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News | Civil society needs ‘new tactics’ to reverse shrinking space, Kiai tells Asia-Pacific activists

Nov 09 2015

SEOUL, REPUBLIC OF KOREA – Civil society must pursue “new tactics and strategies” if it hopes to reverse the trend of shrinking civic space, Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai told a gathering of activists in Seoul on Nov. 5. “Governments have been clever” at conjuring new ways to restrict the operations of critical organizations, especially those working on human rights, he said. “The old methods aren’t working. Maybe it’s time for us to think of new ways to push this agenda. We need to think outside the box.” The UN expert’s remarks came during a consultation with civil society from the Asia-Pacific region, which was convened as part of a joint project on civic space between Kiai’s mandate and the Community of Democracies. The project focuses particularly on civil society’s right to access resources, and aims to expand the body of knowledge on this subject while hearing about challenges that activists face. Nearly 20 civil society leaders from 14 countries across the region attended in the consultation. Ambassador Maria Leissner, Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, opened the meeting. Participants said that restrictions on civic space in Asia have accelerated in recent years, with governments taking escalating measures to silencing dissenting voices. In... Continue reading →