WASHINGTON, DC (May 10, 2022) The restrictions on civic space in countries around the world have been increasing over the past decade but have been accelerated due to COVID-19. The urgency of the situation makes it vital for civil society to identify, monitor, and resist the misuse and normalization of extreme measures that further restrict civic space, or further alienate marginalized peoples.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for decades to promote a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression – launched the Under the Mask Project as a contribution to this effort. As part of the project, AFSC is organizing a two day-virtual workshop on ‘Promoting best state practice during pandemics.’ The workshop will take place on May 17th and May 18th at 12pm – 3pm GMT / 7am – 10am EDT / 2pm – 5pm EEST (Jordan) / 6am – 9am CDT (Mexico) / 2pm – 5pm EAT (Nairobi) / 6pm – 9pm ICT (Cambodia). Register for the workshop here.
The workshop will consist of the following four sessions:
- Session 1: Update and contextualize AFSC’s 10 best practices for governments before, during and after pandemics and reflect on state practice during COVID-19
- Session 2: Learn and discuss how to raise public awareness about the shrinkage of civic space during COVID-19, and discuss how to reclaim this space in a post-pandemic arena
- Session 3: Learn and discuss how to engage with governments and other relevant bodies on best practice of states and the demands of civil society
- Session 4: Reflect on how COVID-19 is one of many crises that are co-opted by states, and how this impacts civic spaces
Each session will be led by a specialist facilitator and consist of a presentation, breakout regional group discussion, and plenary. Following the event, a strategic document of the learning will be released to present to high level international bodies, organizations, and governments including what their role can be in this process; and learnings will be disseminated in an accessible format to inform and support civil society organizations, translated into French, Spanish, Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, and Burmese.
You can register for the two-day virtual workshop here. Registration closes on Wednesday 11th May. The workshop will take place on May 17th and May 18th at 12pm – 3pm GMT / 7am – 10am EDT / 2pm – 5pm EEST (Jordan) / 6am – 9am CDT (Mexico) / 2pm – 5pm EAT (Nairobi) / 6pm – 9pm ICT (Cambodia). There will be French, Spanish, Arabic, Bahasa, and Burmese interpretation available. You can also read case studies on protecting civic space during pandemics here.
The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) promotes a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression. Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, we nurture the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions.