The Importance of Civil Societies
Civil society organizations engage in advocating the public’s rights and wishes of the people, including but not limited to health, environment and economic rights. They fulfill important duties of checks and balances in democracies, they are able to influence the government and hold it accountable. Therefore, free and active civil societies are an indicator of a healthy participatory democracy.
However, they can only function where freedom of speech and right of free assembly are guaranteed. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many countries around the world. In Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo too we have witnessed growingly hostile environment for civil society engagement.
To stand up for civil societies worldwide our Berlin headquarters has launched the Global Perspective Conference on “The Future of Civil Spaces” with over 160 international participants. In coordination with the conference the Heinrich Böll Foundation also launched the Civic Charter which is the global framework for people’s participation and aims to protect civil societies. The charter calls on governments to guarantee and protect civil societies. The co- president of our foundation, Barbara Unmüßig, co-drafted the charter.