3 October, 2017
This contribution by a participant of the International Civic Forum puts into context how insights from the Forum are relevant for local civil society in Cambodia, and what specific areas must be prioritised to defend people’s rights to participate in a country where civic space is rapidly shrinking before our eyes.
Between 11- 12 September, I had the opportunity to participate in International Civic Forum, held in Washington D.C., USA, with 68 leaders from civil society organisations, representatives from government, media and the private sector across the globe. It was an interesting and important forum where good topics, speakers and processes were deployed. Participants shared stories of how civic rights are being dramatically threatened, causing global concern for the gradual “shrinking” of space worldwide. This has been happening not only in the countries ruled by authoritarian governments or dictators, but also by populist politicians and within democracies.
Many governments around the world use legal frameworks, and actions such as harassment, intimidation, imprisonment and killing to silence civil society leaders, media, political activists, trade unionists, environmentalists, and many others.
The country that I come from, Cambodia, was discussed at the Forum as a case study of shrinking civic space. Participants agreed that urgent collective attention is needed as the situation in Cambodia is of serious concern. MORE