On September 22, websites of international NGOs and regional and local organizations all over the world turned their home pages blank. So did Hivos. We were protesting against the oppression of active citizens and organizations who want their voices to be heard, who want to gather or demonstrate peacefully. We went silent in solidarity with those who have been silenced against their will.
But now we are speaking out again
Because our protest is necessary. For the last few years, a large-scale offensive has been waged against civic freedoms. It is now turning increasingly violent. In 2016 alone, 281 activists and human rights defenders were murdered merely because they stood up for the rights of their community.
Across the world, civil society organizations, activists, media outlets and individuals who express critical opinions can expect reprisals from governments, security services or violent groups connected with a government.
What can you do?
On 23 and 24 September, the world is speaking as one, with hundreds of events happening around the globe. Go to https://www.togetherwespeak.org/events/ to find or register an event.
This calls for action. We must all stand united with those who refuse to tolerate the ongoing attacks on freedom of expression, civil society and human rights.