As part of the Global People’s Assembly, Forus, CIVICUS, and CPDE organized a joint panel on the state of human rights and civic space around the globe, with a specific focus on risks and opportunities in the digital era. Our Executive Director Ms. Biljana Spasovska, spoke on the panel representing BCSDN as the Regional Coordinator for Europe, along with Mandeep Tiwana, CIVICUS Chief Programmes Officer and Deirdre de Burca, Forus’ Advocacy Coordinator.
In her presentation, Biljana spoke about the state of civic space in the Balkans, based on the findings from our regional monitoring and talked about the experience from our region How the society can respond to threats to civic space and human rights.
She highlighted that the shrinking of the civic space in the Balkans have been further amplified by the covid-19 crisis, but also that the civil society have effectively responded to the new challenges and should take stock of the valuable lessons learn in the past period, including the potential of the digital civic space.
Mandeep Tiwana, spoke on current global trends and how civic space has shaped global history since the Second World War – in particular the right to peaceful assembly, while Deirdre de Burca talked about the challenge of creating an enabling digital environment for civil society globally.
The event provided an open forum with participants followed and it revolved around key questions linked to the portection and promotion of civic space and human rights and the role of digitalization in the expenditure of those rights. Through the discussion, Jyotsna Mohan Singh from the Asia Development Alliance moderating the panel asked “What can governments, civil society and the private sector do to better defend & promote a safe online and offline civic space & human rights globally?” and Bibbi Abruzzini, Forus’ Media and Campaigns Coordinator, shared the process behind the #Let’s Talk Digital campaign and the collective storytelling project A Space for Us podcast. “Are we involved in the digitalization process?
The role and responsibility of multinational corporations were highlighted in the discussion about digital democracy and civic space by Matt Simonds, CPDE’s Policy Officer.
The whole session is available to watch here.