The Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, Thomas E. Garrett took part in a meeting with civil society leaders and human rights defenders held in Oslo by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss Norway’s priorities for the human rights work in 2018.

‘’The Ministry of Foreign Affairs highly values our relationship with civil society – an important priority for the Government’’ – underlined the Norwegian Secretary of State Marianne Hagen speaking at the event.

‘’ By joining forces and playing our respective roles I believe we can continue to achieve results. We can continue to build alliances across countries and geographical regions in support of democratic institutions and those on the forefront in promoting all human rights. The latest UN resolution on human rights defenders is a testimony to that, which must now be translated into action.’’ – said State Secretary Hagen.

The Secretary General commended Norway for its continued commitment to protecting civil society, as a key pillar of democracy, in particular its work on protecting human rights defenders.

In 1998, Norway chaired the working group that drew up the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly referred to as the Declaration on human rights defenders. (RES/53/144 of 9 December 1998).

– The recently adopted UN Human Rights Defenders Resolution, commemorating the 20th anniversary of, and promoting the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, sponsored by Norway and co-sponsored by 24 of the CoD’s 30 member states.

The Secretary General highlighted the high value that the Community of Democracies places on the importance of democratic dialogue with representatives of civil society and stressed that the Community will continue to share best practices in supporting and enabling civic space and engaging with civil society as dialogue partners. ‘The Community of Democracies will continue to support civil society, putting into practice the “Civil Society Standards”, seeking to coordinate actions by its member states to promote and foster civil society both at home and abroad.’– he said.

For more information on how the Community of Democracies works in partnership and coordination with Civil Society, please click on the links below:

Civil Society Standards 
Working Group on Freedom of Opinion and Expression 
Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society