justice, Government tried to politicized administration, media, judicial and law enforcement agencies, to keep power patronize corruption in the society, create intentionally chaos and crisis, if you at present what ever conflict and crisis world has been facing maximum has been created by the own nation. Some times we are seeing internal conflict are controlling by the neighbour country for their geo politics. UN and international community need to bring urgent solution to bring peace, security and solve conflicts in the fragile countries, marginal or vulnerable peoples are the main victims, corrupt leaders, politicians and businessman are taking all the advantage, five person people are the owner of the whole country resources, peoples are not getting their real service from the government, there is huge gape between the ruler and citizens of the country, corporation impunity is the biggest factor now world is facing, media, politics has been controlling by the elites, poor or marginalized peoples feels that no one listen to them or provide any real hope to them. Many regimes in the world they keep power without real vote for pro long periods. When we see any conflict or crisis in any part of the world, we issue a statement, hybrid regimes or dictators never count those statements, hybrid remise openly deny or ignore what other organization has said, they said we need to keep power to continue our so-called development (paper development), suppressing others rights and voice. Example country : BANGLADESH. Now, it is the time we need to bring a strong message that civil society around the world are united, we will go to the countries where human rights has been violating by the regimes, UN and Global force need to create to topples dictators. Needs to create space for the civil society and marginalized people. Thanks.
Mariana Bwema Chibalonza

je suis de meme avis que vous;L'ONU doit soutenir et accompagne les actions de la societe civile sur terrain ;les entreprise qui vile le droit de communaute local mais le gouvernement soutienent ces entreprises 

Samir Kumar Das

Mariana Bwema Chibalonza 

I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

Want of English we can not participate your consultation.

I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

Want of English we can not participate your consultation.

 

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Samir Kumar Das 

Hello!☺😶

Your want of English is not to bad.

I understand your message too.

Participating in this forum is important because it gives others who actually work at UN a chance to hear what regular ppl think about things. It is not always the same old thing that does not change. We all have our nations little ones who need us to try to make things better. I hope you can maybe try to use translate on web to talk more about being in an NGO and if you feel safe and what is your view on what UN could do to make NGO feel safer even if you are safe.

We have a whole next week and the weekend. I hope you can join us.

Okay Thank You!👍

Liu Si

Anonymity - a Way to Self-Protection

In authoritarian and totalitarian states, human rights defenders are mostly targeted by the government.  The situation is very different from the free states, where civil society constitutes a vital part in public life.  In a saddened state, there is no legal recognition of NGOs or non-profits, which means human rights defenders are all lone fighters.  Open criticisms will land the speakers in jail.  All these are colossally wrong, but arguments doesn’t help.  A realistic way is self-protection.  Anonymity can help people to work most of the time online and stay safe.

The problem with anonymity is that you are restrained in many respects, such as shrinking audience base, no credibility, no external support especially in finance, and most importantly, no Public recognition therefore, extremely vulnerable before the government's iron hand.

The pros and cons can go on and on.  So I want UN to analyze if it’s a desirable tactic?  If it is, an advocacy for anonymity by UN experts will be helpful.

But UN need to find a way to educate people how to keep anonymous online.  Taking VPN application as an example, many people have no sense of it, which means without step by step demonstration, like screen recording, they simple can’t manage.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Liu Si, thanks again for your continued contributions and suggestions.  As you pointed out, as well as by many other civil society organizations, in authoritarian states the civic space is closed or non-existent, and civil society actors and human rights defenders are facing oppression.  In this kind environment, in a similar way we asked from @John Kibangou, what is it that the UN could do more in support of civil society, including greater partnership and networking among different actors on the protection?  The same question could be asked from @Mohammed Mominul Haque above in response to his commentary, what role would you expect the UN should play in such difficult and restrictive environments?  Some possible responses could also be in line with other suggestions made by participants thus far, including on such as greater education and awareness raising among the population etc, but what are the practical, constructive and innovative ways in which the UN could lend its support? 

You are also suggesting that the UN should do an analysis on the issue of anonymity, and we would like to hear the experiences and suggestions of others.  However, establishing a secure and safe communication channels between the UN and civil society, including online security, may be another separate issue distinct from anonymity.  We invite participants to share their experiences, if appropriate, on how the UN in your countries adopted secure communication channels or paid an attention to the security of individuals or groups in general.

Rugaiyatou Ubale

@Baatar Bayarmagnai 

Hello to everyone on board thanks once more for this opportunity to be part of y'all. I want to talk about people in the ground who's voice can't be heard by the international community I here are an example who has been a victim of crisis

civil society and NGOs play an active role in the protection of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation etc

People in English Cameroon are suffering and dying the Muslim community is not even looked at as humans because of lack of education. 

UN and international community need to bring urgent solution to bring peace, security and solve conflicts in the fragile countries like Cameroon innocent peoples are the main victims, corrupt leaders, politicians and businessman own the country and hard working able and capable youths are roaming around streets smoking marijuana. We need peace and security humanitarian assistance and realization of human rights by looking into the areas of need and providing them with all the necessary equipments. 

I do have so much to show the world about my community if I'm giving the chance to 

Liu Si

Baatar Bayarmagnai Thanks for reply.  Self protection and protection are the two sides of one coin.  In Hong Kong, protestors protect themselves from persecution by hiding their faces with masks and anonymously participating online activities. They know how to protect themselves online and offline, which many in the mainland China don’t.  On the other side, during the past 7 months, government announced >6000 arrests, 40% are students;  also 3000 deaths. Some death cases are very suspicious of murder, but police claim suicide.  The situation leave protestors in trauma.  Now from the protection side, if UN can enquire the government about their states, it should be very helpful to prevent violation on CAT, because some young detainees report their experiences of being mistreated, even group raped during detention.  In this regard, NGOs can’t perform this type of protection.  Some cases report to NGO when they realize about possible harms they have faced with, but receive no protection, and some cases get arrested shortly after their reports.

Therefore, talking about protection from UN, I think most needed protection are for the detainees and the missing.  For my knowledge, most of the cases get mistreated less if UN enquire their government about their states.  But such cases are very rare.  If UN can establish a mechanism, such as intervene procedures as other participants have suggested, it’ll be great.  Of course by doing this, UN have to establish a database and a means of communication wIth UN branch offices.  But effective protection will require that enquiry to respective governments come from UN headquarters not the local branch offices.

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

I'm so sorry to get off topic.But we are intently in engagement of this issue in Hong Kong. As well as hoping the ngo observer can be allowed in. Could you cite your source if public about the 3000>  deaths.

I was unable to find any news of this.

If not it's okay and I will not quote you and please keep my request with in the context of " confidential colleague chat"!💕💕💕

Thanks!

SL

Rugaiyatou Ubale

Liu Si please how can I get in contact with the human rights and UN bodies in Cameroon Bamenda

I've seen most of them and no one else s willing to talk or attend to me they keep saying I should see the bigger people I don't know who's the bigger person's please

Tariq Alsabahi

Hi I totally agree with what you said. Thanks

Adelfa Malpica

Quiero centrar mis planteamientos principalmente en dos aspectos fundamentales para mí y para muchas personas con las que he conversado, que son: Q2. Protección de los actores de la sociedad civil y Q3. Promoción y defensa de los espacios cívicos:

Sabemos que  La "responsabilidad de proteger" como propuesta llevada a la ONU por un lado lleva consigo un mensaje de intervención en socorro de víctimas o posibles víctimas de serias violaciones de derechos humanos.

La "responsabilidad de proteger" apareció en la ONU vinculada a las discusiones sobre la intervención humanitaria en Kosovo y en vista de las experiencias negativas de la ONU en Somalia, Rwanda y Bosnia, tratando de dar una respuesta a la cuestión de qué hacer frente a emergencias humanitarias graves que surjan en cualquier parte del mundo.

En la actualidad ya se han dado diversos casos de emergencia humanitaria que han originado propuestas del uso de la fuerza bajo el concepto de "responsabilidad de proteger" como los habidos en Myanmar, Zimbabwe y Sudán, hechos estos que obligan a examinar este concepto a fin de afinar su contenido, su posición en el sistema de la ONU, la fuerza de su mensaje y sus límites.

Las Naciones Unidas define una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja como "una crisis humanitaria en un país, región o sociedad en la que hay una total o considerable ruptura de la autoridad, como resultado de un conflicto interno o externo, y que requiere una respuesta internacional que va más allá del mandato o capacidad de un solo organismo y/o el programa de país de las Naciones Unidas en curso" (IASC, 1994). En sus efectos de hambre, inseguridad alimentaria, malnutrición, vulnerabilidad y riesgo, la FAO traduce las emergencias complejas como "Una crisis humanitaria grave que suele ser el resultado de una combinación de inestabilidad política, conflictos y violencia, desigualdades sociales y una pobreza subyacente. Las emergencias complejas son fundamentalmente de carácter político y pueden hacer mella en la estabilidad cultural, civil, política y económica de las sociedades, sobre todo cuando se ven agravadas por peligros naturales, enfermedades respiratorias y enfermedades como el VIH/SIDA, Paludismo, Tuberculosis, entre otras enfermedades epidémicas que surgen por falta de control en salud pública, los cuales menoscaban los medios de vida y acentúan la pobreza de la población.

Respecto a Venezuela como Estado Fallido, está suficientemente documentada la Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja que se vive en el País, con una población de 31.8 millones de habitantes y un territorio dividido en 24 estados, vive una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja desde el año 2015 sin precedentes en el País, entre los indicadores más lamentables que se tienen a Diciembre de 2018 referente a:

En relación a la Emergencia en alimentación y nutrición (Fuente: Reporte Nacional: Emergencia humanitaria compleja en Venezuela, derecho a la alimentación), tenemos resumidamente lo siguiente:

-94% de la población venezolana no cuenta con ingresos suficientes para pagar los precios de una canasta de alimentos y de servicios básicos por las extremas condiciones de privación económica.

-Con una caída de la producción nacional mayor a 60% y de las importaciones en más de 70%, la población venezolana enfrenta una escasa disponibilidad de alimentos.

-80% de los hogares venezolanos vive en inseguridad alimentaria por el cierre de establecimientos, la escasez y costos de los alimentos y las dificultades para cocinar por falta de agua, gas y electricidad.

-64% de los venezolanos había perdido unos 11 kg de peso entre 2016 y 2017, por el acelerado deterioro de la ingesta de alimentos en la cantidad y calidad necesaria, siendo más afectados los niños y las mujeres.

-De 5% a 11,5% subió el porcentaje de población subalimentada en Venezuela entre 2016 y 2018, y la desnutrición aguda global alcanzó porcentajes de emergencia en niños menores de 5 años y embarazadas de parroquias pobres.

-25.000 embarazadas no reciben control prenatal y 7.500 se controlan tardíamente en el octavo y noveno mes de embarazo, poniendo en riesgo sus vidas y las de sus hijos en un contexto de emergencia alimentaria.

-La combinación de emergencias en alimentación y salud disminuye las probabilidades de que los niños más pequeños y las embarazadas que sufren de desnutrición severa tengan oportunidad de sobrevivir.

-33% de los niños entre 0-2 años de edad de sectores pobres tiene retardo de crecimiento según el indicador talla/edad; exponiéndolos a irremediables trastornos del desarrollo y enfermedades a futuro.

-Ante las políticas de privación y dependencia, que incluye la negativa a reconocer la emergencia y no publicar cifras oficiales, las familias se han visto forzadas a adoptar estrategias de sobrevivencia, incluyendo emigrar.

En el derecho a la salud, sus impactos se han materializado en la destrucción de un sistema sanitario público ya deteriorado, causando graves daños a la salud de millones de personas, la reaparición y propagación de epidemias erradicadas décadas atrás y miles de muertes en creciente ascenso.

Respecto a la Emergencia por daños a la salud y la vida (Fuente: Reporte Nacional. Emergencia humanitaria compleja en Venezuela. Derecho a la salud)

-Al menos 60% de la asistencia médica disponible en 2011 se perdió entre 2012 y 2017; prestada por servicios de salud públicos a 82% de la población usuaria.

-18,7 millones de personas con las condiciones de salud de mayor prevalencia, incidencia y mortalidad no tienen garantías de acceso a diagnósticos ni a tratamientos.       

-300 mil personas Trasplantadas, con Hemofilia, Cáncer, Parkinson, Esclerosis, y otras personas con condiciones crónicas graves, fueron privadas de medicamentos desde 2016.

El riesgo de fallecer en un hospital público es bastante alto, causando extrema vulnerabilidad a las personas por la precariedad de las condiciones de atención.     

-406.000 casos de malaria, generó la epidemia en 2017, con 280 muertes en 2016. Se esperan 700.000 nuevos casos y 1.500 muertes al finalizar 2018 por debilidad de programas antipalúdicos.

-140.000 personas con cáncer y más de 300.000 con condiciones cardíacas severas han visto reducidas sus posibilidades de sobrevivir por ausencia de diagnóstico, tratamiento y cirugía.

-En 66% subió la escala de muertes maternas y en 30% las infantiles de 2015 a 2016. Siguen en ascenso hasta 2018, con los agravantes de la desnutrición y las epidemias. 

-10.952 nuevos casos de Tuberculosis ocurrieron en 2017, intensificándose en las cárceles debido a las condiciones inhumanas de hacinamiento y desnutrición de la población reclusa.     

-Más de 79.000 personas con VIH dejaron de recibir antirretrovirales desde 2017 y el número de defunciones aumentó de 1.800 en 2014 a posiblemente más de 5.000 en los últimos años.

-De 23.000 a 3.500 descendió el número de personas atendidas en instituciones psiquiátricas públicas y las que están no disponen de comida ni de medicinas.   

-9.362 suman los casos de Difteria y Sarampión en 2018 con 230 muertes. Estas epidemias ya se extienden a todo el país por desplazamientos internos y bajas coberturas de vacunación.

-2.500 de 15.000 personas que se dializan por deficiencias renales, fallecieron entre 2017 y 2018 por las fallas, contaminación, déficit y cierre de las unidades de diálisis.

-La mayor parte de los establecimientos de salud públicos presentan serio deterioro de sus plantas físicas, no cuentan con suficiente personal y materiales de limpieza, una adecuada disposición de residuos ni suministro regular de agua, entre otras cosas.., como es la falta de electricidad continúa... Estas condiciones inadecuadas de saneamiento favorecen infecciones intrahospitalarias y 50% de los hospitales con servicios complejos no cuentan con laboratorios de bacteriología. Entre 2017 y 2018 fallecieron 12 niños y adolescentes que se dializaban en el Hospital Infantil J.M. de los Ríos por infección bacteriana en los tanques de agua y filtros de las unidades. En un año se duplicó el número de muertes infantiles en este hospital, pasando de 79 a 160; las tres primeras causas fueron el shock séptico, la neumonía y la desnutrición. Entre 2016 y 2018, también fallecieron 147 niños y niñas por bacteria Serratia Marcescens en el Hospital Pediátrico Dr. Agustín Zubillaga del estado Lara. De igual modo, entre diciembre de 2017 y febrero de 2018, se denunció la muerte de 112 recién nacidos en la Maternidad Santa Ana de Caracas por bacteria Klebsiella Pneumoniae.

Yo podría explanar mucho más información aquí, pero se haría muy largo éste documento, y creo que innecesariamente, sobre asesinatos y desapariciones forzadas cometidas por organismos de seguridad del Estado, el grave problemas de los servicios públicos, el grave problema del poder adquisitivo de la población y el alto costo de la vida, de la falta de dinero efectivo en los bancos, del alto costo de las medicinas y alimentos que impiden su accesibilidad a la mayoría de la población, la violación constante de las leyes por parte de los entes gubernamentales, etc., etc., etc., porque el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU a través de su Alta Comisionada para los Derechos Humanos tiene todos los informes al respecto de las graves violaciones de Derechos Humanos que se vive en Venezuela de manera sistemática, lo que sustenta la Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja existente desde el 2015 en el País

Ahora bien, para mí, para mi familia que se vio obligada a migrar, para mis amistades que han migrado también, y quienes aún seguimos en Venezuela viviendo las penurias asfixiantes de la Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja, queremos decirle a la ONU que debe haber necesariamente un límite, tiene que haber algo o alguien que detenga en algún momento la escalada de esa Emergencia humanitaria, cuando quienes la originaron desde el gobierno continúan haciendo lo mismo sin recapacitar sobre el daño que están causando masivamente a la Población en Venezuela, porque genera muerte, pobreza, enfermedad y toda clase de daños colaterales a la población civil que la sufre y que se encuentra desprotegida contra los criminales que obstentan el poder, avasallan y subyugan la vida de la población, lo que la obliga a migrar mes tras mes, y la que no puede migrar, debe soportar el deterioro constante de su calidad de vida, y luchar por su vida y la de su familia, muchas veces infructuosamente…

Es por ello que no es justo que una población sea sometida por largo tiempo al horror de vivir una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja, con todas sus consecuencias…, simplemente porque un grupo reducido de personas han tomado el poder del País, manejan a su antojo las Instituciones, las Leyes y tienen las armas para someter de diversas formas a la población, mientras la Comunidad Internacional mira desde afuera todo lo que ocurre y solo usa la Diplomacia, pues les digo como víctima que el uso de la Diplomacia es una bofetada en la cara de la población, porque no soluciona nada cuando ya se vive una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja, y consecuentemente una violación sistemática de Derechos Humanos que configuran crímenes de lesa humanidad….

Yo les pregunto a ustedes señores de la ONU: acaso tiene que haber otro Holocausto para ver si ese Organismo va a reaccionar y a efectuar alguna acción que si vaya dirigida a solucionar de raíz  los males que vive la Población en Venezuela.  

Es por ello que demando la revisión y mejoramiento en la aplicación la “Responsabilidad de Proteger” a través de figuras como: la Injerencia Humanitaria o R2P, y a tal efecto les dejo los siguientes planteamientos que son una recopilación de algunas personas conocedoras de la materia, para que recapaciten y hagan algo al respecto:

"Derecho de injerencia" de los Estados. 

Indiferentemente de la dualidad de planteamientos que puedan surgir del término “Derecho de Injerencia” o “Injerencia Humanitaria”,

Lo que es indiscutible es que los Estados tienen derecho a abrir los ojos. Un Estado puede preguntarse, preocuparse y ocuparse por lo que ocurre en los demás Estados. Aunque, muy a menudo, éstos todavía se inhiben, este derecho no deja lugar a dudas. Hay, efectivamente, mecanismos de defensa de este derecho, instaurados para y por el conjunto de los Estados, principalmente en el marco del Consejo Económico y Social: la Comisión de Derechos Humanos adopta, a este respecto, la amplia base del acatamiento de los derechos humanos.

En el también amplio ámbito de las controversias o de las situaciones que pueden poner en peligro la paz o la seguridad internacionales, todo miembro de la ONU puede recurrir al Consejo de Seguridad. Por último, para ampliar todavía más este derecho de control, se han creado -o lo están siendo- mecanismos convencionales que obligan a un gran número de Estados, como el Comité de Derechos Humanos en el marco del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos y de su protocolo facultativo, de 1966; o los procedimientos relativos a las inspecciones, previa solicitud, previstas en el artículo IX (consultas, cooperación y determinación de los hechos) del proyecto de Convención sobre las Armas Químicas, que con toda probabilidad será aprobado dentro de poco tiempo. Y no hablemos de los acuerdos zonales.

Pero, ¿puede haber un derecho a actuar cuando este " derecho de control " deja al descubierto hechos que son inaceptables? Una vez más debemos hacer distinciones. No cabe duda de que, en virtud de su soberanía, y siempre que se abstengan de utilizar la fuerza, los Estados pueden actuar: aparte de las obligaciones que le imponen los Convenios o el derecho internacional consuetudinario, nada impide a un Estado negarse a cooperar con otro Estado cuyo Gobierno se compone de una manera considerada inaceptable.

Por lo demás, los mecanismos previstos en los convenios internacionales y, ante todo, la Carta de las Naciones Unidas, permiten, en determinados casos, sanciones.

Lo difícil es saber si, más allá del indiscutible ámbito de su competencia soberana y de su participación eventual en los mecanismos internacionales o zonales, los Estados conservan un derecho de intervención ad hoc, que implique el uso de la fuerza en determinados casos especialmente graves.

Salvo por lo que respecta a las decisiones tomadas por el Consejo de Seguridad, el sistema estipulado en la Carta de las Naciones Unidas no prevé el uso de la fuerza por motivos que no sean la legítima defensa. Dado que es individual o colectiva, ésta permite la intervención de Estados no directamente agredidos, sino que se limita claramente a los casos en los que un Estado miembro es objeto de " una agresión armada ".

El concepto de intervención humanitaria que, en su sentido más amplio, autoriza la intervención armada de un Estado en el territorio de otro Estado para poner término a las violaciones graves y masivas de los derechos humanos, no tiene cabida en el sistema previsto por la ONU. La doctrina, por lo general, rechaza la licitud de la intervención humanitaria incluso en su sentido más restringido, es decir, la intervención armada para salvaguardar a sus propios ciudadanos en otro Estado.

Los argumentos evidentes que se oponen a tales prácticas son los siguientes: tolerar la intervención humanitaria significaría crear una gran incertidumbre en las relaciones internacionales, pondría en peligro todo el sistema de seguridad instaurado en virtud de la Carta de las Naciones Unidas y, por último, comportaría manifiestos riesgos de abusos, pues las violaciones de los derechos humanos podrían brindar pretexto para intervenir con otras intenciones,

Y sin embargo... ¿no hay, en caso de deficiencia manifiesta del sistema previsto para realizar los objetivos de las Naciones Unidas, ningún derecho de los Estados a actuar, cuando se cometen actos manifiestamente contrarios a tales objetivos? ¿Puede afirmarse que los Estados tienen el deber de contemplar la matanza de poblaciones sin utilizar, para impedirlo, todos los medios, incluso militares, de que disponen?

Se trata evidentemente de un gran debate que no podemos abordar seriamente en tan sólo unas líneas.

Notemos que, en su proyecto de Código de Delitos contra la Paz y la Seguridad de la Humanidad, la Comisión de Derecho Internacional de la ONU menciona tanto " todo acto de agresión, incluyendo el empleo por las autoridades de un Estado de la fuerza armada contra otro Estado con cualquier propósito que no sea la legítima defensa nacional o colectiva o la aplicación de una decisión o recomendación de un órgano competente de las Naciones Unidas " (artículo 2, numero 1) como los " actos inhumanos, tales como la matanza, el exterminio, la esclavitud, la deportación o las persecuciones, perpetrados en contra de cualquier población civil por razones sociales, políticas, raciales, religiosas o culturales, por las autoridades de un Estado o por personas privadas instigadas por dichas autoridades o toleradas por ellas " (artículo 2, número 11).

Como la intervención estatal unilateral está reservada a la salvaguardia de la independencia nacional, no hay prevista más solución, si se cometen delitos como los definidos en el artículo 2, párrafo 11, que la de hacer funcionar el sistema internacional basado en la Carta. Por razones mencionadas anteriormente, no se quiso prever, en caso de deficiencia de este sistema, una derogación temporal en pro de intereses generales de la humanidad. No habría, pues, una alternativa al hecho de cometer un delito contra la paz y la seguridad de la humanidad, para impedir otro.

Es cierto que el afianzamiento del sistema fundado en la Carta sigue siendo el objetivo prioritario. Pero la existencia de un " estado de necesidad " que no se funde en la defensa de un único interés nacional, sino en la de intereses fundamentales de la humanidad, ¿no merece un nuevo debate a la luz de ciertos acontecimientos contemporáneos?

 "Deber de injerencia" de los Estados 

Podemos admitir, en el  "global village" en que se ha convertido el mundo, que los Estados no sólo tienen derecho a abrir los ojos, sino el deber de hacerlo. En la Carta de las Naciones Unidas se definen, por lo demás claramente, unos principios de acción para la Organización " y sus Miembros " en cuanto a la prosecución de los objetivos de las Naciones Unidas. La llegada de extranjeros a muchos países obliga, además, a los Estados a examinar la situación en los países de donde proceden esas personas, pues principalmente en función de esta última se determinará si podrán ser expulsadas o si deberán ser admitidas.

Por último, el derecho internacional humanitario, introduciendo para todos los Estados Partes en los Convenios de Ginebra la obligación de " hacer respetar " estos Convenios, impone, como mínimo, una obligación de vigilancia.

En resumen, la interdependencia cada vez más marcada de los Estados, el desarrollo de los derechos humanos y la emergencia de un principio de solidaridad permiten concluir que hoy los Estados ya no gozan del " derecho a la indiferencia”.

Por otra parte, sería claramente un abuso deducir de lo anterior que hay un deber de intervenir por la fuerza fuera de los sistemas de seguridad conformes con la Carta de las Naciones Unidas. Concretamente, el análisis efectuado sobre la obligación de "hacer respetar" el derecho internacional humanitario recogido en los Convenios de Ginebra no deja lugar a dudas a este respecto.

Urge la reforma de la Carta de la ONU, como mínimo -y sin perjuicio de otros perfeccionamientos- en dos puntos fundamentales. El primero sería el reconocimiento del principio de injerencia humanitaria como tercera justificación para una acción bélica internacional. Añadidura hoy necesaria, habida cuenta de la actual filosofía en materia de defensa de los derechos humanos por encima de las fronteras y los regímenes. Principio rigurosamente paralelo, con toda su complejidad, a esa jurisdicción universal que -dentro del ámbito judicial- permite hoy capturar y procesar internacionalmente a un violador de los derechos humanos como Pinochet. Por supuesto que este principio de injerencia humanitaria, al ser incorporado al ius ad bellum internacional, habrá de ser regulado y delimitado, eso sí, con todas las precauciones y condicionamientos que impidan la proliferación de este tipo de intervención militar. Pero su necesidad es evidente: la comunidad internacional ha de contar con los suficientes instrumentos legales, tanto para dar cuenta de un Milosevic por vía militar como de un Pinochet por vía judicial.

El segundo punto a reformar -y tal vez primero en importancia- sería el funcionamiento del propio Consejo de Seguridad. La presencia de cinco privilegiadas potencias con derecho de veto -alguna de las cuales puede ser parte plenamente implicada en los conflictos debatidos- constituye para la ONU un pesado lastre antidemocrático capaz de frustrar o paralizar -como en este caso- decisiones muy necesarias, urgentemente requeridas por la mayor parte de la comunidad internacional.

Recordemos que la norma camina siempre por detrás de los comportamientos. Son los comportamientos, impuestos por las circunstancias y necesidades de cada época, los que marcan el camino que después, tras ellos, será seguido por la legislación, la normativa, el desarrollo institucional. Así ocurre, una vez más, en esta ocasión: se ha actuado con un criterio -la injerencia humanitaria- aún no incluido en la Carta de las Naciones Unidas, pero que, por necesario, no tardará en llegar.

Según ha pronosticado el prestigioso Instituto Internacional de Investigación sobre la Paz de Estocolmo (SIPRI), las guerras del futuro tendrán su origen en violaciones de los derechos humanos cuyo volumen y gravedad la comunidad internacional no podrá permitir. Es decir, serán guerras cuya motivación no será otra que la injerencia humanitaria en defensa de pueblos, etnias o comunidades sometidas a insoportables grados de opresión. Pues bien: si las previsiones son ésas, está clara la necesidad de regular y establecer las vías jurídicas para situar tales intervenciones armadas en el marco de la debida legalidad internacional.

Y por ultimo quiero agregar, la sofisticación en el proceder de la delincuencia organizada mundial, de los grupos terroristas que se están aliando con estos, el narcotráfico y de los grupos políticos con ambición de perpetuarse en el poder de los Países que se lo permitan, a través de ideologías falsas y dañinas, como por ejemplo, el Comunismo, el Nazismo, Fascismo, el Fundamentalismo Islámico, etc., ameritan que se tomen medidas y acciones más fuertes para detener el avance de esas ideologías y de esos grupos que ambicionan perpetuarse en el poder, aún a costa de los daños que ocasionan en la población, sea la Venezolana o la mundial… Existen muchos ejemplos actualmente de lo que digo a nivel mundial, respecto a las acciones dañinas de las ideologías falsas, allí están las acciones del Foro de Sao Paulo en Países como Ecuador, Chile, Brasil, el narcotráfico en México, en Colombia y en Venezuela, los grupos fundamentalistas como ISIS y de Hezbollah en muchos Paises, tambien lo ocurrido en Iran con el derribo del avión civil, por solo poner algunos ejemplos, creo que la inteligencia de cada quien le permite entender a lo que me refiero...

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Adelfa Malpica, thank you for your post, and we do really share your frustrations regarding the human rights situation and crisis in Venezuela.  As you noted, there were many reports and documentation, by the UN human rights system and civil society alike, of severe human rights violations in this country.

Unfortunately, the issues you raised go well beyond the focus and discussion topics of this consultation.  We would therefore really appreciate your views and contributions on the questions and topics posed for this consultation.  Thank you for your understanding.

Rugaiyatou Ubale

 

 

Hello to everyone on board thanks once more for this opportunity to be part of y'all. I want to talk about people in the ground who's voice can't be heard by the international community I here are an example who has been a victim of crisis

civil society and NGOs play an active role in the protection of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation etc

People in English Cameroon are suffering and dying the Muslim community is not even looked at as humans because of lack of education. 

UN and international community need to bring urgent solution to bring peace, security and solve conflicts in the fragile countries like Cameroon innocent peoples are the main victims, corrupt leaders, politicians and businessman own the country and hard working able and capable youths are roaming around streets smoking marijuana. We need peace and security humanitarian assistance and realization of human rights by looking into the areas of need and providing them with all the necessary equipments. 

I do have so much to show the world about my community if I'm giving the chance to 

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Rugaiyatou Ubale, thank you for your comment and for highlighting civil society's important role in achieving a peaceful and safe society. Do you think the UN could do more to work together with civil society organizations in your community to build peace and reduce conflict?

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Note from moderators:

Dear participants, we encourage you to refrain from posting anything too lengthy or duplicate messages, and be succinct and concrete in your postings. We appreciate all your contributions and recommendations so far!

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Forum Answer To Q3 (a.)

From my experience I believe the UN gives adequate support of civil society participation by it's actors in most member state nations. Based on what role the UN should play is a very complicated question since different nations have different rules and laws. People and civil society members also have to make their own determinations in what causes they engage and should not depend on the UN to have to support any cause or view even if they host the message of the view. This is an important fact that keeps the total focus on a safe environment for everyone even if someone in the bigger whole of UN Civil Society is having a problem.

The UN CSO System to be in greater participation of diverse groups might should consider more online interactive forums and venues. Where these groups and other groups can share their experiences about working in their field of engagement and get support via these online venues from other civil society members. Keeping in mind we are bringing in knowledge and understandings of different important issues and diverse communities that are often around the world overlooked and underserved.

This helps the UN communicate the problems it see's via it's active civil society actors to policy makers and member state representatives.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Sister Ling ( HOL GS), thanks for the contribution, which is constructive and forward-looking!  Your suggestion of online interactive forums and venues, which we suppose also needs to be safe and secure, would make it possible to reach out to diverse group of civil society actors in the country, who otherwise may not always be able to engage physically with the UN.  Online platforms may also help getting out messages quickly and to have open channels of communication.  However, from your experience, how best grass-roots and local actors could benefit from such online platforms, if members of local communities may not be in a position to use effectively such platforms (for example, internet connection issues, lack of awareness or knowledge of using technology etc)?  Would you have additional thoughts on this?

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Baatar Bayarmagnai 

 

Thank you for your robust reply as I know you take your work very seriously and understand the critical nature of human rights and no one left behind re: sdg30.

Right now grass root urgency also has a double meaning at least it might to some. When I hear "grassroots" in the context you placed this term.I thought immediately of rural locations in developing world economies including, more nations in Asia stepping up to the International plate of inclusion and framework. Although I should cite this directly but I cannot today. An example of how grass root actions and not just a movement alone. What  I would like to highlight is a recent short docu segment that put to task some developers to make an  app( application) in a short amount of time that would help a rural village I believe was in India. This app would address the fact about farming in the community between the various farmers and their families. This also was an example of the use of civic spaces of a community as I had mentioned yesterday in a less advanced setting being helpful and lesson teaching. So, they made the app to help the farmers. Except very few could read or write but have phones and also livelihoods.

The developer then went on to create a set of icons that the users could use to say different things of if someone had an idea they could tell everyone. But the developer went one step further and added a voice note that was easy to use so the village users who downloaded the app could also share the exact idea or message too.

This to me was a good example of grass roots ideology to reach a hard to reach group with something that could help make their life easier and they could use it.

So  I guess in civic spaces and UN inclusion maybe technology can be developed that meets the small needs of the user who might have special needs but if met can do well once they can understand and be included.

 

So my answer is: "Inclusion Technology"    could help.

Got a bit wordy there but I'm done now.👍😊❤Thanks

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Sister Ling ( HOL GS), thanks again for your idea of Mobile App as an example of "inclusive technology". 

Kripa G

Baatar Bayarmagnai !

I am replying to this particular post on the potential for applications and technology in change ..

There are many platforms and solutions in the development space (especially in India), where social development is the largest and fastest emerging 'market space'. In fact, the change in 'investment in development and impact' for change is noteworthy. this has led to several 'case studies' and 'templates' that can and should be replicated - simply because it is already available and tested. There are numerous projects and organizations that do just this much ( I am a development consultant from India and am aware of many such interventions - first-hand basis that help farmers (FPOs), SHGs (digital payments) and aggregate produce from poultry/ agri / dairy chains for ensuring equity, transparency and efficiency of transactions).  

I believe it is time we gather our knowledge and share experiences and available resources and solutions: for the benefit of those who have not yet reached there. The lessons from failure are most important here.

How about the UN creating and hosting a knowledge exchange (online) hub, wherein such developers/ agencies/ consultants are hosted - in discrete buckets of areas of work, host their case studies; so that those seeking 'tested and tried solutions' could straight away seek/ import/ liaise or consult such organizations? This would help save time effort and money spent in reinventing the wheel and learning from failures that others have already evolved from. Alternately, such hubs could be based on country/geography if not solution areas... this will be especially helpful when we need to draw and borrow ideas and knowledge from other sector/ areas of development!

This hub- extrapolating; could host and seek those seeking opportunities to invest in social development (impact investment/ innovative and social, blended, sustainability financing)..  thus facilitating matchmaking between Investors and investment seeking agencies of change.

This in return will automatically notch-up up the "transparency quotient" and ensure correctness in action, as this will be an international forum, visible to all, wherein reputation = ability to fulfil, and on second thoughts, an equal opportunity to seek funds for scaling up and advertising an agency's capability to act as a 'trusted' partner for change.

Such listings/ directories could be set up on nominal charges for funders and fund seeking organizations= cover basic operational costs... and also help programs/ funders/ CSO partners with such local agencies for impact and change...

Just an idea. It will obviously need to be worked upon in-depth, given several factors such as capping of funds, channelling of funds, local administrative and civil priorities  among many others ..

Hope this helps!

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Kripa G, many thanks for replying and raising some good ideas, especially in relation to creating and hosting a knowledge exchange (online) hubs, where different actors can exchange ideas and solutions, including as a possible platform for channeling funds to civil society.  Many UN entities, at the global level, have their own information and knowledge sharing platforms, which may not always allow for interactive and live exchanges.  And, often, civil society actors at the local or grassroots levels may find such global UN agency-specific platforms challenging to use and to contribute.  Therefore, the suggestion above that online platforms and venues needs to be put in place for timely interaction with grass-roots and local actors is a pertinent question.  Replicating, scaling up and implementing similar platforms at the global level, and across the system, is a good question to explore.  Thank you very much again for making this additional contribution.

Liu Si

Talking about UN protection from my own perspective, work should be divided into two phases: 1. While activists are free; 2. While activists are in custody.

For the first scenario, I think it’s good if UN can provide information everyone can access to. For the second, it’s crucial if UN can intervene to help the person in custody to at least preserve their lives and stay in fair health states.  To make it possible, UN need to establish procedures.  For example, activists maybe known to NGOs, which should bear the responsibility to timely report to local UN offices, which will direct the information to the headquarters.  I know (from public media) of several cases who, due to headquarters’ intervention, managed to preserve their lives.

The current problem is that since there’s no such mechanism present at local levels, NGOs feel reluctant to report cases under risk of severe persecution.  Even they report or have their clients report directly to the local offices, in the absence of a mechanism, the Information of such cases just sit in there in the local offices, who probably have no procedures to follow to take any further actions to save the lives of the detainees.  Sometimes, tragedies do happen.

I would like to make a summary of UN’s role in this regard: UN should act like an agent or body of CS actors and activists which helps to talk to the governments, because a person alone, especially in vulnerable conditions, can’t face the threats and harms from the governments.  Nor can NGOs for what I know.  Therefore, if we need someone to help out, UN should be there right at those moments.

moka

Par rapport à l'aspect de la protection des acteurs de la société civile , je tiens vraiment qu'il ait si pas la restructuration mais la coordination efficace et efficiente des structures de la société surtout chez nous ici en République Démocratique du congo car plus il y a tant des structures de celle-ci plus il y a tant de vision mais de toute les façon, toutes les structures de la société civile devraient avoir une même mission donc c'est un véritable défi à renforcer d'abord la capacité en terme de plusieurs séances de formations dans les acteurs ou structure de OSC en bonne gouvernance.

Il existe aussi un autre défi comme responsabilité de l'ONU, de ne plus peut être identifier et encadrer à travers le pays ou région les ONG accréditées par l'ECOSOC afin de pouvoir les soutenir dans l'égalité c'est pourquoi je tiens vraiment à soutenir mon option de l'élargissement de l'ECOSOC dans chaque pays comme une agence ou organe stratégique de l'ONU car les différents clusters ne jouent pas les missions de l'ECOSOC en totalité pour satisfaire la société civile.

Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa

Civic space is usually limited  or none existent in many parts of the Horn. Civil society members are struggling and many aligned with current regimes which is contrary to the principles of the Civil society and the civic space. UN needs to review their operations in each country in collaboration with international community to pressurize governments and civil society members to create the necessary space for the civil society to operate and become effective.

Even the space exists, local communities and their CSOs are marginalized and their voices are not heard. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

DAY 3

Welcome to the 3rd day of discussions, and we thank you again for all your contributions and for your continued engagement.  To summarize some of the takeaways from yesterday’s discussion:

  • Repeated suggestions that the UN should lend more political and technical support (including funding) to civil society actors, especially at local and community levels
  • Growing concerns regarding better protection of civil society actors, especially in conflict, humanitarian, and crisis situations (for example, serious human rights violations and closed space in restrictive/authoritarian states)
  • In connection with the above, the need for more political pressure by international community on States to protect and open up civic spaces
  • Continued need to push for the implementation of international norms and standards, including on human rights, by States that ratified them
  • Using online interactive forums and venues, which would make it possible to reach out to diverse group of civil society actors

In summary, most of the discussion has revolved around the issue of protection.  However, there are some unanswered questions on how the UN should carry out and/or facilitate the protection of civil society actors, especially at the country levels and in difficult conflict and crisis situations?

We hope to hear your further ideas and inputs on these important aspects, in addition to other contributions you wish to make on other questions.

 

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

How can the UN protect Civil Society Actors At A Nation by Nation level? ( Question Summary)

This Mr. Bayarmagnai is a very hard question because every nation has different rules when it comes to activism. Sometimes from what is public examples and stories of civil society type activists getting in trouble that can also include, journalists, political party members even entertainers like Bobi Wine from Uganda.  Are not immune from persecution by governments directly and even others depending on what the issue is.

The UN also has an obligation to it's Member States.

To be fair and some what impartial to each states oath to the UN and global system that includes their participation or non-participation in any decision or ratification of next step or pending actions carried out by the UN as a global body or organ. This in most cases is carried out by a vote based on the action being written out in exact terms and then voted on by the Member States Delegated Representative.

How this is always done and has been done in the past,  puts individual civil society actors or groups,  in a difficult position if something goes wrong.

On one hand the problem the activist could be facing might be at a local level. Meaning, no one in higher government even knows there is a problem in the first place.

Then there is the factor of Impunity.

No civil society participant should ever want to be seen in the act of impunity or getting special favors because of someone they know or have connections with over the rights of everyone else. This can happen sometimes in good ways when people and nations appreciate the help and extra input their civil society actors do and they feel they want to show it by being nice to them sometimes. This also can be because the group is not getting the funding opportunities they should and some feel sorry for them, the activist. But when a big problem happens that deals with safety and even personal harm to a CSA ( civil society actor) or their family.

Any help the UN can give,  might be better served on a case by case basis. Based on the unique situation each CSA is in,  what the problem was and if the UN or national powers were made known of what the situation is or was.

This is also in cases of CSA's who have a working relationship with their own governments weather they are supportive or critical. As well as what the nature is of the accusation or problem,  such as a criminal case a CSA may have been involved in as a result of their activities or views.

These are very serious questions that the UN must always take into consideration that also reflects on the safety of everyone else if the UN supports a CSA who was later proved to have done something wrong. Of course even if wrong the CSA should be kept safe but it can cause more problems for others by being now part of the brand of Impunity if any was shown because your affiliated in anyway with the UN or a UN Agency.

I could go on to many many scenario based examples, real and contrived but I think the best answer would be: Maybe the UN can set up a small group or sub group sponsored by the most appropriate UN Body or Agency and develop a platform that is available, where CSA's who feel at risk can privately write in and ask for advice or direction to where they can find help internationally or in their nations if a problem occurs.

This should be made available publicly with in the UN System but communications should be upheld as confidential but not binding. 

This can help the CSA to not go it so alone,  as well as creating a type of deterrent that if governments or private groups choose to strike back at those using their rights to help and give input to difficult situations of others. They can be pinned as doing this as a private complaint or even a suspicion being allowed to be made and noted by someone else.

Although not an answer to the problem but this would serve as a way for the CSA not to feel so isolated and that there is a type of recourse of protection out there for them when something goes wrong.

 

Hamidreza Afshari

Hello everybody

Our NGO is called Afraz Cultural Association from Iran. Cultural matters here is not something national, moreover it could be considered regionally because most of the cultural roots of Iran, such as Nowruz, are common with the neighbor countries. In this case it could be so critical factor to make a peaceful interaction among the people and states in the region. So I want to talk about the item “a” of question one regarding what the entry points are to engage with the UN for the NGOs located in these countries. Unless the virtual and internet infrastructure do not develop enough to engage actively the NGO members from worldwide it seems the only way to be involved in UN activities is physically participation in the relevant events. As the main offices of the UN are located in Europe and United State it is too difficult and costly for some NGO representatives who are resident in middle of Asia to actively participate. Visa process, which requires a trip itself to a neighbor country for interview for Iranian who applied for USA visa, travel cost, residential cost, etc. make it so difficult for NGOs to make a decision in participation, even they prefer not to do so. As a solution in this regard UN can open an office in the region to facilitate interaction between the regional social societies. Once the social societies’ members of the region have been connected through UN moderation they can continue their communications without direct UN involvement and this could be really helpful for peaceful activities.

 

Best

Hamidreza Afshari

Afraz Cultural Association

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Hamidreza Afshari, and thank you for your contribution.  You rightly highlighted some of the challenges and barriers related to civil society engagement with the UN, especially those located at headquarters levels, due to inaccessibility, travel requirements and costs, visas and other issues.  In the absence of accessible online platforms, the need for which was highlighted by many others previously, what would you suggest should work in your specific context of restricted environment?  This also relates to the discussion we had yesterday, and some of the questions raised for the further comments.  We welcome your thoughts on what worked in your context, and your views on what role other international actors and NGO networks could play or played in your context, which the UN could support. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

If I may offer a combined response to @Liu Si, @mocha, and @Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa

 

With regard to your comments on “effective protection will require that enquiry to respective governments come from UN headquarters not the local branch offices”, “UN need to establish protection procedures and mechanism present at local levels” and “UN needs to review their operations in each country in collaboration with international community to pressurize governments and civil society members to create the necessary space for the civil society to operate and become effective”, these are all valid points.

To keep the discussion focused, I would propose to separate what UN human rights system is doing on protection from what needs to be done by the rest of the UN system at the county level.  I will explain below.

As many of you might know, the UN human rights system (Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, UN special procedures, UN treaty monitoring bodies, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UN entities working on specific thematic human rights issues), is the effective means of ensuring that the protection of civil society actors is guaranteed by States as a legal obligation.  These mechanisms combined (including through their normative, standard setting, investigative, monitoring, reporting, fostering dialogue functions etc.) do put a lot of pressure on States that are not complying with their legally binding human rights obligations.  Protection is effective when States comply with their obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, so protection starts from States.  And these mechanisms seek to ensure this.  This, perhaps, is in line with many comments you made on improving the implementation of international norms, and should be part of the advocacy efforts by UN for open civic space at global and national levels.

But what is interesting to explore and to hear from you, is what else can be done at the country level by the rest of the UN system and UN entities on the ground, apart from and to complement UN human rights system, in the absence of or non-compliance of States with their obligations.  The UN country presences are the closest reference points for civil society actors under threat, where some protective measures should be put in place without delay.  And here, the UN country presences have a big role to play.  Many UN entities, especially working on peacekeeping and humanitarian issues have their own approaches and practices on protection, but this has not been systematic across the UN country presences at large.  So what is the role and what are the solutions?  May be UN’s convening role to bring together different actors to the table and discuss protection issues, partnership with others, such as donors, NGO-led protection networks to seek solutions, to provide a temporary safe space for those under risk, also considering the limited resources available to the UN itself, among other possible options?  The idea here would be to come up with a “menu of options” in relation to protection, which UN entities at the country level could consider depending on the context and issues.

Therefore, we need to hear from you and your experience on what worked and what didn’t work at the country level with regard to protection.  Help us to come with the “menu of options” that needs to be practical, implementable and with an impact.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas, may be even just one small idea from each of you, so when these ideas are combined, they will allow us to have those options.

Elin Fabre

Dear all,

In relation to this topic, yet not directly answering the questions above, I would like to share our work in this area. 

I am the programme director for sustainable cites at Global Utmaning (Global Challenge) which is the leading Swedish independent think tank promoting long-term solutions to ecological, economic and social challenges through collaboration between research, business, politics and civil society. 

We have recently published the results from our #UrbanGirlsMovement initiative closely related to this topic: 

the Urban Girls Handbook (https://www.globalutmaning.se/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2019/10/Handbook_UGM_md_TJ_sista_Web_komp.pdf)

and the Urban Girls Catalogue (https://www.globalutmaning.se/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2019/10/Urban-Girls-Catalogue.pdf).

They are collecting good practices, outlining methods, presenting tools as well as providing guidelines and policy recommendations on how to create public space for all, particularly empowering women and young girls in socioeconomically vulnerable areas. 

Kind regards,

Elin Andersdotter Fabre
Programme Director Sustainable Cities - Global Utmaning - Norrsken House - Birger Jarlsgatan 57C - 113 56 Stockholm - Sweden - Tel: + 46 70 223 32 47 - Skype: elinandersdotterfabre - Mail: elin.fabre@globalutmaning.se - Twitter: @elinafabre - Web: www.globalutmaning.se - FB: facebook.com/globalutmaning

 

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Elin Fabre, thank you very much for your contribution and for sharing some resources, which will be helpful in addressing some of the important but difficult questions we are posing.  We look forward to your continued contributions and practical suggestions. 

PCA

Greetings from the Pan African Lawyers Union in Arusha, Tanzania. We thank you for this important forum. Kindly find our answers below to contribute to this discussion.

With gratitude,

Portia C. Allen, M.A.

Partnerships and Fundraising Specialist

Pan African Lawyers Union

pallen@lawyersofafrica.org

 

Partnership/participation:

What are entry points for you to engage with the UN?

Answer:  Human rights and rule of law.

What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)?

Answer: Namely, engaging with the UN to contribute to PALU’s continental work with civil society especially in conflict, post conflict and occupation settings, and, specifically, with regard to: (1) strengthening the capacity of national lawyers associations (NLAs), regional lawyers associations (RLAs), and international lawyers associations (ILAs) to enhance civil society engagement; (2) mobilising NLAs, RLAs, and ILAs to coordinate their responses to protect civil society actors effectively, including from reprisals.

PALU has not been very active in working through human rights mechanisms based in Geneva; also, PALU is very keen on learning more, so that we may incorporate the vast UN infrastructure for human rights and rule of law into its work. The UN’s approach to protecting and promoting civic space, therefore, comes at a good time, and PALU would be catalytical in forging and sustaining civil society partnerships (especially within the legal profession throughout Africa).

Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN?

Answer: No.

How do you receive information about UN processes?  

Answer: Information is received from a range of governmental and non-governmental actors (based in Africa, Europe, and North America); for example, the East African Community, the Southern African Development Community, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Court) and the East Africa Court of Justice (EACJ); as well as the African Union (AU) through the Office of the Legal Counsel, the Department of Political Affairs, the Commission on International Law, and the Pan African Parliament.

Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes?

Answer: No.

What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

Answer: PALU has been successful in accessing to information and quality of information among its networks (mentioned above). PALU suggests also that UN policies and processes are shared directly with the PALU Secretariat, so that such information may be shared directly with PALU members, namely among the more than five RLAs, 54+ NLAs and over 1,000 lawyers spread across Africa as well as within the Diaspora.  

With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work?

Answer: Strengthen the capacity of individual lawyers, NLAs, RLAs, and ILAs who are working for the protection of rights of vulnerable and marginalised communities in Africa; through (virtual) capacity-strengthening seminars for example, these actors may be equipped with knowledge and skills to: (1) advise on, and proactively advocate for, safe participation of diverse civil society groups in national decision-making processes, including through protests; and (2) promote opportunities to expand the space for civil societies and systematically highlight the positive contributions of civil society.

Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups?

Answer: Some good examples are when PALU participated in the 5th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, which was convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) among others. Also, PALU has worked with the UN Development Programme, the UN Office of the Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide and the UN Office of the Special Advisor for the Responsibility to Protect. PALU is involved also in the AU-led Consortium on Combatting Illicit Financial Flows from Africa.

Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)?

Answer:  PALU is interested in working closely with the Human Rights Council, and, has applied for one of its staff members to participate in the 2020 International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP); participant results have not been announced to date. ISHR's HRDAP equips defenders with the knowledge and skills to make strategic use of the international human rights system. It also provides an opportunity for participants to directly engage in lobbying and advocacy activities at the UN level to effect change on the ground back home. PALU aims to strengthen its current work with women human rights defenders especially following up: (1) reports by key special procedures mandates in the areas of human rights defenders and (2) discussions on human rights situations and/or oral updates. 

Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora?

Answer: Yes.

How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?

Answer: Provide diverse civil society actors or groups with access to: (1) representation in political and economic decision-making processes; (2) new legal frameworks regarding equality in the workplace and the eradication of harmful practices; and (3) user-friendly tools to support diverse groups to speak out, organise, mobilise and take action off-line and on-line, in order to have a say in decisions about their future. Partner with the PALU Women Lawyers’ Forum, which is an active platform to share news, progress and share best practices and recommendations on the various issues that affect women in the legal profession.

Protection of civil society actors:

What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)?

Answer: Partner with PALU on its continental efforts to hold States accountable for their responsibilities under the African Charter and other human rights instruments to which they have adhered. PALU remains the most prominent and active litigator at the African Court and the EACJ. By 1 November 2018, PALU had litigated more than 21 cases before the African Court and 14 cases before the EACJ through Applications/References, Representation and Amicus Curiae briefs. PALU has now litigated more than 24 cases before the African Court and 17 cases before the EACJ; out of these, 13 are still ongoing cases before the African Court while 10 are before the EACJ.

Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?

Answer: Relevant to the case documented as Reference Number 15 of 2019: H4HA and PALU vs. Attorney General of the Republic of South Sudan and the Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya, the Security Council published the Report of the Panel of Experts on South Sudan that it had appointed. The fate of Mr. Dong Samuel Luak (Mr. Dong) and Mr. Aggrey Ezbon Idri (Mr. Aggrey) remained a mystery until 30 April 2019, when the Security Council published the report. The case concerns the abduction, enforced disappearance, illegal and/or extraordinary rendition, arbitrary detention, torture and possible subsequent murder of Mr. Dong and Mr. Aggrey. The report laid out, with great authority, arising from a comprehensive exercise of corroboration and fact-checking, and in great detail, the sequence of events, constituting multiple illegalities and violations of human and peoples’ rights, the fate that befell Mr. Dong and Mr. Aggrey from the moment of their respective abduction. Equally important, it was on the basis of this detailed albeit astounding report, and on subsequent inquiries, investigations and consultations, the Applicants filed Reference 15 of 2019.

How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

Answer: As evidenced, the tide against civil society is strong, specifically, on the rise are hostile discourse, off-line and on-line abuse and harassment, disinformation and smear campaigns. It is within this context that PALU suggests that the UN strengthen its protection role through an increased mandate manifested and led by civil society. Arguably, the authority of the Security Council has suffered thus far because the intention to have the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security has faltered. This challenge presents a “new decade” opportunity for prompt decisive action through the Security Council’s political posture and the assorted resources provided to it that goes beyond the traditional box checked. PALU urges international attention to reducing blockages against civil society.

Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes?

Answer: Work with: (1) individual lawyers to advocate for the rights to information, expression, assembly and association; engage with civil society and the public at large on law reform initiatives; (2) NLAs to contribute to long-term approach of protecting the civic health of a country; (3) RLAs to foster sustainable accountability among NLAs; and (4) ILAs to advance dialogue (among individuals and institutions) beyond the moments of immediate crises.

How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?

Answer: As mentioned above, provide diverse civil society actors or groups with access to: (1) representation in political and economic decision-making processes; (2) new legal frameworks regarding equality in the workplace and the eradication of harmful practices; and (3) user-friendly tools to support diverse groups to speak out, organise, mobilise and take action off-line and on-line, in order to have a say in decisions about their future. Partner with the PALU Women Lawyers’ Forum, which is an active platform to share news, progress and share best practices and recommendations on the various issues that affect women in the legal profession.

What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?

Answer: As mentioned above, strengthen the capacity of individual lawyers, NLAs, RLAs, and ILAs who are working for the protection of rights of vulnerable and marginalised communities in Africa; through (virtual) capacity-strengthening seminars for example, these actors may be equipped with knowledge and skills to: (1) advise on, and proactively advocate for, safe participation of diverse civil society groups in national decision-making processes, including through protests; and (2) promote opportunities to expand the space for civil societies and systematically highlight the positive contributions of civil society.

How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

Answer: Where examples of effective implementation of the UN’s policies and programmes by civil society actors are evidenced, further improve on promoting and protecting civic space in a multitude of ways, e.g. through rule of law programming, capacity development, advocacy in support of open space, including through the work of UN human rights bodies and mechanisms. Arguably, a way to move civic space work to the next level is: (1) provide lawyers with access to a tool for collecting and populating information on decisions made by Courts to the general public; (2) engage in talks with lawyers on the importance of creating a body/organ within the AU whose sole purpose is to implement the decisions of Human Rights bodies; and (3) energise and empower lawyers in African International Courts and Tribunals.

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@PCA, thank you very much for your input and for answering most of the questions.  Your responses and many examples you provided may be useful to other participants.  However, if possible, could you provide additional comments on any challenges you may have faced, including when partnering with the UN?  And what was your expectation on how the UN should have supported you better in addressing challenges and difficulties.  There were some reports recently about restrictive national laws and restrictions on the use of online technologies in your country.  How this affected your work, and what were the UN's responses to these negative developments?

PCA

Baatar Bayarmagnai, I thank you for your questions. My additional comments are: PALU has facilitated a number of capacity-building initiatives with various stakeholders for law reform [e.g. protection of freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly]. Also, PALU has engaged directly with national advocacy initiatives, especially in crisis situations where PALU could be called upon to share its evolving understanding of how sub-regional, continental and international norms, institutions and actors could play a role in resilient, open, democratic societies. Prior advocacy highlights include: (1) prepared the draft protocol for extension of the jurisdiction of the African Court to also include an international criminal jurisdiction; (2) developed the African Court legal aid funding framework, institutional structure and fundraising strategy, culminating in the AU Statute setting up a Trust Fund for Legal Aid for the three key AU human rights institutions; (3) engaged in research, documentation, consultation, advisory and advocacy initiatives, alongside others, to support the development of the AU Transitional Justice Policy Framework; (4) Non-Governmental Organisation Forum panel session on the progress to develop adoption and implementation of draft 10-Year Action and Implementation Plan for the Human Rights Decade in Africa.

Baatar, some challenges faced with the UN were mentioned in my initial post, specifically, engaging with the UN to contribute to PALU’s continental work with civil society especially in conflict, post conflict and occupation settings, and, specifically, with regard to: (1) strengthening the capacity of national lawyers associations (NLAs), regional lawyers associations (RLAs), and international lawyers associations (ILAs) to enhance civil society engagement; (2) mobilising NLAs, RLAs, and ILAs to coordinate their responses to protect civil society actors effectively, including from reprisals. As mentioned above also, PALU has not been very active in working through human rights mechanisms based in Geneva; also, PALU is very keen on learning more, so that we may incorporate the vast UN infrastructure for human rights and rule of law into its work. The UN’s approach to protecting and promoting civic space, therefore, comes at a good time, and PALU would be catalytical in forging and sustaining civil society partnerships (especially within the legal profession throughout Africa). 

Equally important, individual lawyers, NLAs, RLAs, and ILAs are integral to increasing civic space in Africa. Some examples of contributions by individual lawyers include and are not limited to: (1) advocate for the rights to information, expression, assembly and association; (2) engage with civil society and the public at large on law reform initiatives. Whereas NLAs could contribute to long-term approach of protecting the civic health of a country and RLAs could foster sustainable accountability among NLAs. ILAs could advance dialogue (among individuals and institutions) beyond the moments of immediate crisis.

Baatar, please, have I answered your questions? 

With gratitude, Portia

 

 

 

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@PCA, thank you for additional clarifications, and your response is clear.

Dosse SOSSOUGA

Nous savons tous que le partenariat se faisait à travers un point focal des agences spécialisées des Nations Unies au nom de tout le système des Nations Unies.

En tout cas, moi je reçois des informations  de l'UNICEF, de l'OIM, de l'UNESCO, du PNUD, de PAM, de l'ONUSIDA et autres ...

Ne laisser personne de côté exige une diversité d'acteurs. Il faut d'abord identifier ces groupes dans chaque pays et responsabiliser une organisation qui sera chargée de faciliter leur participation au Forum.

Pour la protection des acteurs de la société civile, il faut que les agences spécialisées, en signant des contrats avec la société civile, les remet au ministre de la sécurité qui doit rassurer sur la protection des organisations impliquées dans la mise en œuvre des contrats signés.

Et quand, ces acteurs sont menacés, intimidés, les grandes autorités doivent s'expliquer à la tribune des Nations Unies devant toutes les autres autorités avec des sanctions morales si cette menace n'est pas bien défendue.

Pour promouvoir l'espace civique, il faut que les gouvernements manifestent leur volonté de coopérer efficacement avec les OSC, qui ne sont pas obligatoirement les OSCs de leur choix. Ils doivent rechercher et nommer les dirigeants de la société civile à la tête des institutions nationales et locales de développement durable suite aux réformes nécessaires pour la mise en œuvre des ODDs.

Ces responsabilités données de la société civile permettra à cette dernière de s'engager plus dans les processus décisionnels et de discussions nationales, d'engagement, d'innovations, de redevabilité, de transparence et de lutte contre la corruption. Ici, les Nations-Unies peuvent proposer des ressources humaines à promouvoir à cet effet.

Un règlement intérieur et directives permettront de respecter la hiérarchie établie dans la structuration de la société civile nationales, sous régionale et locale.

Au fait, les textes et les déclarations aux Nations-Unies restent aux Nations-Unies pour certains. C'est pourquoi, une fois nommé ou contrat signé la législation en vigueur y afférente doit être remis aux ayant droits.

Et pour renforcer son soutien à la société civile, les Nations-Unies doivent mettre à la disposition de la société civile un système de communication rapide pour suivre de prêt l'évolution de la mise en œuvre des ODDs au niveau national et local.

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Flat cut SOSSOUGA, thank you for your contribution and raising this interesting idea of "contracts" with civil society.  However, it was not clear if you meant such contracts between civil society and the UN, or between civil society and the Government?  Could you clarify and elaborate on your idea?  It is curious to know how this would work in practice, and do you have any examples that show such agreements did or may work?  Many thanks for additional inputs.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

@Elin Faber has described certain important issues.@Baatar is right.Very many nations and societies have to address developmental issues.The core is Digital technology.The second is Hunger,poverty to be eliminated.Housing to be provided.

For these some times corruption,some time lack of resources are the main issues.Less or least development prohibits investments in nations and regions.Basic issues,of water,food ,cloth are some times bad.Each country may have a devlopment agenda and follow the set rules,for finaces from international agencies.Many countries are trying to develop internet and digital technologies for neighbouring countries.

Food essentially is grown by locals,but storage as well sales are bad if infra is not devloped.They need to approach countries with technology,know how and man power for assisting them.

Then once some development takes place,other productive gaints for human use and consumption may join.The country assisting could ask for approach for markets,because it invested its resources.The only legislation that shall be in place is when how many locals are to be employed,and how many sub works for locals are to be generated.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Saripalli Suryanarayana thanks for your comment. The use of digital technologies can indeed serve as a useful tool also to facilitate information sharing and improve engagement between the UN and civil society actors. Many thanks again!

Arzak Khan Moderator

Mobile for Development relies on the theory that increased access to mobile devices acts as an integral cornerstone in the promotion of overall societal development. Once viewed as a luxury mobile devices are becoming a necessity throughout the developing countries. The undependable electrical infrastructure of many developing countries does not cater well to mass hardwired ICT adoption hence mobile portable devices  battery power, and flexibility of mobile technologies is well suited to the common pursuits and lifestyles of those residing in the developing world to leapfrog to information economy and advancement in digital technologies. 

Angelica Flores

Buen día desdé Chalco, Estado de mexico, Espacios Cívicos y como la ONU deberia apoyar a la sociedad civil para que conjuntamente se trabaje de manera eficaz

* Hacer una encuesta pública donde se expresen las necesidades de cada region

* No basar sus resultados en datos estadísticos ya establecidos ya que ahi aveces no se Encuentra la realidad

*La mayor parte de las asociasiones civiles en nuestros estatutos y lineamientos tenemos que somos un órgano de consulta federal estatal y municipal, CONSULTENOS

* El verdadero motivo del cierre de los espacion civico ES LA OPRECION  no ser vistos para que el mundo no se entere

*** Esto último viola vario derechos individuales, derechos de expresión y de asociación libré 

*Tambien es importante mencionar que tenemos el firme conocimiento que todas estas muestras de expresion deben de ser hechas con respeto y normas PERO  aveces se deben manifestar de otra maneras para ser realmente escuchados no solo en tu región sino en el mundo

*Abria que analizar por que se llega a estos limites de manifestacion civil a fondo

*Propongo que se establezca un día terminando este foro de manifestación pacífica en todo el mundo en vinculacion con derechos humanos y ONU donde se manifieste en silencio la lucha por este derecho, sincronicemos nuestros relock a nivel mundia y hagamos que nos vean y nos escuchen sin una palabra

*Los que estamos participando en todo el mundo en este foro es por que de verdad estamos siendo parte de injusticias y vemos tristemente que estamos solos

*Muchos coincidimos que la ONU para los ciudadanos es solo algo muy muy lejano de nuestra realidad cotidiana

*El problema ya existe HAY QUE RESOLVERLO

*La mayoria que éstamos aquí hemos vivido mas de cerca las violaciones a derechos humanos y nos afecta de sobremanera el cierre a los espacios cívicos

*Preparándonos desde el principio con ustedes en línea o mediante espacios presensaciales

*Para ustedes no sera facil llegar a nosotros con la atención que requerimos en idiomas lenguas regiones

*Para nosotros no a sido tampoco facil el camino para llegar hoy con ustedes

Debo confesar que cuando entre al foro pense que seriamos miles y millones de usuarios , desde ahí debemos partir 

*Onu solo esta llegando a unos cuantos

*Onu no esta siendo publicitada como debería

*En una encuesta pregunte entre 50 personas me contestaron Onu sirve para eventos bélicos

En este foro deberíamos empezar a organizar con ustedes un plan de trabajo para buscar soluciones

Que propones moderador de que manera podemos apoyarlos a ustedes

moka

Un autre atout de la protection des acteurs de la société civile c'est le moyen de communication qui devrait être disponible au moins dans chaque agglomération de 100.000 habitat avec un petit bureau dont la permanence sera assure, le moyen de transport c'est à dire même les vélos seraient à envisager pour les acteurs locaux qui courent plus de 200km à pieds
 et la  motivation en terme d'achat de performance serait une approche très capitale qui mettra et rendra les travaux des acteurs comme une profession mais pas comme un volontariat car tellement que les gens sont véritablement pauvre, ils considèrent la mission   de l'acteur de SC comme une simple responsabilité de lutte contre le paiement de taxe et impôt

Liu Si

In country level, in order to open up space for civil society, UN needs to propose and sign up agreements with the state governments on what UN will do in the respective states, which may be different from state to state,  Therefore, under such agreements, the civil rights actors may have some protection.

For instance In China, a most recent law regulates all NGOs must register with the government, which violates the inter laws, but it’s a state where any questions or objections will be regarded as crimes, so no one can raise any doubt.  Only UN can uphold the principles of civil society by holding the state government responsible for their unlawful passing of such laws.

China always accuse other governments as having intervened in the internal affairs of its domestic issues, but UN is very different, because as a member state under UN international laws, UN has a stake in the member states to see to it that the laws voluntarily signed and rectified  are implemented in their country.

Such agreements will allow the actors and activists access in a safe fashion to UN meetings and their information.  Otherwise, more people will die other than Cao Shunli because of efforts and attempts to work with UN and to access to UN information.

Iain N Walker

I think the one thing the UN can do is lead by example in their own engagement activities.

A challenge to reaching agreement on global problems is that many UN decision-making and consultation structures fail to fully take into account domestic political realities. Governments of both Left and Right get a PR/ campaigning (electoral) benefit from a slightly nationalist positioning and not letting decisions be 'imposed' from an international body. This points to the UN engagements not offering the right design approach (i.e. civic space) to address the problem.

A UN engagement structure that was grounded in domestic citizen views first, with those informed views considering the tradeoffs involved then presented to national parliaments and then taken to international discussions could aid in the solution of that problem.

This can be done with a light touch approach which encourages countries to innovate: what should ideally emerge is that 1-2 countries deliver something exceptional which others are then drawn to emulate.

A challenge faced by civil society is that it is frequently also a political actor - and so politicians criticising them as pawns for others is a politically astute course of action. One way to remedy this would be to encourage the use of randomly-selected citizens in public judgment exercises (much like the role of a jury in a criminal trial). Where civil society and governments are the expert witnesses, we need a more formal role for everyday people - a group for whom it is pretty much impossible to ascribe political motivations.

Politicians of all persuasions have one thing in common: they tend to think they're right! Most would welcome the chance to make their case to everyday citizens and use this as the basis for a position to take to a UN-sponsored discussion. Equally, this creates a different role for civil society as a fellow expert asking citizens to make a fair judgment rather than acting as a de facto voice of the community themselves. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Iain N Walker, thank you very much for your constructive input.  You are making an important point that UN can lead by example, which is something the UN strives to do with room for self-improvement.  When we talk about civil society, we are not only referring to NGOs, human rights activists and defenders, media and journalists, but also a broad spectrum of other civil society actors such as social and other movements, trade unions, academia and think tanks, youth and student groups, representative of other population groups, environmental and other activists, professional associations, victim-support groups, coalitions and networks, community- and faith-based groups, professionals contributing directly to the enjoyment of human rights (e.g. humanitarian workers, lawyers, doctors and medical workers), so on and so forth.  Therefore, the space in which all those civil society actors interact with those who make decisions or influence decision-making (state institutions, executive authorities, legislative and judicial bodies), is regulated by laws, policies and other interests (political, economic, social etc.), including economic interests of businesses and the private sector.  The UN is interacting with all those actors, playing a facilitation and convening role in this complex space.  Based on your experience and observations, could you share your views on what other innovative approaches, in addition to your point on "bottom-up" approach, can the UN adopt in its interactions with these actors to represent "we the peoples" spirit of the UN Charter, while also ensuring compliance of States with international norms and standards (e.g. human rights and humanitarian law, labour standards, various treaties, conventions and declarations etc.) on the background of increasing national laws and policies that seek to restrict civic activity?  We welcome your further thoughts and suggestions on these. 

Amel Karoui

Regarding the partnerships and collaboration with the United Nations, it is important to draw your attention to the fact that these processes can unfortunately get complicated. Civil Societies could face constraints in accessing the UN and its subsidiary bodies, as each body is independent and has different codes and processes. Even though MAKNA is conferred the Special Consultative Status, we still need to dig a lot in order to have access to information or keep up with the events and resolutions meetings happening in the UN whether on the international, regional or local levels. We suggest creating common platforms or websites to help us find useful information more easily, as the existing ones fail to deliver the necessary information.

As per the view to leaving no one behind, we believe that the United Nations can help create more programmes to mainstream SDGs and expand the reach beyond civil societies and stakeholders committed to SDG achievement. This could also be possible through urging governments to engage the populations and the general public even more, thus easing the task on civil societies. The United Nations could further help with creating a digital hub for NGOs to have such consultations and discussions about topics of interest to both entities such as SDGs matters or other concerns on regular basis. This will not only strengthen the communication between UN and CSOs, but also it would be a meeting point where we could share perspectives, practices and solutions.

Nevertheless, as much as we were pleased to attend the High Level Political Forum in its 2019 edition and are eager to attend it again this year, we struggled a lot with the processes of registration, etc. Furthermore, traveling costs are significantly high. It is not realistic to assume that Non-For-Profits from all over the world are able to fundraise and invest those funds attending meetings on a different continent. As a matter of fact, very few institutions within our sector are able to do so. If we are aiming to "leave no one behind" and the inclusion of Civil Societies in the achievement of the 2030 agenda is truly imperative, we are failing to accomplish these two precepts by making these meetings an exclusive kind of gathering. This point was also raised by CSOs during the HLPF 2019.

It is also a good initiative to make regional forums on sustainable development, but the “application” process to attend is made very long and complicated for civil societies, as we need to submit plenty of written statements and answer about 50 questions to be able to submit our participation or attendance request in the Asia-Pacific Sustainable Development Forum 2020 for example. We suggest simplifying these processes in order to maximize the engagement of civil societies and actually leaving no one behind! There are plenty of closed meetings convened at UN in which NGOs are excluded, but even the open meetings, which are supposedly inclusive are made complex, while advancing the achievement of SDGs can only be possible with Civil Societies’ support and constant drive.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello and thank you @Amel Karoui for your response.  The challenges you highlighted regarding a limited opportunity for civil society to engage with the High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals echoes and are similar to challenges highlighted by @Hamidreza Afshari.  In this case, what do you think the UN country presences should do to channel critical civil society voices from the ground to global discussions, so that no one is left behind in practice?

Jeff Acaba

Hi everyone! Below are my responses to each of the questions:

Q1. Partnership/participation:

  1. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN?

    Our entry points in engaging with the UN are through the individual UN Cosponsoring organisations who have established civil society platform, Task Force, or a Delegation (such as UNAIDS and WHO). However, UN organisations have varying understanding of what civil society is and sometimes that at some point, civil society organisation engagement are only being tokenized without proper processes and frameworks to follow.
     
  2. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

    Among the UN agencies that we work with have regular email communications and are very apt in sharing information to civil society. A measure to improve the information-sharing would probably be holding regular consultations or "brown bag sessions" with CS and NGOs so that the communication does not solely rely on online communication as face-to-face conversations can also help. UN offices can also provide sfe space for NGOs to discuss and strategise.  
     
  3. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups?

    In Asia Pacific, UNAIDS co-hosts a Partnership Forum wherein regional key population networks and CS are invited to meet on a regular basis.
     
  4. Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)? Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?

         Civil society participation really varies. In some settings, some UN act as gatekeepers to these spaces, and would only allow the usual partners to engage. Others are more collaborative, and even provide support for CS to participate further. I think it will be helpful if UN does not only support CS to participate in terms of sharing information, but also holding or supporting pre-conference convenings or strategising among CS. At the same time, as UN provides these support, that they should not intervente but only act as facilitators for these processes to maintain independence.

Q2. Protection of civil society actors:

  1. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?

        UN should continue to support CS either through capacity-building, hosting meetings, or even supporting to be able to develop technical capacity and be part of the broader CS discussions outside of the country. For example, in the Philippines, conversations around drug use is very difficult, hence UNODC provides safe spaces for CS working on harm reduction to meet, albeit in small congregations, so that the work continues despite the difficulty. UN organisations should also talk to each other so that the support to CS are not duplicated but are complemented.

  1. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

There must be a global or regional processes wherein civil society actors' complaints are heard, and a body within the UN wherein these complaints are heard and addressed. Understanding that the UN is Member-State led, this should not delimit its responsibility and mandate to listen and be accountable to the most marginalised, of whom some countries do not even consider as their citizens due to criminalization and ostracization.

Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

  1. What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?

         UN senior leadership should make use of the political commitments around civil society support to lobby and advocate among Member States of their commitments. There are already commitments enshrined in many Political Declarations about civil society support - it's time that UN should compile and use these in their processes, and remind Member States of their commitments.

  1. What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?

UN should develop a Civil Society Fund so that it can provide support to CS at the country level and regional level.

  1. How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

UN should develop a Civil Society Fund so that it can provide support to CS at the country level and regional level.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello and thank you @Jeff Acaba for taking your time and for providing structured responses to many of the questions.  Your suggestions concerning the need for greater support to and protection of civil society also reconfirm many other voices expressed during the discussions.  Especially, your comment on the role of the UN senior leadership is well noted!

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

DAY 4 and 5

 

Welcome to the 4th and 5th days of the consultations, and we also welcome newly joined participants.  A number of ideas and suggestions were made yesterday, which can be summarized as:

  • Challenges and barriers related to civil society engagement with the UN and its processes, unclear or cumbersome accreditation and registration processes, physical and procedural inaccessibility, travel requirements and costs, visas and other issues, especially engaging with the UN High Level Political Forum in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Some ideas were proposed whether “contracts” and “agreements” could be made between the UN, government authorities and civil society, which seek to ensure safe engagement of civil society and improve protection
  • Continued support to and capacity building of civil society to engage with the UN at global and country levels, and improve civil society representation in political and economic decision-making processes, including through new legal frameworks and user-friendly tools to support diverse groups to speak out, organise, mobilise and take action off-line and on-line
  • The use of digital technologies as useful tools to facilitate information sharing and improve engagement between the UN and civil society actors
  • The need for the UN to lead by example in their own engagement activities with various actors, and that the UN decision-making and consultation structures need top better account domestic political realities and be grounded on views of citizens and people
  • Varying understanding of the UN of what civil society is, and tokenistic engagement without proper processes and frameworks to follow
  • Need for increased political commitments by the UN senior leadership on civil society issues in their engagement and advocacy with Member States, and move from rhetoric (Political Declarations) to action, and develop a Civil Society Fund to support civil society at country and regional level

We look forward to hearing more from you!

 

moka

Chez nous République démocratique du congo, il suffit qu'une organisation de la société ait un bureau avec équipement et moyen de communication et surtout un circuit de communication permanent, je crois que la scurité pour les acteurs de la SC sera une garentie

David Kode Moderator

@mocha.  That is useful to know.  The number of civil society organisations in the DRC are as diverse as the country itself.  

Sister Ling ( HOL GS)

Dear Concerned Members of The Group,

I was sadly unavailable yesterday but will catch up this week end.

Why should we give out likes?❤

A very simple fact is, "No One Is Left Behind!"

We as Civil Society Should also not be left behind as well.

Please view my interactive presentation attached.

SL

Santiago Roberto Bertoglia

Estimados Amigos y Colegas: 

Estoy agradecido por estar aquí y por su invitación: Actualmente me encuentro muy preocupado por la corrupción de funcionarios públicos en Argentina que ponen en peligro las vidas de la población. Por lo que busco trabajar junto a colegas y amigos con las Resoluciones de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas A/RES/70/1 y A/RES/73/140. Saludos cordiales.

Saripalli Suryanarayana

I am contineously in to the 'Innovation Conversation' of  UNDP’s Accelerator labs during last two months. Being a member of "RBEC Knowledge Innovation" we are able to attend the webniar.And  participated during various UNDP discussions on Habitat-3 etc.What it means is to achive the 2030 agenda on SDGs,"We need to retrofit the present cities,urban systems so that we bridge gaps and do not widen such'.

We also need to use available better communications and enhance to 4G for digitalisation,in economy and banking.We also have to enhance the living by giving disaster resistance husing."Of all the problem to day is migration".It could be regional,or to the Urban areas,or beyond the borders of their "Culture and Heritage".

While education shall decrease the conflict and so the migration,it is increasing with the non availabulity of resources ,as well lack of good leadership[in conflict areas-no leadrship].

Mitigation,urbanisation,resilence in to health and food systems in what ever available ways shall advance the countries.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Suryanarayana Saripalli, thanks for the contribution and for highlighting a good example of working together with UNDP on such important development issues, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

fiquet

What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

Contents of meetings and information on forthcoming major events should be made more accessible on internet, so everyone can access it. Also, social media must play a central role in mobilizing social initiatives.

With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work?

Innovative approaches, aiming at enhancing the situation at the grass-root level, should be promoted. Actions on the ground, effective at the local level should be promoted, rather than conventional international fora.

It would be interesting to have a network of local associations, in each region of the world, to facilitate the implementation of change on the ground

Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)?

I have already witnessed acts of intimidation towards human rights defenders speaking in public at the UN in Geneva. Safe environment for human rights defenders at the UN is not yet a reality.

What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?

The UN should create mechanisms specifically dedicated to acts of harassment and reprisals from states. One of the best way possible to deal with it would be that the UN share it publicly to everyone, that such state is putting civil society actors at risk. Sometimes simple communication can also be the solution, because states want to avoid the spreading of bad news about them.

How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

The UN should allocate more time and budget to this issue. Mechanisms have to be created so people can safely engage with the UN.

What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?

The UN could play a role of incubator for social mobilization. For example, creating safe spaces where people can exchange, dialogue and have a say on the violations they may suffer from. Once people get used to speak and dialogue between each other, society may be more open to dialogue.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@fiquet, thank you for your pertinent points, which really add to contributions made by others in relation to: accessibility and availability of information; the need to reach out to, communicate and engage with grass-roots actors and organizations; as well as the UN's role in providing a safe space for civil society actors.  You raised another important point in relation to protection, which is reprisals and intimidation against civil society actors for cooperating with or seeking to cooperate with the UN system.  On this, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights acts as a UN system-wide official to coordinate the UN system efforts in addressing and respond to reprisals.  We will welcome your views on how could the work of the UN Assistant Secretary-General be further improved, if you are aware of this mandate, as well as the UN's response to reprisals in general.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

Note from moderators:

Dear participants, the email notification system was malfunctioning since afternoon of Wednesday 15 January.  Due to this technical issue, many of you may not have received any notifications regarding latest posts, and we sincerely apologize if this has caused you any inconveniences.  The email notification system has been fixed now!

We invite you to check the latest posts you may have missed, and actively contribute to the discussions.

 

Susan Wilding

Thank you again for the space to engage the UN on this important conversation.

In response to the first question around participation and access, it is important that the UN do not perpetuate closing space for civil society by being selective in the groups the UN engages and the voices the UN listens to. I am speaking particularly about the UN's role at a national level, where it could be said, that the UN has the greatest impact on protecting and promoting civic space. Yet, we often hear from national partners, that meetings/ briefings with UN are often overrun by State sponsored civil society groups (understandably -due to their links with governments- they have more influence and ability to attend/ be heard) but what this does is squash the space for independent civil society to be heard. I think its important at a national level for all UN staff to make sure that they are creating space for independent civil society and that they engage them in a manner that they are comfortable with (safety, language etc).

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Susan Wilding, thank you very much for making a great point that the UN and its staff at the country level should avoid the selectivity and the kind of civil society actors they engage with.  A really great point and we believe this reinforces the need for some innovative approaches, such as the availability of online and mobile platforms for everyone to engage (which was repeatedly suggested previously) to break the silos of greater engagement by those civil society actors who have connections with both UN and government processes.  However, given that different UN entities have different mandates, which often define their core constituency, what would you suggest, in terms of specific mechanisms and channels, that could be adopted across the UN entities on the ground.  Would your organization, and other NGO networks you know of, have adopted good practices on inclusive, equal and effective engagement, which the UN could learn from?

KAS Lebanon Office
Dear all, Most of the Lebanese citizens don’t know their rights and responsibilities, even the basic ones. This problem starts with children from their early life at school. Most of the schools in Lebanon, especially those located in rural areas, don’t provide human rights education. If we start with this issue, UN could offer awareness campaigns in schools for students, for teachers and even for parents to help in spreading the awareness. On another level, even mature and educated adults don’t know all their rights. For example, new graduates, applying for jobs for the first time, should know their rights in answering questions and filling applications. Employees should also know their rights in their workplace. In addition, all citizens should know their political, humanitarian, and social rights. As you may know, Lebanon is currently having protests in different areas. These protests shed the light on an important problem among the Lebanese “the lack of knowledge of their rights”. Moreover, Women’s Rights is one of the most important topics in the region. As for your role, you may help in different ways: 1- Transferring information on human rights through online infographics videos 2- Uploading documentaries about human rights online 3- Uploading videos for conferences that were done on those topics 4- Providing a public online page for inquiries and complaints for every country 5- Providing offices for inquiries and complaints in every country 6- Providing awareness campaigns in schools for students, for teachers and even for parents to help in spreading the awareness. Thank you,
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Kas Lebanon Office, thanks for your contribution, which is clear and succinct.  Similar points were made by others on the need for greater awareness raising on human rights and fundamental freedoms among people, using digital and online tools for better connectivity etc.  Specifically, your point on the UN's role in advocating for human rights education in schools, including on women's rights, is key for the awareness raising among the public.  Thank you for your input, and we hope that others will contribute to this discussion.  

Hepzibah

Hello everyone, it has been quite interesting with all our contributions and even more so, our consistent updates.

In addition to what i have commented on Day 1. In Q1  Partnership/Participation, with a view of 'Leaving no one behind' I would want to emphasize a little on this especially as we have the decade year 2020 with us looking at 2030. What the UN can do to reach out to divers of Civil Society actors or groups E.g Women, Youth, Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) etc,I would love to see the UN who are also drivers of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) see to it that CSOs have deep understanding of the SDGs. I am an SDGs activator in Nigeria, my observation in our sensitization outreaches was that even the CSOs have little or no understanding of SDGs which s the core blueprint of our human rights work. Action point is that UN should of necessity, sponsor more massive activation of SDGs in every state using active , accountable and responsible focal persons to ensure that the CSOs carry out their work effectively and efficiently. The people at the grassroots do not have any idea on what these goals are. Intentionally, leaving no one behind will be achieved, carrying the interest groups along, like the women and youth, PWDs etc SDG#17 is key for all and sundry.

Women groups, Youth and PWDs need lots of programs, like empowerment programs where the UN can assist the CSOs  to organize training on fundraising skills, ICT skills, effective communication and Self-development etc. The youth as well need some level of entrepreneurial skills to help both school and non- school youth to be gainfully employed in one thing or the other,

PWDs need our assistance to improve their livelihood. Nigerian President Buhari signed the Discrimination Against Persons with disability bill into law on January 23, 2019. Little on no implementation has been effected on that. Most of the PWDs also do not have that knowledge. The UN can also help the CS by funding a program to carry out strategic advocacy to relevant stakeholders, government agencies and other ministries, carry out sensitization outreaches, radio phone in discussion program , campaign etc to actually domesticate and implement these law. The UN also has UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)   and also SDG#10 Reduced Inequalities and can actually drive this process through the CSOs.

Q2 Protection of Civic Society.

I like to keep it short and simple. UN can take sanction as measures when information and events about threat, intimidation that bother on life and death are met out against CSOs. But it must be verified beyond reasonable doubt. We have heard in the news how Staff of CSO abducted, sometimes threatened and people stick out their neck to walk the talk and need protection from United Nations to be able to do humanitarian work. The UN can also follow up on CSOs bi-annually in their list serve to get reports on safety, peace/conflict resolutions. UN can also increase more work on peace and conflict  resolutions with the assistance of the CSOs to change the mindsets and narratives of the society.

Q3. Promotion of Advocacy for Civic Society

The UN has so much to contribute in terms of ensuring that CS have a say in national laws and policies, on protests and access to information, freedom of expression by carrying out diplomatic visits to the federal, state governments using their focal persons domiciled in the country accompanied by the members of active CSOs to advocate and boost the opportunity of the said country in terms of receiving diplomatic immunity for security, education and health etc for the particular country that cooperates at the same time discouraging hate speeches and random disregard of government authorities. There is always a balance in life both for the leader and the led.

Thank you

Ogechi Ikeh

Executive Director

Citizens Centre for Integrated Development for Social Rights (CCIDESOR)

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Hepzibah, thank you for your input and you have raised a number of important points.  In relation to SDGs as an agenda by the people and for the people, the Goal 16 is about inclusive participation in decision-making, protection of human rights defenders, and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions.  Therefore, the implementation of all other SDGs depends on the realization of the SDG 16.  SDG 16 captures all the main points on protection and promotion you raised in your contribution, thus it is highly relevant to the protection and promotion of civic space.  We invite you to share your views on how the SDG 16 is being implemented in your country, and in case the implementation of this goal is "left behind" the implementation of other Goals, how can the UN better support civil society in bringing this issue to the attention of the government?  Do you have examples of better partnership between the UN and civil society around the SDG 16?

Hepzibah

Baatar Bayarmagnai Thank you for your response.

I sure will share our experience with SDG #16 and how it has fared ,what UN can do to assist Civil Society and its approach to the government as well..

Thank you

Ogechi Ikeh Hepzibah

Executive Director

Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR)

Owerri. Imo State

Nigeria

Samir Kumar Das

I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

IMAECSED is very much grateful for this wonderful opportunity to engage & consult the expert of United Nations along with the global stakeholders via this online Forum. We have wider scope of knowledge sharing, join hands for collaboration and Partnership, improve our projects and take action wherever necessary. We play an active role in the protection and preservation of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation and humanitarian response in crisis. Since 1995 we are terribly facing lot of crisis to accelerate our varied objectives and activities. But the present context Civic Space is not a mere right to the civil society it is one of the fundamental weapons to establish in the society. Our engagement to the UN demands enabling environment for civil society to play an active role to achieve free access to enjoy human rights with dignity and within the campus of Rule of Law. To overcome any situation from its interruption of free enjoyment of rights, we hope and pray to the holy United Nations to be more liberal to us.  

 

Non cooperation from various sectors many a time create stumbling block to our work but our untiring effort and continuous movement within such a limited resource lead us to accelerate our activities with various UN Organ and other global stakeholders. We are always extending our hands to join with the interested Group or any other sector to achieve our target for 2030 Agenda.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Thanks Samir Kumar Das for sharing your reflections and for reinforcing the UN's role to help create a safe and enabling environment for civil society. 

Mandeep Singh Tiwana

Thank you for initiating this conversation. 

On the question of promotion of and advocacy for civic  space it would be helpful if the UN's leadership and member states elevate the human rights pillar and place it on par with the other two pillars of peace and security, and development. The UN's three pillars should be seen as inter-related and mutually reinforcing in both policy and practice. Also, civic space and civil society participation should be seen as interlinked. Currently, the human rights pillar receives a tiny proportion of the UN's budget which needs to be addressed to ensure compliance with civic space commitments enshrined in international human rights law. With regards to the peace and security pillar, civic space and civil society participation could constitute a key component of any agreements or initiatives. With regards to development pillar, Agenda 2030 commitments could include robust and relevant civil society led indicators to enable proper reporting and action on civic space and civil society participation. 

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Mandeep Singh Tiwana thank you so much for these concrete and considered suggestions on how the UN can improve its promotion and advocacy work on civic space, and better coordinate its approach to civic space across the three pillars. Many thanks, Mandeep!

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Mandeep Singh Tiwana, thank you very much for your input, which really raises a deeper question why civic space is important.  As you noted, although it is often said that the three pillars of the UN are interdependent and equal, the rhetoric is often not translated into action.  One could also push the boundaries further and argue that human rights are the ultimate objectives, where development and peace and security are the means to achieve the higher objectives.  Open, safe and democratic civic space fosters conditions where investments in development and peace and security contribute to positive human rights outcomes.  How can the UN, together with civil society, make a business case that protection and promotion of civic space may be the only option?  Thanks for your views and suggestions on joint strategies. So far we talked about how the UN should protect and promote civic space, and it is interesting to explore what can be done jointly, going back to some of the earlier comments on the important role of civil society as well.

OTU, Uwem Robert.

On Q1 subsection d, I feel happy that the UN is taking the issue of access and engagement more seriously. From the days of In Larger Freedom till date, the problem has been allowing CSOs access at those high level events and breaking down the over protectionism on national delegations. The UN should encourage a genuine role for CSOs that allows CSO focal points access at the table. When leaders know they are likely to meet questions from their citizens when at the UN they will act right. The UN can do more by encouraging government to include civil society as part of their official delegations to these meetings. On the whole I implore the UN to make access to CSOs a transparent and to BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@A Life, Robert, thank you for your contribution, and for proposing that civil society should be part of the State delegations to the UN meetings and processes.  Indeed, there are some good examples where civil society actors were included as part of the State delegations to the High Level Political Forum to review SDGs.  If you can share your view how the UN can advocate and convince State authorities to do so in a systematic way would be welcomed! 

Mohamad SAFA

Dear participants,
Hope to find you all well,
I am Mohamad Safa and I am Patriotic Vision's CEO and Patriotic Vision's Permanent Representative at United Nations. I will briefly and in general answer many of the questions you have asked here.

 

I will starte with "Q1. Partnership/participation: With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups?"

- Patriotic Vision has a special consultative status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) and that I travel twice or three times every year to stand against human rights violations everywhere. I have touched from many regional and local managers dealing in a racial or sectarian way in this field "especially youth field" and I can explain the subject under the air in order to keep names and offices secretly so that you can deal with the issue and address it outside the media. Because of this and other reasons, it is difficult for the United Nations to reach everyone due to the arbitrary policies of some directors, which are dealt with due to race, gender, color, religion, etc.
 

 

As for Q2. Protection of civil society actors: "What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures? How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?"

- I believe that, according to UN  basic principle, “We are the people of the United Nations,” the United Nations should provide privileges and immunity to the head of organizations that advocate for human rights, since since 2016 I have traveled to many countries to participate in conferences and provide oral or written reports against some governments which violated human rights and I know many of my friends have been arrested in airports and dealing inhumanly only because they submitted a report on a specific country and this happened with me in an Italian airport and I had informed the NGO office in Geneva. Therefore, the United Nations must stand with people who can be trusted and given some privileges and immunity in order to carry out their work in a good way and it is possible to help the United Nations achieve its goals. I do not think that governments will criticize themselves by themselves. Therefore, our role is the most important in the Human Rights Council. Therefore, we must be protected to continue our work.
 

my answer for Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space: "How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?"

- Since I reside in Lebanon and as Patriotech Vision have special consultants status with the United Nations, we have not been received any invitation from the United Nations in Lebanon to any forum or to conference. We are only invited from Geneva, Vienna, or New York. 

I have many reports to talk about. But I don't want to publish them here so I guess when I reach Geneva we can have a meeting and talk.

Sincerely,
SAFA

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Mohamad SAFA, thank you for your input.  The "immunities and privileges" is one of those issues that are well beyond the scope of this consultation.  Regarding your concerns in relation to the UN presence in Lebanon not reaching out to your organization, in your view what are the reasons of such practice and whether you tried to raise the issue with the UN entities in Lebanon and what were their responses?

moka

Bonsoir à tous,

Mon intervention porte toujours sur la protection des acteurs de la société surtout dans les zones en conflits ou post-conflits armés. Il se remarque souvent qu'avant le conflit armé, l'ONU qui est toujours informé de tout et de rien n'informer pas  bien avant les acteurs des OSC pour qu'elles puissent prendre de disposition de l'auto défense moins encore l'envoie d'un numéro vert (téléphonique) si pas pour tout le monde mais possible pour le responsable des OSC  accréditées car en principe l'ONU devrait nous gâter car c'est nous qui sommes toujours menacés sur le terrain et lors des différents clusters, nous informons toutes les informations difficilement reussies.

Pendant le conflit, nous devons être identifié par une agence spécialisée de gestion des ONG accréditées et être doté même des cartes de volontaire de l'ONU cette structure existe mais souvent des opportunités limitées aux pays développés ce n'est pas bien.

Après le conflit, les activités de sensibilisation et de soutien aux actions de l'ONU devraient être faites par les volontaires des ONG accrédités. C'est possible avec le budget de ONU de prendre au moins 1 Volontaire à l'ONU pour chaque ONG accréditée car l'offre d'emploi qui se lancent chaque jour devraient mettre des priorités pour les acteurs de la société civile par exemple.

Akre Guy Hervé Bessi

Bonjour je bessi Akre Guy Hervé, je suis le président fondateur de l'ONG ADOKA.

Concernant les questions sur les partenariat/ participation : l'ONU devrait rendre plus accessible les différents liens qui nous permettent de la joindre par la s sensibilisation beaucoup de publicités . l'ONU doit se faire l'ami de la société civile nombreuses sont les ong qui ne la connaissent pas.

Pour la protection des acoeurs de la société civile, l'ONU doit assurer leur protection des activites. La police des nations unies doit faire connaître ses prérogatives de la société civile, Avoir aussi un contact qui permette l'information rapide‹ ou la dénonciation d'intimidations vis à vis de la société civile.

Apporter un appui aux États pour soutenir les programmes spécifiques aux ONG.

l'ONU doit mettre la pression sur les Etats afin qu'ils se conforment aux résolutions et aux recommandations des nations unies relatives aux libertés, promouvoir où rendre accessible aux citoyens l'amda à travers les brochures Simples qui seront aussi traduites en langues locales.

Enfin l'ONU doit faire le renforcement de capacités, les formations, partage d'expériences  avec les ONG et des tables rondes.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Akre Guy Hervé Bessi, thank you for your input, and your suggestions on more capacity building, experience sharing are well noted.

Saúl Morales

RESPUESTA A PREGUNTA Q1

EXPERIENCIA PERSONAL.

Desde muy joven he sido una persona que se resiste contra el racismo y la discriminación. Desafortunadamente en mi comunidad local no era escuchado y también yo no sabía cómo actuar contra este problema. Entonces decidí unirme a una organización internacional de derechos humanos cuando me hicieron la invitación para hacerlo. Durante mi activismo en esta organización internacional de derechos humanos, conocí a mucha gente que se dedicaba a defender derechos en otras organizaciones y me enviaron información acerca de cursos sobre derechos humanos. Yo tenía poca información de la ONU, pero en el año 2010, recibí información acerca de un seminario para defensores de derechos humanos, que se realizaría en una universidad pública estatal de la ciudad de México, donde participo la oficina del alto comisionado de naciones unidas para los derechos humanos en México. Ese seminario estaba abierto al público en general y me sorprendí cuando observe a personas de la sociedad civil y trabajadores del gobierno. Porque yo creía que solo los políticos del alto nivel gobierno tenían acceso a la ONU.

Y también por el paradigma de la elite de los derechos humanos en México, que era un tema de debate durante en esos años. Donde esta pregunta era muy frecuente… ¿Porque si realmente son importantes los derechos humanos, no son incluidos en la constitución de México?... Lo asombroso de este seminario para defensores de derechos humanos, es que la respuesta a esta pregunta, fue respondida… “El proyecto para incluir los derechos humanos en la constitución Mexicana tenía muchos años ignorándose”…

… La indignación fue fuerte… Y durante los años 2010 y 2011, muchas personas con diferentes actividades, nos dedicamos a promover la inclusión de los derechos humanos en la constitución mexicana, en diferentes sectores de la sociedad, especialmente en el poder legislativo de México. La petición a nuestra solicitud fue escuchada y el 10 de junio del 2011, se publicó en el diario oficial de la federación, el decreto por el que se modifica la denominación del Capítulo I del Título Primero y reforma diversos artículos de la Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, es decir, se modificó el artículo 1 de la constitución mexicana para establecer de manera clara los derechos humanos en el país.

http://dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5194486&fecha=10/06/2011

https://www.gob.mx/segob/articulos/que-sabes-sobre-ddhh-y-la-reforma-constitucional-de-2011-11-puntos-clave-para-entender-y-ejercer-tus-derechos

 

RESPUESTA A PREGUNTA Q2

ENEMIGOS PROVIENEN DE CUALQUIER PARTE

Durante el tiempo de conocer a la ONU, solo he aprendido una cosa del riesgo como defensor de derechos humanos… “Los enemigos de los derechos humanos provienen de cualquier parte del mundo”… ¿Cómo obtienen información los enemigos de los derechos humanos acerca de los defensores de derechos humanos?... La respuesta es…No lo sé.

En México he observado que el crimen organizado está interesado en atacar a los defensores de derechos humanos, más que el gobierno. Probablemente este ataque se deba a la mala información acerca del concepto de los derechos humanos en el país o talvez porque el concepto de la participación ciudadana y del voluntariado, no es popular en México. La baja popularidad de la defensa de los derechos humanos, de la participación ciudadana y del voluntario, se debe a que estas actividades se convierten en una potencial amenaza para la mafia civil y del gobierno.

En definición, la defensa de los derechos humanos, la participación ciudadana y el voluntariado, son un mismo entorno y considero importante que la ONU, informe a la población acerca de estos entornos de participación y defensa, que no son enemigos del país. Para evitar que la sociedad civil tenga alianza con diversos factores o peligros que destruyen a la nación, como por ejemplo, el racismo y la discriminación.

En México es frecuente observar que la sociedad civil y el gobierno, atacan con facilidad a la defensa de los derechos humanos, participación ciudadana y voluntariado. Lo extraño es que la sociedad civil y el gobierno, no actúan de la misma manera con el crimen organizado, donde la actitud es más pasiva y silenciosa. Por este motivo también considero importante que la ONU obtenga información de las personas más atacadas por la sociedad civil y el gobierno, para confirmar que no existe riesgo en la defensa de los derechos humanos, participación ciudadana y voluntariado.

https://www.gob.mx/defensorasyperiodistas

 

RESPUESTA A PREGUNTA Q3

ESPACIO INTERNO Y EXTERNO CIVICOS

Personalmente puedo decir que he aprendido más acerca de los derechos humanos en espacios internos y no en externos. Es espacios internos de universidades públicas y privadas, instituciones públicas, embajada, auditorios, hoteles y casas, son lugares donde he obtenido el conocimiento de los derechos humanos. Por este motivo, considero que la ONU debe apoyar en la realización de diversos eventos, en lugares que son accesibles, incluyentes y económicos, para hablar sobre el tema de los derechos humanos.

Probablemente el espacio externo cívico, es el más conflictivo para llevar a cabo reuniones. Las protestas y marchas, no son populares para muchos gobiernos y comunidades locales. Algunos sectores de la sociedad civil y gobierno, piensan que las protestas y marchas son una solución fácil a los problemas del país. Otros sectores de la sociedad civil y gobierno, piensan que las protestas y marchas, son pretextos de la delincuencia organizada para hacer más grande a la mafia. Pero de alguna u otra forma, para las diferentes ideologías o creencias acerca de las protestas, marchas y reuniones públicas, la ONU debe informar a la población sobre los derechos y deberes de las personas en situación de manifestación y de fomentar la tolerancia en las zonas donde se efectúan los eventos de manifestación.

http://www.ordenjuridico.gob.mx/Constitucion/articulos/6.pdf

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Saul Morales, thank you for your contribution and for sharing your personal story.  Your message on the need for the UN to reach more widely, and especially those at local or grass-roots level, as well received and reinforces many similar suggestions made during this consultation.  What do you think the UN should do in your country, where the government authorities increasingly recognize that people have the right to peaceful assembly, and should not be subjected to any human rights violations?  And how civil society in Mexico could support the UN in this cause of protecting and promoting civic space?

Saúl Morales

Baatar Bayarmagnai Gracias por sus comentarios. En México es posible observar que las autoridades de gobierno tienen un cambio de política en relación a las reuniones protesta y manifestación. Este motivo es por la presencia más frecuente de los derechos humanos durante estos eventos y también porque la ONU tiene contacto con los altos niveles federales de gobierno en México. Pero la ONU también debe trabajar con los niveles estatales y municipales del gobierno. Sin embargo, también existen otros factores como las ideologías negativas y peligrosas también son visibles durante estas reuniones ciudadanas. Porque desafortunadamente las ideologías antiguas del gobierno acerca de que los trabajadores de gobierno no tienen derecho de nada y también por las ideologías antiguas de la sociedad civil acerca de que nada en el país en gratis. Estas ideologías peligrosas intervienen directa y principalmente en las políticas públicas de los niveles de gobierno estatales y municipales. Nadie puede dar lo que no tiene o conoce.  Y en las alcaldías, ayuntamientos y municipios, que tiene el primer contacto con los ciudadanos, la defensa de los derechos humanos, tiene también su primera labor. La sociedad civil en México debe reconocer que los trabajadores de gobierno también tienen derechos humanos y el gobierno de México debe informar a la sociedad civil que los derechos humanos no son un comercio. La sociedad civil debe apoyar a la ONU reconociendo la gratuidad de los derechos humanos y el gobierno debe reconocer el espacio libre para las reuniones de la sociedad civil, saludos.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear Saripalli Suryanarayana,

Thank you very much for sharing your work and the reports regarding climate change, water and irrigation systems. They are very useful to understand the extent of the problems and the measures that need to be considered to address some of the challenges. 

It would be great to hear more from you on whether you have experience engaging with the UN on issues related to your work and expertise. Have you faced any difficulties in doing so?

Thank you.

OTU, Uwem Robert.

Dear Moderator, Thanks for your comment. The UN has good working relationship with most governments especially like Nigeria where the DSG and PGA come from. Also the UN has access to credible NGOs working with them,  so persuasively the UN can reach out to governments and convene an interactive dialogue between the government and NGO representatives on this crucial issue. As a member of the Global NGO Executive Committee which is the executive committee of NGOs affiliated to the Department of global communication of the UN, the issue of access to government delegation by NGOs is a front burner.

I think an interactive forum is a way forward and as well sharing outcomes of dialogues such as this would help to give a sense of who is doing what country by country and should be shared with national governments. If needed we could share with you a questionnaire format which could precede such an interactive dialogue..

Thank you

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @OTU, Uwem Robert,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience and for highlighting UN's role and possibility to bring together government authorities and NGO representatives. Thank you as well for suggesting the possibility to organize interactive forum discussions and expanding opportunities to share outcomes of dialogues. If possible, we would be happy to receive an example of a questionnaire that you may have used in the past. 

Many thanks, and in case you would like to comment on some of the other questions in the consultation, we look forward to receiving your thoughts.

 

 

Merna

Hello everyone

I am much grateful for this wonderful opportunity to engage and consult the expert of United Nations along with the global stakeholders via this online Global Development Hub. Through this platform, we can discuss and find solutions about the challenges facing us as NGOs

I think United Nations should provide more space for NGOs inside and outside the United Nations , NGOs need strategic plan in United Nations and also need funded program to implement activities outside United Nations and these program fund by United Nations

So what do you think about that ? 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Merna,

Thank you very much for your comments and the suggestions about establishing an NGO strategic plan in the UN and expanding funding opportunities. It would be very helpful to hear your views on the NGO strategic plan.

Thank you.

Merna

Ivona Truscan thank you for your reply 

The United Nations should strive to ensure approaches and objectives are coherent with regional organizations such as the European Union (EU) ,African Union and Arab league . Concerted efforts to promote the implementation of existing tools, or to create common strategies, can better cope with shrinking civil space

Regarding to strategic plan for civil society  organization should be very clear and help civil society  to do its job without violations

I suggest also to make application of civil society in UN  it will Facilitate  its work and it include the guidance of CSO

And also I want to emphasize that UN should have obligatory mechanism to apply on the states which do violation  of human rights   

Lisbeth Arias

Hola a todos y todas, sobre el planteamiento de la vida cívica en relación a la juventud y otros grupos no representados, una de las  barreras es el acceso a la toma de decisiones dentro de las organizaciones, las Naciones Unidas en la actualidad posee estrategias no efectivas para medir este tipo problemas en sus mecanismos , el problema de fondo es que la juventud es relleno dentro de las organizaciones porque al final existe un centrismo de quienes son los que deben hablar al final de tal cuenta que si la ONG participara en el informe temático sobre la participacion de la juventud en la vida cívica  , quienes opinan al final no son jóvenes. También otro problema es la falta de recursos para dar una vida jurídica a una organización juvenil , al momento de entrar a las reglas de ser aceptados no se cuenta con dinero para legalizar una organización juvenil ya que en mi país es un proceso muy caro por lo tanto , si quisiéramos ser parte de algún informe sobre cierto tema que realizara la ONU no podríamos ser tomados en cuenta ya que existen muchos grupos organizados pero sin personalidad jurídica , el que las organizaciones juveniles puedan tener acceso a espacios de toma de decisiones o de exponer sus ideas en relación a ciertos temas es vital para el fortalecimiento de la participacion en la vida cívica.

David Kode Moderator

Thank you for raising such pertinent issues Lisbeth.  Indeed inclusion of youth voices in decision making processes in challenging in many countries and organisations.  What works in some countries is that youth come together to have a collective voices on issues affecting them.  In some countries, youth have set up networks specifically to enhance their engagement with the UN  It is also important that NGOs working at national level to include youth voices in all their planning and actions so that they are captured in policy making by governments.  We can point you to some youth groups you can also reach out to for experience sharing. 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Lisbeth Arias,

Thank you very much for your comments and for bringing up issues related specifically to youth organizations. The issues you raised about the participation of youth in decision-making and standard-setting processes is very important. Many thanks for raising the point about the costs related to the legal requirements to establish youth organizations and the difficulties faced by organizations without legal personality. Would you be able to tell us a bit more about the limitations faced by organizations without legal personality?

Thank you.

Leli Darling

I'm a transgender activist in Fiji and right now we are facing discrimination from our Sports Minister when News Media printed his comment " No Transgenders will be allowed to participate in women sports".

Together with our PMs two utterances  in the past that "Gay marriage will never happen in Fiji" these events have created a deluge of trans phobic and hateful comments online , and we feel unsafe when going out in Public . 

In both occasions NO Transgender persons actually demanded for both rights to be implemented but the conversation happened above our heads.

David Kode Moderator

Thanks for sharing those concerns @ Leli Darling.  We are reaching out in solidarity.  Are there civil society groups in Fiji who share your concerns and can support advocacy on these issues?  The UPR process can be useful in brining these to the attention of the UN. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

 

WEEK 1 SUMMARY

 

Dear participants, thank you very much for participating in and contributing to the first week of discussions on the role of the UN in protecting and promoting civic space.  Many of your responses to the questions posed were constructive and forward looking, based on your views and hands-on experiences with regard to challenging human rights issues in your countries.  Therefore, we would like to provide a summary of your contributions, which hopefully will inform the discussions during the second week.

What should the UN do to protect and promote civic space and partner with civil society actors:

  • UN’s decision-making and consultation structures need to better account domestic political realities and be grounded on views of citizens and people
  • improve the UN’s advocacy at all levels on the States’ compliance with and implementation of international legally-binding normative standards, including human rights treaties, and the need for more political pressure by the international community on States to protect and open up civic spaces
  • improve access to information, especially by civil society actors at the grass-roots and community levels, who otherwise may not have access to and knowledge about the UN and its work
  • reach out to, communicate with and involve local and community civil society actors in its work, lend political, technical, financial and other support, and avoid selectivity and promote diversity in its engagement with civil society
  • significantly increase public awareness, basic knowledge and capacities on fundamental human rights and public freedoms, including through the use of digital technologies to facilitate information sharing and improve engagement between the UN and civil society actors, and freely accessible online courses and resources
  • better protect those under risk, including human rights activists and defenders, journalists, discriminated population groups working on human rights issues, and those working in humanitarian and conflict settings
  • improve civil society engagement in inter-governmental processes (e.g. including those that do not have ECOSOC consultative status), UN’s responsiveness to civil society concerns in relation to these processes, and address challenges and barriers related to civil society engagement (e.g. unclear or cumbersome accreditation and registration processes, physical and procedural inaccessibility, travel requirements and costs, visas and other issues), including the engagement with the UN High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals

Some ideas and suggestions for the UN:

  • UN senior leadership should lead by example on civil society issues in their engagement and advocacy with Member States, and move from rhetoric (Political Declarations) to action, and demonstrate clear commitments for effective partnership with civil society and to promote civic space
  • put in place a civil society fund to support civic activity at country and regional levels
  • put in place “information feedback loop” between the UN and civil society, where civil society is also be able to say how the UN is performing, thus providing relevant feedback back to the UN
  • develop online interactive forums and venues to reach out to diverse group of civil society actors, as well as online and freely accessible course on human rights and fundamental freedoms
  • explore possibilities for establishing “contracts” and “agreements” between the UN, government authorities and civil society, which seek to ensure safe engagement of civil society and improve protection
  • need to advocate for human rights education in schools, including on women's rights, to raise awareness among the public
  • create safe spaces to listen to and foster dialogue with civil society to inform decision making at the country, regional and global levels, and particularly with those who are disproportionately effected by decisions, including youth activists, indigenous groups, LGBTI individuals and women’s rights defenders

Some questions that could be discussed further:

  • civil society actors also play an active role in the protection and promotion of civic space, thus how the UN can better support civil society and what joint strategies could be put in place?
  • how the UN can strengthen its partnership with others (e.g. parliament, national human rights institutions, academia, businesses, entertainment and other sectors) in protecting and promoting civic space?
  • what is the role of the UN on protection vis-à-vis other actors that work on protection issues, including other international actors, NGO-led protection networks etc.?
  • how can the UN more effectively ensure it is engaging with a diverse set of actors in order to ensure it leaves no one behind?

Thank you and we look forward to your further contributions.

 

Ajay Singh

Dear Baarat,

 

Lots of thank to you and your team for this great endeavor to protect and promote civic space and partner with civil society actors.  We believe all the questions are interlinked and specially designed  to strengthen the UN as a body to aid in formulating a straightforward and direct relationship with the public at the grass roots level, leaving no one behind as we do need for the success of SDGs in actual fact.

 

Presently not only the civil society, nation, community or sects  are in risk. In fact we can see how the effects of climate change in the current predicament of nuclear proliferation, terrorism and war is leading the world towards an unnatural end, within the context of moral crisis in political ethics. 

 

Straightaway or without being aware of the root cause of the problems, it is impossible for the UN, any government or any type of organization to ensure the safety of the civil society and the vulnerable facing intolerable levels of insecurity, poor treatment and discrimination within the rot of corruption. Furthermore it is impossible to protect the human rights without saving the basis for humanity, just as there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable developments.

 

We mean to open civic spaces we will have to consider basically to protect all people and this planet by approaching and implementing the ideologies to unite the global community within the core value of UN-SDGs. We can easily do so within the UN system. I have already designed the strategic plan that only needs the moral support and a recommendation from UN for its implementation without much cost and extra effort.

 

From last many years, I am trying submit this project before the UN entities, team of PCP-UNOG, UN-HLPF etc, but the voice of a common man at grass had been always ignored. To get more information about my proposed solution, please access your web page -  https://www.globaldevhub.org/user/57949/stream

 

Now I believe this program would provide a platform for all to strengthen the UN accords to the need of this contemporary world. In fact, it contents the basic potential that we do need to protect and promote civic space and partner with civil society actors by filling up the intangible gaps between the organizations dedicated to make this planet a safe place for all.

 

Thanks for the time and review, looking forward for your response to discuss in detail.

 

Regards

Ajay Singh

.

Pepsie Adiukwu

Dear Baatar, 

This platform has provided an opportunity for a robust conversation on the 'subject matter.'

I really believe that if the suggestions proffered are implemented, we will be on the way to achieving our goals - including "Agenda 2030."

Implementation is a major issue. There are existing laws in member nations that could easily take care of some of the issues/concerns raised (especially with regard to protection) but they are ignored.

Just like the situation with the CSW "Agreed Conclusions," if there's no strict penalty for nations that default, we will be stuck in a 'merry-go-round.'

Many thanks for this opportunity.

Well done!

Kind regards,

Pepsie

Ivona Truscan Moderator

 

DAY 6   ( WEEK 2 )

 

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the second week of the consultation on UN's Approach to Promoting and Protecting Civic Space! My name is Ivona Truscan and I will be moderator this week together with a few colleagues.

Thank you very much for all the contributions last week as well as to the moderators. Baatar Bayarmagnai's earlier post summarizes the main issues discussed last week.

We would be happy to hear your views and thoughts on questions related to:

  • civil society actors also play an active role in the protection and promotion of civic space, thus how the UN can better support civil society and what joint strategies could be put in place?
  • how the UN can strengthen its partnership with others (e.g. parliament, national human rights institutions, academia, businesses, entertainment and other sectors) in protecting and promoting civic space?
  • what is the role of the UN on protection vis-à-vis other actors that work on protection issues, including other international actors, NGO-led protection networks etc.

Thank you very much and I look forward to further fruitful exchanges with all of you!

Eddie

Eddie Boston-Mammah. Chief Executive Director. ABC4All (A Better Community For All).

Hello Member,

ABC4All has a entry point to engage with the United Nation when it was granted Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council). We stated receiving information about the United Nations Activities.

For the United Nations to reach out to every civil societies actors or groups especially those in developing countries, the following should be observed:

The UN should open a line of communication directly with the organization, provide training for civil society organizations to facilitate the smooth operations of their work. United Nations should treat any information received from any organization with seriousness, especially human right violation, political intimedation and imprisonment.

Protection:

This is a very important element in achieving our goals as a pressure group and humanitarian organization and also a voice for the voiceless, we need to be protected and respected in our various communities.

We always mediate and advocate on behalf of the marginalize and the vulnerable.

The UN can better protect these organizations through technical, moral and financial empowerment because most of these organizations do not have condusive environment to work. Their offices should be equipt.

Promotion:

Civil Society organization should be encourage to participate in national discussion especially at parliamentry level and in decision making process of the country. UN should support the organizations through cordial working relationship and to capacitate our working partners throughout the country.

 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear Eddie Boston-Mammah,

Thank you very much for your comments and observations on how the UN could enhance its ability to ensure the participation and protection of civil society organizations as well as to encourage and promote them. Thank you for raising the importance of training, capacity-building, resources and basic equipment. 

It would be interesting to hear your views on what kind of training (skills or qualifications) you think would be most relevant for civil society organizations and what methods of facilitation of such training would be most appropriate in order to reach as many civil society actors as possible.

Thank you.

Gavin Charles

Hello,

We appreciate this consultation. Our comments focus on Q2 and Q3, the protection of civil society actors and the promotion of civic space.

The UN should advance – through its communications, meetings with state officials, and internal processes – a global consensus on the relationship between civic space and sustainable development.

In April 2019, civil society representatives from around the world, including the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, united in a Call to Action urging governments of all countries to reverse the disturbing global trend of shrinking and closing space for civil society. This Call to Action and the associated Action Agenda identify a clear connection between civic space and sustainable development. We will not repeat here all the points noted therein, but they should all be considered as part of this review exercise.

Just as an empowered civil society is key to the fulfilment of human rights and human freedom, it is essential to sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are highly challenging and absolutely necessary. But while governments have the primary accountability to these commitments, governments cannot achieve them alone. Civil society, the private sector, and individual citizens must all join in their pursuit.

As the aforementioned Call to Action states, “strengths of civil society are its diversity, its rootedness in communities and territories, its direct development experience, and its capacities for public engagement.” These are the benefits that civil society offers governments in support of their obligations to their people and to the planet, and these are what is lost when civil society is suppressed and civic space is diminished.

This critical role of civil society in sustainable development is receiving increasing recognition. A recent statement by the Community of Democracies – a rare example of an intergovernmental organization in which civil society has a seat and voice at the table – drew the link between media freedom, a key component and indicator of civic space, and sustainable development. The Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, is an example of a multi-stakeholder body where a civil society representative now serves as co-chair alongside governments.

The UN as a whole must be a champion for civic space and civil society actors as key to the global sustainable development effort. This connection is often acknowledged when the UN is discussing civic space specifically – including in the introduction to this consultation. But the importance of civic space is frequently ignored when the topic is sustainable development more generally. This link must be systematized and mainstreamed across UN efforts. Simply put, every time we talk about sustainable development is an opportunity to talk about the importance of civic space.

The more we are divided and closed off from each other, whether by intention or through neglect, the less likely we are to achieve the daunting development challenge that lies before us. Open civic space goes hand in hand with accountability and sustainable development – for governments, civil society and all of us.

Thank you again for this opportunity to input.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Many thanks Gavin Charles for highlighting key civil society initiatives like the Call to Action as well as the steps taken by the Community of Democracies and the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation.

You make a very important point in your intervention: advocacy efforts for the promotion and protection of civic space should strongly emphasize that a free, vibrant and empowered civil society is essential to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It would be very interesting to hear from participants about successful experiences of documenting the link between civic space and sustainable development – including whether and how these experiences had an impact on policy and how they may apply to the specific mandate of the United Nations.

Krati Sharma

Hello,

I am a volunteer at The Peace Building Project. We appreciate this consultation.

Our comment concerns Q3 subsection 'b' of the questions.

 

Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

b. "What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?"

 

The UN needs to deepen its connections with national governments and establish certain pre-requisites for their positions at the UN. The focus of these prerequisites should be to mainly loosen up the political arena for constructive dissent to breathe, by opening up forums where decisions concerning the public, made by the govt alone and by both govt and UN jointly, could be opened up for discussion with the citizens.

UN can also set up organizations in certain crisis-prone regions to function as watchdogs for effective democratic functioning.

Global Dev Hub is an effective initiative, however, to gain insights and suggestions for better functioning in context-particular situations, the above seems like a promising step further towards enhanced inclusiveness in decision-making at the UN.

Thank you for this opportunity.

 

 

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you Krati Sharma for noting the importance of inclusive public decision-making spaces that allow for constructive dissent. Thanks also for your comments on how the UN system can support member states in creating such spaces. As you remarked, we are very keen to leverage the large outreach of Global Development Hub to gain insights on this important issue!

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Hello everybody!

My name is Emanuele Sapienza. I am a policy advisor on governance with UNDP’s Regional Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean and I will be co-moderating the second week of the consultation (until 24 January).

I have been following with great interest the discussion so far and I am looking forward to more contributions!

Warm wishes,
Emanuele

GoldWorme

The UN Global Compact Networks and the World Federation of United Nations Associations can play an active role in the protection/promotion of civic space. The UN Global Compact Country offices/networks should host more public events connecting the "People" to the "Prosperity" community.   

WFUNA should be the leading non governmental organization advocating for the SDGs. If the UN could fund WFUNA and country members, so country members can be the premium resource center for NGOs/CSOs, resilience and adaptive capacity will accelerate. 

The UN MYWorld2030 Survey can be utilized as a protection data tool. Civil society actors can input a "distress signal sequence" as often as necessary, so the UN can receive accurate data of threats/reprisals. MYWorld2030.org  data.myworld2030.org

The urgency/prioritization of "Partnership for the Goals" is the most challenging SDG, and cooperation and co-creation is still fairly new to 85% of civil society. Adaptive and System Leadership resources should enhance overcoming barriers to cooperation/co-creation among NGO/CSO actors, and halt/reduce the current trend of activism, advocacy, and financial insecurity. 

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you GoldWorme for this message. If possible, I think it would be very interesting if you could elaborate on the concepts of "adaptive and system leadership" and how they might contribute to addressing some of the challenges experienced by civil society actors.

GoldWorme

Emanuele Sapienza Adaptive and Systems Leadership oriented to SDG11: Sustainable Cities/Communities. I've been a SDGConsultant since September 2015, so I'm well acquainted with the typical fragmented approach to the SDGs. "Working in silos" on SDG programs/initiatives not only is unsustainable, but leaves agents of change vulnerable to obstruction. SDG 11 Targets are all about 'civic space", and NGO/CSO actors need to prioritize participation in sustainable urbanization, just as they prioritize political representation . Personal resiliency and risk reduction by learning Cities/Communities resiliency and risk reduction.  

This specific consultation reveals two instances about the need for systems leadership.

  1. 80% of the public perceives the United Nations as a "World Government", not an Intergovernmental Cooperation. Therefore, this platform, just as the other SDG hubs I've engaged with, will be utilized as if it were a "procurement support/help desk", instead of a beta test civil space development experience. When NGOs/CSOs better understand the UN system, they will better understand their national/local systems, and identify how to interact with other decision makers beyond elected officials. 
  2. Civic space is great for networking, but few will utilize this consultation platform for networking. I can't read the comments in the various languages, but I intend to respond to other participants. NGOs/CSOs actors generally pursue vertical consultation, and don't consult their contemporaries for co-creative solutions or feedback. System Leadership will help NGOs/CSOs better understand/identify the other supporting actors within our "Ecosystem of Sustainable Development", People-Prosperity-Planet-Peace-Partnership.  
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@GoldWorme, thank you for your clarification, and you are making an important point that civil society actors should understand better about the UN, how it works, and what are the opportunities and limitations, which then would make it clear how they can engage better.  Thus, we take this as a recommendation that UN must communicate better and increasing awareness about its work among civil society actors.

You may select English from the drop down language selection menu at the top of this page, and all the discussions will be translated into English.

Olga Arnaiz

 

There are many challenges for a real participation and representation in such UN spaces as the UPR, the HRC, etc. First, it is only a minority of the population that is familiar with the work and importance of said work being conducted at the UN level or with the mandate of each Committee or each Special Procedure. It is even more difficult to understand how each of them works, the many different requisites and deadlines to send information and to be able to present this information before them. Very few people and/or organizations have sufficient resources to travel to Geneva or New York, and most of the time, these are organizations that are based in big cities (such as Mexico City), so the experiences of the organizations from smaller towns or indigenous communities are overlooked. Moreover, many times, often it is the same person (the Director or Coordinator of one well known NGO or another) who travels time and again to the international appointments.

The UN should have a more active role in ensuring a rich and diverse participation in every process. Sometimes it is not necessary to travel all the way to Geneva or New York. Virtual dialogues can be arranged through the local headquarters of the UNCHR, but then then UN has to guarantee enough resources to fund the local trips of the representatives of all the organizations and also manage the technological needs for such conferences.

It is also imperative that the UN becomes more vocal in its support of the role of organized civil society and human rights defenders in general, but especially those who are at risk as a consequence of their activism. This should not be the sole responsibility of the Special Rapporteur but should instead be a top priority for the UN at large, since human rights is one of the axes of the UN.

Thus, whenever a human rights defender is murdered, tortured or disappeared there should be a general outcry from all of the UN instances. And when there are strong indications that the perpetrator is  a member State, the UN should keep a very close watch on the investigation and take action to avoid impunity as is the common case in human rights violations against human rights defenders.

Monica Vincent Moderator

Dear Olga Arnaiz 

Firstly, thank you for your time and for raising pertinent issues re navigating UN spaces and redefining the role of UN in supporting civil society, particularly the human rights defenders. A quick question Olga, do you have any specific recommendations on strategy and tactics, that the civil society could follow in their engagement with the UN vis-à-vis other actors such as national human rights institutions and other regional and international organisations?

Thank you! 

M

OTU, Uwem Robert.
  • civil society actors also play an active role in the protection and promotion of civic space, thus how the UN can better support civil society and what joint strategies could be put in placgies could be put in place?
Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @OTU, Uwem Robert.

Thank you for your comment highlighting the role civil society actors play in protecting and promoting civic space as well.  Your question is very pertinent and we are interested in hearing more about the joint strategies.

Thank you.

Monica Vincent Moderator

Hello there!

Delighted to co-moderate the consultation on such a critical topic. Look forward to a productive discourse of learning and sharing. 

Kind regards

Monica Vincent

Policy Advisor (Discrimination Based on Work and Descent)

Amnesty International 

moka

je soutiens l'intervention de Olga, car l'ONU a bien définie que les organisation de la société civile doivent être apolitique et sans but lucratif cela fait à ce que nous tous, nous sommes distraits en disant aux membres que nous sommes sans but lucratif et que les petites cotisations servent seulement pour le bureau. alors où peut-on trouver les moyens pour répondre aux exigéances entre autres celles de l'autofinancement pour participer à des réunions et sensibilisation communautaire. Je pense que à part les organisations des Nations Unies qui dirigent les différent clusters une fois par moi, l'ONU pourrait nous faire si pas l'extension de l'ECOSOC alors autres organisations car si vous analysez les missions de l'ECOSOC chaque organisation accréditée devrait sans doute appuyer aux activités de chaque organisation car elle a une obligation de faire son rapport après 4 ans.

Je soutiens que l'ONU nous appui dont à l'entrepreunariat car avec les peu d'activités lucratives chaque pourra comprendre et financer ses actions. Une agence d'achat de performance des OSC seraient donc souhaitable et ma recommandation à l'UNU nous sommes des experts pour définir les différentes modalités et vous verrez tout le monde sera impliqué très activement dans les missions de l'ONU  

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @moka,

Thank you very much for your comments highlighting the constraints civil society actors face with regard to limited funding opportunities. Both @Olga Arnaiz and @moka raised the question of accessing funding opportunities. In case you have been involved in projects using UN funding, I would also be interested in hearing your views on the specific requirements or the procedures that civil society organizations need to meet in order to be involved in such projects.  

Thank you.

Arzak Khan Moderator

Hello everybody!

My name is Arzak Khan. I am South Asia Hub Manager at Innovation For Change (I4C) Network and I will be co-moderating the second week of the consultation (until 24 January) along with Monica Vincent.

I have been following with keen interest the discussion on civic spaces and greater roles the UN can play and I am looking forward to more contributions especially from my region.

Warm wishes,
Arzak

Kirana Anjani

Hi everyone, my name is Kirana Anjani from Lokataru Foundation, Indonesia. We greatly appreciate UN’s initiatives to hold an online consultation regarding its approach to protecting and promoting civic space. Shrinking civic space (SCS) has become one of our research focus and we have witness the urgency to fight this issue has increase at an alarming rate in Indonesia for the past years. It got to a point where new SCS form involving different actors and restricting different civic space activities keep coming up every week. Thus, not only that we conduct research, we are also involved in capacity building training, technical assistance with those who are affected, initiating policy dialogues with related government agencies, and actively raising public awareness through our social media campaign.

To start, I would like to begin with question Q3 (c) on how the UN could strengthen its political support to civil society. One of the latest example of how UN action really put a pressure on our government is when the Chief of UNHRC called Indonesia out regarding its handling on violence and crackdown in Papua. This statement really gains the attention of Indonesians as to how bad the government has been treating Papuans, a minority ethnic located in the easternmost part of Indonesia. International attention is something that the government has always been afraid of and UN support through statements can really help us to raise the issue and urge the government even more. Thus, I would like to stress the importance of UN comment/stance on an issue, even through a short statement/press release on website (such as what the OHCHR has been doing a couple of times). If it’s deemed too much, maybe a social media reach out, such as actively engaging/retweeting/liking/promoting NGO works could also really help supporting us to raise the issue and put pressure on the Government.

Second, the suggestions given in the question such as meetings during high-level visits could also work. Regarding visits, Indonesia is sometimes reluctant to hold international visit by UN especially to Papua. One time, the government rejected a UN visitation proposal to Papua because they felt that ‘the UN headquarters should have been the one who contacted them, not through the branch office in Bangkok’. We really hope that excuses like this shouldn’t get in the way of UN effort to hold a visit. It is important that UN take a firm stance towards states who are obviously reluctant to cooperate. In holding visits, the UN could also make a forum where the three actors (NGO, UN, and Government) could sit together and have an equal say on the discussion. That way, we can freely discuss/expose some information that might have been restricted to international attention directly, and see the response of the Government when being ‘confronted’ by UN officials. The outcome of the dialogue can be an urgent appeal, recommendation, or other action to the Government. We understand that reaching CSOs to be involved in the forum may be difficult but UN can start by giving attention to NGOs that are actively engaging to UN through different channels of communication such as Special Procedure OHCHR, etc. I think that would be it for a start. I look forward to a discussion or comments from everyone!

Note: I’m open for other CSOs to share their experience relating SCS or especially communicating with the UN/international organization to gain support :) Kindly reach me below on the comments or through any other medium.

Arzak Khan Moderator

Kirana Anjani shrinking civic spaces is becoming a global phenomena and it is heartening to see that you researching and conducting capacity building program at Lokataru Foundation. In your opinion what concrete steps are required for strengthening Civil Society Organizations to actively engage and participate at UN for support. 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Kirana Anjani,

Thank you very much for your comments on the question related to how the UN can promote and strengthen civic space. Many thanks for highlighting the issue of documenting and data collection of situations affecting civil society organizations as well as for suggesting the creation of dialogue opportunities between government authorities, civil society organizations and the UN.

It would be  interesting to hear your views on key aspects to take into account when collecting data related to incidents affecting civil society organizations.

Thank you.

Kirana Anjani

Arzak Khan Good day, Sir. I think every CSO must be looking for a way to engage and participate in the UN but the problem probably lies on access/means of communication as well as the perception that the UN would not respond that much to CSOs initiative to participate (especially from the new ones). To start, just like my example, the UN can use social media or popular means of communication to engage with the CSOs. Yes, almost all of UN bodies have their own social media account but all are mostly used as a means of promotion of UN programs which is not wrong, but could be improved by also promoting CSOs activities who engage with the UN. When CSOs are able to see that more and more CSOs receive/gain attention from the UN, that would invite even more CSOs to participate and open up to UN for support. To summarize, ease the UN's flow of communication to CSOs, make it simple and easily accessible. Also, increase response to CSOs initiative and publish such response as much as possible to encourage everyone to join.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Kirana Anjani, thank you for your insightful post and your responses.  Further to question of our moderators, Ivona and Arzak, we would be keen to hear more from you on how should the UN, jointly with civil society, address the issue of "non-cooperation" by States, which is also often observed in the discussions of intergovernmental bodies and forums.  "Non-cooperation" is a pertinent problem, and stems from non-compliance of States with their legal obligations under international law, including human rights law, and ultimately affects what the UN can do to protect and promote civic space.  This really links with broader comments made earlier on implementation of, or lack thereof, human rights norms and standards, as well as the role of civil society.  The UN will continue doing advocacy and awareness raising through their established channels and practices, but what are the concrete and innovative approaches to mobilize civil society and the public in general to increase the pressure from within?  Any suggestions are welcome.

Kirana Anjani

Baatar Bayarmagnai Your question brings me to my other main point, which also relates to Q2 regarding the aim to 'leave no one behind'. CSOs inside a State probably already have their own alliance or CSOs networks as well as their mobilization strategy. UN can utilize this network to reach out through specific CSOs to request their alliance and network participation in the UN activities/initiatives. Furthermore, UN can also create/ facilitate the formation of UN's network of CSOs in a particular State, an established list/network of CSOs who are willing to engage and participate in UN activities which I think will be met with great enthusiasm. That way, when the UN is planning to exert a certain attention/pressure to the government from the outside (international communities), these network is well-informed and will be able to mobilize people at the right time.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Kirana Anjani, thanks for raising good points on the UN's role in facilitating a networking among local civil society actors, or mobilizing such networks.  The issue is then what are the practical channels to ensure that no one is left behind.  One solution could be online platforms for interactions between the UN and civil society, which was raised by some participants during the last week's discussion.  Thank you.

Kirana Anjani

Ivona Truscan Some of the key factors in gathering data regarding incidents involving civil societies in shrinking civic space are actors, location, and forms of action. Actors include both the affected civic actors as well as the perpetrators. This is what our Foundation collect through our monitoring program on shrinking civic space issue in media.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

 

DAY 7   (WEEK 2)

 

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the 7th day of the consultations, and we also welcome newly joined participants.  A number of ideas and suggestions were made yesterday, which can be summarized as:

  • UN’s role in providing dialogue platforms for government authorities and civil society actors;
  • Possibility to develop a strategic plan for the cooperation of NGOs with the UN;
  • Difficulties faced specifically by youth organizations in terms of participation in decision-making processes and access to resources to meet requirements for gaining legal personality;
  • Limitations in the participation of civil society organizations due to lack of funding;
  • The importance of making the participation in UN processes accessible at country level;
  • The need for the UN to address more effectively situations where civil society organizations are at risk of intimidation and reprisals in relation to their cooperation with the UN system;
  • The importance of data collection and documentation of incidents affecting civil society organizations;
  • The importance of capacity-building for civil society organizations in relation to UN processes and modalities for participation;
  • The role of the UN to encourage a safe and enabling environment that ensures the participation of civil society organizations in dialogue at national level;
  • The need for the UN to encourage and support initiatives from civil society organizations to work jointly;
  • The need to highlight also the role that civil society organizations play in achieving sustainable development;
  • The need for the UN to encourage inclusive public decision-making spaces that allow for constructive dissent.

Thank you and we look forward to further contributions and exchanges!

archita faustmann

Thank you for organizing this consultation!

I am Archita Faustmann and work for HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, Switzerland. Shrinking space for civil society is one of our main advocacy issue and being a development organization, we address it within the context of economic, social and cultural rights.

Here are our comments -  based mainly on our experience in working on advocacy issues with our local partners in several regions/countries.

Answer 1:

  • We take the main coordinating and facilitating role for local partners to engage with the select UN mechanisms such as UPR process, treaty bodies and UN Special rapporteurs (UN SR) based on the thematic priorities of the organization. Our advocacy objective is to build the capacity of our local partners and help them engage with the select UN mechanisms.
  • On the issue of addressing safe civic space within the context of economic, social and cultural rights, there is a need to synthesis the work of UN SR especially working on thematic issues of economic, social and cultural rights (water, housing, food, extreme poverty – to name a few). While the timeline for the upcoming country visits of the UN SRs are accessible on the OHCHR homepage – the detailed questionnaire of issues for their visits becomes available only at a short notice through the OHCHR weekly newsletter. For a larger organization working across many regions and countries/ time zones, it can be difficult to coordinate with field offices in a meaningful way given such short notice.

Answer 2:

  • Regular screening of upcoming opportunities mainly on the OHCHR individual homepages of the UN SR, treaty bodies and UPR processes.
  • Keeping updated on the work of several UN SR is challenging as each of the UN SR has a different approach to publish their upcoming engagement opportunities. It will be useful to find a way to have engagement opportunities with all of the UN SR on one platform. Details of upcoming country visits (Not only dates timeline as it is currently published!) should be accessible much in advance so that there is enough time for civil society to get organized and engage meaningfully.
  • Currently, treaty bodies publish their time schedule under the headings – “state party report”, “list of issues” and “concluding remarks”. Such a listing is difficult for local partners to understand on “when is the civil society report due”. It would be useful if treaty bodies could publish a time frame also for “submission deadline for shadow reports” (similar to how it is done under the UPR Review”)
  • Organize annual orientation sessions among CSOs together with relevant legal associations which informs CSOs on their country’s related NGO regulations, and how they can apply corresponding UN instruments to meaningfully and securely partake.

Answer 3:

  • Target directly and engage specifically with these groups when conducting country visits/ missions etc.
  • Ensure every new RC and head of UN agency in country meets representatives of each of these groups and has annual safe space debrief session
  • Organize in country national and sub-national events which feature and value the role of these groups while affording a safe space for addressing their rights, needs and constraints
  • Make it a rule that no UN led or contributed to event, can be organized without the meaningful participation and representation of  min % of women, and assures min % diversity e.g. no male only panels/speakers; if an event is opened by a man, it is closed by a woman; or if opened by a woman, it can be closed by a man, however he should represent also another ‘minority group’ e.g. differently abled, ethnic etc.
  • Consider responsible private sector and CSO alliance building support
  • Support the networking of networks between these groups in same country but also region

Answer 4:

  •  If not already included in guidelines for governments and others, update instructions in such a way that they stipulate the meaningful and safe participation of these sub-groups of civil society in various consultative and/or reporting processes as an independently verifiable requirement
  • Simplify reporting procedures to include a secure online and offline, even anonymous option for reporting contributions, official and/or shadow. 
  • Provide ‘affirmative action’ resources and/or incentives which promote not only participation but preparation, and follow up for more meaningful representation of these sub-groups; not only from the CSO side, but also in terms of government representatives who tend to be male dominated from the ‘ruling social, ethnic, religious, economic so forth’ class.
  • Include information, guidance etc. in local language and more audio-visual options

Protection of civil society actors:

Answer 5:

  • Be prepared to lead, facilitate and protect CSOs’ participation in UN Rights system; UN should not allow itself to be intimidated to the extent that it compromises its own mechanisms and the safety of local CSOs ready and willing to partake.

Answer 6:

  • Continue to cooperate with like-minded donors e.g. EU human rights bilateral dialogue and ‘open door’ protection mechanisms for rights defenders/ activists
  • If not already in place in a given country, have agreements/ contingency plans including early warning systems with like-minded embassies/ donors which are not restricted/ limited by nationality of individual/ CSO at risk or confirmed as requiring protection.
  • Consider special resolution/ sanctions in case of confirmed breaches/ violations against individuals/ CSOs
  • Consider making certain now optional protocols no longer optional so that individuals/ CSOs have more leverage to hold governments/ duty bearers to account

Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

Answer 7:

  • Engage not only at high level, but also sub-national levels across judicial, legislative and executive agencies and representatives e.g. police, military, ministries and departments, home affairs and international affairs, border/immigration, parliaments/ committees, oversight institutions and bureaus, religious/ traditional leaders etc.
  • Act as a convener at national and sub-national levels, including all above mentioned duty bearers/ oversight institutions, on CSO related issues e.g. civic space but also more particular issues, rights and obligations related to women, youth, minority groups according to UN mechanisms signed by said country

Answer 8:

  • In many cases, having a say/ advocating in own country is more difficult than having a say in a neighbouring/ nearby country with ties/ influence on own country e.g. cross-border geo-politics and influence.  Consider cross-border ‘advocacy’ and voice alternatives, which can help CSOs raise awareness of citizens/ stakeholders in the country of a government with particularly negative impacts on citizens/ CSOs of the impacted country so that CSOs’ /citizens of that country can also apply pressure on their own government/ duty bearers for their ‘bad foreign policy’ to prevent, or stop negative or damaging decision making, investing, and more

Answer 9:

  • Consider publishing articles/ news in local media featuring positive narratives less from the UN as an institution (although do that also) but rather promote other state/ government/ duty bearer sources, promoting more peer led positive messaging, from not only in country, but neighbouring or other.

 

Kirana Anjani

Hi Archita, I'm Kirana from Lokataru Foundation in Indonesia. I strongly agree with you regarding the difficulties in understanding the website directories and keeping updated with the activities of SR. It really took us sometime to find what were looking for, which is the deadline for submissions. I hope this point will be taken into account and considered by the committee cause it definitely will help CSOs to participate in time. I also face difficulties in engaging with SR, in relation to that, do you have any strategies in communicating or engaging with SR aside from waiting for an announcement for a call for input? Have you ever use the Special Procedures and receive a feedback? If you have, do you mind to share the strategies here? We are currently preparing reports to be submitted to SR but we are not sure as to how we should effectively do it so that these reports will reach them. Thank you very much! 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @archita faustmann,

Thank you very much for your contribution and the structured comments in response to each of the main questions. The suggestions you make in order to enhance and facilitate access to information are very pertinent. 

Thank you.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@archita faustmann, thank you very for very detailed and concrete recommendations for further improvement as far as the work of OHCHR and UN human rights mechanisms is concerned.  I wouldn't make justice in summarizing all your points, but they are all duly noted.  Thank you!

Ledoux

Dear Everyone,

I am Wamba André Le Doux, from association AFVMC (http://afvmc.free.fr) based in Cameroon.

 

Q1.Partnership/Participation

d) How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?

 

The UN support efforts towards more diversity could be focussed on how to eliminate violence against migrants (because of these revealed crimes suffered by migrants such as forced labors, forced prostitutions, imprisonments, incarcerations, criminal detentions, modern slavery including the trafficking, the smuggling and the confinement as domestic workers of women and girls through the forced migrations).

One proposal is to redirect activities of your UN International Organization for Migration towards this direction to takcle these misdeeds in partneship with Civil Society Organizations.

 

Kind regards

Wamba

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Ledoux,

Thank you for your comments regarding the types of human rights violations and abuses that persons may suffer in the context of migration. 

It would be very interesting to hear your views and the participants'views in relation to challenges faced by organizations working in relation to migration or forced displacement contexts.

Thank you.

Ledoux

Ivona Truscan Organizations working with migrants such as ours do not have financial means to enroll skilled human resource in the domain of human trafficking; we also lack sufficient trainings /capacity buidings in  modern slavery and there is also this scarcity in  cooperation / partnership / networking within CSOs themselves, both nationally or internationally to tackle these challenges (confinements, hostage, modern slavery, imprisonment, labor exploitation of migrants, etc) with common solutions.

 

Pierre Lautti Daleba

Bonjour chers tous.

Je suis activiste ivoirien .Depuis la crise poste électorale, l'espace civile ivoirien connait des restrictions et des graves violations. Nous même en avions été victimes le 23  juillet avec une arrestation alors que nous partions répondre à une invitation officielle des autorités du pays.

Ma question, pour l'organisation des nations unies est devenues aphone dans ce qui se passe dans notre pays. Les arrestations des députés, des activistes et les menaces de mort.

 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Pierre Lautti Daleba,

Thank you very much for sharing your experience and views regarding the risk of shrinking civic space in electoral or post-electoral contexts. It would be helpful to hear your views on how to protect civil society organizations in such situations.

Thank you.

 

Ricardo

Hola a todos, acabo de entrar y procederé a responder las preguntas; sin embargo, antes quisiera hacer notar que la traducción de las preguntas es bastante defectuosa, lo que limita la participación de hispano hablantes no o que dominen una lengüa extranjera popular, espero pueda ser tomado en cuenta. 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Estimado @Ricardo,

Muchas gracias por su comentario y por informarnos sobre las limitaciones de la traducción al español. Estamos tratando de hacer que las discusiones y consultas sean accesibles para personas y organizaciones de todo el mundo en su idioma de preferencia. Esperamos recibir sus comentarios.

Gracias.

Mohammed Mominul Haque
Hi, how are you all, as you knew that about 47 countries around the world witness surge of civil unrest for civil rights and equality. Many countries civic spaces are controlling by the Government. As reference, I want to bring your kind attention about the present BANGLADESH situation, If you believe on democracy, human freedom and rights, please extend your hand and your personal assistance to restore constitutional and human rights in Bangladesh. Since 2009, the present unelected,( In 2014 and 2018 general people has failed to vote, opposition parties rejected the election as farcical, massive corruption, rigging and intimidation happened during the election) fascist, corrupt Army back Government came to power they ruled a country Bangladesh without follow the constitution of Bangladesh as well as UN charter, to keep power for prolong period present Government has been violating the Bangladesh constitution Article 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 44 and UN Charter of Rights Articles 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 18, 19, 20, and 21, they frequently denying peoples voices, no space for others to take breath or free movement, ruling party frequently denying peoples voices, no space for others to take breath or free movement, all places from Villages level to Metropolitans, every persons under censorship, surveillance, Government intentionally divided a nations into two part, by doing media bias and propaganda keeps trying to divert people’s eyes from the reality, at present marginal people has witnessing how Government nakedly using administration, law enforcement agencies and judicial systems against opponents and civil society peoples, Government has been controlling civil society and NGO by Digital Act and new NGO Act, all business went downsized, lots of unemployment, inequality, peoples of Bangladesh needs your help to restore their rights to live peacefully, they have rights to do so, it has given by the constitution and UN charter. Government officials of Bangladesh are not doing their job to safe peoples from all kind of injustice and intolerance, every persons wake up with fears of Government brutal activities, if any person want to raise voice against Govt. illegal activities either they were killed by cross fire, kidnapped or put imprison without any proceedings, Whole country became a prison or a war zone. Present Govt. only tolerated their followers and supporter even they have been doing corruptions and all illegal activities. Bangladeshi peoples has been witnessing many cases of extra judicial killing, arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance, sever torture, and human rights violation. To keep Bangladeshi peoples from any kinds of civil unrest, violence or conflict, we earnestly request to United Nations and other Global leaders that take urgent measures and create united pressure to the Bangladesh regime on the road of real democracy, peace, stability and restore people’s civil rights in Bangladesh, SAVE PEOPLE, SAVE BANGLADESH.
Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Dear Mohammed Mominul Haque,

While this on-line consultation is not intended as a forum to engage in a discussion on specific instances of human rights violations, a key question we would like to get insights on is how best - in general terms - the UN can perform its protection role in cases where civil society actors are at risk. Any contributions participants may have on that would be very welcome.

Arthur Dahl

The experience of the International Environment Forum (https://iefworld.org) may be relevant to improving entry points to the UN system. We are a virtual professional organization for environment and sustainability with over 400 members in 75 countries. We have no budget and collect no funds, networking over the Internet and partnering with other organizations for an annual conference. We have no formal legal status, but are properly organized with a Governing Board elected annually. When we applied for UN accreditation to WSSD in Johannesburg in 2002, there was some hesitancy because we did not fit the normal pattern, but we were finally accredited in the Scientific and Technological Organizations major group, have since been able to make a substantive contribution to UN conferences and processes, organizing side events and contributing to statements. This shows the potential of modern technologies to allow global voices from civil society to organize and participate in UN processes even without funding, and the UN should encourage this.

We have always had good gender balance (the board has a majority of women), and as a Bahá'í-inspired organization we also contribute the perspective of a religious minority. The major groups process has helped small organizations like ours to contribute to a collective voice at the UN, and this should be encouraged as an interface with the UN system.

In a book published this week, "Global Governance and the Emergence of Global Institutions for the 21st Century" (Cambridge University Press), we propose the creation of a Second Chamber for Civil Society advisory to the UN General Assembly, that would formalize the major groups and other stakeholders process, providing a voice for the global common good and the diversity of opinions that only civil society can contribute to global decision-making processes. This would also raise the profile of civil society organizations and would facilitate their inclusion in national policy discussions and decision-making.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you Arthur Dahl for sharing the experience International Environment Forum and for your suggestions on institutional reforms that would facilitate greater civil society input into intergovernmental dialogue at the UN. This is indeed a very important issue and a theme we would be keen to hear more about.

LadyJase O York

I find it ok to connect ourselves to the UN WOMEN RegionalOOffice in Suva Fiji and even though we are connected but we need them to clvalue our relationship as a CSO an a development partner.

 

I am working at the Tonga Leitis Association which is the existed umbrella CSO for LGBTQI in the Kingdom of Tonga. We hope that UN Women will be close to us and let us connected in all national, regional and international advocacy movements we do. 

Arzak Khan Moderator

Dear LadyJase O York thank you for your suggestion and interest in connecting with UN Women. In your humble opinion what steps should be taken by UN to support advocacy movements at both local and regional levels and develop relationships with local CSOs.

forestgap

Pregunta 1. Participación

a. Puntos de entrada con la ONU: Defensa de los Derechos Humanos, especialmente, de la niñez (OCHR), Implementación de ODS (PNUD), Protección del medio ambiente (Pacto Global), Trabajo en salud sexual (ONU SIDA) y promoción de los derechos de género (ONU Mujeres). 

El vínculo con la ONU es a través de los relatores mediante la autoconvocatoria a mesas de diálogo entre organizaciones de la sociedad civil a nivel nacional, regional e internacional. La participación en los foros de la ONU es posible a través de estos canales aunque no redundan en resultados políticos y sociales concretos. Las observaciones de la ONU a los Estados son de carácter exhortativo y no son vinculantes. ¿De qué sirven las observaciones y recomendaciones a los gobiernos si una vez recibidas, no hay un seguimiento, no hay denuncias públicas de los problemas tratados, no hay un acompañamiento del trabajo de las organizaciones sostenido en el tiempo, comprometido y realista? Nuestra experiencia con la plataforma de Pacto Global es que está diseñada para empresas y aunque las organizaciones de la sociedad civil pueden participar, no es un espacio que contemple nuestras necesidades como OSC.

b. Recibimos información de la ONU a través de los espacios de participación de las OSC en foros autogestionados, en espacios de articulación con el Estado y con organismos de la ONU (PNUD, otros) 

c. El camino para mejorar la circulación de información y el vínculo con la ONU es que se involucre directamente con las problemáticas sociales de cada país y con las organizaciones que la interpelan. 

d. La participación es sostenida por diferentes organizaciones sociales pero sin efectos políticos y existe a los efectos meramente formales porque no tienen carácter decisivo en ninguna política pública.

 

Pregunta 2. Actores sociales

a. No tenemos conocimiento de las acciones efectivas de la ONU para proteger los actores sociales. La represión, tortura, encarcelamiento y asesinato de líderes y liderezas sociales en América Latina y el Caribe no da cuenta de un mecanismo de protección eficaz y eficiente, ni del interés real de la ONU por proteger la vida de estas personas. Las recomendaciones no suelen tener mayores efectos políticos en los gobiernos ni tampoco en la vida concreta de las víctimas. La democracia como forma de gobierno, los derechos humanos como garantía de vida digna y un ambiente saludable, y el Estado de derecho como sistema político son tres aspectos que en la actualidad están cuestionados por gobiernos conservadores porque entran en conflicto con los proyectos de desarrollo económico financiero de los sectores económicos concentrados nacionales e internacionales. Es necesario poner en evidencia el costo político (económico, social, ecológico, humano) del modelo de desarrollo dominante en el mundo, en sus distintas expresiones en los distintos países que integran la ONU y confrontar a la asamblea con estos datos. Es necesario que la ONU promueva un cambio de paradigma global participando de la agenda de la asamblea general.

b. Llama poderosamente la atención la injerencia política (lobby) permanente y la violación sistemática de las regulaciones nacionales, provinciales y municipales por parte de empresas internacionales y, al mismo tiempo, las enormes limitaciones con que interviene la ONU como organismo multilateral, por lo general, en la consecuencias de las acciones de estas empresas, todo en un mismo país. El genocidio y el ecocidio en curso en América Latina y el Caribe ya de tantos años tiene causas económicas explícitas que involucran empresas de países centrales. Las observaciones a los Estados deben estar acompañadas de denuncias públicas internacionales de los intereses y los actores económicos involucrados. Es inadmisible que estas empresas reproduzcan el mismo modus operandi en cada país donde operan sin un registro de sus acciones a nivel internacional que esté disponible públicamente. Las personas responsables de las tomas de decisión en estas empresas no suelen ser denunciadas públicamente y de este modo son protegidas en la comisión de los delitos. No es posible sostener la paz en un mundo que se sostiene con un modelo de desarrollo basado en la injusticia. 

 

Pregunta 3. Espacio público

a. El mayor desafío para la ONU es superar la connivencia de intereses de la ONU como organismo multilateral con los grupos económicos que garantizan a los países (centrales) el producto bruto interno necesario y, por ende, la participación privilegiada tanto en el financiamiento como en las decisiones de este organismo. Esta relación conlleva un traslado de las mismas lógicas colonialistas de desigualdad en la relación de la ONU con las organizaciones de los países periféricos. La ONU necesita impulsar una transformación de los vínculos orgánicos con los Estados fundantes desde la sociedad civil de estos países para recuperar la función política y social de sus estados con fines concretos de cambio social democrático y participativo, al menos en aquellos países que han adoptado este sistema de gobierno.

b. La ONU en articulación con organizaciones locales puede monitorear, controlar, denunciar y sancionar con visibilizaciones de los intereses económicos en juego cada una de las violaciones de los derechos humanos tanto en los países centrales como en los países periféricos. La ONU puede ayudar a acortar la distancia permanente entre los informes de los estados y los informes de las organizaciones sociales mediante un trabajo de gestión política y de apoyo para el acceso a recursos para un trabajo más articulado entre el estado y las organizaciones sociales, en favor del fortalecimiento de la participación en el espacio público, la democracia, y la justicia social.

c. La ONU puede tener mayor participación como observadores -con sus equipos- en los territorios en conflicto tomando parte en las movilizaciones y acompañando las demandas sociales para informarse sobre la naturaleza de los conflictos y fortalecer la participación social además de visibilizar a nivel internacional las injusticias sociales y las propuestas en construcción de las organizaciones sociales locales. 

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you forestgap for your message, which raises a number of important issues. One that I would like to highlight is the role of the private sector. In particular, there are two questions that in my opinion warrant deeper reflection. On the one hand, what can be done to rebalance strong disparities in access to decision-making processes between business and civil society actors (when these disparities indeed exist)? On the other hand, are there experiences of business actors advocating for the protection and expansion of civic space? What can be learnt from these experiences. And how does all of this apply specifically to the UN?

forestgap

Estimado Emanuele, muchas gracias por su respuesta. El tema propuesto por la ONU para debatir en esta plataforma es muy amplio y amerita un debate local junto a las organizaciones sociales en cada país interpelando tanto con los órganos de la ONU como al propio estado. La incidencia del sector privado en el espacio civil es un tema altamente sensible y delicado, sobre todo en los países productores de materia prima. Nuestra experiencia es que el sector privado, en general, se involucra con la sociedad civil a partir de su estrategia de Responsabilidad Social Empresaria (RSE) y a los fines de alinearse con los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sustentable (ODS). Sin embargo, priorizan el apoyo a los espacios con impacto directo y tangible de corto alcance (acciones de incidencia e impacto medibles y alineados con sus intereses empresariales y publicitarios) postergando las necesidades de desarrollo del espacio civil en su conjunto, ya sea en materia de derechos humanos como en procesos de participación efectiva. Las empresas no trabajan temas conflictivos que afecten su imagen pública. Las acciones de incidencia y fortalecimiento de la sociedad civil requieren entonces de un financiamiento de organismos multilaterales. En este aspecto la intervención de la ONU puede ser clave brindando sus recomendaciones a organismos de financiamiento internacional, ya que las organizaciones de base no suelen tener acceso a esas fuentes de recursos, a las que sí acceden los estados o fundaciones de empresas, incluso multinacionales. Realizar un resumen global de tanta diversidad política, social y cultural es un desafío realmente enorme. Una vez concluido este foro, quizá los moderadores y moderadoras de esta consulta puedan sugerir grupos de organizaciones entre las participantes para vincularse entre sí y de esta manera, generar sinergias que les permitan una visión más amplia a nivel global de los temas en discusión. 

En cuanto a su observación, comparto su reflexión y los felicito por esta iniciativa. 

Rosalee Keech

The ability to provide service and partner with the UN is cumbersome and non-intuitive.  Entry points are various: ECOSOC, OHCHR, DGC, UNFCCC, UNWomen, SRSG-VAC, ILO, WHO, IPU and a number of  member states are just a few we have dealt with in the past year.  Because we have been a presence at the UN since the beginning in 1945, we have had success in reaching willing partners.  However, that is not true when we embark on new areas or if personnel have changed.  The Blue Book, which most NGOs are probably unaware of, helps in identifying some of the players.  Our recommendations include:

  • expanding the Blue Book to include all UN Agencies and affiliates (ILO, IPU to name a few) and list all ECOSOC accredited organizations and their contact information (it’s available on iCSOnet);
  • Providing an orientation package link upon gaining or renewing ECOSOC, DGC or other accreditation.  Orientation package should include contact information for the individuals responsible for aiding NGOs, the points of entry for the UN based on subject matter (SDG topics may be of use for alignment, roles of the Main and UN Observers (Resolution 1996/31 identifies the consultative relationship between the United Nations and those NGOs enjoying consultative status, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the Observer);
  • Enabling all conference organizers to utilize the same system (Indico) and process for registration of NGO delegates to the conference;
  • Creating a help desk that is accessible by email, phone and in person that is staffed with personnel that serves as a central point of entry and can triage inquiries to a more knowledgeable source.  

The attitude of many in the UN bureaucracy and at the member state Missions is one of disdain for the NGOs.  Support by the Secretariat and the Security Department to diminish the attitude would go a long way to help build partnerships rather than close it down.  Once an annual grounds pass has been issued, why should a NGO Main and UN Observers be treated differently than staff regarding access to the Headquarters?  Waiting in long lines with temporary visitors, being subject to “pat downs” when the underwire in a bra sets off the screener, not having the ability to sit on the main level of a meeting in the larger rooms, nor enter the 2nd floor for any purpose sets up visible barriers that makes interaction with delegates and other actors difficult at best. Recommendations regarding attitude and access are:

  • An annual N grounds pass should grant the same access as a D or S grounds pass;
  • UN and Senior Leadership should develop rules and require that when a member state is sponsoring or hosting an event within the UN, that the member state identifies how accredited NGOs will be encouraged to gain access, intervene and interact with other attendees, including member states’ delegates and staff.

Lastly, while we have not been subject to harassment-->threats-->violence, we are aware that others are.  In addition to combating corruption, a root cause of some harassment, here are some ideas for trying to stem this horrific trend by shining a “spotlight” on those member states that engage in such activities:

  • Livestream and enabling the video to be recalled by searching the name of the member state and/or the topic of all meetings and events that are open to accredited NGOs, including most sessions of the Security Council;
  • Encourage the member states is to conduct a “debriefing” for accredited NGOs from the member state at the close of High Level meeting or conferences while the “spotlight” is still on;
  • Ensure that all countries hosting UN events in country are open and safe for civil society to attend and observe before engaging a country to host.  UN and Senior Leadership could extend the “invite” to in country civil society organizations.  
Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Dear Rosalee Keech, thanks for your message and for pointing out how strengthening and expanding partnerships also requires changes in operational practices and arrangements. Your concrete suggestions are much appreciated.

Wes Faires


I am thankful for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.  Here, I would like to open a discussion on UN engagement with civil space actors in the arena of Outer Space legislation.

On multiple occasions, I have been fortunate enough to participate in the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPOUS), as a ‘silent observer’ on behalf of the public.  

With regard to Question 1 on Partnership/Participation:
In my experience, the barriers of entry have lessened over time, and I do commend the UNCOPUOS / UN Office of Outer Space Affairs on the increased degree of openness for civil actors in rent years.

With regard to Question 3 on promotion of advocacy for civic space:
The task at hand is to compel the United Nations Secretariat towards a reaffirmed commitment to upholding the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights  (UDHR) when it comes to international space policy.   

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights may not be considered binding international law,
and some states may have reservations against committing to it, yet the UN Secretariat itself should have no issue in issuing a statement confirming intention to uphold it, considering that the press for implementation of the 2030 Agenda is largely Secretariat driven.

In the international arena, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be seamlessly integrated into legislative proceedings pertaining to Outer Space, given that:
-The 2030 Agenda is grounded in, and re-affirms the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(A/RES/70/1 para. 10, para. 19).

Solidarity on such a core foundational UN principle as the UDHR solidifies reflection of Agenda 2030.
I propose that UN Secretariat take this opportunity to move forward with Sustainable Development, and lead the way in incorporating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into international space policy.  

There is one United Nations Treaty in particular that appears patently inconsistent with the UDHR:

A/RES/34/68
The 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,
Article 11, paragraph 3 denies the right to property on the surface/subsurface of the Moon (and other celestial bodies within our solar system).

Yet Article 17 of the UDHR states
“Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.” Article 17,
paragraph (1).

Such inconsistencies could be prevented from developing with a reaffirmed commitment on the Secretariat level to upholding the UDHR as proceedings pertaining to Outer Space going forth.

Back to the broader picture, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was intended from the outset to be UNIVERSAL.  With the push for implementation of Agenda 2030 across the board, integration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into space policy by the Secretariat would be both timely and logical – It reaffirms adherence to a fundamental United Nations cornerstone, and provides an opportunity to strengthen the commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

I look forward to your comments, and will gladly expand on specific points if need be.

 

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thank you Wes Faires for this contribution. A recurrent theme in several posts has been the opportunities and challenges of civil society participation in intergovernmental processes facilitated by the UN. Very interesting to hear about your experience as a civil society observer in connection with a frontier policy issue such as the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Samir Kumar Das

I am principal Founder and Chairman of International Movement for Advancement of Education Culture Social & Economic Development (IMAECSED) an Indian based NGO..

IMAECSED is very much grateful for this wonderful opportunity to engage & consult the expert of United Nations along with the global stakeholders via this online Forum. We have wider scope of knowledge sharing, join hands for collaboration and Partnership, improve our projects and take action wherever necessary. We play an active role in the protection and preservation of humanity, advocacy, conflict, human rights violation and humanitarian response in crisis. Since 1995 we are terribly facing lot of crisis to accelerate our varied objectives and activities. But the present context Civic Space is not a mere right to the civil society it is one of the fundamental weapons to establish in the society. Our engagement to the UN demands enabling environment for civil society to play an active role to achieve free access to enjoy human rights with dignity and within the campus of Rule of Law. To overcome any situation from its interruption of free enjoyment of rights, we hope and pray to the holy United Nations to be more liberal to us.  

 

Non cooperation from various sectors many a time create stumbling block to our work but our untiring effort and continuous movement within such a limited resource lead us to accelerate our activities with various UN Organ and other global stakeholders. We are always extending our hands to join with the interested Group or any other sector to achieve our target for 2030 Agenda.

Monica Vincent Moderator

Thank you for your comments @ Samir Kumar Das  Your inputs on enabling environment for civil society engagement is important, and I was wondering if you have any recommendations on how we can strategically engage with other players (say for example: our parliamentarians, businesses and others) to achieve our collective objectives?

Mridul Upadhyay

Dear Baatar and Ivona,

The first-week summary already covers a lot of important points. While I am assuming most of what I am saying is already a part of some interpretation of that summary, still not leaving it to guess, here is what I would like contribute:

 

  1. ‘Protect, promote and partnership’ depend a lot on what one stakeholder thinks about another one; useless/useful, threat/ally, responsibility/burden, right-holder/demographic-number. If we take the case of young people, they are either considered as victim (to be saved) or perpetrator (to be stopped) but rarely as someone playing an important and positive role in peacebuilding (even after getting a legally binding UN Security Council Resolution 2250 that highlight such role). Because of these prevailing narratives and mistrust, young people go through experiences of exclusion across the globe from multiple stakeholders. If the world will keep carrying this narrative deep in the psyche, the stakeholders are not going to create mechanisms to ‘Protect, promote and partner with’ youth-led civic space. So here young people need more advocacy and stronger accountability from UN on the narrative itself.
  2. Threats and human rights violations against young activists, including young peacebuilders, affect them a little more than adult human rights defenders because of social stigma, unavailability of stronger support system and easily manipulated prevailing narrative. These violations are in most cases undocumented and uninvestigated (to date, no data is systematically collected on human rights violations of young activists throughout the world). Further, state violence disproportionately affects young people. We need better sex and age-segregated data to make the advocacy and accountability mechanism stronger.
  3. In some cases, working closely with the UN itself makes young peacebuilders and activists get labelled and come under suspicion at a scale that they and/or their family members experience retaliation and detention. The United Nations needs to focus on this and create better mechanisms to protect young peacebuilders and human rights activists.
  4. Sometimes, there is a huge time lag (many years) between the global and county level discussions on the same issue even in the work of UN agencies. i.e. UNSCR 2250 has given strong attention to ‘Protect, promote and partner with’ young peacebuilders and youth-led peacebuilding civic space. There has been only one half-a-day consultation organised so far by UN agencies in India on UNSCR 2250 (2015) in August 2017. Is one such consultation in 4 years really enough for a country of 400 million youth to bring attention to these specific and important issues? And are we really partnering enough and building upon the comparative advantage of youth-led civil society?
  5. There has been a trend of preferring specific ‘type’ of young people in selection for fully-funded participation in intergovernmental forums; based on a mix of gender, countries and context etc. It is certainly not inclusive. Of course, they are as good as others (or maybe even better?), but others are also as good as they are.
  6. UN certainly carries a lot of power dynamics, sometimes too intimidating to be approached for partnership or seeking support by on-ground stakeholders, especially youth from communities.
  7. Further, the grassroots organizations and the kind of community reach that the UN wants to have, require the UN to be more modest in its operations and expenditures (if I may say so). I am not asking for staff-cutting (instead interns should be paid too, along with other reforms), but every meeting/conference/high-level forum do not need to be organized in expensive 4-5 stars venues with each delegate having full big room to him/herself by default. Many a times, communities and local level civil society feel that if UN is ineffective then why to engage with it and if UN is also a part of civil society then it certainly creates a different image (elitists) for civic spaces, reducing their credibility also in the community if they decide to link their work with UN.
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Mridul Upadhyay, thank you for your well structure contribution.  To add to the response of our moderator @Arzak Khan, you indeed raised many important points.  The need for a better data collection and analysis, including the situation of youth activists, was reflected in the summary by @Ivona Truscan, although some UN entities (including OHCHR) do receive information and data on the situation of youth activists, this needs to be improved across the UN system.  On your point that UN decisions at global level are insufficiently implemented at the country level, including a fewer consultations with civil society, really strikes the cord that a better communication and partnership channel needs to be established, including the exchange of information in real time (if this can be connected to data collection point your mentioned, but also how information is shared in real time).  This may relate to some of the earlier suggestions on the need for online platforms to facilitate inclusivity of and timely communications with civil society.  This may also address the observed "elitist" approach by the UN in its engagements with civil society.  In brief, many of those issues are really interconnected.  Thus, if you have additional thoughts on these, we would be keen to hear them. 

Arzak Khan Moderator

Dear Mridul Upadhyay thank you for sharing some very interesting points. To further this discussion I would be keen to learn more about your suggestions and recommendations on the strategy UN needs to adopt to bring on board youth to address the issues of shrinking civic spaces along with creating a positive image in society. 

Md. Moniruzzaman

South-Asian part of the global man is pointed as one or the poorest and limited means area. Of course local government, GOs and NGOs are working hard to overcome this situation; the limited means people are not decreasing a lot. In many cases, the actual beneficiaries do not get the solution. This situation must change. Monitoring is the most attracting I think to implement SGD 2030. More programs should be done by UN to change this situation into a shining future.    

Arzak Khan Moderator

Dear @Md. Moniruzzaman the issued faced by Global South and much of the South Asian region are very challenging indeed. The shrinking space of civil society hinders social and economic development and hinders achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs. Restrictions on civic space prevent Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) from engaging in policy formulation, monitoring rights, raising awareness, championing the voices of vulnerable populations, and from building partnerships. In your opinion what strategy UN should adopt in places where CSO have a very restrictive space to work in?

Vanessa de Oliveira
In response to question 1D, What would help is to have a dedicated indicator under the SDG, specifically measuring and monitoring the inclusion and participation of CSOs in the development process (achievement of the SDGs). Currently, target 17.17 reads “Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships”. In order to measure this target, indicator 17.17.1 is “Amount of United States dollars committed to (a) public-private and (b) civil society partnership. However, funding commitment does not necessarily reflect effective civil society partnerships. Unfortunately the civil society part of this indicator is still classified as Tier 3 as it is very difficult to monitor. However we should not give up on this as having proper measurement of CSO participation is essential!
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@ Vanessa Oliveira, thank you for this pertinent point.  Indeed, the SDGs include a selected number of indicators, including in the SDG 16 and 17, that may not be enough to measure the extent of civil society engagement with the SDG implementation.  This is a critical point as the successful implementation of SDGs depends on the state of civic space and the ability/opportunity for civil society to engage.  However, global SDG indicators mostly aim to track global progress, and the 2030 Agenda and the SDG framework, States committed to complement with national and/or context specific measurement and reporting approaches.  In view, how the UN could help both governments and civil society alike on such national efforts, and ensure that civil society engagement is properly assessed and the lessons learned are taken into account.  The UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework include such measures in different countries and different contexts, which could be improved further.  However, states and governments as drivers of SDG implementation need to be convinced that positive contribution of civil society is essential.  This positive narrative, to which @Mridul Upadhyay alluded to, is important.  We look forward to hearing your views and suggestions on this.

Vanessa de Oliveira
In response to 3A: The UN could encourage systematic multi-stakeholder dialogue between National Governments, CSOs and Donors in countries, to discuss effective engagement of CSOs in development processes. One of the main objectives of such as exercise would be to raise awareness on CSO development effectiveness and CSO enabling environment, and the international commitments that speak to this, including all the related UN commitments. The Task Team on CSO Development Effectiveness and Enabling Environment is already carrying out country-level workshops that aim to provide a starting point for ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue. For this purpose, the Task Team has developed a ‘Guidance’ as a practical tool, which includes a variety of good practice examples from both the global and the country level to illustrate practices that different stakeholders could implement to realize the commitments on CSO development effectiveness and the CSO enabling environment: https://taskteamcso.com/resources/
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Vanessa de Oliveira, thank you for additional inputs and sharing your experience.  I believe this really supports the importance of civil society engagement in the SDGs process that you raised, and reinforces the point on the need for positive narratives for civil society as partners, and not just as sources of critiques.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

 

DAY 8   (WEEK 2)

 

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the 8th day of the consultations, and we also welcome newly joined participants.  A number of ideas and suggestions were made yesterday, which can be summarized as:

  • The need to document and collect data on incidents affecting civil society organizations;
  • The need to further support the creation of spaces of dialogue among government authorities, civil society and the UN;
  • Key limitations for civil society to engage with the UN: access to information, limited means of communication; the UN could make better use of social media communications in order to reach out to civil society organizations; the need to have clear channels of communication;
  • The need to recognize the important role civil society plays in the context of sustainable development;
  • The need to encourage collective or joint initiatives by civil society organizations;
  • The need to adapt operational practices and arrangements in order to allow, strengthen and expand opportunities for partnerships;
  • There was a detailed contribution on how to improve communication and sharing of information regarding the work of the UN human rights mechanisms (the need to standardize certain processes pertaining to the functioning of the UN human rights mechanisms; ensure civil society participation in all panels, events or other conferences organized by the UN; include parliamentary representatives, the judiciary, oversight institutions in processes and dialogues; consider opportunities for civil society to work jointly across borders; consider including in local media where the UN would develop positive narratives regarding the contributions of civil society);
  • The need to find ways to balance disparities in access to decision-making processes between business and civil society actors;
  • The need to better understand the role of business actors in advocating for the protection and expansion of civic space;
  • The need to protect civil society organizations in electoral and post-electoral contexts;
  • There were two participants who shared a few examples of initiatives from civil society organizations on capacity-building and data collection.

Thank you and we look forward to further contributions and exchanges!

 

MIRIAM SAAVEDRA SERNA

Dear Ivona,

UNHCR has done a great job, nevertheless here in Mexico, we have so much work to do in order to implement these ideas as a new mindset in order to finish with corruption and protect civil society.

 

SANI BALA SHEHU

Am really Happy to be part of this notable and gigantic effort of the UN with regards to  UN’s Approach to Protecting and Promoting Civic Space it is really commendable though most west African countries region are facing the challenges of Conflicts, Boko harams, Terrorism Both Internally and within/across the baoders to just mentions but a few. therefore engaging community with regards to protecting and promoting civic is paramount. in Nigeria specifics Via ministry of education, now all over the states of the federation Civic Education in post Basics and Basics schools is mandatory for both boys and girls, this effort will ginger them most, to know their rights, also kano state government enact a law for school age Girls that, she must finish post basics before Marriage. 

moreover, with the proliferation of many civics societies both Faith base group, Non-government, community base group, really help in promoting and protecting civic space.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @SANI BALA SHEHU,

Thank you very much for your comments and for raising the issue of the importance of civic education in promoting and protecting civic space. You also raise a very good point about the variety of civil society organizations and their specific protection needs.

It would be very helpful if we could hear more from you or other participants on their experience related to civic education, peace education or human rights education as ways to support, promote and protect civic space.

Thank you.

Phil Lynch

High level political support and statements promoting the vital and legitimate role of defenders is a key element contributing to a safe and enabling environment for their work.

In this regard, the S-G should lead the development of a UN-wide policy on protecting and supporting human rights defenders. We consider that such a policy could contribute to peace, security and sustainable development.

The S-G and other senior officials could also do more to uphold the moral authority and values of the UN by speaking out strongly and consistently against attacks on defenders and restrictions on civil society space and in support of vibrant, independent civil society at the UN and at the national level. Such statements are important to show solidarity with defenders, and increase public awareness and support for their work.

The S-G also has a vital leadership role to ensure that (and a UN-wide policy on HRDs could contribute to ensuring that) all UN staff, particularly senior staff such as resident coordinators, understand and champion the legitimate and important work of human rights defenders and provide all necessary protection and support to defenders at risk.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Dear @Phil Lynch, thank you very much for your substantive and constructive contribution.  Your recommendation on the need for high-level political support and statements, including by the UN Secretary-General and other senior officials, on the protection of human rights defenders, on promotion and protection of civic space, is absolutely crucial.  Indeed, the recommendations from this consultations will inform the development of the UN system-wide strategy on civic space, including the protection of human rights defenders.  Your comment echos earlier contributions that the UN needs to "lead by example" (made by @Iain N Walker) and other principled commitments by the UN (and in fact its staff members), should show on civic space.  In your view, what would you suggest in terms of practical mechanisms to strengthen the UN's accountability towards civil society on the issue of protection and promotion of civic space, and ensuring that Resident Coordinators and other UN senior leadership on the ground do uphold the values and principles of the organization and its Charter.  Would be interested to hear your views if you have some concrete examples where the UN was held accountable for its actions or omissions. 

Phil Lynch

Baatar Bayarmagnai I think it is imperative that leadership and commitment is shown on this issue by the SG and other senior officials like the HC. When they prioritise political and financial considerations over fundamental human rights - such as by failing to speak out on the widespread repression of defenders in certain States - it sends a message to RCs and others that human rights are not paramount and that defenders are acceptable collateral.

Phil Lynch

Baatar Bayarmagnai I think further that any UN-wide human rights defender policy should have an associated complaints and accountability mechanism, enabling defenders to submit complaints where they consider that UN actors or agencies have failed to take reasonable steps to respect or protect them. Having a complaints procedure is, in my view, important to the effective implementation of any policy. I also think that the UN SR on HRDs and the HC could play valuable roles in promoting and monitoring implementation of the policy and receiving complaints, without obviating the absolute responsibility of the SG in this regard.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Phil Lynch, thank you for your reply pointing out areas requiring attention and your concrete recommendations in addressing them, which are well noted, are very clear and helpful!

MIRIAM SAAVEDRA SERNA

Baatar Bayarmagnai;  I absolutely agree, thank you so much for sharing.

 

Saludos desde Tamaulipas, Mexico

Miriam saavedra

MOMO Ibaranté

Q1. Partnership/participation:

Pour l'ABSE, les points d'entré à l'ONU sont le Comité des droits de l'enfant, l'Examen périodique universel et sa participation à l'ECOSOC où elle a un statuts spécial consultatif.

Le principal défi à s'engager avec l'ONU est la participation physique aux évènements organisés et cela à cause du manque de moyens financiers des organisations du Sud comme la notre.

Nous n'avons pas eu de par le passé l'occasion de contester une décision limitant notre participation.

déjà inscrit sur plusieurs plateformes d'information de l'ONU, je ne pense pas avoir des difficultés à accéder aux informations. Aussi, je privilégie la réception des information par e-mail.

Au Burkina Faso, je pense que la représentation fournit beaucoup d'efforts afin de permettre aussi bien aux organisations de la société civile qu'aux personnes individuelle d'avoir accès à l'information. J'en veux pour preuve l'existence de groupes de travail thématiques (clusters), les réunions organisées avec des associations et ONGs intervenant sur des questions spécifiques telles celles concernant les jeunes, les enfants, les femmes et les défenseurs des droits humains. Il y a aussi l'utilisation des réseaux pour publier les actions menées et faire connaitre les décisions et campagnes en cours.

De plus en plus, les OSC du Burkina Faso participent aux instances intergouvernementales notamment à travers la soumissions de rapports alternatifs ou complémentaires sur la mise en oeuvre des engagements du pays. La seule difficulté qui existe, comme je l'ai mentionné plus haut, c'est les moyens limités de cette société civile pour pouvoir envoyer régulièrement des délégations aux sessions de ces instances.

Q2. La protection des acteurs de la société civile:

Je pense que dans des situations où des acteurs de la société civile sont victimes de quelques brimades que ce soient dans l'exercice de leur mandat, le rôle de l'ONU serrait de les soutenir en interpellant les auteurs de ces actes et en prenant des mesures visant à faire pression sur ceux ci.

Le rôle de protection des défenseurs des droits humains par l'ONU peut se traduire par le renforcement de leurs capacités à être plus résilients. Ces capacités peuvent être des formations ou des subventions à se former et à se documenter. Cela peut aussi se traduire par un soutien lors des procès à travers un accompagnement à avoir accès à des avocats ou tout autre mesure de protection.

Q3. Promotion et défense des droits de l'espace civique:

Le rôle que pourrait jouer l'ONU dans une participation sécurisée des acteurs de la société civile, des groupes spécifiques ou des minorités dans les processus décisionnels devrait consister à mettre en oeuvre des programmes de formation sur les techniques de communication au profit de ceux ci. A défaut de pouvoir réaliser directement ces programmes de formation, l'ONU pourrait soutenir des organisations ayant des capacités de développer de tels programmes. Pour exemple, l'ABSE est engagée depuis un certain nombre d'années avec d'autres partenaire sur des programmes qui visent à renforcer la participation des jeunes à l'élaboration et au suivi citoyen des politiques locales dans le cadre de la décentralisation au Burkina Faso. Malheureusement, au regard des moyens limités déployés, il s'avère difficile de toucher un grand nombre de bénéficiaires alors que nous avons tous que le nombre fait la force.

L'ONU ne devrait jamais se lasser d'interpeller les Etats sur la nécessité de prendre des lois justes ne limitant pas le droit d'expression des populations. Elle devrait aussi continuer d'interpeller les Etats sur la nécessité de créer des espaces d'expression où les populations auraient un accès plus grand.

Pour moi, l'ONU devrait instaurer une véritable propagande sur l'apport de la société civile au maintien de la cohésion sociale et au respect des droits humains. Elle gagnerait aussi à multiplier des visites et le renforcement de sa représentation sur les droits de l'homme dans le pays.

 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @MOMO Ibaranté,

Thank you very much for your detailed responses and comments. Thank you for your observation regarding the importance of opportunities for civil society organizations to work together through clusters, joint working groups, networks to disseminate information.

You highlight as well the need to protect civil society organizations, including human rights defenders and essential human rights, such as the freedom of expression. 

Many thanks for your suggestion to enhance efforts to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations through training opportunities delivered either by the UN or in cooperation with civil society. I also note your recommendation for the UN to develop positive narratives regarding the contributions of civil society.

I would like to further ask you and other participants on the ways in which such a narrative could be developed, what elements should be considered, how to reach out to civil society actors in order to have information about their experiences and to raise awareness about them in a safe way.

Thank you.

Gabrielle

My name is Gabrielle and I am from Papua new Guinea.  One of the main driver that CSO should actively and openly participate in is,  empowering HR-- is the training and motivation that we recieved from the UN. If we recieve constant support, our work may execute the missions and aims of UN. For example how many CSO'S know how to submit or write a shadow report? How many know how the UN Reporting Mechanism works? Alot of CSO'S do not have sufficient and valied background of the HR treaties in a way, it helps to submit a shadow report or independent report.

Knowlege on HR is shallow, more trainings for advocates defenders and those who are calling themselves HR fighter is a way forward for HR empowerment in PNG . Their protection is very important as well.

 

Thanks 

Gabrielle 

PNG

abral.willie@gmail.com 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Gabrielle, 

Thank you very much for your comments and for raising the issue of the capacity-building, importance of knowledge sharing and availability of tools to ensure civil society actors can participate in UN processes.

The issue of strengthening capacity-building opportunities for civil society actors has been consistently raised during the consultation so far. Many participants have raised this issue. I would like to follow-up with two questions:

- whether you have experienced barriers in accessing tools and resources, or participate in training opportunities;

- what would be the most effective ways for the UN to develop and disseminate capacity-building tools and activities in ways that can reach civil society actors worldwide.

Thank you.

Dawit Beza

My name is Dawit from Ethiopia. UN partners should have priority countries in Africa where the civil society roles are shirinking from time to time by dectator governments. UN agencies can capacitate  existing civil societies through conducting gap assessment and providing capacity building initiatives  at grass root level civil societies. Once capacity of civil societies are improved then by themselves can change and improve their space in politics and other social, economic related aspects 

 

UN can play an important role in protecting civil society actors by working together with high level dictator leaders how they would affect their fates. For example helping dictator leaders to see the history of dictator leaders like Gadafi of Libya and others.   

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Dawit Beza,

Thank you very much for your comments and for your suggestion to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations at grassroot level.

You also mention the possibility to conduct gap assessments. I would like to ask you if you could give a few more details about how you see the purpose of the gap assessments and effective ways to conduct them.

Thank you.

Wafaa Jabre Moukahal

UN's work is synonymous most of the time with big heavy documents pertaining long procedures. Simpler language and easier modes of actions would go a long way in getting better exchanges and quicker answers. 

In our particular current situation in Lebanon, I think that to protect civic space, the following steps are necessary: 

  1. Networking with key government officials, deputies and ministers plays a key role in the protection of civil society actors. In any critical situation, it would be easier to enlist their help and even to make them accountable of any transgression of human rights.
  2. Helping in the fight against “fake NGOs” whose activities discredit the functions of real ones.
  3. Helping disadvantaged Lebanese communities through the CSOs as well as the refugees would decrease the feelings of resentments against NGOs.

Punctual and targeted social media campaigns using the same kind of "slang" language used by the youth in every country would have a better impact on the population if the visuals highlight situations in which the CSOs played a crucial role in getting things done. Visuals and headlines for one situation at a time are better than a thousand words.

Campaigns on twitter with hashtags describing in a few words emotional moments lived by the public would show that "They care", "They feel with us", "They are not foreign anonymous entities watching from afar" and so on.

Getting the " feel and the beat" of people in specific social or political moments are the orientation for the kind of language that needs to be used in all targeted communication. Being present most of the time in the everyday's lives of the heart of the population, would pave the way for the civil society actors to national decision-making since they would have been "actors" on the ground. 

Sometimes, using interactive films implicating viewers online and exhorting them to answer questions about Human rights can be more effective than just plain documentaries.

  

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Dear @Wafaa Jabre Moukahal, thank you very much for your valuable contribution and pointing out that the UN needs to learn the language of the "we the people", and tailor it communication, advocacy and outreach efforts using easily accessible language and tools as you noted.  Thus thank you for pointing out this real real need!  However, on your question of "fake NGOs", some of whom can be government-sponsored, and who may undermine the work of other NGOs upholding same values and principles of the UN charter, what would be your advice on how the UN could effectively address this constituency while also being open to diversity of views and opinions?

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Wafaa Jabre Moukahal,

Thank you very much for sharing your observations and concerns. The point you raise about  host communities and refugees is indeed very important. In line with the commitments undertaken through the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Refugee Forum, in their response to refugee situations,  UN agencies together with other stakeholders, are aiming to ensure that efforts benefit both refugees and the communities that host them. We would appreciate having further thoughts on the challenges civil society actors in emergency contexts or working on issues related to refugees, asylum-seekers or internally displaced persons face in their efforts to cooperate with the UN.

Thank you.

Wafaa Jabre Moukahal

Dear @Ivona Truscan,

Thank you for your answer. One of the biggest challenges we face as NGOs working with refugees and internally displaced persons especially  in emergency situations is lack of funds. Nowadays, with the violent events taking place in Lebanon, fundraising is practically inexistent and international and local help from donors or from our government are very scarce to say the least. Poverty, hunger and despair are raising to unprecedented levels. Some refugees get help from the UN but a great number of others are not as lucky and we encounter huge difficulties in getting the bare necessities for all the displaced beneficiaries who depend on our help. Medicines for many diseases are not available anymore in our country and the prices of all basic products have doubled.

We also face the problem of Syrian refugees/ other refugees and internally displaced Lebanese. Help comes from the UN mainly for Syrian refugees leaving a feeling of unfairness in other refugees and Lebanese. We have to tackle this delicate issue and to deal with the consequences on the mitigated feelings of the beneficiaries. It is not an ideal situation when we are facing problems of acceptance, tolerance and discrimination.

Reassessing the needs of communities embracing different nationalities of refugees and internally displaced people and helping them achieve a better quality of life would go a long way in promoting the role of the UN and in improving the population's perception of the CSOs.

 

H. B. Adediran Olaiya, M.A.
Q1. Partnership/participation: a. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? UN Foundation online sources; IDPAD website and WGEPAD meetings; UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab webpages; UN Free and Equal website. What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Competition for limited resources, e.g. to attend and participate in meetings between UN organs and representatives of civil society. Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN? No b. How do you receive information about UN processes? Email and some research Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? No What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information? More effective use of mainstream and social media to raise awareness by grass roots organisations and individuals, e.g. of the International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 (IDPAD), and UN Free & Equal. c. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Promote greater awareness of UN initiatives such as IDPAD, in mainstream media, as well as in social media and other online sources; and greater advocacy of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a human rights approach to development. Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups? The UN OHCHR has increased awareness of IDPAD by enabling the participation of international civil society in regional meetings, and other fora facilitated by the WGEPAD and CERD. d. Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)? I believe there is room for increased participation of international civil society; e.g., grass roots non-governmental organisations working with the UPR, ECOSOC and Human Rights Council. Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? From my experience, ethnic minorities in particular people of African descent, face obstacles in accessing UN inter-governmental fora, due to lack of awareness, and lack of funding which contributes to closure and downsizing of services for many. Moreover African diaspora LGBTQ groups remain marginalised globally due to their criminalisation and stigma by state parties and some populations, which can be exacerbated as a result of intersectionality. How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity? The need exists for UN bodies such as the UNOHCHR, WGEPAD, & UN Free and Equal to engage further with marginalised and vulnerable groups. Q2. Protection of civil society actors: a. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? The UN can give civil society actors a voice, e.g. when they are being intimidated with fiscal austerity and nationalism, or where intersectionality leads to exclusion of vulnerable groups such as women, people with disabilities, children, lgbtq+ minorities and migrants. Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures? The UN enables international civil society actors working with the African diaspora to report human rights violations and abuse, to the WGEPAD by email or during country visits. Moreover, civil society actors can make reports to Special Rapporteurs, the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Universal Periodic Review as special mechanisms, where state parties fail to address human rights breaches. b. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN? Greater monitoring for human rights violations by regional public bodies and accountability by state parties is required, to strengthen the UN’s protection role. Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space: a. What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? The UN already plays a role holding state parties accountable for their obligations to promote and protect universal human rights, e.g. through visits for Universal Periodic Reviews, and by the Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In that regard, the UN should facilitate greater participation of civil society in national policy discussions and decision-making processes, e.g. by highlighting the contribution made by non-governmental organisations in Shadow Reports and Special Mechanisms. This is in keeping with SDG Target 16.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)? Promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in accordance with SDG Target 10.3 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, facilitates diverse participation in decision-making processes at the local, national and international level. Moreover, In keeping with SDG 17.18 it is imperative that United Nations organs advocate fully disaggregated equality data collection and analysis, to support diverse participation of marginalised and vulnerable groups such as people with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities etc., in policy discussions and decision-making processes. b. What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)? The UN can advocate state parties “empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status, by 2030” in accordance with SDG Target 10.2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. c. How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)? One example whereby the UN can strengthen its political support to civil society is by facilitating the establishment of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent ASAP. IDPAD highlights the disproportionate marginalisation of African diaspora communities globally, and it is imperative civil society is enabled to help address this globally. See also https://en.unesco.org/inclusivepolicylab/e-teams/people-african-descent…
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@H. B. Adediran Olaiya, M.A, thank you very much for responses to all the questions constructively.  You raised many important points, especially inaccessibility of UN processes (especially at the global level) by people at the grassroots level, minorities and people of African descent.  Many reasons why is this the case has been also highlighted by other participants during these discussions, including on the need for greater political and financial support.  Your point on using NGO-provided information in shadow report to the UN human rights mechanisms by the UN when engaging with government authorities is very well noted.  This point is not often raised in discussions such as this, thus it is important to note that it is not only critical for the UN to provide information but also how it uses NGO information in its engagement policies and activities.  Many UN entities do so, but this is not a systematic practice.  Using the SDGs as entry points to advocate for protection and promotion of civic space is another pertinent point that we don't usually hear from many quarters.  Thank you and all your points are well taken!

H. B. Adediran Olaiya, M.A.

@ Baatar Bayarmagnai Thank you for your feedback which I find insightful and inspirational as a postgraduate researcher. My doctoral thesis links the 2030 Agenda to Sustainable Development to achievement of the objectives of the International Decade for people of African Descent. Both advocate participation of international civil society in policy development and decision making. The failure of existing policies to adequately address disproportionate marginalisation from universal human rights faced by people of African descent globally, is cause for concern and action.

Leah Moss

Thank you for providing this space to discuss the role of the UN in protecting and promoting civic space. Here, I would like to focus on civic space for children and young people, which has only been touched upon briefly in previous posts. At Plan International, we believe that listening to children and young people, particularly girls and young women, and involving them in decision-making processes is essential to realising their civil and political rights and a prerequisite for building sustainable and peaceful societies.

In recent years, we’ve seen an increased in child and youth-led activism both online and in the streets, and while attitudes towards children’s and youth participation are evolving for the better, there is still a long way to go. We recognize the progress and positive initiatives in several areas, including within UN (e.g. UN Youth Strategy, CRC Committee increased engagement with children, etc.). Yet children and young people still face substantive barriers in their promotion of human rights and in their recognition as active drivers of change.

For girls and young women these challenges are even bigger. Besides the lack of platforms to meaningfully engage with decision-makers and an inability to their opinions are taken seriously, girls and young women face harmful gendered norms that silence their voices in decision-making spaces and can lead to violence. It is important that we change the way the international community talks about, engages and partners with children and young people.

The UN can play a strong and positive role as a facilitator by coordinating at the local, national and international level. An example of this is UNFPA’s national/regional youth consultations with young women in Latin America ahead of ICPD+25 Nairobi conference. The UN should support diverse participation in all its processes and encourage governments to adhere to principles of inclusion and non-discrimination when creating spaces and platforms for children’s and young people’s substantial participation. For example, UN bodies should structurally include and consult young people and children in resolutions on subjects that concern them. Secondly, meaningful participation of young people and children, particularly girls and young women, in preparation of and during, debates, panels and high-level events, is important to increase visibility and recognition.

This requires proactive steps to involve the most marginalized children and youth, especially girls and young women (including in UN programmes design, implementation and monitoring) and acknowledging and responding to intersecting forms of exclusion with clear mechanisms for participants to highlight barriers and co-produce solutions. The use of young citizens score cards is one example of a local feedback tool that is gender-responsive and easily accessible. It is also important to ensure that materials, processes and systems are child- and youth-friendly and that practical barriers to participation and meaningful engagement such as language issues, visa restrictions and time preparation due to last minute meetings are addressed in a more systematic way.

Technology and virtual participation can be effective tool to increase entry points and engage youth and children, including for UN bodies/processes. Technology provides an opportunity to seek engagement of children and young people in alternate ways, as online spaces constitute an inclusive practice and can play a positive role in civic action. However, engaging in online spaces can also create risks, especially for girls and young women. It is therefore important that measures to protect and empower children and young people online, with specific actions for girls and young women in all their diversity, are central to laws and policies that regulate digital technology and online spaces.

The UN can play an important role by supporting digital companies to introduce and strengthen protection measures for users, monitoring and reporting mechanisms, and the creation of child-friendly online platforms. Digital platform providers must be made accountable for their role in ensuring safety online, including responsibilities for preventing the violence, intimidation and harassment of children and young human rights defenders, with attention to the disproportionate impact on girls and young women. The UN should encourage States to work with such companies and social media platforms to recognize online harassment and violence against girls and women as a human rights abuse and develop individual and collective means to eliminate it.

More broadly, the UN must act quickly to uphold and encourage States to proactively promote and protect the online and offline civic space specific to children and young human rights defenders, using an intersectional lens that highlights the realities of girls, young women and other marginalized identities. States should be supported to introduce policy and legislation to safeguard children and young people from harassment, abuse and/ or violence online and offline. At Plan International, we welcome the ongoing UN initiatives to support meaningful and safe engagement of children and young people. The UN can also strengthen its protection role at the country level by improving internal coordination to be able to act fast in situations of intimidation and/or reprisal.

At Plan International, we hear constantly from young people, particularly young feminist activists, on the need to financially support youth-led civil society and ease the strict donor reporting to allow more youth associations to access funding opportunities. Similarly, girl and youth-led associations face challenges to be formally recognised as part of civil society. If registered as official associations, they risk adults interfering with their agenda and their autonomy can be compromised. If unregistered, they miss out on the vital protection and funding available to civil society actors. The UN could for example strengthen its support by providing flexible multi-year funding to unregistered, grassroots girl-, young women-, child- and youth-led groups, networks and organisations. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Leah Moss, thank your for constructive and detailed contribution, where you pointed out that most of the UN processes, forums, channels of engagement, products and resources are not really child-friendly or take into account the real needs of children.  Although there are few and isolated pockets of good examples of involving children in some of the UN processes (e.g. Committee on the Rights of the Child, and other examples you mentioned), the system-wide practice is chronically lagging behind.  You raised so many important points and suggestions that I may not be able to summarize them in one response, but all your suggestions will be studied very closely and carefully.  Many thanks!

Leah Moss

We know this is a very long comment but civic space for children and youth is a particularly important issue for Plan International and we look forward to seeing progress in this area. 

Kate Wiggans

Hi all - kudos to OHCHR & UNHCR for teaming up on these consultations and making them so accessible language-wise. An important first step to building very much needed synergy between civil society (and UN!) orgs which identify primarily "human rights" defenders and those which identify primarily as "humanitarian" aid providers. There is crossover, but not much... The different bits of the UN system working TOGETHER on this is crucial therefore. I am based in Geneva so have significant access to UN processes but this does not equal being able to INFLUENCE the processes. That is an important distinction to make - an issue more important than access to information - and one which this consultation should also address. Because of the Geneva set-up the inherently unequal way that civil society is treated by the UN compared to other UN agencies and government reps is particularly obvious. I attend UN events/conferences/briefings run by UN humanitarian agencies - mostly UNHCR & UN OCHA. More often than not, 80% of the room is filled with empty seats behind country nameplates, with the back two or three rows crammed full of NGO representatives following proceedings, with no specific nameplates and often, no space within "protocol" to intervene. While I do respect that the system runs on this diplomatic protocol, I also think the UN could and should do more to discuss with governments and CSOs how to balance this out at least in some meetings - IN ADDITION to hosting panels with CSO reps on them (because even then, when it comes to comments "from the floor", protocol is always observed meaning states speak first, pushing civil society voices - often limited to one collective statement - to the last). That links to the last question on how the UN could increase political support - at least at a rhetorical and structural level - for CSOs - and show through action that CSOs/NGOs are considered EQUAL partners to achieving results in the global humanitarian/development effort. This would potentially in turn create a more sympathetic, safe environment for important conversations on civic space to begin to permeate these "humanitarian" settings - which in turn could lead to a more honest and robust conversation about how human rights are the foundation of this effort - and a discussion on how we can work together better to ensure they are not wholesale thrown aside because of genuine concerns about staff security in volatile/hostile contexts and operational viability. In Geneva, representatives from diplomatic missions are split in their mandates: there are those which follow human rights/HRC and those which follow "humanitarian" issues. We need these reps together in a room! Just as we need humanitarian orgs to attend the HRC and the crucial wisdom of CIVICUS members at events like the Global Refugee Forum, ECOSOC-HAS, HPNW, etc. There are places/issues where the system overlaps - like resilience (UNDRR) - but the human rights and humanitarian systems are still very siloed at the global level - and that has to be recognised and addressed in this consultation outcome.  

On diversity/inclusion of particularly marginalised groups: my understanding is that UNHCR were unable to sponsor visa applications for refugees who had not already been resettled / granted refugee status elsewhere, meaning that NGOs had to take the associated risks in order to ensure refugees were present and able to engage with the Forum (and even then, of the 2600 participants, only 80 were refugees). 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Kate Wiggans, thank you for highlighting many of the challenges of engaging with UN intergovernmental processes due to existing rules, protocols and procedures of engagement, and we reported on some of these issues (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights report on civic space to the HRC session in June 2018).  Thank you for emphasizing and highlighting a number of key elements, such as equality and influence, which speak to whether the civil society engagement is effective or impactful, or not.  Thank you for highlighting some good examples too, and would welcome any additional suggestions and thoughts on how some of these challenges could be practically addressed.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Kate Wiggans,

Thank you very much for the comments and for highlighting the particular challenges that refugees face to attend and access UN events due to visa requirements. It is important to ensure ways for refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless persons to have their views heard in international fora and encourage suggestions on how to ensure representation of these groups. UNHCR has taken steps to ensure increased participation of refugees in regional and global events, such as NGO consultations and the Global Refugee Forum that took place in December 2019.

We would be happy to hear further comments from the participants on challenges to the representation of refugees and their participation in UN processes.

Thank you.

Wafaa Jabre Moukahal

Dear Baatar, thank you for your answer. I would like to say that to my best knowledge, the government is doing a kind of witch hunt against the "fake NGOs" but as you rightly said, some of them must be supported by  some "powers". I think that the ones I'm referring to don't follow the UN rules and are presenting fake official papers. By exposing them to the ministry of social affairs, and working closely with the minister, these organisms can be uncovered. Going against the rules will be an action all parties and confessions condemn if only in public to save face.

Agnes Gracia

Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in this consultation! In line with Plan International's comment, here I would like to add some suggestions to increase civic space for children! 

As a global network working on children’s rights, we consider that children are often an over-looked group in discussions on civic space and participation at the national, regional and international levels. In response to your questions:

Partnership/participation: 

  • Different barriers exist for children to access UN inter-governmental fora and to engage with UN Programmes and Agencies, which hinders their right to be heard on matters that affect them, as well as their civil rights and freedoms. These barriers include: lack of adequate and accessible information about the UN, age limitations, denial of visas to travel to UN fora, lack of a framework or specific modalities for meaningful engagement by children, etc. There is a predominant ‘protectionist’ approach towards children rather than an approach that empowers children to access civil society space in a safe manner as equal stakeholders and as human rights defenders. 
  • Building on the practice and working methods of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (which has nine principles to ensure effective, ethical, systematic and sustainable children’s participation), and existing lessons learned of child participation across the UN human rights mechanisms, there is the need to develop frameworks for child participation that provide for necessary empowerment measures and child safeguards.
  • To improve access to information for and reach out to children, the UN should further develop child-friendly information, make its website pages more child-friendly, and consult directly with children on how to better reach out to them and address their needs, including children in vulnerable situations. 

Protection of civil society actors:

  • The UN should have an UN-wide strategy for situations when civil society actors, including children, are at risk. Such strategies should pay particular attention to the specific challenges and responses needed for children considering their vulnerable situation and additional barriers/risks faced due to their age. Information on existing procedures should exist in a child-friendly format, so children can understand and be aware of such a strategy and seek redress when their rights are violated when acting as human rights defenders.
  • We encourage a focus on prevention by putting in place child safeguarding policies that ensure a UN-coordinated prevention and safeguarding response, and are broadly circulated and known. The safeguarding of adults can also be strengthened through these procedures. Child safeguarding procedures should include risk assessments, that foresee possible risks and identify measures to minimise these and provide adequate mitigation responses.

Promotion of and advocacy for civic space: 

  • Many countries have not put in place laws that ensures children’s rights to take civic action, including the rights to access information, to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The UN can provide guidance to States on how to empower children to participate in public and political environments by advocating for relevant national legislation and policies, and crucially their implementation, that ensure children’s civic rights and freedoms, and advocating against legal and administrative obstacles that inhibit children’s ability to exercise these rights. The UN could also promote the implementation of the OHCHR Guidelines for States on the effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs, including through a child rights-based approach.

Thank you for taking these points into consideration!

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Agnes Gracia, thank you for adding to what @Leah Moss provided, indeed many good suggestions are raised.  We will surely consider and study your proposals carefully.  Thank you!

Maïte Karstanje

Thank you for providing this space! 

I work for the NGO ELA - Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género - in Argentina. Recently I started focusing my work more on the international relations and international incidence of our organization. Big part of this work is of course focused on the UN. We are very thankful for the many mechanisms and documents available. Transparency is key for the UN and I think that your documentation of the processes contributes a lot to this. However, for someone that is new to the procedures of the UN, all of the different mechanisms and processes can be quite overwhelming (from the SDGs, CEDAW, Beijing 2020, Cairo, to any of the many other UN mechanisms).  A lot of information is available online; however it can be quite hard to know how to efficiently handle this great web of possibilities. It would be useful for example to have a mapping of recommended instances or ¨routes¨ to take for NGOs that work with women´s rights or a calendar with important dates (of events but also deadlines of civil society reports). To create a clear overview and also to be able to connect the work of the different organisms of the UN that work with women´s rights (UN women, UNFPA, CEPAL, etc.). I think that would contribute a lot to the access to information and participation from civil society.

On the other hand, it´s of course also important that the UN keeps on contributing to the funding of NGOs, not only project funding but also institutional funding (with whom NGOs can for example pay salaries or an office space) are of great importance for the sustainability of civil society.  Furthermore it is also of importance that the UN keeps on providing funds for the participation of civil society actors in the UN processes (such as CSW), especially those that receive few funding and are structurally excluded from these spaces.  

With regard to the role of the UN in the promotion of and advocacy for civic space, we urge that the UN should not abandon certain vocabulary (for example the word ´gender´), in spite of political pressure or pressure from conservative groups. It´s important that the UN stands firm and will not retreat on important feminist gains that have been made over the past decades. If the UN (transversally, not only UN Women) keeps on using this kind of vocabulary it will work as a powerful statement in their interaction with States and other actors and it would be a visible and powerful back up of the work of civil society actors.

On the other hand, it´s also important that the UN works with State authorities that pose unnecessary barriers for the formalization of NGOs in their country: legal or administrative requirements that are put in place to restrict the activities of civil society and the development of a free civic space should be hardly condemned by the UN.

Finally, with respect to the protection of civil society actors that are at risk, it would be very useful if the UN could provide tools to improve the digital security of civil society actors. Being a civil society actor has become increasingly dangerous around the world, therefore it´s crucial that organizations know how to protect themselves online so that they can avoid that their opponents control or incriminate them (for example with safety precautions on the use of emails, chat messages, browsing history, etc.). Documents or online trainings on this subject from the UN would be very helpful and necessary, even for those countries that have less extreme or hostile contexts such as Argentina.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@ MAIT Karstanje, thank you for many important points, including on making the wealth of UN information easily accessible by civil society actors who may not know of UN processes and different mechanisms, increased funding support, and greater attention to digital security.  Your point on the need for UN to stand "with one principled voice" is well taken and which reinforces many similar points made earlier, such as lead by example, political statements and principled stance by the UN senior leadership, promote positive narrative on civil society and civic space, among others.  On restrictive national legislation and administrative requirements, in addition to the UN's advocacy role of reminding states of their international obligations, what could be done practically?  We look forward to hearing additional thoughts, and if you know of good examples of what worked and what should be avoided.     

Maïte Karstanje

Baatar Bayarmagnai Thank you very much for your reflections! Very important indeed to maintain a positive and coherent narrative on human rights, women´s right and the role of civil society. With respect to your question, in addition to reminding states of their obligation to enable the work of civil society, it could be very useful as well if the UN would support research on the subject: for example making an analysis of existing trends or investigating the situation from country to country. To provide evidence or to support NGOs that investigate the transparency and accountability of the legal and administrative processes of States regarding civil society. Another thought is for the UN to create model legislation or model administrative requirements that can be presented to States and used by civil society in their work.

Adelfa Malpica

Desde Venezuela quiero agregar éste nuevo comentario:

¿Qué debe hacer la ONU para proteger y promover el espacio cívico y asociarse con los actores de la sociedad civil?
Respecto a esta pregunta, considero muy relevante que la ONU desarrolle formas mas innovadoras y expeditas para que la Sociedad Civil Organizada o Individualidades puedan acceder a expresar sus inquietudes, problemas y hacer peticiones de Auxilio a los diferentes Organismos de la ONU, en especial los vinculados con los Derechos Humanos, los vinculados con la promoción, educación y ayuda para: la alimentación, la mujer y los niños, el Medio Ambiente, la educación, el desarrollo, la seguridad civil, etc.

La ONU debe comunicarse e involucrar fácilmente a los actores de la sociedad civil locales y comunitarios en su trabajo, prestar apoyo político, técnico, financiero y de cualquier otro tipo, promover la diversidad en su compromiso con la sociedad civil sin caer en exclusiones selectivas, sino basándose en las verdaderas necesidades de las comunidades y sociedad civil en general, sobre todo en aquellos Países donde existe un Estado Fallido, una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja, una violación sistemática de los Derechos Humanos, como es el caso de mi País Venezuela...

Es necesario, mas no suficiente, que la ONU promueva y facilite el conocimiento básico y las capacidades sobre los Derechos Humanos fundamentales y las libertades públicas, incluso mediante el uso de tecnologías digitales para facilitar el intercambio de información, porque también debe aumentar su responsabilidad en mejorar el compromiso entre la ONU y los actores de la sociedad civil, para que la información educativa que le llegue a la sociedad civil a través de cursos y foros (deben ser gratuitos) no se queden en letra muerta. Ya que, si la ONU no llega a un nivel de máximo compromiso con la sociedad civil que están siendo sometidos a: persecuciones, violación sistemática de Derechos Humanos, desapariciones forzadas, a vivir en una Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja, etc, etc, realizando más acciones, creando más vías de acceso y participación, para proteger mejor a los que están en riesgo, incluidos activistas y defensores de los Derechos Humanos, periodistas, grupos de población discriminados, perseguidos, que trabajan en temas de Derechos Humanos y aquellos que trabajan en entornos humanitarios y de conflicto, no se estaría logrando lo suficiente, ante quienes estando en el gobierno de un Pais asumen el poder para generar y crear: terror y horror en la población como mecanismo de control, sometimiento y esclavitud moderna, perversión humana aliada con organizaciones criminales para someter a la población y mantener el poder en un País, como lo vemos en mi País Venezuela...

Es imprescindible mejorar la participación de la sociedad civil en los procesos intergubernamentales que no tienen el estatus de consultivo, elevando la capacidad de respuesta de las Naciones Unidas a las necesidades y preocupaciones de la sociedad civil en relación con esos diversos procesos, ayudar a superar efectivamente las barreras relacionadas con la participación de la sociedad civil, vinculadas a las acreditaciones engorrosas y procesos de registro dificultosos, la inaccesibilidad física y procesal, los requisitos y costos para poder viajar, el trámite de visas y otros asuntos, que en un País como Venezuela cada vez se hace más cuesta arriba lograr para la Sociedad Civil, inclusive es necesario y urgente mejorar el acceso y compromiso con el Foro Político de Alto Nivel de la ONU sobre los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible para que la Sociedad Civil tenga verdadera participación, considerando el alto valor que representa, para que el Sistema de la ONU sea efectivo, que no se quede nadie atrás, que actores de la sociedad civil también puedan desempeñar un papel activo en la protección y promoción de los espacios cívicos, por tanto, la ONU debe garantizar y apoyar efectivamente a la sociedad civil para que ejecute esa acción de diversas formas: financiamiento accesible, apoyo efectivo institucional y técnico, protección efectiva, etc...
Es mucho lo que se puede hablar, pero se haría muy larga mi exposición, es por ello que dejaré hasta aquí mis planteamientos, con la esperanza que sean considerados. Saludos a todos.

ar la participación de la sociedad civil en los procesos intergubernamentales que no tienen el estatus de consultivo, elevando la capacidad de respuesta de las Naciones Unidas a las necesidades y preocupaciones de la sociedad civil en relación con esos diversos procesos, ayudar a superar efectivamente las barreras relacionadas con la participación de la sociedad civil, vinculadas a las acreditaciones engorrosas y procesos de registro dificultosos, la inaccesibilidad física y procesal, los requisitos y costos para poder viajar, el trámite de visas y otros asuntos, que en un País como Venezuela cada vez se hace más cuesta arriba lograr para la Sociedad Civil, inclusive es necesario y urgente mejorar el acceso y compromiso con el Foro Político de Alto Nivel de la ONU sobre los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible para que la Sociedad Civil tenga verdadera participación, considerando el alto valor que representa, para que el Sistema de la ONU sea efectivo, que no se quede nadie atrás, que actores de la sociedad civil también puedan desempeñar un papel activo en la protección y promoción de los espacios cívicos, por tanto, la ONU debe garantizar y apoyar efectivamente a la sociedad civil para que ejecute esa acción de diversas formas: financiamiento accesible, apoyo efectivo institucional y técnico, protección efectiva, etc...
Es mucho lo que se puede hablar, pero se haría muy larga mi exposición, es por ello que dejaré hasta aquí mis planteamientos, con la esperanza que sean considerados. Saludos a todos.

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Welcome back to the discussions @Adelfa Malpica and for additional contributions which reflect many of the concerns and recommendations made earlier by others, including the UN's imperative to be closer to the people and to reflect their needs in the UN's policies and activities.  Thank you!

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Adelfa Malpica,

Thank you very much for continuing to contribute to the consultation and bring in such detailed comments.

Thank you for raising the point about the link between civic space and sustainable development. A few participants raised this issue as well on previous days, and we are grateful for all the comments that help us understand the various related aspects.

Many thanks for raising the issue of the protection of civil society organizations that work in emergency or humanitarian contexts. It is very important to understand the needs and constraints of the collaboration between these organizations and the UN. We would be very interested in hearing more on this topic.

Thank you.

 

 

Adelfa Malpica

Ivona Truscan respecto a la participación de la Sociedad civil en Venezuela en todo lo referente a los  Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible, puedo decir que me parece insignificante, porque la mayoría de la población está arropada por la Emergencia Humanitaria Compleja que vivimos, y no ven viable que bajo éste panorama sea posible lograr el desarrollo sostenible tan ansiado, porque la mayoría de las metas de cada objetivo en Venezuela no van en avance para lograrlo, sino mas bien en retroceso.  Yo soy Promotora de los ODS en el Estado Anzoátegui donde yo vivo, pero en verdad me ha costado buscar formas que llamen la atención de la sociedad Civil sobre los ODS y se involucren. comenzaré por dar talleres informativos sobre los ODS en mi trabajo y luego irme a las empresas y comercio, para seguir luego con las comunidades. El asunto es que me resulta cuesta arriba como representante una ONG poder acceder a los recursos económicos que me ayuden a poder lograr en corto plazo llevar la información y motivar a las personas sobre los ODS y sus metas, para que se involucren en ellas.

Pregunto: Cómo una ONG en Venezuela puede acceder a los recursos económicos y tecnicos de la ONU para promocionar, informar, motivar y desarrollar pequeños proyectos que vayan destinados a alcanzar algunas Metas de los ODS.??

moka

Je voudrai en outre partager avec les membres le résultat de ma recherche menée dans le milieu rural qui consistait à évaluer l'implication de la communauté locale sur les actions humanitaire pendant et après le projet exécuté les agences des Nations Unies, les résultats ont montré que:

- plusieurs programmes des agences des ONU sont élaborés à l'étranger et non dans la zone d'implication avec les données receullies en faveur de la politique pour motiver le financement;

- la communauté locale ont montré qu'elle n'est pas toujours impliquée dans la collecte d'information et moins encore dans la planification des activités qu'elle doit subir et surtout leur non implication dans la mise en oeuvre et aussi qu'elle n'est pas préparer pour péréniser les activités sur le terrain;

- 1/4 projet continuent à etre exécuter par la population après le projet,...

En résumé, l'ONU  et ses agences doivent tirer des laçons d'impliquer la communauté locale à travers les leaders locaux dans tout le processus de la planification pour que leur projet soit durable et rentable.  

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thanks moka for this contribution and the important points you raise. Has your research identified any good practices that could be shared with participants?

Elena Marmo

Thank you for continuing this conversation! As an organization based in NYC, but dedicated to working with an extensive civil society network around the world, I feel our situation opens us to understand a variety of challenges related to civic space vis a vis the United Nations.

 

On the first area of questions (Q1): Oftentimes the process for granting passes to attend various UN meetings and processes is often not done with enough time to ensure participants from the global South are able to secure visas and make travel arrangements. A concerted effort to notify participants in a timely manner, also so that they aren't affected by surge pricing in flights and accommodation (bringing their travel costs beyond what either their organization, funder, or UN is willing to cover), would certainly represent a willingness of the UN to protect civic space and ensure participation of all stakeholders. We certainly see an imbalance of corporate engagement with the UN--obviously for-profit companies can spare much more money to send representatives to UN meetings than our non-profit, grassroots organizations from the Global South. The issue of visas and visa refusal for participants from the Global South is another conversation entirely, and the UN ought to take steps to ensure the United States extends visas to participants in UN processes in accordance with its mandate as a UN host country. 

 

Additionally, there are a host of meetings that take place at UNHQ that claim to have multistakeholder participation, yet only make the information needed to actually take part available to civil society AFTER decisions have already been taken. The UN System Reform is one particular area wherein this is particularly challenging. 

 

On the second area of questions (Q2): As an organization that works in issues of macroeconomics and sustainable development, we would love to see the UN Human Rights system take a broader understanding of rights when discussing human rights defenders and reprisals. Often discussions regarding this can be limited to those working in civil and political rights. But what if we broadened the net to consider people working in WASH provision in rural areas, women's sexual and reproductive health, corporate accountability, indigenous communities? This broader understanding to include economic, social and cultural rights can bring the much-needed human rights architecture into discussions on macroeconomics and sustainable development.

 

On the third area of questions (Q3): Further, in broadening this understanding of human rights protection and reprisals, we might also consider the protection from violations and reprisals by both state and non-state actors. As we increasingly see corporate engagement with the UN heralded as a "success" it becomes clearer and clearer that the outcomes of these "high level panels," "compacts," "PPPs" and "alliances" are sets of "values" and "principles" with a total circumvention of internationally, legally binding human rights. As the UN continues to turn to the corporate sector as a source for financing, it is important to consider how the Human Rights system applies to both state and non-state actors. 

 

Thanks again for convening this discussion!

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Dear Elena Marmo, thanks for this intervention. The issue of how administrative arrangements and procedures can impact the participation of civil society stakeholders, especially at UN Headquarters, is indeed an important one and has been brought up in several contributions. A number of concrete recommendations have been made and all are well noted. Thanks also for emphasizing that human rights defenders do indeed work across a broad spectrum of rights (including economic, social and cultural) and for raising the challenge of threats from non-state actors. Do you have any specific recommendations with respect to the latter issue?

Prof. Ashok Yende

UN should direct States to provide adequate representation to civil society in their  domestic committees while taking policy decisions regarding implementation of UN conventions or agreements. 

States don't give much significance to civil society organizations in the home States and threatens if they opposes the government decisions.

UN should lays down strict sanctions against states which didn't obey UN direction's.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thanks Prof. Ashok Yende. Regarding your first point. I wonder if consultation participants could share any experiences they may know of government-civil society collaboration in the implementation of UN conventions at national level, and (if applicable) the role of UN system in facilitating that collaboration. It would be very interesting to hear to have a range of perspectives on this.

Caitríona Fox

Good afternoon and warm greetings from GPPAC, The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in a discussion surrounding the protection and promotion of civic space, as we are keenly aware of the essential role CSOs play in peacebuilding and sustaining long-term peace worldwide. 

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) is a member-led global network that links civil society with relevant local, national, regional and international actors and institutions to collectively contribute to a fundamental change in dealing with violence and armed conflict: to advance a shift from reaction to prevention. 

First, in the context of sustainable development, active and continued support to coalitions that guarantee active CSO participation, especially women, youth, and those most affected would ensure a better, more people-centred approach.  You can find more about the situation of civil space in the context of experiences of our network here:

https://gppac.net/files/2019-07/GPPAC%20SDG%20Report%20Cameroon_def_online.pdf

https://gppac.net/publications/local-ownership-security-case-studies-peacebuilding-approaches

Second, the UN should continually put pressure on governmental institutions with weak political will and too strong of an executive, to ensure local democracies and development remain strong as they create more civic spaces. The UN and member states must also ensure political as well as financial support, especially investments in grassroots organisations, further localising efforts while implementing relevant agendas and milestones for optimum progress. Civil Society must co-lead any and all of these initiatives, by providing their evidence base and localised assessments (as one example) to advance justice, strengthen gov. institutions, and ensure all organisations involved are being transparent, representative, and responsive. See more here: https://gppac.net/publications/peaceful-societies-orphaned-sdg-target

Third, the international community within the UN should ensure an equal partnership between the government and CSOs in the planning, implementation and monitoring of relevant agendas. in particular, and provide safe and secure environments in crises/conflict areas. The importance of more direct involvement, funding, and engagement with CSOs cannot be understated. Governments could be provided connections to CSOs through the UN system depending on their needs, promoting local to regional to global connections, and visa versa. 

These multi-stakeholder approaches involve civil society in long term peacebuilding priorities and development, as well as in the UN’s ability to apply, monitor, and provide resources and attention. All levels, from UNHQ to regional and country strategies should be involved, ensuring inclusive integrated CSO exchanges.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

@CatherineFox thank you for joining the conversation and for sharing these useful suggestions on how the UN can more effectively work with civil society in order to prevent conflict and achieve an inclusive and just society. Thank you also for sharing these publications, which provide a helpful overview of the situation relating to civil society at the national level as well as good practices for civil society's involvement in peace building approaches. Could you perhaps elaborate on your suggestion that the UN should provide more support to civil society groups such as women, youth and other marginalized civil society actors? Many thanks again!

Arab NGO Network for Development

 

Q1. Partnership/participation

  1. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN?

UN recognizes the importance of civil society; and provides different spaces for civil society engagement. The Arab NGO Network for Development engages in these spaces, including monitoring mechanisms of treaty bodies and Universal Periodic Review, consultations launched on various issues and through direct advocacy to different actors; including Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts…etc. According to ANND experience, several guidelines exist; contacts of related offices/persons are all available, and there is no direct restriction on our participation to the UN; yet two important issues should be noted.

 

First point is with regard to restrictions imposed on civil society at national level and by different actors (including government, security offices) but as well by private sector and how UN could actually contribute in addressing these restrictions. There have been cases from the ANND members and partners that, they have self-restricted their engagement to the UN processes; to protect themselves in response to threats they have faced. In other cases, GONGOs promoted by governments became a challenge for effective engagement. UN could promote consultative processes launched through Country Teams to feed into international processes- to overcome these challenges. Opening up safe spaces for civil society engagement, adapted to local context would ensure inclusiveness and effective contribution. It would also ease the diplomatic and financial burdens of direct participation (i.e. visa, flights, accommodation etc.) for many of the groups who do not have enough resources.

Second point is the ECOSOC consultative status that according to ANND should be considered as a networking and supporting opportunity among the organizations who have the status and the others who are trying to obtain this status. In this regard UN country offices should act as a reference point and ensure those new applicants to meet the organizations holding ECOSOC status. UN country offices can provide a channel for exchange of information/organize capacity building workshops in order to bring these diverse groups together. Whereas technical details of application can be clearly presented by UN, lessons-learnt and shared experiences among the groups can provide additional support. In this regard, further collaboration and cooperation among those organizations who have the ECOSOC and who do not can be established, allowing further participation and engagement of all diverse groups in relevant processes.

  1. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

UN websites; newsletters provide information regarding UN processes and possible engagement spaces for civil society. ANND receives regular bulletins and through its network members shares those relevant as well. We have not experienced any difficulties in access to information; yet would suggest that particularly for consultation processes; a follow up report should be shared with those who contributed to understand the impacts and way forward. This allows further transparency on processes evolution and evaluation; improves quality not only on general flow of information but particularly on engagement spaces and outcomes for civil society.

 

  1. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups?
  2. Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)? Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?

Most of the intergovernmental forums ensure civil society engagement within their own structure. These include submission of reports, direct participation, briefings, oral statements etc. Yet it is evident that there is a wide gap between the impact of each space and thus a variance between civil society engagement.

The engagement of different specific groups in these spaces is definitely more challenging, yet that is not only because of the limitation of the actual space itself (i.e. 2 minutes allowed for oral statement during UPR) but also because specific groups human rights remain sidelined within the broader human rights promotion and protection discussion. This is also because in various inter-governmental forums; country-specific concerns are not taken into consideration alongside formal mechanism implementation. For instance, UPR now in its third cycle has not turned into an effective mechanism to monitor extensively violations raised and recommendations made. General recommendations are more commonly made rather than specific recommendations that address the human rights of these groups; thus even if not at participation level, at coverage level the process remains insufficient.

Q2. Protection of civil society actors:

  1. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?
  2. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration on Human rights defenders; the recognition of the need for the protection of human rights defenders and measures put in place accordingly has increased and has been at UN agenda. Nevertheless; given the current civic space situation and systematic violations faced at various fronts; it is evident that more should be done to address this risk by HRDs. This requires promotion of a holistic approach and prioritization of the issue within the agenda of the states, private sector/businesses, financial institutions and intergovernmental organizations. Monitoring actual implementation of affirmations made against HRDS role and civil society in general and restrictions imposed should be documented to ensure accountability. In this regard, UN in its various agencies, policies and processes should consider protection of civic space and HRDs as a core component. Promotion of the protection of HRDs should go hand in hand with access to justice and remedial action and support should be provided by those who would require assistance in this regard.

 

Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

  1. What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?

Inclusive national dialogues on various policy issues is a common call of civil society in the Arab region, despite the increasing closed space. The promotion of civil society participation is key, yet it should be clearly emphasized that mere participation in consultation should not be considered enough, rather a genuine dialogue should be promoted. UN should shift from focus on ‘consultation’ to ‘dialogue’, within which different actors can access to same level of information; through transparency and inclusiveness, post-process consultations are replaced with timely dialogues for design, planning and programming. In this regard, the UN should promote ‘national dialogue processes’ and media engagement on this process to raise further awareness through country offices. Likewise, engagement of NHRIs where relevant and related human rights committees at Parliament etc. should be a common practice promoted by UN to ensure further collaboration between different stakeholders.

  1. What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?

The primary duty bearers of human rights promotion, protection and fulfillment is the state; including for ensuring an enabling environment and open space for civil society. UN should promote best practices implemented within open societies and allow regional exchange opportunities for these practices to be adapted and implemented at various countries. In this regard the primary role UN could play is with regard to facilitating know-how and practice sharing. Another role UN can play is towards ensuring accountability and to enhance mechanisms set in place (including independent investigations) for those whose rights are violated and limited.

  1. How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

Political support to civil society is key yet cannot be implemented through ad hoc initiatives, through developing narrative when civil society faces challenges or having meetings, consultations with them during UN in country-visits only. UN should promote rather a genuine partnership approach with civil society shaped with this political support, particularly in those countries where civil society is restricted, within which the role of civil society is clearly defined and is not context nor issue based. Official statements made by UN representatives, should be further and closely followed at national level through related UN agencies; to reflect that such political support is through strengthened cooperation and collaboration.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Hello @ArabNGONetworkforDevelopment, thanks so much for your great responses to the questions and for these concrete recommendations ranging from how the UN can expand space for civil society in existing human rights mechanisms to how the UN's senior leadership can more effectively take a stand against the shrinking of civic space. Thanks also for emphasizing the important role the UN can play at the national level through, for example, creating safe spaces for civil society to come together and build alliances, share information and convene "dialogues" that inform the design and implementation of programs and policies. Many thanks again for your thoughtful recommendations - this gives us a lot to work with!

Andrea Hall

For the past decade, Charity & Security Network has worked at the intersection of nonprofit rights and national security to protect civil society’s ability to work for peace, justice and economic equality without being unduly constrained by counterterrorism laws. C&SN represents a broad cross-section of civil society, including humanitarian aid, development, peacebuilding, human rights, civil liberties groups and grantmakers.

The United States has failed to implement previous (2011) UPR recommendations 92.58 (“Make fully consistent all domestic anti-terrorism legislation and action with human rights standards.”) and 92.65 (“Review its laws at the Federal & State levels with a view to bring them in line with its international obligations.”). It accepted both, agreeing to make all domestic counterterrorism legislation and action fully consistent with human rights standards, and to review laws to bring them in line with its international obligations, but has not implemented them.

U.S. counterterrorism law has implications for civil society actors beyond U.S. borders, particularly those engaged in humanitarian and peacebuilding activities. More recently, third-party actors have weaponized the legal framework around the U.S. prohibition on material support to de-legitimize actors not aligned with their political motives. Therefore, it is even more urgent for the UN to take a strong role in supporting civil society impacted by national security laws and policies.

The UN could strengthen its political support to civil society by holding civil society meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations, and by requiring the UPR to review compliance with respect for civil society rights, as outlined in the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

@AndreaHall thank you for your comment that speaks to the need for the UN to, "take a strong role in supporting civil society impacted by national security laws and policies", by strengthening its political support to civil society, increasing its engagement with civil society actors and improving UPR compliance and monitoring procedures. These recommendations are well noted!

Eleanor Openshaw

Thanks to OHCHR for seeking ideas on these important questions.  There's no doubt that the UN has a very significant role to play in promoting and protecting civic space.  Let me dive in to share a couple of thoughts on the question on the role we expect the UN to play in situations when CSO actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attack off-line and on-line)?  

1/ The UN should strengthen the feedback mechanisms so that those who use UN mechanisms receive prompt and adequate feedback about the progress of their case or information. Sometimes people make a substantial effort (and take risks) to provide information to the UN, but can then feel like it has disappeared into a black hole. The UN mechanisms that are more systematic and rigorous about feedback are more likely to build trust and encourage further engagement.

2/ Also, recognizing that many victims and defenders consider any attention paid to their plight by the UN to be potentially protective in its impact, the UN mechanisms that rely on cooperation should implement more rigorous follow-up advocacy for those at risk to ensure that this protection is real and not just imagined, at both the case level and the policy level.

I look forward to hearing any thoughts on these ideas and how they could best be realised! 

best all round, Eleanor

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Hello Eleanor Openshaw, and thanks for these constructive and practical recommendations on how the UN can strengthen its role to protect civil society actors at risk. Your point on needing to improve the victim's experience in existing reporting mechanisms by, for example, ensuring transparency and timely communication with the victim, is well noted and indeed necessary in order to build trust. We would very much welcome any additional recommendations you have in relation to other questions on UN's partnerships with civil society and promotion of civic space. Many thanks again for your contributions!

Dr. Dena Jennings

Q1. Partnership/participation:

  1. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN​​​​​​ ****  Entry points for Imani Works include invitations to consultations and meetings, conferences, and webinars. Challenges that are consistently met are out-dated online information, unclear instructions for engagement, and untimely invitations to participate without adequate time to respond as an organization. 
  2. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information? ****All processes used by Imani Works comes by way of the website. I suggest streamlining processes so they are not so difficult to utilize. Knowing upfront the preferred computer platform would be helpful. Most forms are not Apple/Mac friendly or accessible by handheld devises it seems.
  3. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups? **** A package of informational/educational materials to download would help Imani Works share news from the UN (initiative, proposals, statements on worldwide current events, etc). These materials would be welcomed. Right now, we generate our own UN related materials in addition to materials for our own programming. It would be easier if we didn’t have to spend the time to generate the additional products.
  4. Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)? Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?**** Imani Works would welcome participation in such forums. As marginalized communities in rural US, there are many obstacles to being heard locally. When it comes to the UN, we are quite invisible. Publishing the diversity of the participants would be a welcomed transparency. If there are people participating that represent the diverse populations of our members, there would be greater confidence that our voices are being heard in these spaces. And where the diversity is lacking, Imani Works stands ready to send delegates
Monica Vincent Moderator

Dr. Dena Jennings thank you for those practical suggestions; for particularly raising concerns about visibility of marginalised communities and not overlook or ignore their voices,  as well on the need for resources and tool kits on good practices. We welcome your inputs.  

Dr. Dena Jennings

Thank you, Monica Vincent. Imani Works is in a region of the USA that is suspicious of international/global coalitions. However, the people are listening. When we have events, and the people understand what human rights are, they like what they hear and are full of questions. It would help to have simple, attractive, easy to read materials to send home with them. 

Ivona Truscan Moderator

 

DAY 9  (WEEK 2)

 

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the 9th day of the consultations, and we also welcome newly joined participants.  A number of ideas and suggestions were made yesterday, which can be summarized as:

  • Several comments highlighted the importance of perceptions and narratives developed in relation to the role of different actors in partnerships;
  • Participants reiterated the point about the importance of data collection of incidents of intimidation or reprisals against civil society actors, including youth activists and organizations, as well as of the impact of these incidents on concerned persons, their families and communities;
  • UN’s formal procedures and processes as well as administrative arrangements may render the UN be perceived as unapproachable or elitist by local actors or smaller organizations;
  • Participants reiterated the link between civic space, peace building and sustainable development with practical suggestions to ensure follow-up, such as the inclusion of an indicator in the SDG indicator framework to monitor the degree of inclusion and participation of civil society actors in processes related to sustainable development;
  • Protecting civil society organizations requires understanding of their variety and specific protection needs (e.g. youth activists encounter particular barriers related to age limitations, denial of visas for travel, lack of adequate frameworks for a meaningful engagement by children and youth);
  • The need for capacity-building and access to documentation, tools or other education opportunities was highlighted;
  • Participants also stressed that a safe and enabling environment for civil society cannot be achieved without high level political support and narratives as well as complaints and accountability mechanisms;
  • Civic space is strengthened when civil society organizations have opportunities to work together (thematic clusters, working groups, joint initiatives);
  • Measures to protect civil society actors need to take into account risks derived from engagement in online spaces;
  • The need for the UN to strengthen feedback mechanisms in order to keep people and organizations who cooperate with the UN informed of their cases.

Thank you and we look forward to further contributions and exchanges!

 

Kirana Anjani

Hello again everyone, my name is Kirana from Lokataru Foundation Indonesia. This time I would like to raise some of our concerns regarding partnership with the UN. I would like to strengthen the points which have been raised before on the difficulties in engaging and accessing updated information of the UN, including outdated information, untimely invitation or call for input, as well as difficulties in using the existing channels of communication. Our foundation has been sending individual complaints and communications to Special Rapporteurs or Working Groups using the Special Procedure of OHCHR. It is of our pleasure to keep the UN informed about the situations in Indonesia through our submission or report, but the lack of feedback and response from the Special Rapporteurs made us wonder as to how effective this channel of communication really is. On one hand, it does eases the way of NGO to submit their report to OHCHR but  we are not sure as to how our information will be used or processed. It is not enough for NGOs who have consistently conduct advocacy to assume that the UN would not proceed with their submission due to the absence of any response from the SR/WG. Thus, we hope that there will be clear procedures or information about how UN will use our advocacy report, e.g. compile for future global trend, etc. This goes the same for any other UN bodies with similar procedures like OHCHR. This would in turn encourage NGOs to increase engagement with the UN as it is clear as to how their submissions will be used. Thank you very much and I am very much open for discussions!

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Kirana Anjani and thank you very much for raising concerns regarding lack of feedback from OHCHR and Special Procedures on how information submitted by NGOs is being used.  Subject to confidentiality, most of the NGO information are reflected, in various ways, in the thematic reports, statements and press releases of OHCHR and special procedures mandate holders, and we believe that many NGOs could see how the information is used by reading many of those reports and statements.  Often times, the verification of information may pose challenges and will take time, some information will be kept confidential while being considered by Special Rapporteurs and other human rights mechanisms, and information sources are also often kept confidential for protection purposes.  Most Special Rapporteurs often receive a good volume of information from numerous sources on a daily basis, thus it may not be always possible to respond and provide feedback to all NGOs and information sources.  However, we acknowledge that improvements are warranted and that options for a better feedback system needs to be considered.  Many thanks for your comment.

Meri Davtyan

Hello everyone.

I represent Mission Armenia NGO. My name is Meri.

On behalf of Mission Armenia NGO from Armenia I would like to introduce the organisation's suggestions/ recommendations on the role UN should play to promote civic space and support civil society better, including effective civil society participation in national decision-making processes:

·         encourage governments, provide stronger expertise and support to implement international treaties by developing evidence-based approaches, highlighting and facilitating civil society involvement in the implementation;

·         to play as a stronger platform for engaging all possible development actors (State, civil society, donors, academics) in policy dialogue and collaboration initiatives, including participation in national decision-making processes, to link service delivery with policy impact;

·         meaningful efforts to develop and support innovative bottom-up approaches in national decision-making processes;

·         strengthen technical and financial support to civil society by increasing the capacity of local organizations to apply for such support.

Thank you.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Meri Davtyan, hello and thank you for your recommendations, which are also raised by many others during this consultation.  Your point regarding the need for "evidence-based" approaches in UN's advocacy and engagement strategies is well noted!  This also raises a critical point on how the UN should monitor and report on civic space trends, and on attacks and threats against civil society actors.  There are numerous civil society sources that document and report on such trends (such as CIVICUS Global Monitor, World Freedom Index and many others), which are great information sources for the UN.  However, we would welcome your additional views on how can the UN track and report better on civic space trends in a systematic and timely manner.

Ishmael Kwasi Selassie

Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

The UN and its senior leadership needs to build/strengthen its relationship with governments at the country level by seeking to establish a much fluid engagement and response mechanism that allows the representation of a-political actors within the country's development and policy processes. In many countries, the UN has supported the development various policies and set-up various legal regimes that are to support and uphold the rights of the people and enjoyment of freedoms. However, several of these policies are hardly enforced or implemented, often due to political expedience or as a result of failed systems or lack of accountability. The UN therefore should become more consistent and insistent towards the enforcement and execution of policy and legal systems that do not only ensure rights but also people's participation and accountability on the parts of government. 

At the country level, UN agencies and the UN Coordinators should therefore seek for a more assertive role and extend even stronger support to civil society to make accountability and the enforcement of rights and freedoms, a progressive reality. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Ishmael Kwasi Selassie, thank you for emphasizing that the UN needs to be more "proactive" in promoting civic space, as noted, by maintaining a fluid engagement with the government, strengthening response mechanisms, being more consistent and insistent in its advocacy, demanding accountability to the people, and assertive role of the UN leadership.  All these suggestions are well noted and thank you for these!

Aku Xornam Adzraku

Greetings from Ghana, the UN space has been very progressive and has been increasingly participatory over the years.  Information from the UN agencies are mostly through websites, online media platforms, and public events. There are however few challenges with how the general public can access the UN agencies probably because of security requirements, but generally, for those working in the development field accessibility is quite easy.

 As a Civil society organization that interacts with some UN agencies particularly the UNFPA, information on the UN processes has been very progressive over the years and a platform has been created at UN level and CSO level to ensure transparency, accountability and consultation.

The UNFPA particularly has partnered with PAYDP (Purim African Youth Development Platform) a youth and womens organization in Ghana to reach out to marginalized girls called “Kayayei” (female porters) and teenage mothers in Ghana. Some of these girls are street girls who migrate from the Northern Parts of the country to the South for economic, educational, and other opportunities to enhance their livelihoods, whiles other mainly escape child marriage. The programme ensures they have access to Sexual and Reproductive health information and rights and services, better livelihoods and to ensure they are not left behind.

The UN should develop a stronger policy in situations when Civil society is protected and feels safe, especially when reaching out to marginalized groups whose communities have entrenched policies especially in relation to harmful traditional practices.

The UN has and continuous to play a great role in Ghana in ensuring the government's  co-ordinating role regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association. This role can be further strengthened to ensure that they see the relevant role CSO’s play in complimenting the work they do in the country and also ensuring that they play an effective role in developing policies, implementing and evaluating their work.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Hello Aku Xornam Adzraku thanks for sharing these reflections and it's great to learn about your positive experiences as a partner of the UN. In your comment, you suggest the UN could improve on its efforts to reach out to marginalized communities. We would welcome further suggestions from you as to how the UN might more effectively engage these communities, including any previous examples of good practices. 

 

akanobot

Hi. My name is Akaninyene Obot from Nigeria.

I would like to see global partners having Desk Officers in every community of their interest and also engaging civil society the more in their project for sustainability. When the International community show respect to civil society by involving them more in their programmes and also assigning them sensitive responsibilities, their voices of the civil society will not be shut down and its will reduce infringement on their rights by government. This where, we are protecting the civil society and also building their capacity to make government inclusive

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@akanobot, many thanks for your suggestions, especially on mutually respectful and responsible partnership between the UN and civil society.

SESILIA SHIRIMA

Hellow , I am Sesilia from the Young and Alive Initiative( YAAI) Tanzania.I am humble and thankful to be in this  discussion.My comments are

 

1: There is a problem of information on how to engage with the UN. This is worse  especially at the local level( ground level) and with different groups, And even if it is known it is a long process or its not known and clear and may be known by only older and bigger organisations. 

So There is a need of  the UN itself to find the clear way on how to engage with local and diverse  groups and with at different level.To have clear answer on this there is need of  more researches on countries level or region level eg east Africa, west , north and will make more and different civil society to bring their concern on how the information should be distributed and in what ground should UN engage best.

 

2: On how to protect human rights defenders, especially young ones.  The UN bodies can choose to coordinate more with youth led CSO in different diversity  rather than one single person in the group because it will make singular activists vulnerable  and threaten their family since there is a large number of the human right defenders who have faced a lot in different countries.

 

3: Another way of protection is there is a need for the UN bodies to work closely with country human rights bodies since it is alway gives out its report every year. Eg in my country Tanzania there is always a human right report every year but who makes followup on the identified problem and solution of the report is not clear. The UN should either make followup or work with the countries to take responsibilities and make commitment in relation to reports from different research.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Hello SESILIA SHIRIMA, thanks for joining and for these very helpful comments. It's great to hear your perspective engaging with the UN as a youth activist! 

MAAT

Dear UN consultations moderators, 

Thank you for your efforts to proceed those fruitful conversation.Bellow, you can find Maat for Peace inputs.

1. Partnership and Participation

A vital point for increasing the civil society participation is reaching them at the first point.

 As the UN has 6 official languages, we highly recommend taking translation and interpretation into more consideration. If the UN wants to reach local CSOs then there should be a common tool for communication. Many UN websites either have English language only or non-updated pages for other languages. This is directly proportional to "leaving no one behind". We would also like to recommend increasing the languages to include indigenous groups' languages.

In most of the intergovernmental forums, it is recommended to give more spaces for CSOs ;however, CSOs are given very limited time to express their cases compared to the government representatives.

2. Protection of civil society actors:

We recommend that the UN should establish an effective mechanism to limit (and try to end) the acts of intimidation of civil society actors by taking serious actions towards governments which provide support to terrorist groups which usually threat human rights activists for shedding the lights on their violations.

3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

It is recommended that the UN provide more training to CSOs on a local level as many CSOs can not travel to attend events and trainings and based on the fact that the UN aims to increase the civic spaces it is recommended that they reach more human rights activists who are not known on the international level.
 

It is worth mentioning that the UN took a positive step in cooperating with other regional organizations in 2019 , as two Special Rapporteurs attended the African Commission of the Human and People's Right which added a great value to the discussions and resolution. We recommend that the UN increase such practices.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Dear MAAT, thanks for your comments covering both procedural and substantive aspects. The UN is strongly commited to multilingualism, which as you noted is critical to enabling participation. Here you can find more information on ongoing efforts. Thanks also for your points on the UN protection role and the importance of creating opportunities for capacity strengthening of civil society actors.

Christine Meissler
Many thanks for the opportunity to contribute and for all the comments and suggestions. I was asked by a Network, the ACT Alliance to post our consolidated answers. Here is the first contribution on participation and partnership: Q1.1 In particular, small local CSO, SBO, NGOs struggle to see an opportunity to register for any UN events. We think there should be more attempts not to be inclusive and to reach out to small initiatives and to more proactively involve informal CSO and CSO which are not active on global level into the debates, meetings, consultations. It is great that ECOSOC hosts an in-person meeting every year/semester with CSOs. It would be useful if a similar meeting could be hosted online for those that are not based in Geneva and/or do not have funds to travel there. Many CSOs struggle to have ECOSOC status and are therefore left at the mercy of large INGOs which tip the balance in favour of the global north. It would be useful if we could have a process that takes those nuances into account. There are multiple problems with the ECOSOC NGO committee and the members states being members in the NGO committee: through undue and lengthy questioning, in some cases even leading to a de facto rejection (e.g. one partner of us has been reported in which the accreditation process has been delayed for more than 10 years through recurring questioning). There seems to be a lack of clear and transparent accreditation criteria and a lack of complaint mechanisms used by member states to block accreditation of critical CSOs. Q 1.2.On access to Information In particular to be inclusive to small initiatives and marginalised groups, it would be good to address CSO in an easily understandable language. I feel that our partners are often insecure in making statements as they do not feel knowledgeable. More opportunities invitations to speak out in a simple language may be helpful. A suggestion to improve access to information and quality of information is to make the information in more languages available that could be understandable for all users and partners. Here the specific statement of one of our members regarding problems with CSW: I usually receive information from colleagues, partners and email list. I am well aware that this means that only people that are well connected get that type of information. So, yes, it would be good to streamline the information sharing process. Even for people that are well connected, it is difficult to find information about UN agencies and human rights bodies. For example, I have submitted a joint written statement for the 64th Commission on the Status of Women but have not been able to find the published version yet. The link on the iCSO page does not work and a searching at CSW’s website is equally daunting.
Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Christine Meissler ,

Thank you very much for the comments and for bringing up some of the challenges civil society actors and NGOs face to participate and have access to information regarding UN processes. The issues you raise with regard to accreditation of NGOs are very pertinent. We are grateful for these comments and the recommendations. 

Thank you.

Christine Meissler
Here are contributions to leaving no one behind and the participation in inter-government fora Q 1.3 With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups? The UN should consider some sort of affirmative action privileging the participation of human rights defenders from the global south, in particularly those underrepresented in the UN system such as indigenous women, Dalit women, disabled women, etc. The problem is often the capacity of marginalised groups: More networks in which vulnerable groups can meet, exchange, come to a common positioning and thereafter develop advocacy plans and take up action would be needed. However this needs human resources and financial resources (e.g. transport / accommodation) Often smaller CSO, CBO and NGO are not able to invest to participate in those networks and even less to facilitate. Here the UN should make sure that those networks exist, are funded and can participate through accessible platforms of involvement. In general, the UN should look more at the quality of representation, participation, mutual respect, meaningful dialogue and influence decision making in its multi stakeholder initiatives. Q 1.4 It needs a lot of knowledge to know how to participate and how to get access. Once you got access the space for CSO to speak out, organise event etc is very limited. It would need more proactive support to encourage vulnerable groups to participate. It is to say that the GPEDC where civil society has a clear space as compared to the UN events is a good example in providing space for CSO. It is positive that CSOs there have a clearly defined space and it is much easier to intervene there Regarding the Human Rights Council and the human rights bodies sessions in Geneva: Civil society often only gets 2 minutes to make intervention, have to submit request through the system way in advance and send the written oral statement on the previous day. This may be too cumbersome for smaller CSOs and members of social movements. Also, this process is not set out in a clear and simple manner. You either have to rely on peer-to-peer learning (again balancing things in the favour of the global north) or on length manuals. The UN could have simple one-pagers on the website on this treaty bodies and print outs in the rooms during meetings. Finally, CSOs hardly know when they will be able to make an intervention as they have to wait for all states to intervene first. It would be nice if CSOs were awarded more time and security in terms of the slots they have been allocated. Some organisations only have budget to fund one participant and it is hardly fair to expect that one person would be able to sit still for sessions after sessions without any breaks. One member of ACT Alliance reporting on gaps in access to true participation of civil society in the SDG-HLPF Observation one: Weak interest from the state representatives and UN key officials to facilitate and attend consultations with civil society UN arranged a so called Civil society consultation that took place before the SDG-summit opened for state representatives. However, the pre-consultations was shown very week attention from state representatives and key UN-staff members. There was hardly no presence by representatives who thereafter should attend the SDG-summit. There was no arrangement for documentation and reporting from the CS-consultation to the summit. → De facto there was no adequate consultation between the civil-society members and the state representatives who later participated in the SDG-summit. A consultation is not for civil society members to meet each other. To spend budget and time on travels and visa-application procedures, should be worth the effort, especially so for civil society actors who has the task to report to main duty bearers on the consequences of poverty and exclusion in society. → De facto people who really know reality on the ground and has an analysis on the status of implementation of SDGs in their country, did not have access to share their knowledge and present their claims to state representatives and others. Observation two: Due to non-transparent information in the preparatory process from UN and government, it was hard to get the kind of information needed to be able as a civil society actor to apply for the few civil society seats that actually were reserved for the SDG-summit. One result from this was that coordination amongst an alliance like ACT became difficult. To encourage organisations and human rights defenders to attend and be prepared seemed to be kind of a risky effort due to the uncertainty of whether it would be possible to have a seat or not to apply for. → Observation three: It seemed to be extremely difficult to make use of a recognized consultative status to UN, including also the right to make an oral presentation in the summit. Very few civil society actors succeeded to get a seat and even fewer were allowed to make use of its consultative status and speak. → UN should facilitate a broader and more diverse presence of civil society, including also those religious civil society actors who work for the implementation of the SDG-agenda and for follow up on peace-agreements and human rights obligations of states.
Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Many thanks Christine Meissler for posting these comments on behalf of the ACT Alliance. Thanks especially for the detailed analysis of different factors that impact the "accessibility" in a broad sense of UN-facilitated intergovernmental processes. The point on inclusion and the need to proactively reach out to groups that have historically been at the margins of public decision making is also noted.

Shah I Mobin Jinnah

Hello Everyone

I myself is the Executive Director of CDA and being a land Rights activist would like to respond on Q1. Partnership participation as below:

  1. My Organization and me are initiating  the program on Land Rights and Agrarian Reform and a project on Land Rights as Human Rights aligning with UNGP on BHR popularizing the concept to develop the National Action Plan (NAP) on the UN mechanism which is still unclear among the people, civil society Government, business entrepreneurs and with the land rights defenders. UN system very much dependent and guided by NHRC in the country and working people are confined and control.
  2. From the donor and the National Human Right Commission and some other relevant Regional NGO networks. Still the concerned UN guiding principles are not translated to the policies are not concrete or details and materialized for information. In respective countries need effective working group constituted with the NHRIs/NHRC/and some experts civil society members may develop qualitative information materials aligning with the UNGP and BHR for Land Rights as Human Rights for people-centered advocacy and to formulate National Action Plan towards policy and  preparation of compliances in a participatory manner.
  3. With a view to “leaving no one behind” UN can facilitate and organize the local NGOs/CSOs to engage the village based grassroots level People’s Network and protect the defenders and promote the access of the different stakeholders from local level,  National and Regional level as well as to the international level. Continuous assessment of good practices may be studied for evidence based advocacy  & replication  through media campaign it would be popularized with a view to access protect Land Rights in the respective constituencies among all the vulnerable communities and for corporate responsibility.
  4. Civil society participation in Inter-Governmental forums should have the effective Action on Plan-Monitoring and Watch to have the accountability upon the respective Governmental commitments. All Inter-Governmental fora should have the coordination and very participatory decision making upon GIS and MIS process following the UN circulated periodical action plan.

 

Lack of direct engagement is a great obstacle due to (1) Vulnerability (2) Class attitude and the (3) Language of the communities.

UN can mobilize the technical, technological, knowledge and funding supports through grass root NGO’s according to the need and diversities.

 

Thanks for patients,

Georgina Piperone Moderator

Thanks Shah I Mobin Jinnah for joining the conversation. Your suggestions for how the UN can improve its partnerships with civil society, and particularly with marginalized actors, are well noted!

Andrea Hall

UNSCR 2462, which deals with countering the financing of terrorism, is an example of a process that could have benefited from robust open dialogue with civil society. Behind-the-scenes negotiations, like those that took place in this context last spring, can leave out vital voices. Although some protections were included for humanitarian aid, peacebuilding was sacrificed. The safeguards implemented in 2462 are weaker than what civil society proposed and will require civil society engagement at both the UN and member state level to build understanding of what IHL, IHRL and IRL require and advocate for appropriate implementation.

As such, UN guidance on implementation of this Resolution could go a long way in educating member states on these important legal frameworks.

With similar resolutions in the future, the UN should create civil society consultations in advance of Security Council negotiations/deliberations to ensure that final resolutions are aligned with international human rights and humanitarian law.

See more on this issue on our website at https://charityandsecurity.org/news/un_res_2462_cft/ 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Andrea Hall, thank you very much for making an important point that the UN counter-terrorism resolutions and activities should be open to civil society voices and participation.  We often note that national counter-terrorism laws in many countries do affect civic space space and civic activity, and many cases results in restrictions and attacks against civil society actors as "foreign agents".  Thus the UN's role in advocating for compliance with international law and opening up space is an important recommendation, with many thanks for pointing this out.

Citlalli Ochoa

Dear all, 

The International Justice Resource Center (IJRC) has identified barriers, both formal and informal, to civil society’s engagement in the international spaces where human rights topics are discussed, protected, and advanced, including in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the UN Human Rights Council. Our findings are further detailed in a series of reports available on the IJRC website: https://ijrcenter.org/civil-society-access-to-international-human-rights-spaces/, and in previous submissions on related themes (e.g., https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/AboutUs/CivilSociety/Procedures/CivilSociety/InternationalJusticeResourceCenter.pdf). Like the reports, the observations below draw on our own experience, as well as surveys and interviews with members of civil society that have relevant first-hand experience. Three themes stand out as particularly relevant to civil society engagement and participation in the UN system: 1) access to information (including accuracy, notice, and translation); 2) access to participation (including costs, travel requirements and authorization, and registration requirements); and, 3) security.

Access to Information

On access to information, obstacles include the following:

  • some information on the OHCHR webpages, on UN human rights bodies and opportunities, is inaccurate or out-of-date (for example: old webpages with outdated registration information; various webpages on country visits by special procedure mandate holders and on treaty body complaint decisions, but no one webpage that has the complete, accurate, up-to-date information on either topic; outdated or inaccurate Human Rights Council programmes of work);
  • information on OHCHR’s structure and staffing is not publicly available;
  • messages to the publicly-available email addresses may go unanswered;
  • organizations with personal contacts at OHCHR can obtain information through informal channels, but other organizations do not have this access;
  • instructions and guidance on registration can be confusing, especially for first-time participants;
  • information is often available in a limited number of languages;
  • information and materials are often not available in formats that are accessible to persons with disabilities; and,
  • the scope and timeliness of some materials and databases is not clearly stated (leaving users under the impression that they are, for example, searching within all treaty body documents in the Universal Human Rights Index).

However, the UN system generally provides adequate advance notice of relevant session dates and deadlines, on the website and via newsletters.

Access to Participation

Obstacles to civil society participation in UN human rights events include:

  • invitation-only events (such as the “efficiency consultations” during Human Rights Council sessions or inter-sessional briefings);
  • costs of attendance (travel and accommodation in Geneva or New York) can be very high;
  • virtual participation is often not a possibility;
  • limited translation and interpretation during events (including sign language);
  • civil society members may be denied travel authorization;
  • challenges in obtaining consultative status with ECOSOC; and,
  • limited physical space and speaking opportunities, which may preference more experienced or mainstream organizations.

We welcome the fact that many opportunities, such as contributing to a country’s review by a UN human rights treaty body, are open to organizations without consultative status. Newer opportunities for virtual participation and attendance are also beneficial.

Security

As we all know, human rights defenders and other members of civil society face risks to their safety and security, including when they engage with UN human rights bodies. Areas of exposure that should be addressed include:

  • lack of online privacy and anonymity protections, including when communicating with OHCHR or UN human rights bodies online; and,
  • public availability of photographs and videos in which human rights defenders may be visible and identifiable (an alternative would be, for example, to allow participants to opt out of photography and videography)

We have been encouraged to see that the OHCHR website is now secured with SSL.

Resulting Exclusion of Some Civil Society Members

Too often, the organizations most impacted by these challenges are those that are newer, community-based, or that do not have the resources or capacity to frequently participate in or attend the events that would allow them to form such relationships. Advocates and organizations that face marginalization or discrimination in the larger world may also be most impacted by barriers to access to information and participation in the UN system, as well. Anecdotally, we have heard that, people of color and young people are most likely to be excluded from opportunities because of limited space, for example. All of these factors, especially when taken together, and in light of the importance of personal relationships between advocates and human rights bodies’ staff for securing access and information, these obstacles privilege longstanding civil society actors (including larger and well-funded organizations) and perpetuate the exclusion of small, new, grassroots, marginalized, or non-mainstream organizations, including those headquartered in the Global South.

Thank you, 

Citlalli o/b/o IJRC 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Citlalli Ochoa, thank you for sharing your reports, for your contribution and for pointing out many areas where OHCHR, and UN human rights system, need to make further improvements, including in relation to inaccurate or outdated information, limited availability of information in other languages and accessibility by persons with disabilities, unresponsiveness to civil society queries, registration to meetings and travel related barriers (costs, visas etc.), need for virtual channels of participation, security, online privacy, lack of outreach to gllbal south, and many other issues.  OHCHR and human rights system made multi-year efforts to address many of those gaps, and continues to do so within the limited resources allocated to the UN's human rights pillar.  Many thanks again for emphasizing these issues in a detailed way and for reminding us to do better.  We would also welcome your views and suggestions on what partnerships could be pursued in order to increase UN human rights system capacity to address the overall backlash against human rights and human rights system globally, change the tide in favour of human rights and civic space.  Thank you for your suggestions and recommendations.

Ben Donaldson

Hi all, soz for coming late to this consultation and apologies in advance if this is not the right bit of the forum. It is intended to answer Q1. on Partnership/participation.

At the United Nations Association - UK and our campaign Together First we've been researching the issues with the current systems and opportunities for CSOs to engage with the UN system and have come to the conclusion that it would be advantageous for the UN to appoint a high-level systemwide focal point for civil society.

In summary: The monopoly that states hold on the UN’s agenda and modus operandi is alive and well despite its increasing reliance on CSOs across the UN’s broad spectrum of work – from service provision to contributing to major policy initiatives like the SDGs. Current provisions for civil society participation across the UN system are piecemeal, and where inclusion is permitted, participation favours well-resourced international CSOs with the ability (and visas) to staff an office in NY. Furthermore, because a committee of member states acts as gatekeeper for much coveted ECOSOC consultative status, decisions to approve CSOs are skewed by member state politics, resulting in those working on issues like human rights, reproductive rights and migrants being treated unfavourably.

Given the necessity for the high-level focal point to wield influence both within the UN secretariat and to member states, the role may be most effective at Under-Secretary-General level and located directly in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

The precedent of Kofi Annan’s Assistant Secretary-General for External Relations – a position that existed until 2003 and was very highly valued by CSOs – could contain useful lessons for a future USG for civil society. The position incorporated outreach to parliamentarians, the academic world, religious leaders as well as charities and other groups committed to peace, justice, development and human rights.

Additional points

With an appropriate budget and rank, a focal point for civil society could achieve much, including:

  • facilitate the participation of a much broader set of individuals to participate in UN processes, including proactive outreach to ensure the inclusion of those working in underrepresented fields and regions
  • champion reforms both within the UN system and to member states to comprehensively open the UN up to civil society
  • improve perceptions of the UN within civil society and thus improve faith in the institutions of the UN, hopefully triggering a similar effect in the public
  • rebalance the current skew towards the UN’s external partners being from the corporate sector as opposed to the not-for-profit sector (the UN’s current emphasis on multi-stakeholder partnerships tend to be driven by the funding requirements and therefore favour the corporate sector)
  • enable the participation of new actors which will improve the substance and evidence-base for decisions taken by the UN. This will assist the UN’s mission across the board
Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Ben Donaldson,

Thank you very much for your comments and recommendations to strengthen the participation of civil society actors in UN processes. Several participants, including @moka, @Arthur Dahl, @Rosalee Keech and @Christine Meissler raised issues various problems related to the accreditation process that limit the opportunities for civil society actors to participate in UN processes.Thank you for the recommendation for the UN to appoint a UN focal point for civil society and for indicating possible roles that such a function could cover.

Thank you.

Ingrid Goodman

Q1. (a) I have always known the about the UN presence in my country. However, when the UN introduce a new programme initiative they repeatedly engage the old guards (civil society and ngo groups) in there partnerships on the ground.  

Guyana was admitted membership in the UN by resolution A/RES/2133 (XXI) on the 20th September, 1966.  Some 53 years later, the average citizen does not know her/his basic human rights.  Often new civil society actors existing in the space go unnoticed by the UN with very little measurable change improving the quality of life (health and safety) for the poor and the oppressed in small States such as Guyana.  

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Ingrid Goodman,

Thank you very much for your comments and for highlighting the need to involve and ensure the wide participation of a variety of civil society actors.

Thank you.

Mandeep Singh Tiwana

According to the CIVICUS Monitor (https://monitor.civicus.org/) , a participatory platform that measures respect for civic freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression in partnership with over 20 research organizations only 3 percent of the globe’s population living in 43 countries are able to enjoy ‘open’ civic space conditions (https://monitor.civicus.org/PeoplePowerUnderAttack2019/) .

Civic space enables people and civil society organisations to contribute to inclusive policy making, find innovative solutions to complex governance challenges, guarantee service delivery in line with community needs, and ensure accountability of decision makers. Civic space restrictions can thus have seriously negative impacts on compliance with and achievement of internationally agreed norms with regards human rights, sustainable development and climate action.

There is thus an urgent need for multilateral institutions and the UN in particular to reinforce the primacy of civic space and civil society participation in decision making at the national and international levels. All UN agencies should thus be encouraged to both implement and review their mandates so that they can be champions in opening up spaces for public and civil society participation.  Civic space should be mainstreamed in activities of UN agencies in light of the direct connection the opening words of the UN Charter, “We the Peoples.”

 UN agencies and senior officials should thus lead the way in engaging states and their political leadership (i) to repeal or substantially amend restrictive legislation that is not in accordance with international law and standards protecting the freedoms of association, peaceful assembly and expression, (ii) protect and open spaces for civil society to advocate and participate in decision-making while putting in place mechanisms to address reprisals against human rights defenders, and (iii) take necessary measures to ensure that activists and civil society actors are not put at risk because of the information they provide to the UN and others accountability mechanisms, and also publicly call out states and leaders who impose restrictions to the participation of civil society.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

Dear @Mandeep Singh Tiwana,

Thank you very much for your comments and for stressing on the important role of civic space. We appreciate the recommendations you suggested which give us a lot to work with.

Thank you.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hi @Mandeep Singh Tiwana, many thanks for your continued contributions, and for sharing the results of the CIVICUS Monitor.  Thanks also for pointing out that civic space is not only a human rights issue, but also cuts across all the pillars of the UN, and including in relation to the climate action, where many environmental activists and defenders are being increasingly targeted.  However, the multilateralism itself is being watered down, which makes it challenging to reinforce the primacy of civic space and civil society participation in decision making at the national and international levels, as well as for the UN entities to review their mandates and be champions in opening up spaces.  In your view, what would be additional and/or external pressures on States, especially on non-cooperative States, to reverse the negative trends in ways that allow the UN system to have capacities and to function as it should.  We welcome any additional views and opinions from you, and other participants.

djepang yvonne

Lutter contre la pauvreté(ODD1), c’est contribuer à l’amélioration des situations des femmes qui pour la majorité s’activent dans le secteur  d’activités informelles, qu’elles soient nanties des diplômes ou pas.

Vue sous cet angle, l’Etat doit y focaliser beaucoup d’attention afin que l’autonomisation économique des femmes devienne une réalité, dans la perspective de réduire au maximum la pauvreté dans notre pays.

Malheureusement, l’espoir est toutes autres choses. Voici un exemple patent qui nous démontre assez comment les droits économiques des femmes tant prônés sont tout simplement bafoués :

LUCOVIFA accompagne les femmes aussi dans l’aide à la gestion de leurs activités génératrices de revenus. Force est de constater que plusieurs de ces femmes qui exploitent les activités de pompes funèbres sont de plus en plus confrontées aux menaces des pressions fiscales, contrôle des prix, leurs établissements de plus en plus scellés parce qu’en retour on leur impose des montant exorbitant.  

Or, l’impôt est par définition la répartition des charges publiques à travers les activités économiques génératrices de revenus exercés par les citoyens qui doivent y participer selon leurs facultés contributives.

En infligent des amendes à ces femmes équivalent ou en dessus du chiffre d’affaire de leurs activités, sont de nature à les pousser à la faillite avec pour conséquences sociales et économiques que cela implique (chômage, crises dans les foyers…)

Nous interpellons ici nos gouvernants à revoir l’implémentation de la fiscalité ; former, sensibiliser les agents en charge, et surtout sanctionner les agents véreux, à travers la mise sur pied d’une police de veille pour la fiscalité du secteur informel pour stimuler l’application des ODD en synergie avec le Conseil Economique et Social des Nations Unies. Ceci afin que les femmes vulnérables contribuent valablement à lutter contre la pauvreté dans notre pays.

L’Etat doit jouer pleinement son rôle qui est de veillez à ce que les droits économiques des femmes soient exécutés. Pourtant de bons textes de lois y afférents sont élaborés, là où le bât blesse, c’est leur interprétation et leur applicabilité, tant dans l’esprit que dans le contenu.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@djepang yvonne, thank you for your valuable contribution pointing out the importance of paying attention to women's rights and economic empowerment of women, including in national decision-making processes and the implementation of the SDGs.

Orsolya Bartha

Dear all,

Below are answers on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities.

Q1. Partnership/participation:

  1. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN?

Our entry points come mainly through the MGoS Coordination Mechanism, particularly at the HLPF and regional commissions level. In addition, we receive information via the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and other departments with which we engage.

Challenges include that there are not enough engagement opportunities for stakeholders, and there are many UN processes not open to stakeholders. For example, regarding the online consultation for the UN Development System, the UN Reform and how the UN Country Teams will engage with stakeholders was not sufficient and our inputs were not addressed. Also, the second committee of the UN negotiates a number of resolutions related to sustainable development and stakeholders are closed out from those meetings.

In terms of accessibility for persons with disabilities, there is not a systematic approach to providing accessibility for events, and lack of accessible information. Largely this depends on advocacy from civil society and the coordinators of the event on the accessibility put in place. As a result, there is inconsistent accessibility provided at different events, which create barriers for the equal participation of persons with disabilities.

It would be good if the UN developed indicators to measure civic space for stakeholders and how this space has been incorporated into the different processes and outcomes. 

  1. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

We receive information by being on listservs and via the UN journal (although the new version is less clear). To improve access to and quality of information, the UN must open up to stakeholders. Stakeholders advocate for change, but are also needed in the implementation phase of the 2030 Agenda.

  1. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups?

The UN should create an open database for all the diverse civil society groups by identifying global and regional focal points. These focal points would be responsible upon request to provide further details on national and sub-national stakeholders. Also, the UN country teams could support the formation of SDG coalitions at the national level and identify focal points for each coalition. The main points in stakeholder engagement should be to keep the doors open for new emerging stakeholders or those, who are not categorized or identified under any group. The UN also must develop a proper protection mechanism for stakeholders and ensure their safety at all times. 

  1. Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums (e.g. Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions etc.)? Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity?

The UN should have a voluntary trust fund to bring people from the grassroots level to participate in UN meetings and provide the space for the most marginalized groups, including funding International Sign interpretation for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Q2. Protection of civil society actors:

  1. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?

During the VNR processes, stakeholders are experiencing a growing level of intimidation by governments with no real protection in place. In 2019, we had a closer collaboration with OHCHR to monitor these occurrences, however OHCHR’s mandate is limited as to what extent they can protect an individual, particularly after a UN meeting has concluded. 

  1. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

The UN should put in place an anonymous input opportunity. Also the UN Secretariat should not be providing the names of stakeholders to member states like they did during the VNRs in 2019. The UN as an independent secretariat should provide the guarantee to safe participation for all stakeholders.

Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

  1. What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?

The UN Security Council should adopt a resolution on the protection of civic space. The Security Council because it is enforceable and it fits the mandate since it the topic is on safety of civilians participating in UN processes - but this could be extended to national processes. The resolution then should be monitored and reviewed periodically.

The UN should appoint a Stakeholder Engagement Special Envoy or Rapporteur, reporting regularly on the situation of stakeholder engagement. Also, the UN could carry out a Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) report on civil space in UN meetings and conferences. 

OHCHR should have an office to act 24/7 in protection of stakeholders. Measures of protection should be defined and enforced internationally and actions on protection should be clearly defined. 

More sensitivity and awareness training should be periodically provided to UN security officers and staff on how to treat a diversity of stakeholders.  A good example, took place in 2019 with key recommendations on how to appropriately support and guide persons with disabilities through security, with positive results.

Stakeholders participating in any UN process should have a safe space to meet for confidential discussions among themselves. This space should be automatically provided for each process.

  1. What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?

The UN Country Teams must step up and provide a safe and protected space for engagement. OHCHR must increase their presence at the country level. 

  1. How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

The UN could carry out training to UN Secretariat staff on the value and importance of stakeholder engagement. This is needed since the UN Secretariat often does not respect stakeholders, and misuses power. Stakeholder engagement should not be looked at as a burden or a box-ticking activity by the UN system, but stakeholders should be considered as valuable and respected partners and contributors.

Georgina Piperone Moderator

@orsolyabartha thank you for highlighting some of the main challenges civil society actors with disabilities experience in their engagement with the UN, and also for the concrete recommendations. Your suggestion to have a more systemic and consistent approach to ensuring UN events, processes and information are accessible to and safe for persons with disabilities, is well noted. Thank you for suggesting several measures the UN can adopt, such as providing financial support and ensuring UN staff have undergone awareness and sensitivity training. 

Hepzibah

This contribution is based on the request follwing my last post and second contribution hence this.

Ogechi Ikeh Hepzibah

Executive Director

Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR)

 

How is SDG 16 is implemented in the country

If it is left behind, How can the UN better support CS in bringing the issue to the attention to the government

Examples of better partnership with the UN and CS around SDG 16.

Nigeria has not as much as enjoyed   peace, security and prosperity, we keep experiencing a trend of endless cycle of conflicts, violence and increasing insecurity. Unfortunately so, this is taking toll on the development of the country’s economy and active participation of the Civil Society with a high risk associated with insecurity.

SDG 16 has little or not much impact in the country reason is that when little effort is made in observing rule of law, it is usually chaotic. In our country, not much attention has been paid on existing laws, lack of will power to enforce and implement laws guiding violations of human rights.

Criminal acts are on the increase ranging from Rape even in Internally Displaced Persons Camp (IDPs), Campuses, Work places, both private and public, Motor parks, Institutions of learning, Farmlands, Communities, Terrorism which includes:  Arm robbery, Kidnapping,  Police brutality and Hostility, Cyber-crime, etc. All these forms of crimes have their laws if and when found guilty.

The SDG16 aim to significantly reduce all forms of violence, and work with the governments and communities to end conflict and insecurity, unfortunately so the percentage of the acts and the increase/frequency is higher than the response and punishment for these acts and their perpetrators.

The UN better support CS in bringing the issue to the attention to the government by working more intentionally and in close partnership with CSOs that work on human rights issues and governance to begin to

  1. Review the laws and evaluate how effective and efficient they are  (What worked, what  didn’t work or hasn’t worked, way forward) as it affects the peace of the country which directly impacts on  the economic growth negatively, like a vicious circle of poverty.
  2. To revisit the instruments and treaties that Nigeria as a member country has signed  and ratified  on issues and concerns bothering on human rights violation which rock the boat of peace and institutions in the country
  3. Empower the CS through several capacity building training of trainers to further enlighten the citizens more on the importance of peaceful conflict resolutions most especially down at the grassroots and how they can participate in the process contributing their own quota. By getting enlightened too, they receive empowerment.
  4. To partner with the government in peace building imploring them to cooperate with CSOs in curbing rates of violence. Acceptance of sanctioning of offenders according to the nature of the offense. Lately in Ekiti state one of the south west states in Nigeria, the first lady who is very active in humanitarian work and a seasoned human rights activist drove the process of  passing sex offenders registers bill to law which other  states are  currently working towards that as well because it has been found to be effective and deals with the perpetrators
  5. The UN can also work with the government at all levels especially on reducing the flow of illicit arms and strengthen the participation of developing countries like ours in the institutions of global governance.
  6. Sponsor capacity building, sensitization of women especially at the grassroots in participating in peace keeping at every level starting from homes, churches, market places, schools, farm lands and general meetings

Examples of better partnership from the UN are as follows

  1. Partnering with the government on attacking terrorism intentionally because this factor alone sets the economic backward and stagnant in terms of growth and development
  2. Assisting the federal government by granting access to international trainings of security agencies, The army, police, Civil Defense Corps etc  and  intervening in extreme cases of terrorism attacks on the citizens, today. in the news that a student of the University of Maiduguri was gruesomely murdered after being kidnapped and on realizing he was a Christian was murdered.
  3. Give capacity building training through the CSOs on re-orientation peace and conflict resolutions
  4. Capacity building for Religious Leaders and Traditional leaders/community leaders building peace process and conflict resolution with the help of the CSOs .

We will record more success stories of progressive development in all the sectors of the economy if only the country will ensure peace building processes as priority..

The UNSCR 1325 instrument is there too, but is left behind somewhat safe the efforts of women groups, human rights organizations etc

The Security Council adopted resolution (S/RES/1325) on women and peace and security on 31 October 2000. The resolution reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction and stresses the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Resolution 1325 urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts. It also calls on all parties to conflict to take special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence, particularly rape and other forms of sexual abuse, in situations of armed conflict. The resolution provides a number of important operational mandates, with implications for Member States and the entities of the United Nations .

The UN should also begin to look at the implications of member states and their modus-operandi in domesticating this resolution..

Thank you once again for this wonderful opportunity to make contributions on the review  and the way forward on humanitarian issues and concerns between UN and ,CS and government.

Ogech Ikeh 

Executive Director

Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR)

ogechi@ccidesor.org.ng

cintegratedev@yahoo.co.uk, www.ccidesor.org.ng

+2348038233877
SKYPE-Ogechi.Ikeh1
LINKEDIN-Ogechi Ikeh
TWITTER-OGECHI IKEH@floxyiyk

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Hepzibah, thank you for your continued inputs, and sharing your view that the SDG16 is being unfortunately de-prioritized in your context, and the need to pay more attention to the situation and human rights of women and girls in maintaining peaceful and inclusive society (which is the objective of the SDG 16).  If you have any views and opinions on what kind of international (UN and other international organizations) and domestic (NGOs and the public) pressure could be exerted on the state authorities, we would be keen to hear that.

Pablo Pupiro

Hola a todas/os

Somos la Asociación Movimiento de Teatro Popular Sin Fronteras, aglutinamos a unos veinte grupos de teatro, Instructores de arte, pintores y Artistas plásticos, hemos realizado una consulta con la mayor parte de ellos para intentar contestar a las preguntas realizadas, es por esa razon que hemos demorado en contestar.

En general las repuestas que hemos tenido afirman que estamos muy contentos de que se nos tome en cuenta en una consulta de este tipo, que esperamos que para el futuro continue asi. Estas iniciativas de alguna manera nos fortalecen.

 

Asociación / participación:

 

1a¿Cuáles son los puntos de entrada para que te involucres con la ONU? ¿Cuáles son los desafíos que enfrenta al comprometerse con la ONU (por ejemplo, no está claro acerca de los puntos de entrada / contactos, procedimientos opacos y complejos, etc.)? ¿Alguna vez ha impugnado decisiones que restringieron su participación en la ONU?

Esta pregunta no nos fue clara a que se refiere, lo que podemos si afirmar es que, desde la base nosotros hacemos nuestro trabajo Artístico, como herramienta para la participación, con distintas temáticas, Cultura de Paz, Derechos de la Niñez, Equidad de Genero, Medio ambiente, etc. en este sentido es importante que nosotros realicemos un trabajo de base, allí que es importante tener como socio, en el trabajo de base a oficinas de ONU. Lo que podríamos sugerir aquí es que algunas dependencias permitan presentar sus propuestas en su idioma de origen y no solamente dos idiomas como el francés e inglés, esto limita.

1.b En general MOVITEP, está asociado en Nicaragua en diferentes plataformas informativas, tanto de derechos de la niñez, como medioambientales por nuestro perfil de trabajo, coordinamos y nos informamos a través de ellas, todo lo relacionado con algunos de los procesos en la ONU, que nos compete o nos interesa, esta información en general está en las páginas web, en la ONU, lo que podríamos sugerir en este sentido es talvez hacer una biblioteca interactiva y dinámica en los distintos idiomas, para que la información realmente esté al alcance de nuestras manos.

1.c La mejor manera de “no quedarse atrás,” serían las plataformas en donde se comparte la información, actividades, foros-debates, no solo por intereses, sino también por actividades, las minorías étnicas, artistas, tanto desde lo que organiza ONU, como de las distintas iniciativas de organizaciones de la sociedad civil.

1.d Desde nosotros como artistas desde la Sociedad civil, podemos decir, que como siempre se nos toma muy poco en cuenta en los espacios de foros Intergubernamentales. Desde el gobierno se hace casi imposible conseguir información los informes de revisión periódicos y universales, en materia de Niñez, derechos y equidad de género. Q2 Protección de los actores de la sociedad civil:

a)    El único papel que vemos como organización es la de la de la presión diplomática en todos sus sentidos y tomando como base todos los compromisos que el estado a firmado y comprometido, por el otro lado debería de haber una presión de parte de organizaciones de la sociedad civil, que apoyen en caso de amenazas de parte del estado miembro con sus ciudadanos.

b)    Emitiendo resoluciones de respaldo a favor de las personas u organizaciones  amenazadas, prestando el apoyo, moral y económico, para fortalecer sus demandas en favor de los derechos humanos, libertad de pensamiento, derechos de la Niñez, equidad y Genero. Q3. Promoción y defensa del espacio cívico:

  • Ejercer beligerantemente presión frente a los estados miembros que han firmado y se han comprometido, pero sobre todo brindar apoyo y asesoría a los distintos proyectos y actividades de la sociedad civil, aparte del apoyo económico, que es fundamental para desarrollar actividades de sensibilidad y formación a largo plazo.
  • Respaldo al trabajo de las organizaciones que están enfocadas en los Objetivos de desarrollo del milenio; democracia, Educación, Equidad de género, Derechos de la niñez, Medio Ambiente.
  • Las visitas de alto Nivel, para nosotros no serán más que parte de las medidas de presión diplomáticas, para nosotros es claro que una visita de alto nivel, ayuda y a veces puede empeorar las cosas, nunca se sabe. El reconocimiento a las organizaciones de la sociedad civil, es básico y fundamental para fortalecer el prestigio de las personas naturales y jurídicas, especialmente las jurídicas.
Georgina Piperone Moderator

Hello Pablo Pupiro thanks for taking the time to speak with your colleagues and consolidate their responses to the consultation questions. Thank you for highlighting that the UN can improve access to information by, for example, ensuring that UN materials and communications are accessible online and in a wide range of languages. Your suggestion to ensure the UN is building strong partnerships with civil society organizations that work on issues such as democracy and civic space, is well noted. 

Hepzibah

Thank you once again for the opportunity to make contributions,

Will appreciate it if there is follow up and not a one-off event to nip these things on the bud moving forward to actualizing SDGs 2030.

This is a decade year we hope to activate more communities and the citizens generally on their basic rights. I am an SDGs activator and looking forward to more engagement/

Monica Vincent Moderator

Dear @Hepzibah, thank you for your inputs on the need for coordinated action between all stakeholders and the commitment of your organsiation to engage in achieving SDGs 2030. 

Nicholas Miller

First, I would like to thank the both the moderators for their excellent facilitation of this conversation and equally the previous participants, whose comments, questions, and suggestions have been excellent and provided much on which the UN and the rest of us can build.  To this rich discussion, I will only add a few thoughts, little of which is new:

1.) I second Christine Meissler and the Act Alliance's comments about barriers to entry and participation in the UN broadly and specifically with respect to the ECOSOC NGO Committee.  This is a structural problem that ISHR and others have done much to address over a number of years, but UN human rights bodies and UN leadership should continue to call attention to the misuse of the NGO committee by states to prevent access to the UN.

2.) I also agree generally with Andrea Hall's point on the connection between security and counter-terrorism and civic space.  She rightly points out the example of UN Security Council Resolution 2462 as a case in which civil society engagement was limited.  This example is a especially constructive given its importance to civil society, which has increasingly seen CT and security measures used to close civic space.  This trend has been described by the UNSR on human rights and counter-terrorism in her report on the misuse of CT measures against civil society examines. 

3.) More broadly speaking, the area of CT, in which the UN plays a key role in encouraging, obliging, and supporting state action, has been particularly closed to civil society in the CT policy space.  UN human rights bodies and the UN as a whole should redouble their efforts to increase transparency, CSO engagement, and UN funding and attention to the fourth pillar of the UN's Global CT Strategy, human rights.  This year's biannual review of the GCTS is an important event and a key test for the UN's willingness and ability to lead by example on civic space. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to participate in this discussion.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Thanks Nicholas Miller for reinforcing and expanding on various critical points, including the very complex (and problematic) relation between counterterrorism and shrinking civic space

Cynthia Rothschild

Hi everyone, thanks for the space to share thoughts.  I am Cynthia Rothschild, a longtime member of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (a group of about 35 human rights, women's rights and sexual rights organizations).

I want to make just a few contributions here (sneaking these in before the last day!).

1) Your question: With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) 

**UN agencies are experiencing a terrible funding crisis that leaves individuals and offices in a vulnerable position - they are subject to the political whims of State donors, some of whom are withholding or withdrawing funds because of agency support for various issues.   Good UN work that supports sexual and reproductive rights (including rights related to sexuality education, LGBT issues, access to safe and legal abortion or even rights of sex workers) is too often targeted by conservative States and non-State actors.  This is true for human rights work generally, too. UN agencies must stand firm in the face of fiscal and political struggle and *not compromise work (analysis, data collection, service provision) on people in various marginalized groups**.   

The reality is that social movements demand this - and the times we live in demand this attention, too.  The best things UN agencies can do are to steadily integrate resources and programming that ensure groups are not cut out or rendered invisible.  In this climate of clampdowns on civil society space, it's particularly important for UN agencies to do bolder work to ensure no groups are un-represented, and to ensure analysis is even more progressive / feminist and rights sensitive.

2) On Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental forums 

In the spaces I work in, including the CSW and the Human Rights Council, some groups and individuals are challenged because of who they are or the work they do.  One example:  Some States use rules of procedure inappropriately to silence civil society participation.  UN officials should be ready to challenge inappropriate use of regulations.   "Call it when you see it".     

Another example: when UN agencies are creating programming, they (and their staff) must be attentive to gender and global South representation (no more all male or all white panels!), and strive to include WHRDs and LGBTI people where that is logical.

Happy to talk further about additional ideas, but for now, those are my main contributions -

Thanks again for creating the space to contribute!

Cynthia

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Dear Cynthia Rothschild, Thanks for providing another angle on how procedural barriers and discriminatory attitudes can combine to reduce participation spaces in UN-facilitated intergovernmental processes. This is indeed a recurrent theme and will certainly be taken into account.

Eleanor Openshaw

hi again, 

I wanted to share a couple of docs with some further thoughts ISHR has had on these questions.  One attached and this doc which we prepared in regard to the ways the UN considered the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in its work.

One issue we see is difficulty to access information.  One suggestion we have is for Special Rapporteurs to: 

publish all calls for input for reports on a single page of the OHCHR website to make it as easy as possible for civil society to know when these opportunities arise. Currently, this information is only accessible if a human rights defender is on the mailing list of a Special Procedure, if the mandate holder ensures that the call for applications is included on the weekly civil society mailing list or if a defender checks each of the mandates’ individual webpages. Special Procedures should provide more timely information about thematic focus of their future work, and publish at least tentative plans on a webpage dedicated to upcoming thematic consultations, including all content shared through the e-mail list.

Thanks again for encouraging this conversation! 

Eleanor  

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Eleanor Openshaw, we would like note that OHCHR does indeed issue a weekly civil society newsletter, which contains all the latest updates on the work of OHCHR and UN human rights mechanisms, including the call for inputs for various reports and processes in an centralized effort, which of course could be improved further.

An example of the newsletter can be seen here: https://conta.cc/2tGc5TY

To subscribe to this newsletter:  https://visitor.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=0015de0J6wWFJ5woeZbE…

More info is available here:  https://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/CivilSociety.aspx

Please help us to spread the word, so that many people will receive this newsletter!

 

Fernanda Marchese

Hola desde la Fundación Andhes ubicada en el norte de la Argentina, celebramos el espacio de intercambio y consulta habilitado por la ONU. 

Nos parece importante resaltar la posibilidad que naciones Unidas pueda establecer nuevos diálogos no sólo con interlocutores ubicados en la capital del país, sino también con actores de diferentes regiones pues creemos que las diferentes realidades en materia de ddhh deben ser interpretadas con ciertas particularidades atendiendo a cada contexto local y territorial. 

Además consideramos necesario democratizar los circuitos de participación y diálogo porque creemos que organizaciones y actores pequeños y nuevos no llegan a poder utilizar los mecanismos de Naciones Unidas a fin de proteger sus derechos. 

Por esa razón, creemos que es importante que la ONU pueda impulsar el armado y sostenimiento de redes regionales de defensoras y defensores de ddhh, con carácter democrático e inclusivo, que permita el debate, la consulta y la construcción colectiva en pos de la defensa por los derechos humanos. 

Como ultima propuestas creemos de especial importancia que ONU pueda fortalecer los momentos y espacios de diálogo entre los estados y las sociedades civiles dado el contexto latinoamericano en donde vemos vulnerados los derechos de los pueblos.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Fernanda Marchese, thank you very much for your input and for recommending that UN should facilitate and promote regional networks of human rights defenders for inclusive discussions and consultation, and experience exchange between and within such network.  Your recommendation is well noted!

Dr. Dena Jennings

Q2. Protection of civil society actors:

  1. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?**** Imani Works recommends that the UN makes formal and public statements are resolutions that support the work of the society actors, denounce clearly that the act of intimidation is a violation of human rights, and that the United Nations will use its influence to lead the intimidator to more humane responses in the current case and the future.
  2. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?**** Do not delay to take action or make a statement against such violations of human rights. When incidents happen, many organization who can imagine themselves in similar situations wait anxiously to hear something from the UN. When it takes a long time for the UN to respond, it seems as if the organization being threatened has been left to face the issue without the support of the international community. This send a message to would-be intimidators that no one is watching. It is especially uncomfortable when other organizations that promote human rights will come out with statements/action long before the UN makes their support known.

Q3. Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

  1. What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?**** Make invitations to civil society organization clear and early enough so the organizations can respond. For some of us, participation means long distance travel, arranging to step away from the local work. That takes time to organize. Update the list of events on the website. At time, when looking for events where information is presented that can influence policy making, I find old events and no updates for current ones. Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places. If some orientation were given to new organizations with consultative status, that would help. A video or video conference, a partnership with an established organization that has consultative status, reading materials beyond what currently exists would all go toward making the role of senior UN leadership clearer. Presently, there does not seem to be a point of contact with senior leadership. That makes them seem distant and inaccessible. This is a poor message even if unintended especially for organizations that represent and advocate for marginalized groups of people.
  2. What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?**** The UN has carefully walk the road of diplomacy in matter of a country's policies and laws. However, it is refreshing when the UN makes a statement of support for people who see their human rights threatened by their own government. It goes a long way in marginalized communities when it is made clear that the international community, specifically the UN, says to the world that it is aware of the plight of a people and the international community is watching.
  3. How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)? **** Regular consultations would be beneficial. It is helpful to know that the voices of those Imani Works represents will be heard. It would be amazing if a delegation of civil society were invited to high-level visits as representatives of the people.

Thank you for allowing this time of consultation. I look forward to continued opportunities to help the UN hear the voices of the people represented by Imani Works.

Emanuele Sapienza Moderator

Dear Dr. Dena Jennings - you point to a key issue: balancing the need for diplomacy with the importance of swift and bold action. This is a critical challenge and all the inputs from consultation participants on how the UN can best address this challenge are much appreciated.

Adem Carroll

I think this way of communicating is a bit alienating, but let me share a few small suggestions:

For the NGOs with offices at the UN in New York, the nature of intergovernmental politicking tends to exclude NGOs here, or at least limit involvement. Some nations and groups used to make more of an effort to reach grassroots leaders and stakeholders (OIC for example, which no longer does so). Even the UN Journal has become less useful and less accessible in the last year or so. 

To ensure civil society voices are heard, side and parallel events are possible to organize during larger conferences but of course partnership with Country Missions is required to obtain space in the UN rooms. Prices for meeting spaces are also high. At the same time  the WFUNA meetings are very worthwhile (at least as an NGO forum) and there are various meetings of high caliber. It remains to be seen how budgeting shortfalls affect all this.

NGOs are generally annoyed to be seated in the last rows of enormous rooms like the ECOSOC chambers, especially when all nation states are not in attendance. But small rooms are more congenial. However we are all booted out of the building by 6 pm. Is this really necessary? Cannot some rooms be made available for evening meetings?

We have all noted that fancy dress diplomatic functions do sometimes take place after hours. Some of them raise questions.

I am not aware of funds that assist the NGO community here. Funds (without strings) could be made available to some of the CONGO committees, for example, to encourage coordination among NGOs. There should be more support to such coordination, including between NGOs in different locations. Moreover, UN based media has little interest in NGOs. Even the protesters in Dag Hammarsjkold Plaza deserve a lot more respect and attention. They too are stakeholders.

New York City has an extremely vibrant civil society but there is a disconnect with the UN community, which generally does not linger after hours. Some Mission staff may be isolated from the life of this American city, but NGO staff rarely is. The New York Mayor's Office liaison to the UN does not regularly reach out to or include the NGO community, which would include the arts community. This is a missed opportunity. Instead of connection, there is a lack of transparency. The US Mission also does not show much leadership as hosts.

NGOs want the UN to succeed. While all the SDGs should be promoted, using whatever framework works for us, we note the politicization of human rights issues and the undermining of the Charter, attacks on the principle of R2P, the abusive use of the UNSC veto, peacekeepers' scandals, lack of protection for human rights defenders, weakness of conflict and genocide prevention and many other serious failings. 

I do hope that we will soon see a more interactive series of meetings (some of them in person) to discuss these and other issues. I am still reading the many thoughtful comments.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Adem Carroll, thank you for pointing many of the challenges that civil society face when they engage with the UN intergovernmental processes (and some of those issues were raised by other contributors), including in relation to exclusion and limited involvement of NGOs, including those at the grassroots level, lack of spaces and seating arrangement in the UN conference rooms, lack of funds to assist the NGO community, and the need for better coordination among NGOs, and many other issues.

Afolami Michael Oluwatomisin

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to improving safe spaces for CSOs like Peace Actor Network. PAN is seeking to preempt conflict in communities through attitudinal reorientation and by meeting identified community needs. 

On safe civil society participation and ensuring people have a say in their country. When national governments know that the works and voices of a certain NGO or individual are recognized by the UN, they are forced to give credibility to such NGOs or individuals. The UN should consider due recognition of CSOs and re-echoimg their voices in the most possible way that their home governments will acknowledge and accept their inputs. By supporting CSOs through collaboration, recognition and improved access to funding, NGOs are motivated and reassured of the UN's commitment to promoting civic spaces.

The UN should endeavour to simplify its communication strategy in order for CSOs to get timely access to important information. Modes of engagement with the UN should also be less cumbersome to allow for inclusive participation of CSOs without restraint. This will not only give national governments an understanding of the UN-CSOs relationship, it will also make CSOs more valuable and respected by their home governments, thus triggering them to accord CSOs the spaces that they need to thrive and act.

On leaving no one behind. One important way to promote and advocate for civic spaces is localising the UN processes. So much so that CSOs at all levels including at the grassroots are able to not only understand the UN procedures. They are also given the opportunity to contribute and get meaningfully involved and engaged in implementing policies at the grassroots. For instance, the UN Major Groups and other Stakeholders should be given maximum channels, opportunities and support to engage and interact with populations in both remote and urban areas. 

On protection of civil society actors. NGOs go through a lot to not only make sure the SDGs are attained, but to also create a better world. The UN should therefore not make this appear as an exclusive responsibility of CSOs. The UN could create a dedicated agency that serves as a watchdog for states and their relationship with CSOs across the world. The agency will popularize the works of NGOs through the media, national agencies, and at HLPF and every other strategic meetings. At every critical time, the UN should consider press releases and public statements as well as diplomatic correspondences that clearly reinforces the UDHR and the rights of civil society actors to his legal works.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Afolami Michael Oluwatomisin, thank you for your contribution, and you raised an important point that "when national governments know that the works and voices of a certain NGO or individual are recognized by the UN, they are forced to give credibility to such NGOs or individuals".  This may encourage a greater engagement by civil society with the UN, which in turn contributes to the visibility of civil society actors and may improve their protection.  Thank you also for making other important points on improved access to funding, simplifying communication strategy and ensuring timely access to important, make engagement channels and procedures less cumbersome to allow inclusivity, and the need to localize the UN processes.  On the issue of "localization" could you clarify what you mean concretely?

Ibadoghlu71

As a representative of Public Initiatives Center, Azerbaijan, Baku based CSOs,  I am sharing my recomenandation on the role of the UN in protecting and promoting civic space.

1. UN should define human rights and freedoms as a priority in their activities, and should take steps that will help to improve and have an impact on the openness of the government's human rights discussions. Furthermore, they should exert an influence over decision-making process related to legitimacy, and should focus on the activities affecting root causes of existing problems through taking on a political pioneering responsibility;

2. UN should create opportunities for language and professional experience, carry out short-term trainings, and allocate special funds for language courses of local NGOs.

3. UN should request the participation of NGOs in the process of allocation of grants to the government, terminate employment with individual contracts, should make competitions available only to local NGOs and allocate grants not only to Civil Society Institutions, but also to NGOs coalitions as well.

4. UN should provide organizational, technical and financial support to Civil Society Institutions with an aim to establish and maintain NGO houses (office creation for joint use with NGOs and regular funding opportunities).

5. UN should intensify institutional developmental programs and initiatives targeted for the development of research-oriented independent CSOs. Moreover, it should provide both technical and financial support for local think tanks aimed at promoting access to regional and global markets.

6. UN should increase their support to younger generation through scholarship programs and study tours.

 

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Ibadoghlu71, thank you for your input and you are raising a critical point on "legitimacy" and "root causes of existing problems" that needs to paid a greater attention when UN engages with the government.  Your further points, technical, capacity-building and financial support to civil society is duly noted.

Ibadoghlu71

In Azerbaijan, CSOs continue to operate in highly restrictive legal environments that limit access to funding—particularly foreign funding—with virtually no space for independent advocacy.  CSOs in Azerbaijan have weak organizational capacities, and little public support. Country that have long been led by repressive regimes further tightening control over the civil sector. Restrictions take a variety of forms, but commonly focus on restricting CSOs’ access to funding, increasing reporting requirements, and state harassment of CSOs criticizing the work of the government or holding it accountable. 
Independent civil society has been abolished as a result of observations due to pressure of the repressive authorities of the region through mobilization of resources that are crucial to the activities of NGOs. Now, instead of real civil society institutions that have once been a part of the global and national dialogue platforms, these authorities are very active in filling the places with the NGOs that are dependent and controlled by the state's financial resources. Independent NGOs have been fragmented and weakened in Azerbaijan, as a result of increasing toughening both legal and practical barriers hindering the activities of an independent civil society. Thus, independent civil society institutions in these countries have faced serious difficulties in implementing their organizational missions. Therefore, in order to get out of the situation, they have acted in various ways and have chosen different tactics to survive and maintain their existence as soon as possible, not as long term strategic plans. Thus, a group of independent NGO leaders from Azerbaijan are forced to leave the country and live in exile. While some of them are currently active, most of them have either changed their occupation or generally stopped their activities. While other independent NGOs remain in the country, they prefer to suspend their activities temporarily for maintaining their reputation and keep passive position to be insured from possible effects. Finally, the latter group of independents did not keep up the pressure changing their positions and acting among government-oriented NGOs within the boundaries of the government. Repressive governments seeking maximum profit from this opportunity also” benefit” from the previous influences of independent NGOs, creating civil society-government partnership and dialogue platforms through their representation providing examples of the false cooperation of NGOs with state bodies. At the same time, by promoting NGOs that have lost their independence they fill the created gap with constructive co-operation forms.  Therefore, UN office in repressive country, like Azerbaijan should stop false cooperation of pro-governmental NGOs.

Gubad Ibadoghlu, Public Initiatives Center, Azerbaijan. 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Ibadoghlu71, thank you again for raising another issue in relation to emergence and increasing number of government-sponsored NGOs (GONGOs).  In your view, how the UN should support legitimate NGOs and address the issue of GONGOs?  We welcome your thoughts and ideas on this.

Ivona Truscan Moderator

 

DAY 10 (WEEK 2)

 

Dear Participants,

Welcome to the 10th and last day of the consultations, and we also welcome newly joined participants.  A number of ideas and suggestions were made yesterday, which can be summarized as:

  • the UN should improve its capacity to monitor and report on civic space trends and on situations of intimidation and reprisals;
  • participants provided suggestions on how to ensure participation and involvement of civil society actors from local communities, including the possibility to establish desk officers in communities of interest;
  • participants reiterated the point to strengthen efforts to protect human rights defenders, especially youth;
  • The need for UN mechanisms to work more closely with country mechanisms (with particular example of cooperation in the area of human rights implementation);
  • Participants stressed on the need to ensure multilingualism to enable participation;
  • Procedures for the participation of civil society actors, including accreditation may in some cases limit opportunities for engagement of civil society actors;
  • The UN needs to adopt a broad understanding of accessibility to UN -facilitated intergovernmental processes;
  • Participants made substantive suggestions to improve access to information with regard to human rights issues;
  • The challenges faced by civil society actors with disabilities in their engagement with the UN were highlighted;
  • Participants underlined the role played by civil society actors using art and culture to participate in decision-making processes and the limitations to their participation;
  • Participants explained that civil society organizations are not effectively involved in UN processes even in cases where such participation was prescribed in UN documents, such as a number of Security Council Resolutions regarding counter-terrorism;
  • Participants reiterated the point on strengthening regional networks and joint cooperation opportunities for civil society actors;

Thank you and we look forward to further contributions and exchanges! 

 

Wafaa Jabre Moukahal

Dear @Ivona Truscan,

Thank you for your answer. One of the biggest challenges we face as NGOs working with refugees and internally displaced persons especially  in emergency situations is lack of funds. Nowadays, with the violent events taking place in Lebanon, fundraising is practically inexistent and international and local help from donors or from our government are very scarce to say the least. Poverty, hunger and despair are raising to unprecedented levels. Some refugees get help from the UN but a great number of others are not as lucky and we encounter huge difficulties in getting the bare necessities for all the displaced beneficiaries who depend on our help. Medicines for many diseases are not available anymore in our country and the prices of all basic products have doubled.

We also face the problem of Syrian refugees/ other refugees and internally displaced Lebanese. Help comes from the UN mainly for Syrian refugees leaving a feeling of unfairness in other refugees and Lebanese. We have to tackle this delicate issue and to deal with the consequences on the mitigated feelings of the beneficiaries. It is not an ideal situation when we are facing problems of acceptance, tolerance and discrimination.

Reassessing the needs of communities embracing different nationalities of refugees and internally displaced people and helping them achieve a better quality of life would go a long way in promoting the role of the UN and in improving the population's perception of the CSOs.

 

 

Christine Meissler
Dear all, Many thanks for your comments and many thanks Nicholas for supporting our Point on the NGO committee. I am very sorry that I did not have the time to read and react to the Points made on protection, but here are the comments on Q2 from the ACT Alliance. I hope that you find them helpful and that they are reinforcing other comments. Q2. Protection of civil society actors: Q2.1 What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures? Of course, there is a lot of work done, by the Special Rapporteurs on these issues, and their support is very welcome. But it cannot be left to them. The UN should assess the state of civil society frequently based on existing data as (e.g. ICNL , Civicus and EU road maps) and publicly respond to this – speak out about any rights violations – starting from lack of access to information or meaningful participation. The UN itself and its agencies, including their offices in the specific countries, should engage effectively against repressive initiatives and laws together with other bilateral donors or multinational /intergovernmental organisations. Including by maintaining constant contact with local civil society organisations and through clear, precise and consistent statements as provided according to guidance for protecting Human Right Defenders. This can be accompanied by discreet silent diplomacy measures, but it cannot be replaced by them. It would be key that the UN and its agencies take a clear stance and is outspoken vis a vis any intimidation and criminalization. It is of importance to react towards the early signs of intimidation and not only start to react when severe rights violations such as threatening and killing takes place. The UN should have a vital preventive roll not only curative, it should focus on the risk potential and work to stop the root causes of those risks through having risk mitigation plans. It also means engaging on the duty of states to protect and on combating impunity by demanding effective investigation of human rights abuses and effective findings and criminal proceedings in cases of crimes against human rights defenders and other civil society actors. Many human rights defenders are harassed and threatened, even in UN spaces if I may say so. In this sense, the UN could try to lead on the development of more robust anti-harassment policies in physical/online spaces and create a whistleblower type of system for human rights defenders that have been intimidated and/or threatened in UN spaces. Members and partners of us have been intimidated and threated at Palais the Nations by country missions. The UN should send a message that this is simply inadmissible. Issues like restrictive laws silencing Human Rights advocates, criminalization of actors or obstruction of digital space must be addressed by the UN, international donors and CSO together. This includes expanding programmes that enhance CSOs capacities on evidence-based advocacy and supporting alliances of CSOs with different competencies, including grassroots organizations to avoid fragmentation. Q2.2 How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN? We suggest a separate complaint system and with staff members at the Geneva and NYC buildings to make sure human rights defenders have someone which they can address and talk to and to follow up on requests/complaints. Additionally, this should include capacity building on e.g. safe communication but also on monitoring and data collection. It needs the networks and structures to make sure reliable data reaches the UN bodies /special rapporteurs etc.
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Christine Meissler, thank for raising many constructive and important points in relation to protection, and many similar points were raised by others too.  If I may focus on some points that were not covered in greater detail before and may need additional inputs would be: the UN's role in assessing the state of civil society relates to some of the earlier comments on monitoring frameworks (what the UN could do in addition to information/reports provided by NGOs and UN human rights mechanisms), especially reliable tools and approaches in identifying early warning and early signs of intimidation.  In relation to your point on "criminalization of actors or obstruction of digital space must be addressed by the UN, international donors and CSO together", what would be your ideas of possible partnership modalities that would help to address monitoring, early warning, and other issues you raised.  We welcome further ideas on these.

Christine Meissler

And here our points on advocacy for civic space

Q3 Promotion of and advocacy for civic space:

Q3.1 What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)?

We think there are two issues here: (i) States tend to see critical CSOs as enemies; and (ii) government delegations hardly have any diversity.

On point one, the UN could have an educative role demonstrating that without CSOs, States cannot deliver on a robust and comprehensive development agenda (i.e. CSOs are critical friends not enemies).

On the second point, the UN should issue guidance for government delegations and country missions to ensure there is diversity in terms of all the important markers such as gender, geographical location, ethnicity, ability, etc.

 

Q3.2 What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)?

The UN could help set up national multi stakeholder consultations clustering a myriad of priority themes for the UN. Often governments lack the funds and the knowledge to put together participatory, transparent and democratic consultation. A brief guidance would be useful and similarly the support of a UN staff member or consultant. Ideally, the consultation would talk about the SDGs and related human rights themes as it touches upon many areas and therefore it is more efficient use of people’s time.


The UN should invest civil society networks and platforms to support the empowerment and advocacy work of local civil society initiatives. Those networks are to be diverse and inclusive enough. The CSO platform could also offer capacity building on early warning, safe communication, opportunities of participation and data collection – creating evidence and knowledge on how data shall be fed in.


Q3.3 How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

There is already some literature on the role of civic space to implementing the SDGs (see ACT alliance/ IDS 2019, Development needs civic space https://actalliance.org/act-news/development-needs-civil-society-the-im… ), however, it needs more indepth research and in particular publicity for this fact and more commitment to support this space. With the strong integration of the private sector into development civil society is rather pushed back. The space at the HLPF for civil society to participate was pretty much restricted. For example, it was extremely difficult for CSO to organize events without a government supporting. There was even intimidation of governments during the VNR. The UN could learn from GPEDC where space for CSO is clearly better.

 

● Emphasize the need for sustained political leadership in promoting open civic space and understanding the challenges of changing civic spaces, including uncivil space and the misuse of digital space;

● Make use of SDG 17 as a platform to demonstrate civic space as a pre-condition for advancing Agenda 2030;

● Show that an open society and inclusion are necessary for sustainable growth as a counter-narrative to the visions of economic growth in closed societies;

● Promote funding modalities for initiatives that showcase the important role of civil society in the achievement of the SDGs;

● Ensure that foreign, security, trade and migration policies have no negative impact on human rights or civic space in other countries;

● Examine the relationship between economic growth and inequality to understand how growth is compatible with the “leaving no one behind” principle;

● Promote the expansion and defence of civic space particularly for marginalized groups in international organisations, fora and negotiation processes;

● Develop early warning and action systems which include systematic monitoring by embassies of fundamental freedoms, laws and rules for civil society organisations, in particular in countries where civil society is facing widespread attacks.

Also, the UN should consider to launch a campaign on the defunding of the UN system, the delay in government payments (or the manipulation of the payments for political purposes), the de-legitimation of human rights narratives and the lack of protection for human rights defenders. That is, we need to tackle the root causes of the symptoms we are discussing here. A more solid and well-resourced UN is fundamental for a healthy civil society and enabling human rights environments. If the UN feels it would be more appropriate to have a CSO or a civil society coalition supporting or leading on this, ACT Alliance Members such as Christian Aid or Brot für die Welt would be happy to support that with other networks such as the ACT Alliance and CONGO. Changing the narrative is an important starting point. We could then create a roadmap to follow up on the above-mentioned points such as the strengthening of Financing for Development (FfD) process through SDG 17 work and beyond.

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Christine Meissler, many thanks for another set of pertinent suggestions on the promotion of civic space.  I am not sure if I can respond to all of them, however, there are many entry points where many of your suggestions could be considered.  And, one of them is the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, which seeks to support the State authorities in implementing the SDGs and ensuring that civil society and the public are part of this process.  Thank you also for raising some of the issues I briefly referred to in some of earlier responses to other contributions, which are in relation to shrinking funding available to the UN system as a whole, and specifically a very limited funding available to the UN human rights pillar on the backdrop of "the de-legitimation of human rights narratives" as you noted.  We greatly take note that ACT Alliance and its partners stand ready to support the UN on many of those issues.  Thank you!

Montana Duangprapa
  1. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?  Answer --> I receive information on UN processes from an officially website of OHCHR, particular on a Human Rights Bodies bar. The website provides a huge information for my organization in general. However, my organization receive specific information, such as date, session and criteria to evaluate Thailand, from our partners to active participate with the processes. INGOs with ECOSOC consultative status and organizations worked base in Geneva are main measure to engage with the UN.
  2. With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups? Answer --> Active local consult and officer who understand diverse civil groups and political climate enhance UN work. Trust and understanding are beginning points to open conversation with vulnerable groups. Therefore, the active local staff will lead those entry point.         
  3. What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures? Answer -->To urge a government or government agencies to investigate the attacks and violence against the civil society actors are at risk. In case of judicial harassment, UN should call for a government to drop the ongoing prosecutions of those activists; as well as to continue observing the cases/charging/prosecutions of people/civil influencers charged.
  4. How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN? Answer --> Human rights defender school in Thailand might be an example of cooperate among UN and civil society actors to prevent a stage’s reprisal against people. OHCHR Thailand provided a basic of types, risk, and protection of physical and non-physical intimidations for human rights defender.   
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Montana Duangprapa, thank you for sharing some good examples, which are appreciated.  We hope that others will greatly learn from your experience in promoting "human rights defender schools" in Thailand as a great example of cooperation between the UN and civil society actors to prevent threats and attacks against people.  In this consultation, we invited participants to share such examples, and we thank you for doing this.  If you can elaborate on this example and share your experience on how such schools worked, we think it would be of great benefit to others.

Ellie Al-Kahwati

Dear all,

Thank you OHCHR for providing this space and forum to discuss how to strengthen the democratic space for civil societies around the world and your important role in these efforts. Much have been said already so I will try not to repeat the many great point that have already been stated. I do however want to stress some critical issues related to Q2 on protection of civil society actors:
a) What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?

The UN mechanisms, not only the Special rapporteurs monitoring these issues, but also UN agencies etc, need to focus more on monitoring the human rights situation in remote areas and the way CSOs, human rights actors and activtists are being treated. More than often, issues are highlighted when people are being arrested, for example during rallies or demonstrations, and less on the everyday life of CSOs, for example the issue of how many organisations working with human rights or defending social justice and inclusion are being shut down as well as their activities, including the right to organize meetings and travel being restricted or even refused. Another key factor for the UN to look deeper into is the way Police and other security services are treating civil society actors. More than often, where bad treatment and human rights abuses occur, the government is corrupted and the justice system likewise. It becomes immensely difficult for CSOs to claim their rights towards the security sector and the judiciary, why the UN is urgently needed to play a key role in supporting civil society actors and work long-term with the state towards a change.

b) How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN?

  • Where possible, facilitate asylum and refugee protection for human rights defenders facing repression and exposed at high risks and serious danger in their countries of residence
  • Provide enough funding to HRDs organizations to implement their activities but also to cover costs of lawyers in court hearings
  • Bring issues to justice at the international level, such as through the use of the International Court of Justice and other regional court jurisdictions whose authorities responsible of human rights abuses and massive violations of human rights. There is a need of reforming the International Court of Justice to act neutral and impartial and with independence
  • Support states that are putting targeted sanctions in place against those members of government responsible of human rights violations (abuses, intimidation, arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, violent repression and even targeted assassinations and forced displacement of activists, etc) and constituting barriers to respect and promote human rights, peace and democracy.
Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

Hello @Ellie Al-Kahwati, thank you for you succinct points and adding to what has been raised many times by other participants.  Your point on the need to for the UN system (and not only UN human rights mechanisms) to put in place mechanisms to monitor human rights situation in remote areas is a critical one, which links to other similar comments, including in regions and areas where UN human rights system may not have an access.  Would you have any concrete ideas as to what tools and approaches would be useful (e.g. partnership with tech companies, satellite and/or remote monitoring technology, internet or online analytics and tools that could be helpful for this purpose etc)?  Your other points on a greater funding needs and the need to reform international justice system are well noted too!

Niyi Soleye

Dear Team,

 

Thank you so much for this platform. Please find answers to the questions below:

Q1: What are entry points for you to engage with the UN organizations and/or processes at international and national levels? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)? Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN? 

Answer: 

There have been many collaborations especially with the specialized agencies of the United Nations such as UNICEF, UNESCO that works at the national and sub-national levels. The challenges being faced in engaging with the UN may be as a result of bureaucracy in the level of engagement.

There hasn’t really been any contestation when it comes to participation at the level of the United Nations since grouse could be directly majorly to the agencies under the UN

Q2: How do you receive information about the UN ‘s work and processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

Answer: 

United Nations works could be accessed through newsletters, print media, online media and also publications uploaded on partner’s websites. UN policies are easily accessible as a result of public engagement.

Access to information can be improved through open data policy and publications in national government partners websites

 

Q3: With a view to “leaving no one behind”, what can the UN do to reach out to diverse civil society actors or groups (e.g. women, youth, persons with disabilities, older persons, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals) in your country/region/area of work? Can you provide good examples of the UN reaching out to specific groups? 

Answer: With regard to women, youth, persons living with disabilities and other groups, the United Nations can work with diverse groups that work majorly within this space. Such as associations and interest groups.


For Instance, the United Nations collaborations with the Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth development. The United Nations can work with an organization like BudgIT (info@yourbudgit.com; www.yourbudgit.com), Nigeria’s leading civic tech organization.

Q4: Do you have any comments about civil society participation in intergovernmental bodies and/or forums (e.g. General Assembly, Security Council, ECOSOC, Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review, various commissions, etc.)? Do specific groups (e.g. women, youth, migrants, minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT groups, etc.) face greater obstacles than others in accessing UN inter-governmental fora? How could the UN support efforts towards more diversity? 

Answer: 

The United Nations Foras are mostly attended through invitations to civil society groups to either serve as observers or participants. Invitations are mostly forwarded strictly by invitations.

Since UN events are mostly by invitation, the UN can intentionally reach out to these groups by inviting them and even providing logistics support. Insufficient funding could serve as a hindrance to these groups from attending these events.

The UN can support efforts towards diversity by embarking on aggressive campaigns and intentionally providing aid to these groups to meet their felt needs.

The UN should be encouraged to extend participation to groups to deal with matters that are being discussed at the level of the international body.

Q5: What role do you expect the UN to play in situations when civil society actors are at risk (e.g. of intimidation, threats and attacks off-line and on-line)? Can you provide examples of the UN taking such measures?

Answer: 

The United Nations should enact policies that will guide the activities of Civil society organizations against threats or intimidations from Governments.

For instance: The NGO bill being proposed by the Nigerian National Assembly was reported to the United Nations through the Social- Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

 Q6:  How could the UN strengthen its protection role, including in cases of intimidation and/or reprisals against people who cooperate or seek to cooperate with the UN? 

Answer: 

UN should work directly with the law-making bodies of different member countries to initiate and enforce laws that will ensure the free participation of the people in UN activities. 

The UN should also ensure that acts of protests by people against government policies should not lead to civil unrest or breakdown of law and order in various countries.

Q7: What role should the UN and its senior leadership play vis-a-vis State authorities in terms of ensuring safe civil society participation in national policy discussions and decision-making processes? How can the UN support diverse participation in these processes (e.g. of women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBT individuals)? 

Answer: 

The UN can serve a reminder to the authorities of the basic human rights of the people. Everyone should be able to participate in society, to defend her/his interests, to help create a society, which also fulfills her/his interests and desires. The freedom to vote and stand for elections and the freedoms of association and assembly are the major political expressions of such participation. These rights form the bases for any representative, democratic process and active civil society, and ensure that public affairs are truly public. The right to participate in government is also intricately linked with other rights, such as the right to education and the right to freedom of conscience and religion. The UN can enforce a law/policy giving civil society autonomy to act on behalf of the citizens.

Q8: What role should the UN play to ensure people have a say in their country (e.g. regarding national laws and policies on protests, access to information, freedoms of expression and association)? 

Answer: 

The UN can serve as a medium that speaks on behalf of the citizen, in essence, they could engage the citizen and educate them. School every one of the citizens about the Law and its process. If any citizen is assured that when they speak themselves their lives will be safe then they will come out, speak and also be a part of the law-making process. 

 

Q9: How could the UN strengthen its political support to civil society (e.g. through more positive narratives on civil society, meetings during high-level visits, regular consultations etc.)?

Answer: 

Support should be given through policies from various national governments, enactment of laws that guide the activities of Civil societies and provision of funding to help the various projects of these organizations.

Consultations between the UN, Governments and Civil Societies on policies that will guide their interest in the civic society space.

 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Niyi Soleye, thank you for responses to many of the questions, which reinforce views and opinions expressed by others, for sharing your positive examples of partnering with the UN, and also for pointing out that such issues as bureaucratic processes, the need to improve access to information through open data policy, targeted invitations to less represented groups to participate in the UN intergovernmental processes, serve as a medium that speaks on behalf of the citizen, and many other points.

Christine Meissler

Dear all,

there is one point which I complete forgot to include regarding civil society participation in UN conferences:

We observed at the UNFCCC in Katowice 2018 with great concern and dismay  that NGO colleagues were banned from entering the country and were also arrested. NGO colleagues disappeared and nobody knew where they were being held. This harassment of participants at a United Nations climate conference was an unprecedented precedent. In the middle of Europe, a total of 13 climate protectors were arrested or refused entry to Poland.
The respected UN entities hosting international conferences need to make sure that national governments garantee civil society participation at UN conferences, that visa needed are to be provided for civil society participation and that activists are not arrested or intimidated in any  way, but are free to participate in UN conferences and / or peaceful protests around conferences.

Georges Mpaga

Pour faire avancer l'espace civique , Il faut envisager la mise en oeuvre de deux  résolutions globales au Conseil de sécurité et à l'Assemblée Générale des Nations -Unies . Les ONG internationales comme CIVICUS, Amnesty international, Frontline , PWYP doivent amplifier les stratégies et les efforts de plaidoyer à l'échelle globale

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@Georges Mpaga, thank you for bringing up the important roles played by international NGOs.  In your view, how they can partner with the UN proactively and constructively in defending human rights and protecting civic space, in addition to the monitoring and advocacy roles?

marion

Dear all, 

Thank you very much for this initiative. 

Please find attached the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) coalition's submission. 

We hope these suggestions will be useful and remain at your disposal for any question or information. 

Best regards, 

Marion 

Baatar Bayarmagnai Moderator

@marion, thank you for attaching your detailed input.  We invite you to highlight a few specific issues, if possible, to which other participants could respond and have a discussion.

Vincent Ploton

Q1. Partnership/participation:

  1. What are entry points for you to engage with the UN? What are the challenges you face in engaging with the UN (e.g. unclear about entry points/contacts, opaque and complex procedures, etc.)?

We support HRDs in their engagement with the UN Treaty Bodies. Generally, they are relatively accessible and they all have policies and/or practices to systematically engage with NGOs as part of periodic reviews. It is also greatly appreciated that NGOs do not need ECOSOC accreditation to engage with the TBs.

In spite of these positive aspects, NGO engagement with the TBs can and must be facilitated further. For instance, there can be significant differences in how NGOs can engage with the Treaty Bodies, including in terms of timing for engagement, and format. Some Treaty Bodies do not systematically provide private or safe spaces for NGOs to engage with the TBs which can be deeply problematic in countries and situations where they are at risk. There is also a dire need to improve the transparency of the system, including by providing clear and accessible information on which TB members are in charge of what, e.g. who are the members of working groups on individual communications, who are the focal points on reprisals, focal point on the 2020 review, etc

 

Have you ever contested decisions that restricted your participation in the UN?

Not with the TBs but we regularly engage with them to provide suggestions on how TB cooperation with civil society can be enhanced.

 

  1. How do you receive information about UN processes? Have you experienced any difficulties in accessing information about the UN’s policies and processes? What measures do you suggest to improve access to information and quality of information?

Besides the website, and some information available on the UN Human Rights twitter feed, the email updates (news releases, media advisory, briefing notes are very useful, including the civic space weekly updates. Nevertheless, email updates are hard to sign up to for CSOs as they are mainly designed for the media. Weekly updates on civic space are very helpful but they do not provide exhaustive information. For instance, there are moments when the Treaty Body section is not updated, and some information is only partial, e.g. on the countries to be reviewed as part of the TB follow up procedures or decisions/views adopted on individual communications, each and every one of which should receive equal treatment in terms of dissemination and outreach.

More broadly, NGOs should not need to rely on either personal connections with OHCHR staff or TB members to get access to basic information. NGOs should not have to systematically reach out to OHCHR staff to solicit basic information which should be readily available. To do so, OHCHR, including the Treaty Body section need to move away from a culture of relative opacity to a culture of full transparency. INGOs with a specific access and relation to individual TBs provide a huge help to NGO engagement, including t