The Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on civil society space by consensus on July 13th during its 53rd session.  

This year’s resolution underscores the importance of civil society and the need to ensure inclusive, diverse, and meaningful participation. In addition to calling attention to barriers faced by civil society, the resolution includes a stronger call includes for the first time, a strong call on States to support diversity of civil society participation. It also asks states to establish or enhance information-gathering and monitoring mechanisms to ensure trends in civic space are being tracked and addressed. Lastly, the resolution requests the OHCHR to prepare a report, in consultation with civil society, that identifies challenges and best practices relating to civic space trends. 

This timely resolution comes at a time where a post-COVID civic space has been more dangerous and civil society faces greater and more diverse threats, harassment and attacks, both online and offline.  

This recurrent resolution builds upon the 2018 resolution on civil society by highlighting additional threats posed online and by digital technologies to civil society as well as greatly increasing references to and recognition of diversity in civil society. 

Child Rights Connect, along with Save the Children, has been closely following this resolution and conducting targeted advocacy efforts with both the core group and other states during informals. We have focused our advocacy efforts on two key asks:  

  1. Strengthening language with respect to diversity and pluralistic civil society 
  1. Mainstreaming an age-perspective throughout the text in those paragraphs where additional measures to ensure children and youth participation are needed. 

In general, the core group took several suggestions by civil society, including:  

  • The inclusion of language around diversity throughout the text, including additional language on gender, age, and disability. 
  • A greater emphasis on gender and gender-responsive measures  
  • Explicit references to age-responsive measures in encouraging States to support diversity and maintain a safe environment both online and offline 
  • References to minorities, Indigenous Peoples and persons with disabilities 
  • Re-emphasizing the need for special attention for participation in hybrid and online meetings 

Ultimately, based on our advocacy efforts, the resolution includes stronger language on diversity and specifically on age, a true win for children! Going forward, we will seek to maintain the momentum created by the resolution and use its language around diversity to push back on attacks against children’s right to participate and express their views freely and their rights as human rights defenders.  You can find the resolution here.