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Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation,Save the Children
Civic space – the space for people to organise, participate, communicate and act as individuals and as members of civil society organisations (CSOs) – is the bedrock of any open and democratic society. Civic space, because it enables people to associate, assemble, express their views freely and access information, is essential to realising human rights and making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality. It is now well documented that civic space is under attack in many countries around the world. However, little is said on how civic space trends are being experienced by children, and how children’s rights and abilities to be active agents for change in their countries and communities are being affected.
This policy brief, building on Save the Children’s track record of programming, research and engagement with children and CIVICUS’ analysis of civil society responses to exclusion, aims to fill that gap by bringing children’s voices to the debate, as well as those of concerned adult civil society activists. It presents findings from a study conducted in 2016 by Save the Children and the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University, Belfast, UK, combining online consultations and face-to-face group discussions with a total of 1,606 children, aged between eight and 17, from 60 countries, and from an online survey carried out by CIVICUS and Save the Children with 488 respondents from adult-led civil society from 98 countries.