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In Kenya, the fight for the rights to Yala swamp was hard-won when a large company took lease over the land on which a community had lived for generations.

Political space

The unequal and unjust power relations that lead to poverty are perpetuated by large corporations and globalisation, while governments pursue power and wealth, leading to systematic corruption and sabotage of institutions. These failures of governance impede people’s opportunities to fulfil their rights, and to rise out of poverty: this particularly affects the most vulnerable.

Democratic governance was designed to respond to these issues, but in many countries democratic institutions have lost value and legitimacy. This could be due to informal power structures – based on factors like class, religion, or history – remaining stronger than the formal structures. In some countries, corporations control political processes, including the media, with serious implications for the legitimacy and freedom of democracy.

Within this challenging context, we find hope in the struggles of social movements and civil society. The agenda and actions of social movements, civil society and their emerging platforms represent an emerging force to build citizenship and rebalance power. These spaces of freedom and democracy can begin to counter the centralisation of wealth, knowledge and power. From local to global levels, these movements have tremendous potential to transform democracy and build fairer governance.

Latest

Margarita represents the case of communities affected by the contamination of La Pasión River in Guatemala.
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We denounce the criminalisation of human rights defenders and require guarantees for Claudia Samayoa and Jorge Martínez

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Shrinking space in Zambia cover
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attacks_on_civil_and_democratic_space_online-1.png
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Attacks on Civic and Democratic Space

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Our civic space is shrinking. Here's how we've responded — and you can, too

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News

We denounce the criminalisation of human rights defenders and require guarantees for Claudia Samayoa and Jorge Martínez

Read more
Margarita represents the case of communities affected by the contamination of La Pasión River in Guatemala.
Opinion

Time for a complete U-turn on natural resource management

Read more
Opinion

Our civic space is shrinking. Here's how we've responded — and you can, too

Read more
Shrinking space in Zambia cover
Publication

Shrinking space in Zambia

Read more
attacks_on_civil_and_democratic_space_online-1.png
Publication

Attacks on Civic and Democratic Space

Read more