What are the global trends when it comes to LGBTQ rights? What are the consequences of shrinking civil society space and how is it affecting LGBTQ rights? How can we support organisations when LGBTQ issues and non-governmental organisations when governments ban them? These were some of the questions the speakers tried to answer while talking about the shrinking civil society space at a panel discussion as part of the Stockholm Pride on July 26.
There is a global trend to clamp down on LGBTQ organisations in various parts of the world. This has resulted in funding cuts, license cancellation, disruption in service delivery leading to increased discrimination and violence. Being the most vulnerable minority community, LGBTQs are already the worst affected.
The speakers underscored the need to look at the issue from a holistic perspective. The LGBTQ movement is interconnected with the other Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and the freedom of assembly, association and expression that is enjoyed by all the stakeholders. Especially in countries, where LGBTQ organisations rely on other movement to address their concerns, it is extremely important that the intersectional approach is considered.
Faith based organisations, donors, NGOs, media etc are all part of the civil society space. There must be better cooperation and unity among all these groups to fight repressive laws, intimidation, monitoring and other mechanisms that the State uses to muzzle civil society in the name of national security and development.
The panelists also emphasized on finding innovative ways to tackle funding crisis or emergency situation that may arise due to sudden political chaos or new legislations.
Moderated by Kajsa Bornedal, Head of International Unit of RFSL, the panel consisted of Emilie Weiderud, Policy Advisor for issues relating to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Swedish Church international department, Charlotta Norrby, Head of Civil Society Cooperation at Sida and Shakhawat Hossain, LGBTI activist and board member of Boys of Bangladesh and ILGA Asia.