Space to be Heard: Mobilizing the power of people to reshape civic space

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The space for people to speak out, organize and take action against poverty, inequality and injustice is shrinking on a global scale. People in many countries around the world face serious restrictions and repression when exercising their basic rights. This includes citizens who raise their voices against corruption and political dysfunction, organizations that save lives and provide basic services to people in need, communities that defend their sustainable livelihoods and demand a fair share of natural resources, and activists who fight for gender justice.

This paper outlines the analysis and strategic focus which inform Oxfam’s contribution to the global defence of civic space and sets out four key changes that we believe are necessary to reclaim and create it. It also gives some key principles and an open invitation to every civil society organization, donor, government, business and individual who subscribes to these same principles to join our common struggle to protect, defend and expand civic space.