The space for people to speak out, organize and take action against poverty, inequality and injustice is shrinking on a global scale. People in many countries around the world face serious restrictions and repression when exercising their basic rights. This includes citizens who raise their voices against corruption and political dysfunction, organizations that save lives and provide basic services to people in need, communities that defend their sustainable livelihoods and demand a fair share of natural resources, and activists who fight for gender justice.
Defending civic space is not the responsibility of only one part of civil society – such as human rights organizations or activists. It is the diversity, breadth and vibrancy of civil society that has the potential to successfully reclaim and create civic space. Committed and coordinated actions from activists, academics, journalists, civil society organizations, progressive policy makers and other allies are needed to reverse the trend of shrinking civic space.
This paper outlines the analysis and strategic focus which inform Oxfam’s contribution to the global defence of civic space.
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