PWYP members’ experiences of closing civic space

Consultation report for 2019

To understand members’ experiences more fully and identify their challenges and needs around civic freedoms, the PWYP Secretariat carried out in-depth profiling of the situation in two countries: Niger and the Republic of the Congo. We then carried out an online survey to find out more about members’ experiences facing increasingly restricted fundamental freedoms and multiple political upheavals on all continents.

PWYP members report that the growing global trend of closing civic space is exerting increasing pressure on them, undermining their activism and their ability to successfully deliver the people-centred extractive sector at the heart of our Vision 2025 strategy. Restrictions to civic freedoms in law and in practice mean many members struggle to participate meaningfully in public spheres and in decisions that affect them and the communities they represent. This restrictive environment, combined with the threats and attacks against them, have a chilling effect and generate self-censorship, as members are often afraid to openly oppose public policies or extractive companies, for fear of intimidation or other threatening consequences.

The findings in this report are limited in scope – geographically, as both missions were carried out in Francophone Africa, and in quantitative terms, as the survey had 34 respondents (although these were distributed worldwide). They cannot capture the complexity of the diversity of situations on the ground in full detail, but they do paint a clear and valuable picture of widespread violations of civic freedoms, how these affect PWYP members, and the support members feel they need in order to address these issues.

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