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Reclaiming Civic Space - round 2.

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

We have officially kicked off the face-to-face meeting in Brussels. This is the second main step in the project on promoting youth civic space through human rights education and youth work.

Civic space is an important arena for the citizen engagement and participation, and safeguarding it is an important guarantee for human rights, democracy and rule of law to function in our societies. Unfortunately, lately we have see the negative trends in Europe, which restricts and limits the civic space, often referred as "shrinking civic space phenomenon". The project is about addressing this issue, and it's done in partnership with Amnesty International.

After the first step in Turin, Italy, the second phase in Belgium brings together youth workers, educators and young activists to learn more about this phenomenon and plan actions to raise awareness about the issues in their communities.

Even though, the first two days were full of content and spaces for discussions, they went pretty fast. The programme started with icebreakers and continued with inputs about Civic and Political Rights and activities to understand the civic space and its place in our society. This was followed by the examination of ATA tool's (Assess, Train, Advocate) first instrument - the matrix to conduct a situational analysis of a civic space and calculate the Shrinking Space Index.

The tool is part of the "Reclaiming youth Civic Space" publication, which is in making currently, but soon will be available.

The second day of the programme has hosted 3 speakers to give various perspectives on shrinking civic space trends in the region, Leonie MARTIN (previous member of the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, representing Young European Federalists) made an intervention on the youth dimension of the phenomenon, Rares CRAIUT (from ECYC and Conference of the INGOs of the Council of Europe) brought the cases from various organisations and informal groups experiencing the phenomenon and Mariya YASENOVSKA (from Public Alternative) provided an insight on the situation of civil society and civic space in Ukraine under the war.

We tried to make the best of the fresh air outside in the yard.

More updates will come!

The project is organized by Human Rights Education Youth Network and Amnesty International with the financial support of the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe and Italian National Agency on Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps. This post does not necessarily reflect the official position of our partners and donors.

Special thanks goes to DROA Community HREYN's Belgian member for the logistical support, Council of Europe's Youth Department, and the Youth Partnership between Council of Europe and European Union for the supporting educational materials.

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