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About the FGG alliance

The Fair Green and Global (FGG) alliance is an alliance of six civil society organisations. Both ENDS is the lead agency, and other member organisations are: ActionAid, Clean Clothes Campaign, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands), SOMO and Transnational Institute.

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#TogetherWeSpeak: FGG participates in CIVICUS’ SPEAK! Campaign

From September 22nd - 24th, FGG members took part in the SPEAK! Campaign, which was initiated by CIVICUS (the World Alliance for Citizen Participation) to direct global attention to attacks on fundamental freedoms and the reactive prevention of dissent, which manifests itself in the worldwide trend of shrinking civic space. The message was clear: “silence one of us and you will silence us all, until our silence is deafening and our voices are louder than ever”.

 

To this end, Friday the 22nd of September was designated as the Day of Silence. Out of protest and the proclamation of solidarity, participating organisations, including members of the FGG Alliance, blacked out their websites in support of those silenced against their will. Also on Friday, a one-page advertisement was published in NRC Next and NRC Handelsblad, courtesy of 14 Dutch civil society organisations, including the FGG Alliance.

Following the Day of Silence, the 23rd and 24th of September saw participating organisations and concerned citizens all over the world speak out on social media under #TogetherWeSpeak, which became the second most-trending hashtag in the Netherlands. In addition to the online campaign, 176 citizen-led events took place over the course of the weekend in a total of 79 countries.

On the final day, an op-ed on behalf of Both ENDS, ActionAid and SOMO also appeared on Joop.nl, entitled ‘Verdedigers mensenrechten steeds vaker de mond gesnoerd’. Herewith, we brought the struggle closer to home by arguing in favour of a proactive Dutch government that contributes to the protection of fundamental freedoms and human rights in the countries it invests in. Moreover, it underlined the importance of the SPEAK! Campaign with an example directly linked to our alliance: the police cordon and office raid of ActionAid Uganda on the 20th of September, supposedly because of ‘involvement in illicit activities’ – a vague and unmotivated accusation which presumably followed AA’s key involvement in a coalition of CSOs campaigning against a constitutional amendment that would lift the presidential age limit (read the statement here). As demonstrated by this worrisome situation, our partner organisations in the Global South are progressively subjected to restrictive laws, random controls, imprisonment, and threats against their physical integrity. To counter these obstructive measures and trends, the FGG programme emphasises the importance of creating an ‘enabling environment’. It seeks to do so through mutual capacity development with our partners, and by jointly lobbying and advocating in favour of people’s ability to freely and safely organise, voice their opinions, express their grievances, claim and defend their rights, and secure remedy.

Although the campaign is now well behind us, #TogetherWeSpeak continues to resonate the voices of those speaking out against injustices at home or abroad. The conversation must go on, especially as the defence of environmental and human rights has become an increasingly dangerous activity over the course of the last couple of years. While “the power of speaking together lives on”, we would like to reiterate CIVICUS’ underlying statement that “[a] just and sustainable future for all can only be achieved when we speak, stand and act together”.

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